Living in a large urban centre, many of our days can feel lost between the monotony of our commute and the confines of cubicle walls. As we go through the motions of the week, most of us are plugged in and tuned out to the world around us.
However, I’ve always felt like living in Edmonton is somewhat of a paradox. If you’ve ever taken the time to hop out of your car and venture down one of the many ravines that border our roads, there’s an expansive urban forest that lies in the midst of the towering structures and bustling traffic. It’s like there’s a peaceful escape right in the centre of our hectic city lives.
If you make your way down MacKinnon Ravine on a humid evening in June, the trails are awash with the fragrance of lilac trees and a flush of American Elms. Cyclists and joggers will zip by you as the brilliant downtown cityscape breaks through the north-facing trees. To the south, the vast North Saskatchewan River ambles on, urging you to move forward.
As Edmontonians, we seem to recognize the invaluable presence of our urban forest. According to a recent Urban Forest Management Plan Survey, our top three reasons for appreciating trees were beautification, nature appreciation and reduced air pollution. But our urban forest is also offering us more benefits than meet the eye. Did you know that trees reduce crime? Calm the speed of traffic? Attract tourism? Reduce energy costs?
The Root for Trees Enhanced Tree Planting Initiative has sprung from the City’s recognition of this resource’s stunning importance. Root for Trees strives to plant a diverse, sustainable urban forest through partnerships with citizens, communities and businesses. The City understands that in order to sustain our urban canopy, the public needs to get educated and involved.
Root for Trees Fest is the perfect opportunity for Edmontonians to start learning and taking part. This family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, June 15th in Government House Park (9938 Groat Road). Come enjoy live music, food, face painting and tattoos, crafts and a fun race for kids while you learn how you can get involved with growing Edmonton’s vibrant urban forest. Over 1,000 trees will be planted, so get ready to help sow your own peaceful escape. Visit www.edmonton.ca/trees for full festival information.