Why trees?

Trees are vital to a healthy urban ecosystem. When you add tree to the urban forest you:

  • Cut greenhouse gases. Trees take carbon dioxide from the air to use as building material for wood.
  • Clean the air. Trees filter out ozone, particulates, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants that would otherwise go into our lungs.
  • Beautify the city. Trees soften and colour the hard edges of urban development.
  • Provide shade in summer and block winds in winter. The energy saved means lower bills for heating and cooling.
  • Increase habitat space. Trees provide homes and food for millions of organisms above and below ground.
  • Enhance the quality of urban life. Studies show areas with trees have lower crime rates than barren places.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff. A single mature tree can intercept more than 4,000 gallons of water a year, lowering city infrastructure costs.
  • Improve our minds and spirits. Students score higher on exams when walking to the test site through trees rather than an empty area.
  • Add opportunities for food. Fruit trees play an important role in the development of resilient and food secure neighbourhoods.
  • And it turns out money really does grow on trees. Toronto Dominion Bank reports that for every dollar spent on forestry, residents receive at least $4.59 in benefits each year.

    Are you tree savvy? Here are 3 ways you can be:

    1. Citizen Forester

    The Citizen Foresters training program is offered each Spring to interested volunteers. The program has six modules in basic arboriculture, taught over three nights. Complete all six and you’re a Citizen Forester, with a t-shirt to prove it! Cost of the program is $25. Participants must agree to volunteer for TreeKeepers for a minimum 6 hours over the coming year.

    2. TreeKeepers Youth Branch

    If you’re a budding tree geek under the age of 25, step up. Our goal is to spark the next generation of urban forest heroes by offering mentor-based arboriculture programs so interested teens can learn more about the trees in the city.

    3. Learn More

    The science and art of urban forestry are fairly new and still in flux. If you’re like us and you love learning about trees and cities and how they grow together, check out some of the links on our learn page. We collect and share info from around the world. Categories include Tree Selections, Tree Planting, Tree Care and more.

    How to Apply

    Apply here if you’re interested in becoming a Citizen Forester, joining the TreeKeepers Youth Branch or volunteering for the program. Note that not all opportunities are available year-round (for example, the Citizen Foresters course are in May). Thanks for your interest in growing the greenest city with trees!

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