If You Invite Us, We Will Come – Real Citizen Engagement in Urban Forest Planning is a Must!
Updated: Apr 6
Urban forestry includes citizen involvement in and support for the sustained planning, protection, planting, maintenance, management & care of trees, forests, greenspace along with related natural resources in & around cities & communities.... (Canadian Urban Forest Strategy 2019-2024)
As my grandfather would have said, that’s a lot of $10 words. But maybe it’s not that complicated.
For one thing, forests aren’t just "out there" in rural NB. "Urban forest" means everything nature outside our doors. Sadly, we are the caretakers of some of the most critical, endangered, and historic nature left in our communities because the rest of it got cut down.
An Urban Forest Plan isn’t a tree plan. It’s about EVERYTHING nature in a community. It’s about the natural systems that are helping us, the humans, stay living; not to mention what we, the humans, should and could be doing to help everything else stay living.
Communities without an Urban Forest (nature) Plan are like a party for no reason – lots of activity and noise, no purpose or vision, vulnerable to getting hijacked by whoever speaks loudest and last.
Whether it’s NOT budgeting for the green infrastructure that could help when the next big flood or wind or ice storm comes; or NOT bylaw-protecting irreplaceable public and private heritage, significant and mature trees that can be taken down at anyone’s whim; or just NOT thinking about how to involve the tremendous energy and contribution of citizens who want to and will get involved if asked - NOT having a plan is always a bad idea.
Most Canadian cities polished up their urban forest plans a decade or more ago and are well into figuring out what they actually mean in the everyday life and budgets of cities that are trying to cope with hotter summers and weird wind and ice and flood events and ... well you know, the climate crisis. But hey, glass ½ full, since we're late to the party, it’s like being able to go online for great ideas. There’s already a lot of excellent tried and true examples out there.
Our community is ready to talk "Urban Forest Plan". Ask your council and mayoral candidates if they support meaningful community involvement in the development of our Urban Forest (not just trees!) Plan.
Want to learn more?
Join us for upcoming “Let’s Talk Trees” speakers and special events:
Mon, Mar 22: How Do We Decide? Managing the Urban Forest When Everyone's an Owner (Dr. Tom Beckley, UNB Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management)
Thurs, Mar 25th: Special Event – Emerald Ash Borer Info and Community Discussion Evening (Learn from a panel of experts and join in the discussion. It’s bad news but we can help! Find out how.)
Mon, Mar 29: How Halifax Did It - Adventures in Getting & Managing a Citywide Urban Forest Plan (Dr. Peter Duinker, Dalhousie University)
Mon, Apr 12: Nature Has a Flood Plan – Restoring Fredericton’s Silver Maple Forests (Natalie DeSeta, Nashwaak Watershed Association)
Mon, Apr 19: Special Screening of the film "Call of the Forest – The Forgotten Wisdom Of Trees" (a panel discussion with Canadian scientist and acclaimed author Diana Beresford-Kroeger and the filmmakers)