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Press Release: Looming Tree Ecological Disaster Brings Winnipeggers Together

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

Looming Tree Ecological Disaster Brings Winnipeggers Together

Winnipeg (November 12, 2019)  — Winnipeg’s iconic tree canopy is in crisis due to disease, climate change and chronic under-funding. Every year, Winnipeg loses more trees than are planted – and it promises to get worse unless Winnipeggers all work together to reverse this trend.

Residents Associations, OURS-Winnipeg, and neighbourhood groups have responded to the threat by joining forces to ask the City of Winnipeg to increase the budget for the Urban Forestry Branch to maintain the existing canopy, and plant trees now – for the future of our city.

Last year, in a Parks and Open Space Division 2019 preliminary budget presentation, the Urban Forestry Branch said that it did not have the resources for adequate tree disease management and pruning. Yet, the City of Winnipeg did not approve Urban Forestry’s request for $11.6 million. They only approved $4 million, less than half of what they need to carry out their mandate — a $7.61 million shortfall. As a result, the chronic underfunding that contributes to tree canopy loss continued.

Ronald Mazur, spokesperson for OURS-Winnipeg, explained the need to act at a recent meeting of concerned citizens. “October’s unprecedented storm displayed the challenges extreme weather can place on the urban forest and the need for its stable funding and care.” The group has launched the “Saveourcanopy.com” online letter campaign for all Winnipeggers to participate in asking the City to invest in trees.

Lisa Forbes of the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association’s tree committee is the driving force of gathering the many groups together in calling for action. “Winnipeg’s urban elm forest, the largest in North America, is an irreplaceable and international treasure. We must act together to press all levels of government to make trees a priority in our City.”

“The time to act is now — the City’s four year budget process is well underway, and I urge all citizens who care about trees to pay attention — join a local community group, or at the very least – send your City Councillor a letter using the Save Our Canopy online resource before November 27th,” Forbes urged.

While noting that multiple community groups across the city access funding and volunteers to implement tree planting projects in their neighbourhoods, significant public investment is needed. She added “The Urban Forestry Branch needs long term funding to implement a sustainable reforestation action plan for the entire City to avoid ecological disaster and mitigate the effects of climate change.”  

Forbes also pointed out that investing in trees today makes good financial sense. “The urban forest is an essential part of the city’s infrastructure and offers significant returns on everything from increased property taxes and reduced energy costs to flood mitigation. Making an investment in trees is just sound economics. And we’re hopeful that the mayor and councillors will see that.”

The Urban Forestry Branch will be presenting its updated budget on November 16th to the City’s Standing Policy Committee that deals with our canopy. Delegations are then invited to present on November 27th.

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Glenelm Boulevard Trees Project Update

A little update from the GeNA Tree Committee: exciting news! One of our members met with the City’s Urban Forestry department to discuss our “wish list” – that is, our list of desired planting sites on boulevards throughout the neighbourhood. Of the 66 sites we proposed, 57 have been accepted! Some of the sites we first proposed ended up being unsuitable, but we found some new ones! 

This brings us one step closer to fully reforested boulevards in Glenelm. The trees being planted as part of our project will go in this fall or next spring. Our funding will also go towards rapid re-planting of boulevard trees removed due to Dutch Elm Disease this summer.

In the meantime, we have 36 beautiful young trees on our boulevards that were part of the City’s scheduled re-plantings in late May. Please help them out by giving them some water, especially when it’s really hot out.

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GeNA is Looking for Volunteers!

For the past 18 months or so, a group of a dozen Glenelm volunteers has been the driving force of the Glenelm Neighbourhood Association – planning and running events to help people connect and working behind the scenes to make our neighbourhood safer and more beautiful. Now that we have our association up and running fairly smoothly, we are actively looking for more volunteers. How can you get involved?

1) Join our team of “core organizers”. We meet once a month, generally on a weekday evening, to share information and plan events and initiatives. We would love to see new faces here. Come and see what a friendly bunch we are and whether joining our team is something you’d consider. Our next meeting is Tuesday, April 17th at 7pm. Email glenelmcommunity@gmail.com for more details!

2) Help with flyer delivery. To get the word out to as many people as possible, we do occasional flyer drops to all the households in Glenelm. We will have one in the next couple weeks. If you enjoy walking outdoors and can spare an hour to deliver flyers to houses on a particular street, this would be a good fit. Get in touch at glenelmcommunity@gmail.com if you’d like to help.

3) Volunteer at events. We keep running lists of people who are interested in volunteering at (what we expect will be) annual events such as our spring cleanup, picnic in the park, safety patrol, etc. If you are open to helping out with events from time to time, please let us know at glenelmcommunity@gmail.com.

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Glenelm T-Shirts! (And Hoodies, Hats, Tote Bags, etc!)

GeNA is excited to announce our very own online “Glenelm spirit wear shop” – an ongoing community-building fundraiser for our neighbourhood association.

Featuring a fun tree-centric play on the classic “I Heart” slogan, you can show your love for our neighbourhood and our namesake trees using one of 8 custom designs (English and French options available), available to be screenprinted on hundreds of items of clothing (shirts, hoodies, etc.) and other useful items such as aprons and tote bags.

To get your order going, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to urstore.ca/gena
  2. Select an item of apparel or accessory
  3. Choose from one of the 8 custom Glenelm logos
  4. Choose your desired colour and size
  5. Pay online for your order using credit card, Interac, or PayPal.

By showing your Glenelm pride you will also help GeNA raise funds to do good things in our neighbourhood. With every purchase, GeNA will earn a small commission (10% of the total order).

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Announcing a Glenelm “Light Up the Neighbourhood” Contest!

by Sherryl Koop

If you are like me, you wait until after Remembrance Day to do any Christmas decorating – so needless to say on November 13th the outdoor Christmas lights together with decorations made their appearance on my home.

As a challenge to brighten up the Glenelm neighbourhood, we at GeNA are excited to announce a fun and friendly “Light Up the Neighbourhood” contest, with the prizes being:

  • Bragging rights to having the brightest block
  • Publicity and pictures of the winning block in the January issue of Glenelm Community News
  • A lovely sign highlighting the block with the most (or most impressive) Christmas lights decoratively put up!

Details will soon be released on how to vote for your favourite festively lit block.  So – take advantage of any lovely day these next few weeks, conspire with your neighbours and let’s light up Glenelm!

(photo credit: Bob Ricca)

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GeNA Seed & Plant Swap on Saturday, October 7th

All Glenelm gardeners are invited to bring extra seeds, bulbs, roots and shoots to Gordon King Memorial United Church (127 Cobourg) from 10am to noon next Saturday, October 7th for our first seed and plant swap!

Seed/plant swapping is a great way to meet other area gardeners and diversify your garden space, and fall is an excellent time to divide up your perennials and think about what space in your garden you’d like to fill with something new.

If you are interested but can’t make it this Saturday, don’t worry! We’ll do this again in the spring.

Please bring your offerings in labelled envelopes, baggies, or packets, or pots or bags for larger plants. You can rsvp to Mellanie at heysunshine23@gmail.com. Feel free to bring a friend!

Any plants left over at the end of the swap will be donated to the cemetery.

(photo credit: Eduard Militaru)

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Update on the GeNA Garage Sale & Bake Sale

The GeNA core organizing committee has decided to postpone the garage sale/bake sale that was planned for September 9th. Our group of volunteers is learning as we go, and we realized with the community picnic the same weekend, it was more than we could realistically manage. We are now planning to do the garage sale/bake sale in the spring, possibly integrating some opportunities for local businesses as well.

To anyone who had been holding onto items to donate, we offer our sincere thanks for your generosity, and our apologies for the inconvenience of our plans changing. If you aren’t willing or able to hold onto your sale items until spring, we suggest the Kildonan MCC at 445 Chalmers as a great place to donate to. They accept donations Monday-Saturday from 9:30am-5pm.

Thanks for bearing with us, and for your support of GeNA!

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