MONTREAL, Sept. 6, 2012 - CN today announced the successful candidates for its 2012 From the Ground Up program. Of the 72 applications received in this, the program's inaugural year, 25 communities were selected to receive grants of up to $25,000 each. The program's objective is to promote the greening of municipal properties across Canada, especially areas in close proximity to rail lines. CN EcoConnexions, with its partners Tree Canada and Communities in Bloom, will help Canadian municipalities establish tree planting initiatives in a sustainable, environmentally responsible manner.
"CN's comprehensive sustainability agenda goes beyond making our own operations as fuel efficient and environmentally friendly as possible. We also aim to support sustainability initiatives in the communities we serve," said Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN. "The From the Ground Up program is an important part of this effort, and we are thrilled with the community response. The program received high-quality submissions from large and small communities across Canada. We were so impressed with the submissions that we decided to triple the funding for this year's program."
CN had originally set aside $150,000 to fund this community tree planting program this year. Given the overwhelming response, the funding was increased to just over $500,000 to be distributed amongst the top 25 applicants.
Successful candidates were chosen on the basis of rigourous selection criteria designed and overseen by CN's program partners, Tree Canada and Communities in Bloom. The two organizations rated each application on those criteria and presented a ranked list of programs to CN. CN then selected final candidates from the top-ranked communities.
"CN recognizes the difficult choices our partners had to make, from so many deserving applications," said Mongeau. "We thank them for their wise counsel and for the excellent job they did in reaching out to Canadian communities to attract such a large number of applications."
Tree planting will begin in the fall in each of the selected communities. The work will be guided and supported by Communities in Bloom and Tree Canada to ensure the long-term viability of each project.
"Communities in Bloom is looking forward to working with the communities to help them achieve our common goal of enhancing their green spaces for the betterment of our environment" said Raymond Carrière, Founding President of Communities in Bloom. "These CN From the Ground Up projects will be another demonstration of the social, environmental and economical benefits of green spaces."
The CN EcoConnexions From the Ground Up program is now accepting applications for spring 2013 community tree plantings. The goal is to extend plantings to more locations across Canada, again with the assistance of the program partners.
"CN has led the way in connecting Canadians for close to a century," says Tree Canada President Michael Rosen. "Through opportunities like From the Ground Up, CN is helping municipalities and First Nations communities improve our national landscape for future generations to enjoy. Tree Canada is honoured to be a part of this fantastic initiative."
Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments. Tree Canada engages Canadian companies, government agencies and individuals to support the planting of trees, the greening of schoolyards, and other efforts to sensitize Canadians to the benefits of planting and maintaining trees. To date, more than 77 million trees have been planted, 450 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has helped organize nine national urban forest conferences. More information about Tree Canada is available at www.treecanada.ca.
Communities in Bloom is a Canadian non-profit organization committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement and the challenge of a national program, with focus on the promotion and value of green spaces. The pride, sense of community and feeling of accomplishment generated through participation are visible in communities across Canada. For more information about Communities in Bloom, visit www.communitiesinbloom.ca.
CN - Canadian National Railway Company and its operating railway subsidiaries - spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key metropolitan areas of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. www.cn.ca
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