Canada’s Urban Forests are Getting More Respect: Tree Canada President Reflects on His Retirement After 18 years of Service

Tree Canada


Ottawa, ON (February 26, 2020) — After 18 years of service with the national tree charity Tree Canada, Michael Rosen, the organization’s President for the last 13 years, will be retiring. Michael’s last day with Tree Canada will be March 31, 2020.

Under Michael’s leadership, Tree Canada has participated in several initiatives and accomplishments. These include:

  • Planting of 82 million trees, the greening of over 660 schoolyards and the engagement of hundreds of communities across Canada in urban forestry programs
  • Leading the creation of the Canadian Urban Forest Strategy and Network – the association of municipal foresters, arborists, NGO’s and others who care about trees in Canadian cities and towns
  • Holding 13 Canadian Urban Forest Conferences (upcoming CUFC, in Charlottetown, PEI, Oct. 5-7)
  • Development of Tree Canada’s first carbon offset protocol
  • Transition of Tree Canada from a government-funded entity to one almost totally supported by sponsorships, donations and partnerships
  • Facilitation of the creation of the first Bachelor of Urban Forestry undergraduate program at the University of British Columbia
  • Responding to the needs of Canadians with new programs such as Operation ReLeaf program which responds to the all too familiar crises facing our trees as a result of climate change oriented natural disasters
  • Establishment in 2011 of a National Tree Day for Canadians, on the Wednesday of National Forest Week (this year on September 23, 2020)
  • Founding of a Legacy Partnership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities thus spreading the urban forest message to communities across the country

At his retirement party in December 2019 board and staff paid tribute to Rosen for the 18 years he served in the organization, founded in 1992.

“Tree Canada is a vibrant growing organization,” says Board Chair, Léo Duguay. “This would not have been possible without Mike Rosen.”

With Rosen at the helm, Tree Canada became Canada’s leading urban forest organization, by educating countless people and communities about the importance of trees through his collaborations on research, published articles and speaking engagements.

“I am very proud of what Tree Canada was able to accomplish for Canadians,” said Rosen. “Over my time, I experienced how the power of trees was taken too lightly and not seriously regarded. I frequently corrected people who indicated to me that urban forests “looked nice” and were there for “aesthetics”. As article after research paper continued to come out on the benefits of trees in terms of health, energy conservation, crime reduction and even community pride, I witnessed the shift in people as they began to see trees as an essential part of their lives and a part of the solution to so much that ails us. There is still so much that needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of our urban forests,” he said.

Rosen will leave a few larger projects in capable hands, notably the 2 Billion Tree initiative, a 2019 election promise made by the federal government that for the first time in Canadian history specifically mentions “urban forests” as an area to restore and improve. After years of Rosen’s advocacy, this historic initiative was particularly welcome. Another initiative was the work started in April 2019 through the National Arboriculture Apprenticeship Recognition Committee. The Committee is determined to establish a “Red Seal status” for arborists to increase the stature, operator safety, skill portability and worker mobility within the trade, which lies as the cornerstone of urban forest management.

In his past year as President with Tree Canada, Rosen has spent many hours ensuring the smooth transition of leadership with Tree Canada’s new CEO Danielle St-Aubin as well as supporting key development and other initiatives of importance to this growing and increasingly active organization.

Going forward, Rosen is considering offers to serve on other Boards of Directors, looking forward to tapping his maple trees on his property in western Quebec and working on forestry projects on a part-time basis. A special donation from Tree Canada’s Board of Directors has been made to the National Greening Program to have trees planted in Michael Rosen’s honour.


About Tree Canada

Tree Canada is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to planting and nurturing trees in rural and urban environments. Through our programs, research and educational efforts, we have helped restore tree cover in areas hit by natural disasters, guided communities in managing their urban forests, helped green 660 schoolyards and organized urban forest conferences. To date, with our community partners and sponsors, we have planted more than 82 million trees.

For more information or for an interview with Michael Rosen please contact:

Cristiane Doherty
Communications and Marketing Manager
Tree Canada
613-567-5545 ext. 224 or 613-799-9277 (mobile)


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