Engaging with Indigenous Communities in Urban Forestry
At Tree Canada, our objective is to improve all lives through greening communities across Canada, including Indigenous communities.
Urban Forestry in Indigenous Communities
From 2008 to 2019, Tree Canada supported the planting of over 480,000 trees and shrubs through greening initiatives in almost 50 Indigenous communities throughout Canada in rural and urban settings.
Whether it is for the purpose of beautification, urban naturalization and maintenance, land restoration and reclamation, schoolyard greening or habitat creation and/or enhancement – each planting project on Indigenous land is an opportunity for Tree Canada to engage with Indigenous communities. More importantly, it is an opportunity for Tree Canada to learn the urban forestry interests, needs and preferences directly from Indigenous communities and to build relationships grounded in trust and reciprocity.
What We’ve Learned
As an organization, it has always been our aim to actively engage with and learn from Indigenous communities across Canada in an impactful and meaningful way.
In 2017, Tree Canada established an engagement strategy, which provides operational directives to increase outreach and funding support to Indigenous groups across the country. As part of this strategy, objectives and metrics were established and measured annually to track engagement and uptake by Indigenous communities.
In 2018, Tree Canada conducted a research study to better understand the needs and interests of Indigenous communities in relation to urban forestry. A primary goal of this research was to collect anonymous suggestions on how to improve program outreach and delivery to encourage more participation from interested Indigenous groups. The results of this study identified recommendations around urban forest-related operations and research, policy implementation and stakeholder engagement for Tree Canada.
In 2020, Tree Canada began an internal study with the aim to improve our National Greening Program through better engagement with Indigenous communities.
We know there is more work to be done. We will continue engaging with Indigenous communities across Canada to learn more about how we can improve our programs to support the needs and perspectives of Indigenous communities. We will work with Indigenous communities to continue to create equitable access to the benefits of green spaces, and most importantly, we will continue to build relationships and support reconciliation and healing.
Gosselin-Hebert, A.-E., Bardekjian, A., Quann, S. & Crossman, V. (2019). Urban forestry in Indigenous communities across Canada: Exploring the impact of greening initiatives. Internal report, Canadian Forest Service and Tree Canada.
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