By Heather Fraser, Regional Representative Atlantic Region
The Atlantic Urban Forestry Collective began mobilizing urban forestry groups in 2014 that were committed to sharing the national perspective of the Canadian Urban Forest Network (CUFN) by highlighting the benefits of urban forests through research, education and information exchange with municipalities large and small, forestry organizations, universities teaching forest management, landscape companies, planning commissions, nurseries, developers, forestry pest organizations, department of natural resources, utility companies, architects, certified arborists associations, model forests, and tree care companies to name a few.
The Collective’s first urban forest workshop was held in Moncton, NB, in November 2014 focusing on the planning for climate, insect and disease in urban forests. Over 125 people attended from various Atlantic Provinces – the guest speaker from the City of Mississauga highlighted the efforts taken by the municipality to combat emerald ash borer, the cost of the program and how this pest changed the landscape of their community. The statement “this pest is just a day’s drive away from your municipality” sent home a message to the group to go back home and look at management plans and know where your ash trees are located and monitor the health of these species over time. The feeling of the participants attending was that it is not a question of whether this pest reaches the community – rather, it is when – and to be prepared is critical to the success of the program. This workshop was the beginning of continued information exchange, new partnerships, and sharing of local conferences and meetings relating to climate change, managing forests and forest health across the Maritimes.
In September 2015 the Collective partnered with the International Society of Arboriculture’s Atlantic Chapter of Arborists meeting held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where over 65 participants travelled across the Atlantic region to take part, another successful gathering and networking opportunity.
The Collective agreed after reviewing survey results that a two-day workshop would work best in the future. The first day would include updates on all new research and urban forest activities taken place over the year and the second day would be outdoors gaining insight into urban forest management programs across the various municipalities. Workshops would be held in different provinces each year, on the off year of the Canadian Urban Forest Conference (CUFC). The next CUFC will be held from September 25-29, 2016, in Laval, Quebec.
Our next workshop will be in the fall of 2017 in PEI. As the Atlantic Regional Representative, I am pleased to report that a request has gone out to members to increase participation in the planning of this event with great success. Looking forward to another exciting year!