(Ottawa, ON – June 14, 2011) – Tree Canada, in partnership with the W. Garfield Weston Foundation launched their Healing Trees project today in Toronto at Shaw Park at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Healing Trees is a project that seeks to establish the relationship between trees and human health including psychological well-being through signage, benches and the judicious planting of trees. The project also evaluated and provided recommendations for the long term maintenance of the trees in Shaw Park at 1001 Queen St. West, Toronto which is presently owned by CAMH. A new sign has been inaugurated, explaining the benefits of urban trees to residents.

A famous Chicago study showed that when comparing two public housing projects, one treed and one not treed, the untreed project showed statistically higher rates of Attention Deficit Order, graffiti vandalism and domestic violence. Other studies have also shown that hospital patients heal quicker when they are able to look out on greenspace.

Speakers at today’s event included: Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH’s CEO, Mrs. Gretchen Bauta, W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Diana Beresford-Kroeger, international author and medical biochemist.

“Urban trees provide a variety of benefits including clean air and wildlife habitat. They also provide a calming sanctuary in the middle of the city, said Michael Rosen, Tree Canada President. “Thanks to progressive granting foundations such as the Weston Foundation and forward-looking institutions such as CAMH, the plan we have created will ensure that they benefit Toronto residents for many years to come,” he said.

“My brothers and sisters and I grew up in wartime England but we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful garden in which to play,” said Gretchen Bauta, a Founding Board Member of the Weston Foundation. “It was a dangerous and tense time. We saw the Battle of Britain fought above us. The trees of that garden afforded us a quiet refuge. What we derived from that garden has stayed with us our whole lives. We feel that it is vital for all young people to make an emotional connection with nature. Classrooms and books are not enough.” she said.

“Treatment truly begins with a therapeutic environment. That’s why we’re re-imagining this campus. That’s why our new buildings will have natural light and flexible facilities. It’s about creating a space where healing can begin; the Healing Trees Project helps us create that space,” says Dr. Catherine Zahn, President & CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

About Tree Canada

Tree Canada is a not-for-profit charitable organization established to encourage Canadians to plant and care for trees in urban and rural environments. A winner of the Canadian Environmental Award (2007), 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, more than 450 schoolyards have been greened, and Tree Canada has organized 9 national urban forest conferences. More information about Tree Canada is available at www.treecanada.ca.

-30-

For more information contact:

Michael Rosen
Tree Canada President
Tel: 613-567-5545 ext 222
Cell: 613-290-3665
Email: mrosen@treecanada.ca