November 13, 2019 (Halifax, NS) – Today, Tree Canada, the only national tree planting charity that plants and nurtures trees in urban and rural environments, announced the launch of its Operation ReLeaf Hurricane Dorian program at the Atlantic Urban Forest Conference to offer tree-planting support to those affected by the storm.
Danielle St-Aubin, Tree Canada CEO presented City of Halifax Mayor Mike Savage with a symbolic red spruce (Picea rubens), Nova Scotia’s official tree, to show its commitment in assisting the City to replant when ready. She also encouraged residents, businesses and corporate sponsors to show their support and get involved.
On the evening of Saturday, September 7, 2019, Hurricane Dorian, then downplayed from a Category 2 hurricane to a post-tropical storm with hurricane-strength winds, made landfall near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Downing trees and power lines, the storm left damage in its wake leaving over 400,000 homes and businesses in Atlantic Canada without power and cell phone reception. Thousands of trees were uprooted or snapped off by the storm.
As recovery efforts continue and the extent of the damage is assessed, Tree Canada’s #OperationReLeaf hopes to provide funding to homeowners, private landowners and institutions to replace as many of the trees lost as possible. Tree Canada’s early estimation of damage indicates the need to raise at least $500K for the program’s efforts. To achieve this goal, the national organization is encouraging individuals and members of the business community to provide their support by visiting treecanada.ca/operationreleaf.
At a time when the effects of climate change and its mitigation are becoming everyday issues, programs like Tree Canada’s Operation ReLeaf are becoming increasingly critical to many communities to ensure the restoration of urban forests and canopies after natural disasters.
In Canadian cities, forest cover has been declining for more than two decades. With over 82% of the population now living in urban centres, it has become increasingly important to recognize the benefits our urban trees and forests bring us. They beautify our communities, increasing the property value of our businesses and homes. They reduce the effects of climate change, naturally cooling our cities. And, they help us live longer and healthier lives, reducing stress and improving our mental health.
“The impact of Hurricane Dorian on communities here in Atlantic Canada has been truly devastating. As municipalities across the region continue to work tirelessly to support recovery efforts and assess the damage, Tree Canada is raising funds to help bring trees and natural beauty back to these areas.”
– Danielle St-Aubin, CEO of Tree Canada
About Tree Canada
Tree Canada is the non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by planting and nurturing trees. 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 annual urban forest conferences. To date, with our community partners and sponsors, we have planted more than 82 million trees.
Tree Canada’s #OperationReLeaf programs have been helping communities recover from natural disasters and pests for more than 20 years. The first #OperationReLeaf was launched following the 1996 floods in Saguenay, Quebec. Tree Canada’s currently active #OperationReLeafs are focused on fighting Mountain Pine Beetle in Alberta, Emerald Ash Borer in Quebec and our ongoing multi-year efforts to restore community greenspaces hit by wildfires in Alberta and British Columbia. In 2017, Tree Canada’s #OperationReLeaf Fort McMurray raised enough money to plant more than 70,000 trees, restoring greenspaces in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta and in 2018, Tree Canada’s #OperationReLeaf Ottawa-Gatineau Tornadoes provided area residents with funding to plant trees lost.
Interested members of the business community wishing to contribute are encouraged to visit Tree Canada’s #OperationReLeaf program
For interviews, photos and more information:
Education and Community Events Officer, Tree Canada
613-567-5545 ext. 258
Operation ReLeaf Program
Program Manager, Tree Canada
613-567-5545 ext. 234