John Helder is a horticulturist and graduate of the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture. He is recently retired after working 36 years for the City of Edmonton.
The last 18 years with the City, he held the position of Principal of Horticulture. In this position he led Edmonton’s naturalization program by which over one million native trees and shrubs were planted by volunteers. Many of these volunteers and planting projects were associated with and supported by Tree Canada.
In addition, he was the City representative on the Edmonton Naturescape Partnership Committee, a committee with representation with three school boards and the City, to encourage, facilitate and support the establishment of outdoor classroom planting projects. Through this committee about ten projects are implemented a year.
John has worked to develop and support a wide diversity of environmental partnership projects in partnership with environmental organizations and community groups. Many of these projects are for the ongoing stewardship of designated natural areas within the City of Edmonton.
Edmonton’s Master Naturalist Program, John’s brainchild, was established to train community volunteers to act in an advisory capacity for these numerous greening projects.