Taking it to the streets

Photo: TD Friends of the Environment Foundation

Heather Lynch

A partnership between not-for-profit organization Tree Canada and TD Friends of the Environment, is turning street smarts into cold, green cash. The national grant program handed out close to $300,000 to 13 communities across the country for their innovative urban forestry projects.

The 2016 TD Green Streets Program, the only initiative of its kind in Canada, received more than 140 applications. The program was open to applications from Canadian municipalities, Aboriginal communities and Business Improvement Associations. Project submissions were reviewed by representatives from Tree Canada, TD Friends of the Environment, as well as urban forest practitioners, and were evaluated on innovation, community involvement and technical expertise.

Since its inception, the program has funded more than 500 municipalities for ideas ranging from tree planting to urban farming, to Adopt a Tree programs. This year, communities in Abbotsford, BC, Halifax, NS and Winnipeg, MB, among others, were the proud recipients of grants up to $25,000 awarding their ingenuity when it comes to thinking green innovation. According to the Chronicle Herald, Halifax's application proposed a project to add to the city's green infrastructure by engaging community partners in education initiatives designed to communicate the importance of investing in green spaces. The city then identified a specific park, located in its urban core, as an area requiring trees and rain gardens, as these would not only increase the enjoyment value of the park, but would also improve its water management infrastructure. Halifax partnered with the Sierra Clun to develop the application.

"Growing the tree canopy in urban centres is vital for the health of Canadian communities and all the people who live in them," Michael Rosen, president of Tree Canada, said. "The TD Green Streets program has helped build thriving urban forests in hundreds of Canadian communities."