Celebrating Our Trees

January 9th, 2014

The recent ice storm hit regions south of Peterborough hard. Northumberland County is a good example. People lost power for days and days.

The reason for the power outages was very apparent. Trees everywhere were buckling under the weight of 2 to 3 cm (or more) of ice buildup. It was a sad sight touring the area after the storm had passed. The snow-covered ground was littered with branches, snapped off, unable to bare the load.

Most of us have had a significant tree in our lives at one time or another. Whether it was a deciduous maple that was home to a tree house tucked within its branches or an evergreen that cast a long cooling shadow on a hot summer day, trees have a special place in our lives.

With trees having such a strong visible presence we see and benefit from each day, often we forget about the many invisible, yet equally important roles they have.

Trees naturally take in carbon dioxide and store it as wood. This process cleans our air, removing tonnes and tonnes of carbon that would otherwise build up in our atmosphere and exacerbate climate change and global warming.

bookphotosmallTree Canada reports on average 98 trees take in and store one tonne of airborne carbon dioxide over the course of a year. That’s a significant amount. With the average Canadian adding 1.3 tonnes to heat their home with electricity and 6 tonnes to drive a car 20,000 km, we can see how trees can make a real difference in countering our collective carbon outputs.

There are many other benefits too. Urban trees can increase property value, beautify a property, buffer street noise, assist in energy conservation by cooling and shading and even assist with reducing the amount of storm water runoff that we see on a rainy day. These are just a few of the array of benefits we take for granted on a daily basis.

Here in Peterborough we take our trees very seriously. We have dozens of tree-lined streets that provide shade to homes and habitat to countless species of wildlife. Without our trees, Peterborough would be a vastly different city.

GreenUP is celebrating our city’s trees this evening at the McDonnel Street Community Centre with the launch of a new book Beneath The Canopy: Peterborough’s Urban Forest and Heritage Trees.

The book was made possible by a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, support from the Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee and the tireless work of many volunteers.

Beneath the Canopy contains over 230 stunning images submitted by more than 25 local photographers in addition to many maps of city neighbourhoods. It has interesting tales of survival and fun tree stories from every corner of our city.

Sheryl Loucks, a local award-winning journalist, pulled together this new book using data collected by volunteers about the city’s trees, stories collected during two Treasured Tree Hunt contests, interviews with local residents, and submissions.

The book features a foreword by Cathy Dueck and in every chapter there are features contributed by local writers including Peterborough Examiner veteran Ed Arnold and Lois Tuffin, Editor-In-Chief of Peterborough This Week, who added dashes of humour. There are stories by local naturalists such as Drew Monkman and tree experts like Wasyl Bakowsky and Eric Boysen from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Everyone is welcome to the free book launch party at 577 McDonnel Street. Refreshments are provided by Black Honey have been sponsored by Monkman, Gracie and Johnston Insurance. There will be a licensed cash bar open for the event.

Beneath the Canopy is a wonderful Peterborough souvenir that allows you to explore the seasonal changes of neighbourhoods and parks while learning about some of the unique, untold history of the city.

If you are interested in getting a copy of Beneath the Canopy, books are being sold for $20 (including tax) and can be ordered online at www.greenup.on.ca or purchased at the GreenUP Store at 378 Aylmer Street in downtown Peterborough.

Posted in Peterborough, trees, Uncategorized, urban forest