Riverview residents get to the root of tree loss

Trees Riverview will plant up to 30 trees in 2022

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This article was published 09/02/2022 (298 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A group of Riverview residents are taking a hands-on approach to addressing the threat to their neighbourhood’s tree canopy.

Trees Riverview founders Wendy Botkin and May Wady started the community group in 2021 while grieving the loss of hundreds of boulevard trees.

“It went from being something quite personal to looking at the neighbourhood and saying, ‘We’re losing a lot of our beautiful trees,’” Trees Riverview communications manager Carol Thiessen said.

Supplied photo Last year, contractors hired by Trees Riverview members planted 55 disease-resistant trees along Baltimore Road and Arnold Avenue.

“We’re losing trees from emerald ash borers, we’re losing trees from Dutch elm disease … we’re a mature neighbourhood with mature trees.”

Worrying the community would lose its green canopy, Botkin and Wady contacted Coun. Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge-East Fort Garry) and received $14,441 from the City of Winnipeg’s land dedication reserve fund.

Assiniboine Credit Union also donated $12,500, and the group works together with the City of Winnipeg’s urban forestry branch to pick out the best areas for planting.

In addition to providing funding, Rollins met with the group to help plot out the organization, its structure, their concerns about tree loss and the targets they hoped to meet.

“It’s always critical we do more for the urban canopy, so I’m looking to next term and feeling really grateful for groups like Trees Riverview,” Rollins said.

Rollins, whose had tree preservation on her agenda since she first ran for public office, said supporting Trees Riverview is an “expression of that priority.”

“Winnipeggers want a dedicated reforestation program to stem the tide of the losses that exceeds the department’s current capacity to replace,” she added. “Groups like Trees Riverview are popping up to try to expedite that process.”

Last year’s funds allowed Trees Riverview to hire a contractor to purchase, plant, maintain and water 55 disease-resistant trees along Baltimore Road and Arnold Avenue.

The group, now a committee of five members, is preparing for this year’s planting project, which will include wrapping trees along the riverbank at the end of Baltimore Road and planting in higher traffic spaces and areas of need.

“Most of us moved to this neighbourhood, in part, because of the way it looks with the beautiful canopy,” Thiessen said. “All of us see those big orange dots on the trees that are dying or dead, and we mourn them. Having a grassroots neighbourhood committee group get together to try to replace those trees has been well-received.”

So far, Trees Riverview has received a couple of grants from Assiniboine Credit Union and Red River Co-op for the 2022 planting season.

Rollins said she also plans to provide more funding.

“We also have other irons in the fire that we hope will come through,” Thiessen said. “Our goal is to plant 20 to 30 additional boulevard trees this year.”

This year’s planting is expected to take place in spring 2022. The city will also be releasing an urban forest strategy this year.

If you’d like to get involved with the organization or donate to have additional trees planted, email treesriverview@gmail.com

Kelsey James

Kelsey James
Community Journalist

Kelsey James is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. She graduated from Red River College’s creative communications program in 2018 as a journalism major and holds a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric, writing and communications from the University of Winnipeg. A lifelong Winnipegger who grew up in southwest Winnipeg, Kelsey is thrilled to be covering the neighbourhoods she still calls “home.”

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