30 August 2017

Park Board’s fall tree sale up and running

Vancouver Park Board
News Release
August 30, 2017

Restoring Vancouver’s urban forest one $10 tree at a time
The Vancouver Park Board kicked off its annual fall tree sale today with 1,500 trees available online for $10 apiece.
The Park Board’s tree sales are a key part of its effort to restore Vancouver’s tree canopy which has seen a steady decline since the 1990’s. Since its first tree sale in 2015, the Park Board has sold more than 9,000 discounted trees to Vancouver residents.
“We need residents to help us grow the urban forest or we will continue to lose our forest canopy. This fall we’re also selling potted trees for balconies so apartment dwellers can help support Vancouver’s biodiversity.” said Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe.
Given that more than 60 percent of Vancouverites live in apartments, the Park Board is now including seven varieties of trees in the sale that live well in pots and are suitable for balconies as well as yards. The majority of the balcony species are flowering—always a strong seller.
The last canopy cover study in 2013 showed about 18 percent of Vancouver was covered by tree canopy, a drop from 22 percent in 1995. Canopy is the amount of ground covered by tree leaves as seen from the air. The Park Board will take a new canopy cover measurement in 2018.
Trees are crucial for filtering rain water, cleaning the air and supporting our well-being, all key goals of the Park Board’s Urban Forest Strategy.
Trees are only available to Vancouver residents and can be purchased at vancouver.ca/tree-sale with a maximum of three per household. Tree pick up is on Sept 17 from 9 am to 4 pm at Hillcrest Centre. A limited number of trees, including some selected varieties from the Park Board’s tree farm, will also be available for cash purchase between 2 and 4 pm.
The Board and its partners aim to plant 17,500 trees this year toward the goal of 150,000 new trees by 2020. More than half the trees have been planted to meet this ambitious goal.
Media contact:
Vancouver Park Board

28 August 2017

When hate demands an answer

We toss around the word hate a lot in our common parlance. I hate Brussels Sprouts. He hates that band. She hates mornings. But those are really things we dislike, not hate. Hate is a powerful word and has real consequences when used as a threat or weapon. Hate speech and hate actions are on the rise throughout the world, and we here in Vancouver are not immune to this rise in intolerance. One definition of hate is 'denoting hostile actions motivated by intense dislike or prejudice', and it this kind of hate that has become more prevalent.

We sometimes use hateful expressions in conversations and toss derogatory words about without thinking. This laziness in our verbal expression can be very hurtful and lead to far worse consequences than simply offending someone. Hate crimes are on the rise everywhere. Fear seems to permeate all aspects of our daily lives.

Prejudice, a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience, is commonly attribute to fear--fear of the unknown, or fear of change, and is a learnt attribute. Children are not inherently prejudiced. These attitudes of fear are passed on by the adults around them. But kindness, compassion and openness to differences can also be taught through education and experience.

The news has been filled with the recent events in Charlottesville, but what happened there is not new. Every day you can find news stories of crimes based on hate, prejudice, and intolerance.

This is why I was gratified to see more than 4 000 people come to a rally against hate in Vancouver on a weekend in August. I was there to show my support for understanding and my opposition to hate and hate groups. I was honoured to be asked to be a member of a group called 'Peace Bearers'. These good folks ensure a safe environment for all. They try to isolate and diffuse confrontations.

The rally was a peaceful demonstration, with many speakers. Hate mongers stayed away for the most part--perhaps daunted by the number of peaceful folks who showed up to say yes to love and no to hate.

It did my heart good to see so many people--young and old--come together to say with one voice that 'Hate is not a Canadian value'

'Thirsty' trees need help from residents, says Vancouver Park Board

Thousands of newly planted trees are at risk in prolonged hot, dry conditions
By Chad Pawson, CBCNews, Aug 28, 2017
The City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board are asking residents to help keep alive younger trees in the city that may be suffering in the extended hot and dry conditions this summer.
"We're appealing to the public to give us a hand if they don't mind," said Howard Normann, the director of parks for the City of Vancouver.
A young City of Vancouver street tree, one of up to 2,500 that are planted each year, equipped with a special water bag. (Stephanie Mercier/CBC)
"If they see a tree in front of their home that needs a drink ... maybe spend a few minutes and use their hose and give it a bit of a soaking."
Leaves on trees turn brown and drop off as a defence mechanism by the plant to conserve water.
If residents are unable to directly water trees, they can report trees in distress by using the VanConnect app or by calling 311.
There are six watering trucks currently being double-shifted to get out to trees in distress.
Normann says around 4,000 special water bags have been attached to trees to help give long drinks. That's double the number from last year.
"The bags are refilled every two days," said Normann.
Vancouver has been in a tree-planting blitz as it tries to increase the city's canopy cover — the area covered by tree leaf canopies — from 18 to 22 per cent.
Tree math
  • Vancouver park trees: 350,000.
  • Vancouver city trees: 150,000.
  • Number of new trees to be planted by 2020: 150,000.
  • New street trees planted each year: 1,500 to 2,500.
  • New park trees planted each year: 7,000.
Normann says, trees planted in the past four years are most susceptible to drought.
"[Newly planted trees] drink a lot of water. At least for the first three years, so those are the ones we're on top of right now," said Normann.
Still, he said if Vancouver faces consecutive dry summers, mature trees could soon be suffering too.
"At this point we've been very fortunate that trees tend to be doing OK, the big ones, but if this is an ongoing thing for several years it could be more problematic for us."
Vancouver has had zero rain in August so far. In July, only 1.8 millimetres fell according to Environment Canada.
(c) 2017 cbcnews