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City announces Treekeepers program to grow Vancouver’s urban forest

April 22 2013

"One of the things Vancouverites value the most about our city is our urban forest: the trees of all shapes and sizes that line our streets and fill our parks."

Vancouver street

Residents in Vancouver now have a new way to support the City of Vancouver’s goal to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, with the launch of the Treekeepers Program, which encourages residents and businesses to plant more trees on their property.

Treekeepers is managed by Tree City and the Environmental Youth Alliance, and is supported by a Greenest City Grant from the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Foundation.

“One of the things Vancouverites value the most about our city is our urban forest: the trees of all shapes and sizes that line our streets and fill our parks,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We’ve set the goal to add 150,000 new trees to Vancouver by 2020, and Treekeepers is our next step to engage the public and support new trees throughout the city.”

"In Vancouver, we live in an urban forest," said Tree City Executive Director David Tracey. "Adding a tree to your property is a great way to connect with the nature that keeps us alive." 

Starting this spring, residents and businesses in six Vancouver neighbourhoods – Marpole, Renfrew Collingwood, the Downtown Eastside, the West End, Grandview-Woodland, and Mt. Pleasant – have the opportunity to purchase affordable trees that do well in our region. Ten different species of trees are available at a cost of $10-$20, ranging from Japanese Maple to Liberty Apple.

There will be scheduled tree pick-up days every Saturday from April 27 to May 16, rotating through each neighbourhood. Vancouver residents and businesses can visit treekeepers.ca to sign-up for a tree.

Adding trees to Vancouver’s urban forest benefits all residents by creating carbon sinks, which capture carbon dioxide as trees grow; reducing storm water runoff, which saves infrastructure costs; and providing cleaner air, by filtering pollutants. A study of the Pacific Northwest by the US Forest Service shows that for every $1 spent on trees, $2.70 worth of benefits are received.

The City of Vancouver was also named today as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2013 by Canada’s Top 100 Employers Project. Vancouver was one of only two cities to make the list. The honour follows last month’s award as the Global Earth Hour Capital 2013 by the World Wildlife Fund, which recognizes a city taking serious action to address climate change.

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