Getting Street Trees where they are needed the most. An OPIRG McMaster summer neighbourhood project.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quirky love beneath the branches in Melbourne Australia

This is the sweetest thing. Humans and trees, together at last! (and a great project to have tangible results: "plant 3,000 trees a year to double the forest canopy by 2040 and so cool the city by 4 degrees")

Love you, tree: Melbourne climate change plan sparks arbor ardor

(Reuters) - Trees in the Australian city of Melbourne are replying to emails from the public as authorities seek to highlight the impact of climate change in a country where rising temperatures are expected to outpace global warming worldwide. 
The city council initiative, which spotlights each of Melbourne's 77,000 trees on an interactive map, invites visitors to email a tree to report problems such as low-hanging branches or insufficient watering. 
But it has had an unexpected outcome, with dozens of Melbournians writing to express affection for their favorite trees. 
"Dear Tree, If you are that big, round, beautiful, low-hanging tree, I think you are my favourite tree ... Keep up the good work," wrote one correspondent using only the initial "N". 
The quirky emails, to which staff respond on behalf of the trees, are building awareness of climate change in Melbourne, regarded as Australia's most European city, thanks to its architecture and wide tree-lined boulevards.
But almost a quarter of its trees, including oaks, elms and planes, are set to die off by the end of the decade, and that figure will rise to almost 40 percent by 2030, speeded by a devastating 13-year drought that broke in 2012.
"As our climate becomes more and more extreme, we’re going to have to look at trees that are fit for purpose," Councillor Arron Wood told Reuters. "We now have a target of having no more than 5 percent of one tree species in the city."
Australia faces a rise in temperature of potentially more than 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, the national science agency says.
The business district is dominated by plane trees, which are drought resilient and have broad canopies, but are now being scaled back because they shed leaves during long periods of high temperatures, an aspect of the weather expected to worsen.
The council plans to plant 3,000 trees a year to double the forest canopy by 2040 and so cool the city by 4 degrees. It hopes residents will pay attention to the city's future appearance, while enjoying the trees as long as they can.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Crown Point: Trees, Please!

Come out to our Volunteer Orientation for Crown Point: Trees, Please! and learn about how you can become a Tree Ambassador, get free trees for yourself and see more trees in your neighbourhood!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Exciting Fall Happenings

The Street Tree Project has been officially done for the summer since July, but make no mistake, our efforts to put trees on the streets of Hamilton are still going strong. About a month ago, on October 4, one of our summer volunteers, Anna (who was also a part of the Cable 14 feature of us!) took a group of students canvassing door-to-door again in Crown Point.
Over the course of the summer, OPIRG's StreetTree Project had spoken to organizers of the McMaster Student Success Center's annual MacServe Day of Learning. The Day of Learning allows McMaster students to sign up to spend a day working with a group on a service project. MacServe offers a variety of placements, all including some introduction to the area or program with which students will be working, and following up with a debrief afterwards. As one of the options that students could sign up for this year, the StreetTree Project drew some more attention from students, spread the word about free trees in Crown Point, and signed up three more residents for a Street Tree!

Narula's RestaurantOutside of  the McMaster community, the StreetTree Project is also being taken up by residents of the Crown Point neighbourhood. Some residents expressed an interest in expanding the program in their community, so we met with Anne, who lives in the Crown Point neighbourhood, Rosy, who owns Narula's (a really delicious Indian restaurant in Crown Point which you should definitely check out!), and Giuliana, from the Hamilton Naturalist's Club to discuss how we could make that happen. 
Rosy generously offered up her restaurant for the meeting, and exciting things have been planned for the future! We decided that we will hold a volunteer orientation at the end of November. The Naturalist's Club has a goal to increase green space in Crown Point, the OPIRG StreetTree project is aiming to help people find out about free StreetTrees that can be requested from the City, and the people who live and work in the community want to see their neighbourhood beautiful and healthy! Working towards a common goal, we're planning to host a volunteer orientation session towards the end of November for anyone interested in promoting trees in their neighbourhood! Keep posted for more information and to stay involved with the tree excitement in Crown Point! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Street Tree project coordinator Krista made an appearance on McMaster's radio station CFMU 93.3 fm' This Is #HamOnt show to talk about the success of this summer project.

Listen to the entire show, or zoom in at 18:40 to get right to Krista's interview. (removed from soundcloud)

Thanks to the volunteer host Jonathan for inviting us on the air! Campus radio is a fantastic place to share new ideas (and of course music!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

StreetTree Requests Mapped

Keeping track of tree requests has been exciting! It's been wonderful seeing the list get longer and longer as we've added requests to the spreadsheet, but what was even more awesome was looking at these requests placed on a map! Most of the requests that we gathered from canvassing these past months have now been put into an interactive Google map, you can look at where trees have been requested and also what people have put down as their top three choices. Look to see what kind of trees will be growing in the Crown Point neighbourhood soon :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Table at Kenilworth Library and Revisiting Keith

The StreetTree Project has been pretty busy this past week as it's drawing to a close for the summer. I'll try to put up a few posts for the things that have been happening, starting with our day of tabling at the Kenilworth Library and our visit to the Keith neighbourhood.

Last week the lovely librarians from Kenilworth Library agreed to lend us a table from which we could advertise the StreetTree Program. We met there with our volunteers last week Monday at 10am, and there were people lined up to get into the library well before the doors actually opened. We chose a good time, because for the few hours we were there people were constantly coming in to drop off books, take out movies, use the computers, or just sit down and read. We spoke to over 30 people and gathered a few extra requests!
Stacey and Marlon ordering trees for their corner lot
After our tabling was done, OPIRG StreetTree Staff biked out to the Keith Neighbourhood to check out what some of the newly planted trees looked like, and to see if there were any neighbours we could speak to. Here are photos of some of the new trees we saw:

We found that some trees fill out much faster than others (maybe with some careful watering and protection):
and some people were in the middle of landscaping around their new tree:

Overall though, all the trees were beautiful and there were plenty of new ones around the Keith area! I'm excited to see what they'll look like in a few years!

See here for a photo-story of our day:

Friday, June 27, 2014

Loving the Local Media

Each neighbourhood has it's own character (and characters) and a uniqueness that makes it special. And fortunately Crown Point (like the Keith Neighbourhood last year) has it's own local paper. The Point was kind enough to grant the Street Tree Project space to publicize our work in the area, and there it is, in black and white! Thanks everyone who helps OPIRG McMaster make a positive contribution!