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Neighbourwoods Tree Inventory branching out in Bloomfield

The landmark West Lake Wishing Tree was said to be 700 years old and often hosted children playing close by. Lore tells that if a child gathered a small pice of bark from the ground and tossed it into the tree, a wish was granted if the bark got caught on a branch, or in a nook.

Members of several citizen groups will branch out in Bloomfield this summer to identify, measure and note the urban tree canopy.

Volunteer co-ordinator Gerry Jenkison, a member of Tree the County and the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, and project manager Patrick Howe, explained the ‘Neighbourwoods Tree Inventory Project’ to council members at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

“The Prince Edward County Neighbourhood Tree Inventory Project is a citizen science initiative based on the Neighbourwoods Program,” said Jenkison.

The inventory procedure was developed by Toronto’s Forestry Department, to help community volunteers and professionals collect the information they need to be good stewards of the urban forest. Participants will collect data on tree location, site characteristics, species, size and condition.

“While our longer-term goal is to gather Neighbourwoods data for other urban areas, such as Wellington and Picton, in 2018 we are focusing on the village of Bloomfield,” said Jenkison. “The inventory will provide us with a comprehensive understanding of Bloomfield’s urban forest and knowledge gained through the inventory will foster a sense of community stewardship over the trees in the area and can help strengthen the municipality’s Official Plan and Secondary Plans.”

She noted 45 volunteers have expressed interest to take part in the inventory.

“Their enthusiasm is testament to how much people in the County value their trees and tree canopy,” she said.

Training takes place over 2.5 days in June in the village of Bloomfield, with (developers) Drs W.A. Kenney and D. Puric-Mladenovic working pro bono. T

“Then, over several weekends in June and July, you will see volunteers identifying and measuring trees on Bloomfield’s streets and in public areas, such as parks. We will also ask home owners for permission to include trees in their garden, giving us a much fuller picture of the tree canopy. By the end of this phase, we will have gathered a wealth of information about Bloomfield’s trees, one of the village’s greatest assets.”

The next phase of the project involves entering data collected into a Neighbourwoods© database, a task that Patrick Howe has taken on, with help from volunteers. This data will provide detailed tree canopy maps and an understanding of the species, size and other characteristics of the urban forest.

Prince Edward County is one of many areas in southern Ontario to use the Neighbourwoods© Tree Inventory Program. Jenkison said at least 18 communities have undertaken projects so far, and more community volunteers are being trained this year.

“Again, this is evidence of how much communities value their trees and the benefits they bestow on us all.”

The idea for Neighbourwoods project was initiated by Tree the County. These volunteers are focused on preserving and enlarging the County’s tree canopy, and in raising awareness about the benefits of trees to the environment and for climate change.

The project was supplemented with a municipal grant of $1,750 for project expenses.

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