Shining a light on Tree Canada

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”  ~Warren Buffet, American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist

Greening communities

While local and global efforts focus on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 through the electrification or transformation of certain industries, it is also important to consider the significant role natural climate solutions can play in greening communities.

According to Tree Canada, whose mission is to inspire, educate and enable Canadians to plant and nurture trees in order to improve lives and address climate change – trees make our world a beautiful place and provide us with many lasting benefits such as shade, privacy, shelter and food, and they contribute to our mental well-being.

Aside from those benefits, did you know that carbon sequestration is also an important aspect of tree planting? While trees will slow the rise of GHG emissions as they grow, they also provide many other benefits to greening communities including:

  • enhancing biodiversity;
  • creating or restoring wildlife habitat;
  • removing pollutants from the air;
  • regulating stormwater;
  • stabilizing soils; and
  • improving air and water quality.

Assuming the average tree planted as part of Tree Canada’s National Greening Program lives to 80 years old, it could sequester between 370 and 460 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) in its lifetime. Factoring in tree mortality, stand dynamics and species variations (50 per cent), the organization estimates an average of 0.2 tons of CO2 sequestered per tree in its lifetime. This is equivalent to the carbon footprint of driving 850 km in a gas-fueled compact car.

Tree Canada is a national non-profit organization dedicated to planting and nurturing trees in rural and urban environments, in every province across the country. They help to grow Canada’s tree canopy through their programs, research, and engagement efforts and by offering grants to communities and schools.

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Planting hope

Hydro Ottawa believes it has a fundamental responsibility as a leading partner in a smart energy future to help build a vibrant and sustainable capital. As a company with deep roots in the community, Hydro Ottawa is committed to reducing its local environmental impact.

That’s why in mid-May, Hydro Ottawa employees joined a local community association and its volunteers to plant 300 trees at Terry Fox Park in Orléans as part of Tree Canada’s Partners in Planting program. According to Tree Canada, the site selected for the tree planting was very carefully considered. Not only will the new trees help with carbon sequestration, but they will also help prevent water runoff into a nearby stream, create habitat and provide slope stabilization.

In addition, Tree Canada will be planting 1,000 saplings across the province in support of Hydro Ottawa’s carbon reduction goals.

"Our work wouldn't be possible without the support of environmentally-conscious businesses and organizations like Hydro Ottawa," says Michael Petryk, ISA certified arborist and Director of Operations at Tree Canada. "Beyond the financial commitment to greening the community their employees came out en masse to help plant trees, which demonstrates their corporate citizenship and community engagement. Thanks to dedicated community partners like Hydro Ottawa we’ve been able to plant more than 84 million trees since 1992.”

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Helping grow Ottawa’s urban forest

Hydro Ottawa is no stranger to planting trees or protecting land use and biodiversity. In 2019, when the utility began civil construction on Cambrian, its largest ever municipal transformer station in the south-end of the city, it looked for creative ways to make use of the 24-acre parcel of land.

Since the new transformer station required only five acres of the property, Hydro Ottawa partnered with the City of Ottawa, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Canadian Wildlife Federation, to create one of the largest pollinator meadows of its kind in eastern Ontario. 

Adjacent to the station, four acres were reserved for tree reforestation with 2,750 trees planted in 2020, and 15 acres were dedicated to a pollinator meadow which was seeded in Spring 2021.

These initiatives aim to support pollinators, like Monarch butterflies and bees, which are in steep decline due to herbicides, pesticides, climate change and a lack of pollinator habitats.

No matter how big or small, we can all take actions to make an impact on our planet. Anyone looking to join a tree planting session or learn more about Tree Canada can do so here.

Hydro Ottawa is a company that “gives where it lives”. We recognize the important role we can play in creating a strong, supportive, healthy community for all. Local charitable organizations interested in learning more about Hydro Ottawa’s Community Investment Program, including eligibility criteria -  can visit our website. 

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