Aylmer Sector Partners collaborate with CREDDO to plant 1,200 trees
The Aylmer Sector Partners (PSA) recently launched an initiative to plant 1,200 trees in Old Aylmer, hoping to reduce Gatineau’s carbon footprint and raise environmental awareness while improving local quality of life.
Titled Adopte ton arbre, the initiative focuses on promoting ecological education, increasing Old Aylmer’s canopy levels by 15 to 20 per cent, and decreasing hotspots in local neighbourhoods by selling a variety of native trees at reduced prices.
The PSA organized the initiative in collaboration with the Conseil régional de l’environnement et du développement durable de l’Outaouais (CREDDO) through its Vivre en Vert program, and local non-profit urban agriculture organization Horti-Cité. The initiative is supported by Gatineau’s Green Fund, Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau and the Friends of the Aylmer Marina. Emphasizing the importance of citizen participation for the initiative to succeed, PSA project coordinator Virginie Gauthier told the Aylmer Bulletin that the organization will pay half the cost of every tree purchased, and provide free plantation training and consultation services to maximize the initiative’s success.
Offering nearly a dozen different types of native tree species such as Sugar Maple, White Cedar, and Red Oak, people can purchase them online via the following link: https://www.adoptetonarbre.ca/adopte-ton-arbre.
“We’re looking for citizens who want to jump into the project and buy trees to collectively reforest and make Aylmer even greener and more enjoyable, as much in air quality as in quality of life,” Gauthier said, noting that the initiative is spearheaded by PSA member Sylvie Trudel. “We really need their collaboration and their participation.”
Targeting key planting locations throughout Old Aylmer and around the Marina, using a map developed with the help of local biologist Pascal Samson who conducted a first-hand study of the area, Gauthier said most of the selected locations include residential lots and municipal parks. People are invited to view the map to verify if their property is eligible to adopt one or more trees. Near the end of October, the PSA plans to host a tree-planting event outside the Centre Communautaire Entre-Nous to give tree-planting demonstrations – with Horti-Cité representatives on hand to provide on-site tree-planting assistance.
Thrilled to introduce a productively engaging environmental initiative for the community, Gauthier added that the project should notably improve local storm water management and limit flooding impacts in at-risk areas, while helping preserve Old Aylmer’s heritage and compensate for rapid residential development in the sector.
In the works for a little over a year before its recent launch, Gauthier said the PSA’s objective is to eventually expand the project throughout the rest of Aylmer. CREDDO project coordinator for climate change adaptation initiatives Myriam Gemme told the Aylmer Bulletin that it’s a positive step forward in Gatineau’s fight against climate change. She added that the project corresponds with the Vivre en Vert program’s mission of reducing hot spots and increasing canopy levels in urban areas.
Stating that urban reforestation is the best solution for cities to protect the environment and help reduce flood risks, Gemme said citizen participation in ecological initiatives is very important and a great way to promote a sense of ownership and pride in taking environmental action.
Supporting 13 environmental projects in the city over the next year with around $1 million in funding, Gemme stated that the Vivre en Vert program is financed by the Institut National de la Santé Publique du Quebec (INSPQ). “The idea is to get the opinion of citizens and include them from the start so they can appropriate these spaces and so these projects respond to their needs,” Gemme said. “It’s for the communities that we work for.”
Happy to help finance the program, provide strategic consultation, and hoping to keep contributing to it going forward, Aylmer district councillor Audrey Bureau told the Aylmer Bulletin that organizing tree-planting initiatives in different parts of the sector in the near future is imperative. “For me, this is just a start,” Bureau said, stating that the Friends of Wychwood are leading a similar initiative. “I believe all reforestation initiatives are necessary. We know that to fight climate change one of the best ways to do it is to plant trees. It’s so simple that everyone can do their part at home.”
“We eventually intend to do the entire Aylmer sector and the whole city of Gatineau,” she added. She said that the project plans to see around 300 trees planted this year, and the rest of them in subsequent years. As the tree-planting season ends in November, Bureau advises people who are interested to purchase their trees by the end of the month.