SPREADING ROOTS: Working together to protect our urban trees

Toronto Botanical Garden Hosts Important Three-Day Symposium on Urban Trees

(Toronto, October, 2011) On November 3, 4, and 5, Toronto Botanical Garden will host a tree symposium titled Spreading Roots, a fitting finale to the UN-decreed International Year of Forests. The purpose of the symposium is to explore the critical issues affecting urban trees while examining what can be accomplished if advocacy groups work together to ensure their survival. The symposium, which is presented in conjunction with the Ontario Urban Forest Council, will span three days, and comprises two days of speakers and panel discussions, and one day of outdoor tours.

Inspirational success stories of current projects, such as engaging the public in tree care and designing our cities to accommodate trees’ basic needs, will be highlighted by local, regional and international speakers. Among them are Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk, the University of Copenhagen’s leading light in urban forests and Nina Bassuk, Cornell University’s front-runner in urban planting techniques and Program Leader of the Urban Horticulture Institute, as well as leading landscape architects, artists, community and municipal leaders from Toronto and across Ontario.

“In a time of changing governments, climate and support structures, this is the time to take action for urban trees,” says Liz Hood, Director of Education, Toronto Botanical Garden. “The TBG is delighted to be working with so many skilled professionals to bring this important and exciting conference into being. We’re grateful that our friend and supporter Mark Cullen of Mark’s Choice has generously chosen to sponsor Spreading Roots.”

Ten years ago, the term “urban forest” was rarely used by anyone other than a relatively small group of tree advocates and professionals. Today, the concept has gone mainstream, with widespread recognition that we live in communities made better—healthier, cooler, more sustainable, and more beautiful—by the vital diversity of trees.

It is expected that the symposium will bring together a wide range of people—professionals and passionate amateurs, researchers and citizen advocates, nursery growers and backyard gardeners, policy makers and hands-on stewards. The challenges ahead, such as invasive pests and climate change, will be addressed to offer guidance for the future. Hard questions will be put on the table for lively and frank debate. Audience members and panelists will have the opportunity to engage in the issues and share information—all with the goal of advancing the agenda and vision of healthy urban trees.

Spreading Roots is the result of a creative partnership between Toronto Botanical Garden and the Ontario Urban Forest Council, two leading not-for-profit organizations with a strong environmental education mandate. All are welcome to attend. For more information on the symposium or to register, please visit www.spreadingroots.ca.

Carrie Shibinsky
Director of Marketing & Communications
Toronto Botanical Garden
777 Lawrence Avenue East
Toronto, Ontario  M3C 1P2

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