Taking a look at Owen Sound from a high vantage point such as the Centennial Tower and a vibrant, healthy urban tree canopy seems to dominant the city. But did you know that Owen Sound loses tree canopy every year? In addition to commercial and residential development urban trees must contend with pests, parasites, storms, winds, traffic pollution, disease, street and sidewalk construction, street widening, and interference by utility wires.
NeighbourWoods North was created in 2017 to help combat the loss of Owen Sound's tree canopy. This is accomplished through plantings, advocacy, and education. NeighbourWoods North started a major tree planting project at the Owen Sound Hospital in 2018. This has grown to include gardens, a walking trail, and eventually local art works and gathering spaces. The dream is to see the once neglected acreage of the Owen Sound Hospital become a tree covered area of community focus and healing.
Advocating for the maintenance and growth of our existing green infrastructure is also important to the welfare of our city. With this in mind, in 2021 NeighbourWoods North urged the city to become a Tree City of the World which helps to ensure proper stewardship of all city trees. With the backing of NeighbourWoods North, the first application was submitted by the City of Owen Sound for consideration of inclusion in the ranks of Tree Cities of the World. Additionally NeighbourWoods North has advocated and will continue to advocate with developers to retain trees on their prospective developments.
NeighbourWoods North is committed to educating the public about the benefits and challenges of urban forestry. We do this through speaking at area schools and organizations. Social media, our website, and our planting activities also help to educate the public about urban forestry and the environment. Future plans include a yearly celebration of our trees.
As part of education and advocacy, NeighbourWoods North works together with individual volunteers and community groups, organizations, businesses, and governments to improve the quality of the local environment in Owen Sound and area. Groups include not only those which focus on the environment but also those focusing on the arts, society, history, sports, service, heritage, and tourism.
We look forward to continuing to improve our urban forests and adjacent lands with and for our community.