New grant will help community organizations plant more trees in Winnipeg
Up to $20K available for projects, with priority given to underserved areas, those with higher poverty
Community organizations in Winnipeg can now apply for up to $20,000 in grant money to plant trees in their neighbourhoods.
The new Home Grown grant is open to incorporated or registered non-profits that have identified somewhere to plant trees on public property, the city and federal government said in a joint announcement on Wednesday.
Organizations that work with underserved communities or in areas with higher poverty rates will get priority.
Groups that get funds through the new grant will also receive one-on-one help and oversight from a city arborist, plus ongoing support to make sure their programs succeed.
Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham said it's another step in the city's long-term strategy to renew its urban forest.
"The urban forestry canopy is one of Winnipeg's treasures," he said at a news conference.
"But we also know that Winnipeg's tree canopy remains vulnerable — vulnerable to normal mortality but also to damage and disease," like Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer beetle.
While the money for the grant program comes from the federal government, Gillingham said the city will soon announce additional funds of its own to maintain trees in Winnipeg.
Kerienne La France, the city's supervisor of forestry technical services, said the money will help community groups revitalize the urban forest in neighbourhood parks, green spaces, natural areas and along riverbanks.
"This is important, because we know that trees are a big part of making our communities healthier, happier and more environmentally sustainable," La France said.
"We're happy that the recipients of this grant will soon be bringing trees to the areas of Winnipeg that need them the most."
Tackling climate change
The program, which will help groups design and co-ordinate tree planting projects in 2023, is funded through Ottawa's plan to plant 2 billion trees by 2030.
MP Terry Duguid (Winnipeg South) said the plan is part of the federal government's strategy to address climate change by using nature-based solutions.
Estimates from the Canadian Forest Service suggest the 2 billion trees planted over the coming years could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 12 megatons, he said.
The money for the grant comes from more than $7 million Winnipeg received from the federal government last year to plant a total of 70,000 trees. It's expected the money available for 2023 will help community groups plant around 400 trees, La France said.
The city expects there will be about 14,000 trees planted in total this year, she said.
The deadline to submit an application to get some of the $180,000 available through the Home Grown grant for the 2023 planting year is March 1. Full criteria and application forms are available on the city's website.