Metro file London councillors have asked city staff to up the number of trees that will be planted in coming years.

Halifax is turning over a new leaf, and it needs your help.

The first Urban Forest Master Plan has been developed with HRM staff and a team of graduate researchers from Dalhousie University, in the hopes of boosting the city’s tree population.

But the committee would like to hear how residents want to prioritize the funds.

“We need to spend more effort nurturing, and spending our resources wisely and cleverly, not just throwing trees in the ground,” said Dr. Peter Duinker, director of the Resource and Environmental Studies program at Dalhousie and leader of the plan’s research team.

Since the majority of the urban forest is on private property like commercial sites or backyards, HRM planner John Charles said co-operation from the public is vital.

“There are 90,000 spots available for planting, and you can see how each tax dollar relates directly to the trees,” said Charles.

Besides pin-pointing on where to begin first, the forums will deal with how to get HRM citizens to plant more trees in their yards, and whether or not there’s enough interest for a by-law to protect the urban forest.

“We also need a NGO champion who can work with the city to develop neighbourhood stewardship groups,” Duinker said about creating a way for the average person to help plant trees in their community.

“Nature in general is so important to our psychological well-being. It’s not sufficient to just have lawns, because trees are a third dimension.”

The first public workshop took place on Wednesday night at Cole Harbour Place, with a second going tonight  at Dalhousie’s Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building on University Avenue beginning at 6:30 p.m. ,

The third-and-final workshop is slated for May 23 at Charles P. Allen High School, also at 6:30 p.m.

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