GEOSPATIAL NIAGARA FOSTERS INNOVATION IN THE COMMUNITY WITH SUPPORT FROM THE WE ARE CITIES GRANT
St. Catharines based Geospatial Niagara received $3000 from the We Are Cities Community Innovation Grant Program to engage students and citizens through raising awareness of the value that trees in urban parks provide and to promote geographic education and environmental studies. Supported by the We Are Cities initiative, the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre, and led by Evergreen CityWorks, the We-Are-Cities: Community Innovation Grant program is a national program designed to support local initiatives in sustainable city building.
“treeOcode Niagara” is a community/student engagement initiative by Geospatial Niagara in partnership with Public Service Request to crowd source data about the Urban Forest, currently focusing on the City of St. Catharines’ trees in public parks. “What makes this project unique is the calculation of the environmental benefits of the trees based on the species and the diameter,” said Darren Platakis, Founder and Director of Geospatial Niagara. “When there are tangible numbers with respect to the impact a single tree has over time, appreciation of what an urban forest of trees provides environmentally, economically and socially becomes more evident.”
Efforts to collect tree location data have begun in the city parks of Port Dalhousie. Geospatial Niagara, currently on the advisory board of the Port Dalhousie Beautification and Works Committee, has seen the incredible motivation that this group has to beautify and improve their community. It seemed like a natural fit to begin data collection there to continue the momentum that this group has generated.
“If collecting data in city parks generates interest in the importance of the urban forest, perhaps we can engage citizens about the value of trees on their own properties.”
The grant will be used for equipment, promotion and community outreach materials as well as improvements to the treeOcode Niagara map.
Current progress of data collection for Port Dalhousie can be found at the treeOcode Niagara map . Overall progress within the City of St. Catharines can be seen below.
We are extremely pleased that our efforts have jumped municipal boundaries and we’ve started to see treeOcoding happening in Town of Niagara on the Lake parks as well.