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Letter: Celebrate forests and all they have to give us

Time to show our love of urban forests
saskatoon urban forest
Mysterious and little-known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit.

Dear Editor
“Our Forests – Continually Giving” is an appropriate them for this year’s National Forest Week. September 22 is Canada’s National Tree Day or Maple Leaf Day. National Forest Week is the week around Maple Leaf Day, the third Wednesday of September. Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. has a virtual guest speaker series Saturday September 18, to Sunday September 26, alongside in-person events such as guided forest walks, forest heritage tours, and a National Forest Week flag raising ceremony to show our love of urban forests.

Our goal is to promote discussion about trees and forests, and their multiple and essential benefits. The health of trees is being affected by climate change but trees are also a necessary solution in mitigating it. We aim to raise awareness about what trees and forests give us and what we need to do in return to protect and enhance trees and forests.

What if you are wandering in the forest and discover something. How do you find out what it is? “To the extent that each person can feel like a naturalist, the old excitement of the untrammeled world will be regained. I offer this as a formula of re-enchantment to invigorate poetry and myth: mysterious and little-known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions." E.O. Wilson, Biophilia. Enjoy our forest favourites, the 326 acre Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area or the 148 acre George Genereux Park right here in Saskatoon!

Tune in to Saskatoon’s Wildlife where the real night life in the city will be revealed. Discover the ecological, social benefits of nature-based solutions to climate change, and the mutual advantages which can be had for climate, society, and nature presented by our partner, SOS Trees Inc. The webinar series provides the opportunity to hear from the City of Saskatoon for best practices, innovative strategies, experiences and approaches when it comes to the urban forest in our city.

It is a time to discover our university’s very own TREE program; how it involves students across Canada to investigate how our Trembling Aspen communities are faring amid contamination and toxicant, climatic and human events. Over 2,000 km of shelterbelts became established in the prairies between 1930 and 2013, and during this era of climate action, 40% have been lost.

Now into four years of drought, this speaker series will focus on the benefits of shelterbelts with an innovative free app developed by the University to enable farmers to know what their shelterbelt is worth under the $50 per tonne CO2E tax expected to roll out in 2022 – a great way for farmers to reap the benefits of the 2022 carbon offset value for the carbon pricing system and to increase their potential benefits with successful tree plantings.

Or maybe you are intrigued to learn about the health care system capacity under the PaRx program which uses nature to boost patient health. Another initiative addresses an ingenious Truth and Reconciliation programme. Imagine woodlands setting(s) for health, wellness, understanding, and respect across cultures under the National Healing Forest initiative and how you can become involved.

Join us as we delve into forests and their multiple blessings, for as Richard St. Barbe Baker says, "We stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of a single tree. Tall and graceful it stands, yet robust and sinewy with spreading arms decked with foliage that changes through the seasons, hour by hour, moment by moment as shadows pass or sunshine dapples the leaves. How much more deeply are we moved as we begin to appreciate the combined operations of the assembly of trees, we call a forest."

Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc.