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Environment Week: Celebrating our Urban Forest

As a city in the heart of the prairies, trees are not naturally occurring, apart from Cottonwoods in the River Valley. Through continuous education, care and dedicated management, Lethbridge has an urban forest we are very proud of. Lethbridge has an impressive tree canopy with over 47,000 public trees in parks and open spaces and at lease the same number of private trees.

There are many benefits of the Urban Forest:

·   Shade. The canopy cover (or shaded area) produced by our urban trees covers more than 7% of the city's total area. When Lethbridge's trees are fully leafed out, they provide approximately 1,207 acres of shade. That is almost 915 football fields of shade!

·   Carbon Sequestration. The Lethbridge urban forest is currently storing more than 140,000 tons of carbon (equivalent to the carbon produced by approximately 25,000 cars for a year). These trees remove and store an additional 215.9 tons of carbon from the air every year!

·   Urban Cooling. Trees keep us cool by providing shade, breathing carbon dioxide, and soaking up water. Planting trees around your home can help offset cooling costs and will shelter your home from the wind.

·   Mitigate Storm Water Runoff. Trees in Lethbridge absorb over 16 million litres of water every year! That’s enough water to fill five Olympic sized swimming pools.

·   Wildlife Habitat. Birds are just one example. More than 250 species of birds are spotted in Lethbridge every year. Our urban forest provides nesting habitat and food sources for many of them.

·   Oxygen. Our public trees produce over 575 tons of oxygen every year. That's enough oxygen to sustain one human for 620,989 days or 1,701 years!

Other fun facts about our Urban Forest:

·   Fruit from trees in Lethbridge are free and available for the public to pick! Find a fruit tree using this awesome interactive map created by Environment Lethbridge. 

·   33% of our trees are elm or ash, the other 67% are a variety of species. A diverse urban forest is important for the health of our trees. Mixing up species on boulevards and in parks helps prevent disease and pests from spreading.

·   Lethbridge is home to a handful of recognized heritage trees some are likely older than Lethbridge itself! Some are marked with special plaques nearby or attached to their bark like Ol’ Westie which is near the Westminster Community Pool parking lot.


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