Invitation to the “Urban Forests and Sustainable Cities” Conference, October 26th, 2019

Comox Valley Nature
(Comox Valley Naturalists Society)
PO Box 3222, Courtenay BC, V9N 5N4,

Invitation to the “Urban Forests and Sustainable Cities” Conference, October 26th, 2019


Comox Valley Nature is hosting a one day conference on the importance of urban forests to our cities, and the best science to support a sustainable forest within them. We hope that, by bringing together a wide range of knowledge and experience in urban design and ecology, the presentations and discussions planned will help to inform Courtenay Staff when they amend the municipality’s Official Community Plan in 2020.

The goal of this conference is to have an open forum for discussions and recommendations based on current knowledge, not on past standards. We enter a new world daily and need to look to 2100, and beyond, in the months and years ahead. CVN believes the expansion of urban forests is a step in the right direction. Although the focus is Courtenay, the topics and information provided will be of wide interest to all with concerns about the space they live, and can be widely applied.

Careful urban design will be more important in the future, and we must learn from past errors and provide our cities, and our citizens, with a healthy living environment. To do this we need to understand that the trees we plant today will live for decades or longer and bring nature to our cities and our citizens. They do more than grace our doorsteps and downtowns.

Trees absorb carbon and emit oxygen, but that is just the tip of service to us. City trees can remove certain types of environmental pollutants and toxins, helping keep our lungs clean and healthy. Trees keep the space around them cooler, not just by shading the sun but through the evaporation of water from their leaves. A mature tree can cool as much as 10 air-condition units running 20 hours a day.  Their roots channel rain and run-off below ground, helping to reduce flooding due to storms: their crowns provide shade for us and a roost for the birds. And much more we are just learning about.

We hope that you will take away a greater appreciation and concern for urban trees, their benefits to us and our futures. Trees grow where their seed falls unless we provide them with suitable conditions and locations beneficial to both us and the trees, and that too is part of the broader topic likely to be spoken too.

The day’s program has yet to be finalized, but we are pleased to announce the following six speakers have agreed to make presentations to us, and may participate in a round table Q&A that closes the conference:

Tom Dishlevoy                            Architect, Comox                                                              “Urban Design”

Nancy Gothard                            Planner, Courtenay                                                “Courtenay Urban Forest Plan”

Loys Maingon                         Ecologist, Comox Valley                                                “A New Understanding of Forest Ecology”

Will Marsh                            Geomorphologist, Comox                                                   “Adaptive Design”

Alison Mewett                     Landscape Architect, Comox                                                    “Urban Trees”

Royann Petrell                     Ecological Engineer, Comox Valley                                   “Urban Avian Ecology”

The conference will run from 09:00 to 18:00 October 26th in Courtenay, at the Evergreen Lounge in the Filberg Centre in Courtenay. Registration cost is yet to be determined, but will not exceed $30. RSVP is appreciated. If you would like to be kept appraised of developments, my email address is below. Thank you for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Jim Boulter, President Comox Valley Nature

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