Green Communities Canada (GCC) is excited to launch our National Mini Forest Pilot program on Earth Day, April 22, 2023. The kickoff planting event will take place Saturday at Terra Nova Rural Park, in the City of Richmond, British Columbia.  

The site is the first mini forest to be planted as part of our new national initiative. Saturday’s event will be an exciting part of the City of Richmond’s Earth Week celebrations and executed in partnership with Garden City Conservation Society, who led the planting of BC’s first mini forest at Richmond Secondary School in fall of last year.  

“We are very pleased to be the first city in western Canada to be part of this program and plant a mini forest on municipal property,” said City of Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “As part of the city’s Earth Week events, this tree planting at Terra Nova Rural Park demonstrates what the community, non-profit organizations, and all levels of government can achieve by working together to make our planet a more resilient place for future generations to come.” 

The National Mini Forest Pilot program is led by Green Communities Canada in collaboration with Dougan & Associates, Canadian Geographic, and Wilder Climate Solutions through the Network of Nature. The program addresses the urgent need for green spaces in urban environments by transforming sites into diverse fast-growing forests.  

“The National Mini Forest Pilot invests in local communities by providing the funding, training, and peer learning that’s needed to accelerate on-the-ground climate action,” says GCC’s Executive Director Brianna Salmon. “This pilot will demonstrate the incredible potential for citizens, municipal governments, and non-profit organizations to grow climate-resilient cities together.” 

The program — funded through the Government of Canada’s Two Billion Trees program, TD Bank Group, and the Greenbelt Foundation — will enable GCC and partners to plant at least 2,800 trees in 2023, across five cities: Richmond, Toronto, Markham, Hamilton and Guelph. Each planting event will be coordinated by a local partner organization which builds the critical grassroots support to ensure the forests thrive. 

Mini forests are communities of native trees and shrubs planted tightly together in a technique modelled after the Miyawaki Forest method. This planting strategy emphasizes dense plantings, diverse native species, rich soil preparation, and multilayered design to mimic the complexity of a mature native forest. Tiny urban forests provide environmental and social benefits: from sequestering carbon to increasing biodiversity, and providing necessary habitat for wildlife.

These mini forests will contribute to Canada’s goal to plant two billion trees by 2030 and are great tools to address climate change and biodiversity loss.    

Green Communities Canada is overjoyed to support the momentum the mini forest movement has gained in this region, and hopes to see more tiny forests installed in the coming years! Way to go, City of Richmond!  

You can follow along with the day’s activities on Saturday April 22 from 10am – 2pm PDT on Green Communities Canada’s Instagram stories.