Trees Winnipeg hosted its 15th annual Arbor Day at The Forks on Saturday to celebrate the city’s tree population.
It was 10-year-old Marissa Andrade’s first time at the event, where she learned to climb a tree.
“I did it twice and it was so much fun,” she said.
As she knows, trees are good for much more than climbing.
“It provides oxygen for us and can sometimes provide apples for us,” Andrade said.
Trees Winnipeg president Gerry Engel said despite their majesty, we can often take those leafy giants for granted.
“We don’t have mountains, we don’t have big gorging valleys,” he said. “We have two lovely rivers and with those rivers come trees.”
Engel said many of the city’s trees are in danger.
“Dutch elm disease and emerald ash borer are two of the biggest threats that we have,” he said.
According to Engel, Dutch elm disease has been in the city for about three decades but has been under control.
Emerald ash borer, however, was first discovered in Winnipeg last fall and Engel doesn’t believe the ash trees it targets can be saved.
“If we’re the same as other jurisdictions, we will just simply be able to keep up with the loses,” he said “We will never be able to stop it.”
There are an estimated 350,000 ash trees in Winnipeg on public and private property. Engel estimates they’ll be history in 10 to 20 years.
For now, he said he hopes people left Arbor Day with a better appreciation for trees.
“Don’t take them for granted,” he said. “We need them.”
Andrade left with a possible career idea.
“I’m going to probably get a job climbing trees.”