August 26, 2018 6:51 pm
Updated: August 26, 2018 6:52 pm

Would you email a tree? In Vancouver you can, and the trees will write back

If you were to email a tree in your neighbourhood, what would you say?

Vancouver Park Board
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If you could talk to the trees, what would you say?

It’s not a hypothetical question if you live in Vancouver.

A new art initiative called “All the Trees” is inviting people in the Jericho and West Point Grey area to email their favourite trees with a personal message.

Yes, that’s right, email the trees. And believe it or not, the trees will write back.

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Artist-in-residence Holly Schmidt, along with a group that includes historian John Atkin, horticulturalist Egan Davis, poet Rahat Kurd, and indigenous herbalist Lori Snyder, will write back, on behalf of the trees.

Schmidt was inspired to do the project after hearing about a mapping project in Melbourne, Australia that went awry.

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The city had been asking people to report damage or disease to its trees through email, but instead of practical information, people ended up sending in personal notes to the trees expressing their admiration.

“This prompted the question, ‘What might people write to the trees of Vancouver?'” says the project’s website.

Locations of trees involved in the “All the Trees” project

So far, 25 trees have been tagged with special markers indicating they’re reachable by email, and people can nominate up to five more.

The tags include an email address, along with an ID number for the individual tree to which people wish to send a note.

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The project is funded by the Park Board’s Artists in Communities Program, in partnership with local community centre associations.

Artists selected for the programs are given a $10,000 grant along with $2,000 for materials, and are expected to devote around 300 hours to research and develop their project with the community.

Global News paid a visit to All the Trees on Sunday, where locals enjoying the park expressed a mixed reaction to the idea.

“When I go to nature I don’t send emails because when I go into nature I stay there and I love [it], I don’t take my smartphone and send some emails to trees or something,” one person said.

“I don’t know, it’s a bit of a joke for me.”

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“Will I email my tree? Well what would be the benefit of doing that?” asked another, adding, “And how much did they spend on that?”

However, not everyone had negative things to say.

“I love that,” a third told Global News.

“What would I tell my favourite tree? How pretty it is.”

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