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Million Tree Challenge kicks off to save Winnipeg’s canopy

If you’ve ever wanted to be one in a million — now’s your chance.

Wednesday, the City of Winnipeg in partnership with Trees Winnipeg officially launched the Million Tree Challenge (MTC) first announced in 2019.

The program aims to rebuild the city’s urban forest which is currently experiencing a crisis. Invasive insects and severe storms, including the snowstorm that hit Winnipeg on Thanksgiving in 2019, have left the canopy in need of help.

Read more: Cost to plant 1M trees in Winnipeg is $43M, city report says

The initiative plans to see Winnipeggers plant one million trees by the time the city’s population hits the same number. A goal that could see the project into 2040, according to Dave Domke, manager of parks and open space for the City of Winnipeg.

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Click to play video: 'City of Winnipeg, non-profit, working to diversify battered tree canopy' City of Winnipeg, non-profit, working to diversify battered tree canopy
City of Winnipeg, non-profit, working to diversify battered tree canopy – Apr 15, 2021

Gerry Engel, president of Trees Winnipeg, said via virtual conference Wednesday it doesn’t matter what kind of tree you plant, as long as one gets in the ground.

“We don’t have plant diversity in the city, so I don’t have a favourite. They’re all important and that’s what’s required to plant and maintain a diverse forest going forward,” Engel said.

This year’s goal is 20,000 trees, according to Engel, who said they plan on doubling the number each year.

Domke said the “ramp up” will be a five-year process, and added COVID-19 played a role in getting volunteers out in the past year.

Despite pandemic setbacks, more than 9,000 trees have already been planted as part of the initiative.

Find out how to take part in the project by visiting the Million Tree Challenge website.

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