Every week we have a fantastic group of volunteers of all knowledge backgrounds join us on our tree inventories. Today’s blog features one of our loyal volunteers, Carly. Take a look at what she has to say about our Trees Please project and more!
Why do you volunteer with Trees Please?
I volunteer with Trees Please Hamilton because the initiative offers an opportunity for me to strengthen my skills and experience in field work, to explore my interests in urban green space, to learn more about our city’s neighbourhoods and their natural features, and to donate my time to an initiative that I care about and want to support. The initiative provides me with flexible volunteering hours that can easily be fit into my already busy schedule, and I have had the pleasure of meeting many like-minded individuals who are passionate about the environment in our city and are eager to share their knowledge and experience.
Have you learned anything interesting from participating in our inventory sessions? I.e. in terms of hands on skills or soft skills.
Definitely. Coming from a social science background, tree identification and the inventorying process was entirely new to me. I learn more about tree and plant biology with every new tree that we inventory. I have also learned the tangible, hard skills of how to take measurements as accurately as possible and to use the software program developed by the initiative. Finally, I have learned about the various ways the collected data is applied, interpreted, and translated into meaningful action, as well as the implications that the data has for the health and well-being of Hamilton communities and the environment.
Why do you think this initiative is important for the City of Hamilton?
This initiative is important for Hamilton for the same reason that protecting and fostering green space is important for any urban context. Trees play an important functional role in air quality control, water filtration, and providing necessary shade, privacy, and animal habitats. However, tree planting and protection often lack priority status from the city, who is often more focused on infrastructure and development. The responsibility for the immediate environment is therefore often placed on the communities that are affected, as well as organized initiatives such as Trees Please.
What makes someone a good citizen scientist?
A good citizen scientist is not necessarily one who already has skills and experience to offer, but rather is one who has a willingness, passion and commitment to learn. They ask questions, effectively bring their own set of skills and background to the table, are open to collaboration with others, and make use of their newly acquired skills and knowledge to their everyday, civic life.
If you could transform into any type of tree, what would it be? Why?
This is a great question that I’ve given a surprising amount of thought to (trees are as vastly diverse as our personalities!) As such, I have narrowed it down to two trees who I think best capture mine:
Olive tree, because I am warm, deeply empathetic, friendly, forgiving and perceptive. I love the company of sophistication, I often avoid aggression, and I am tolerant, modest, and understanding.
Evergreen Pine, because I am independent to a fault, adaptive, a hard worker, and I choose to surround myself with like-minded people. I am reserved, contentious, and love to learn.