Citi Employees Test their Green Thumb with the City of Mississauga
By Hazel McColl, Parks Program Coordinator City of Mississauga, Parks and Forestry May 30, 2014 01:57 PMOn Global Community Day, Citi will work with nonprofit organizations to strengthen communities around the world through volunteerism. One of our partners is the City of Mississauga Parks and Forestry. Hazel McColl, Parks Program Coordinator, talks about the Mississauga Parks Community Stewardship Program and partnership with Citi and the Citi Foundation.
What is the need that you see your organization filling?
Mississauga has more than 522 parks, 225 km of trails and woodlands to be maintained and preserved. With more than 2.1 million trees located on public and private land, Mississauga's urban forest is a valuable asset. The Mississauga Parks Community Stewardship Program (PCSP) has been established as a way for volunteers to enhance city parks, natural areas and open spaces.
Why is what you do important to enabling progress within cities?
Our program enables progress by educating volunteers about the value of city parks and how they can contribute to the health and longevity of public spaces. Volunteers are given the opportunity to achieve the following:
•Learn about our native trees and shrubs and how to plant them
•Get neighbors together and build community spirit
•Improve the health of your community
•Learn about the benefits of trees
•Give back to the environment
•Enjoy the outdoors
How is the work you are doing important to making cities better communities to live in?
An urban forest is a fundamental component of a healthy city and sustainable community. The City's One Million Trees Mississauga Program, which was launched as part of the City of Mississauga's Strategic Plan, is an important community engagement activity. This program will help green our city and create a great environmental legacy. It is an opportunity for environmentally conscious and community-minded citizens to make a personal contribution to the quality of life in the city.
Mississauga also has four community gardens, shared spaces where people come together to grow plants, friendships and community.
In what ways have you worked with community organizations in your impact efforts?
As a municipality, the City of Mississauga partners closely with schools, businesses, community groups, and individuals who are invited to volunteer with our tree planting programs hosted throughout the year.
What has been the impact of your work and how does volunteering add value?
The City of Mississauga is very proud and values its partnership with Citi over the past years. Through community engagement projects, volunteers from corporations are brought into the parks in a different way than what they are used to. Volunteers are needed to plant and maintain trees, improve trails, and remove invasive plants.
By engaging the community they get a better sense of parks and take pride in what they have accomplished. To date, 98,480 trees planted by individuals, businesses, schools, homeowners and community groups have contributed to the 1 million tree goal.
What are the long-term goals of your organization?
In Mississauga, there are 2.1 million trees on both public and private lands, and the goal is to add one million more over the next 20 years.
To help fight the battle against litter in Mississauga, the city is targeting the problem by changing attitudes and creating "litter consciousness" through programs like "Don't be a Litterbug."
How is your organization getting involved with Citi's Global Community Day this year?
This year, Citi volunteers will once again improve the City of Mississauga with a variety of activities at Meadow Wood Park, including trail maintenance, tree planting, mulching/tree maintenance.