ACER’s Project Crossroads

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ACER Gets Peel Region Nod, for Community-Engaged Climate Action in Knightsbridge

For immediate release: 
December 18, 2020 
Written by Catherine Soplet

Project Crossroads can address trifecta of crises: climate change, racism and COVID-19

On December 10 Peel Regional Council heard encouraging ground truth from Brampton’s Knightsbridge residents, who have been hardest hit by COVID‑19.

A two-minute video of volunteers’ testimonials opened the presentation by ACER – Association for Canadian Educational Resources – to report on Project Crossroads community tree planting for climate change research.

Grade 11 student Vanessa logged volunteer hours ahead of her remote learning, despite blustery early morning weather. “I woke up early and so I thought, why not come out and help my community?” she said.

Planting events were adapted and tested to meet pandemic restrictions, as a contribution to the City of Brampton Sustainable Neighbourhoods Action Plan (SNAP). Bramalea SNAP collaborators also include Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Peel Region – Healthy Communities Initiative. The collaboration was funded under lockdown in March 2020 by Arbor Day Foundation under the TD Green Space program.

The presentation coincided with UN Human Rights Day and the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

“Results speak for themselves,” said Alice Casselman, ACER’s Founder and President. “In less than nine months since COVID put Peel Region in lockdown, ACER held five community tree planting events with residents of Knightsbridge, in three distinct locations: public housing, a public park and on privately-owned property.”

A total of 71 volunteers included family bubbles and secondary students who logged 37 volunteer service hours. A new trial to plant 153 large trees and corresponding native pollinator/bird shrubs added biomass equal to 1840 x 1-gallon 18” trees.

Project Crossroads

Project Crossroads expands our schoolyard Planting for Change program to encompass Peel Region’s unanimous declarations:

  • Climate change is a crisis (2019)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis (2020)
  • Anti-Black racism is a crisis (2020)

Project Crossroads delivers SK through Grade 12 public education curricula for STEM, environment, leadership and well-being in collaborative partnership with school teams of educators, students, and community volunteers. We co-design plantings of native tree species for privately-owned, publicly-accessed sites such as schoolyards, hospital grounds, faiths-owned property, and conservancy lands.