Planting roots: How a Fredericton project is boosting biodiversity and fighting against climate change

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City Stories

The City’s Parks and Trees Department has planted a brand new tree nursery that’s dedicated to cultivating trees from seeds, which have been collected from native species in the Fredericton area.

The seeds were collected this past spring and in the fall of 2023 from local trees to guarantee genetic diversity. They include everything from white spruce to sugar maple to black walnut to red oak.

“We want to preserve local biodiversity, while alleviating shipping and supply constraints. Not only will this project reduce the City’s carbon footprint by eliminating the annual transportation of trees and associated emissions, it will also allow our Parks and Trees Division to plant more trees,” said Kevin Darrah, Chair of the City’s Environment Committee.

The greenhouse facility opened in March of this year and contains up to 5,000 seedlings. Many of them will be planted in parks, trails, and green spaces throughout the city. Other seedlings will be planted in a nearby nursery bed on City property to free up greenhouse space for the next batch of seeds. These trees will eventually be planted along City streets as part of the annual tree planting program.

“We want to locally source our trees so we can have more control over what we’re planting and where each tree is coming from,” said Keanen Jewett, a foreman with the City’s Parks and Trees Department. “It’s also important to choose a tree species that will thrive in our climate.”

The greenhouse facility is also a zero emissions building and its power source comes from solar panels that were recently installed on a nearby office building. The greenhouse also contains natural lighting, irrigation and temperature control using an earth battery, which consists of a series of perforated pipe inside a large volume of sand within the foundation of the greenhouse. The Earth battery is used as an underground thermal mass that stores and releases heat, eliminating the need for carbon intensive fossil fuel heating inside the greenhouse.