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Oakvillegreen Conservation Association is a member of the Urban Climate Alliance, a group of  5 urban-based environmental groups in Ontario that also includes: Citizens Environment Alliance, Environment Hamilton, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and Ecology Ottawa.

The Urban Climate Alliance focuses on local engagement and solutions to climate change. We have been learning from each other for over 3 years. We have exchanged best practices, taught each other new skills and helped each other solve problems.

What keeps us working together is the strong belief that our 5 organizations can get more done in our local communities and at Queen’s Park by working together.

Over recent months, we have worked together to explore similarities and differences, challenges and opportunities related to community climate action planning within each of our municipalities.   The result is the first of what we hope will become an annual Urban Climate Alliance City Climate Action Plan Report Card.

CLICK HERE to see the detailed UCA City Climate Plan Report Card 2018 which provides an in-depth look of each municipality’s climate action planning results. 

CLICK HERE to access the Media Release


MythBuster Monday! Tree Roots and Foundations

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Myth: Tree roots will crack my foundation and damage my underground pipes.



This is a concern we’ve heard many times, and a quick google search revealed that it’s a source of worry and confusion for plenty of tree- and home-owners. So, we took the time to do some research and get the facts.

Many people worry that the roots of large-growing trees will crack their pipes and foundations, but roots just aren’t strong enough! They will, however, take advantage of existing cracks.

There is certainly a lot of back-and-forth on this issue, with varying opinions about the amount of damage tree roots can do. However, the majority of sources, including Tree Canada and the Arbor Day Foundation, agree that tree roots CANNOT cause direct damage to foundations and pipes. Due to the enormous amount of pressure on foundations, tree roots just aren’t strong enough to actually create cracks in the concrete. When tree roots come into contact with foundations, they usually grow laterally along them, absorbing any condensation on the foundation surface. As for pipes: tree roots will only invade pipes that are already damaged and leaky. Roots are not doing the damage to the pipes themselves, they’re just an indication that its time for some maintenance. So in terms of direct damage, the story is pretty clear: tree roots are NOT the root of the problem.

However, some sources state that trees can damage foundations indirectly. Certain soils, like those high in certain types of clay, can shrink when moisture is removed. So, if tree roots suck up most of the water in the soil, which may happen during a drought period, this may cause the soil to shrink and lead to settling of the foundation. This settling, as well as heaving that can occur when the soil is re-wetted, can create cracks in the foundation.

Choosing a species suited to your conditions and watering your tree during drought will prevent the drying and shrinking of soil.

Since the soil shrinkage is most likely to occur due to trees trying to obtain enough water during drought, you can help prevent this kind of indirect damage by watering your tree and other vegetation during dry periods. Also, when planting trees, make sure they are a reasonable distance from your house. This not only keeps roots away from your foundation, but will also ensure the tree has adequate room to grow and doesn’t interfere with the house above-ground. Finally, choose species that are well suited to your soil and moisture conditions.

Remember that there are a number of other factors that can damage your foundation, so if you’re having problems, your tree is probably not the culprit! Trees do tons of wonderful things for us like provide shade, clean our air and water, reduce runoff, store carbon, support pollinators and improve our physical and mental health! So don’t deprive yourself of all of those benefits just because of your fear of tree roots – with proper tree selection and care, you can enjoy your tree without worrying about what’s going on below-ground.

One of our first Oakville Backyard Tree Planting Program participants is ready to enjoy the benefits of her new tree!

You can get your own backyard tree for a subsidized price through our Backyard Tree Planting Program. A certified arborist will consult with you to choose an appropriate species for your yard conditions while following LEAF’s minimum spacing requirements to ensure the tree has enough room for growth both above and below the ground. Sign up today at!

Read more:

Tree Canada – Planting Guidelines

Arbor Day Foundation – 8 Tree Myths Dispelled

JP Associates – Myth #3

Summer Student Job Posting: Environmental Stewardship Outreach Assistant

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HEY STUDENTS! We are hiring! Gain some hands-on community greening and environmental outreach experience and help our pollinator program grow.

This year we hiring an Environmental Stewardship Outreach Assistant student intern (pending Canada Summer Jobs funding).

Overview of Position

The student will support Oakvillegreen’s nature restoration, environmental education and outreach activities, and the development of a new pollinator patch garden.


  • undertaking post-secondary education in a relevant field
  • a passion for Oakville environmental conservation
  • excellent written and oral communication skills
  • proficiency with Microsoft Office, Excel, Google Docs/Forms, social media tools
  • ability to perform stewardship activities in the field involving lifting, bending, digging, often in inclement weather
  • willingness to work evenings and weekends
  • driver’s license and access to a car is an asset
  • experience in environmental education, event planning and working with volunteers is an asset

Eligibility Requirements: 

To be eligible, the student must be:
– between the ages of 15-30 years old,
– in school full-time and returning to school in September,
– a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and,
– legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations.

This is a 14 week paid intern position (35 hours per week at $14/hour) commencing on or around May 5th, 2018 (pending final funding agreement). Evenings and weekends are required.

To apply:

Please send a cover letter outlining your qualifications and eligibility, and a resume via email to by 5pm, April 26th, 2018.