sTREEts

Getting Street Trees where they are needed the most.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Communities Coming Together

Last Friday we had our first group-canvassing day with volunteers for the StreetTree project. We had people come out from McMaster, Crown Point, Environment Hamilton and the general Hamilton population, including one of the cutest kids that one of our volunteers brought along!

Our evening started at 5pm at the McMaster Action Research Center Hamilton (ARCH) on Main and Kenilworth. Nervous, excited and eager to make a good impression on anyone who would be coming canvassing with us, I made sure to get there early and try to "set up" whatever I could. The ARCH is a great space! There are whiteboards and markers and flipcharts, and different kinds of tables and chairs, a washroom, and even a microwave. It was the ideal place to get things going for our group! Of course though, there wasn't really too much to set up when the purpose of the get-together was to head straight out and go door-to-door.
The whole ARCH space is bigger than I could take a picture of!
Desperate for something to do while I waited, and eager to use the whiteboards, I thought, "Well, at least I'll draw a map of the McAnulty neighbourhood". I put some spreadsheets and surveys in the clipboards, and as I was trying to put down some notes on the whiteboard, our first two volunteers, Elizabeth and Eulene, arrived! I'd met Elizabeth at the Crown Point community meeting the week before, and was happy to meet Eulene, a McMaster student, just that day. Not long after, Jay arrived with Joy from Environment Hamilton, and Momena, who works for the Hamilton Police.
Meeting at the ARCH

When we'd all gathered and briefly introduced ourselves, we went through a brief orientation, explaining the Street Tree project, the papers we would be bringing around, and what we were to say at the doors. Then, armed with clipboards, the volunteers set out in pairs to collect Street Tree requests. They did a fantastic job! We finalized requests from homes that had previously demonstrated interest and even managed to round up some new ones. By about 7:30, we'd been down quite a few streets, and everyone had gotten a chance to get to know some of the residents of the McAnulty Ave. area a little bit more.
L to R: Momena, Joy and Elizabeth
Saturday morning was our second day out in a group. I took the bus out to McAnulty along with Souzan, one of McMaster's Engineers Without Borders (EWB) chapter co-presidents for next school year. We met at the corner of McAnulty and Kenilworth, with Elizabeth and Rebecca (the Community Developer for Crown Point) and again did some quick intros and set off canvassing. We were joined soon after we started by Barb, from McAnulty Ave. and had a very successful day out.

Overall, I think things went fantastic. The weather held up quite nicely, and the residents of the McAnulty Blvd. area were welcoming  and wonderful. Barb's next door neighbour even gave me some plant trimmings from his garden to try to grow at my house. What made me happiest, wasn't even the Street Tree requests we were racking up, but the fact that the project was able to act as a bridge between people from so many different communities in Hamilton. Already, Elizabeth invited us to help with the Pipeline Trail project, and Souzan was brainstorming community involvement events with McMaster students from EWB and the communities we're working in. We'll be going canvassing again this week, starting tomorrow, with more volunteers. Some that we met last week and some brand new ones, and I'm incredibly excited to see everyone and also watch some new partnerships and friendships form. 

As always, if you're interested in joining us, don't hesitate to email me at krujak@mcmaster.ca for more infomration about how you can get involved.



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