Downtown St. Catharines Heads to Global Conference to Advocate for Greener Main Streets

Downtown St. Catharines Takes Urban Street Tree Research to the Global Stage at the 2023 Society for Ecological Restoration Conference in Darwin, Australia

The St. Catharines Downtown Association (SCDA) is proud to announce its participation in the 2023 Society for Ecological Restoration (SER) Conference, set to be held in Darwin, Australia September 25-30. The conference is renowned as a gathering of the world’s leading experts in ecological restoration and environmental conservation and will provide a platform for the BIA to present its groundbreaking urban street tree research, showcasing its commitment to sustainable urban development and ecological restoration.

The SCDA Streetscape and Sustainability committee, composed of local business owners, community leaders, and staff set into motion the urban street tree study with one simple question: “How do we bring more trees downtown?”.

In the Summer of 2022, Niagara College researchers were brought on to answer the question.

The team did a census of the urban street trees (USTs) downtown and found that the majority of the USTs downtown were younger, smaller trees. Trees begin providing community value when they reach a large size and have a dense canopy. The research question needed to change: how can we ensure that USTs reach maturity? To answer this question, the team came up with six recommendations to standardize Urban Forestry across the province and across the world. These recommendations can be found in the report at

Representing the SCDA in presenting these findings at the SER Conference are team members Lindsay Taylor, B.A. & CERPIT, who is currently working with the SCDA in a Sustainability Director role, the first of its kind for a BIA, and Sean Parkinson, B.Sc, an Urban Forestry Specialist, and former SCDA intern.

“’We are excited to represent St. Catharines at the 2023 SER Conference and share our insights on urban street tree research. Our city is committed to creating a greener, more sustainable urban landscape, and this opportunity allows us to contribute to the global dialogue on ecological restoration and environmental stewardship,'” stated Taylor.

Parkinson notes “Urban forests provide so many incredible services to our communities, and it is my hope that moving forward we can emphasize their contributions through improved legislation & policies, community outreach, and management strategies”.

Taylor and Parkinson hope that by presenting the importance of revitalizing and restoring Main Streets, their efforts can serve as a model for creating a sustainable city.

Lindsay Taylor, B.A. & CERPIT holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brock University in Labour Studies with a minor in Psychology along with two diplomas from Niagara College in Business General and Environmental Technician studies and a Graduate Certificate in Ecosystem Restoration. Taylor has been recognized with two major awards including the Niagara College President’s Award for Innovation in Student Learning and Success and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority with an Award of Merit. She is currently a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner in Training through the Society for Ecological Restoration and an Associate Member of the Ontario Association of Engineering Technicians and Technologists. 

Sean Parkinson, B.Sc., studied environmental science and biology at McMaster University before completing a post-grad in Environmental Management and Assessment at Niagara College. Parkinson is a distinguished Urban Forestry researcher with over 10 years of experience in the environmental sciences. He specializes in tree biology and the crucial role of biodiversity in mitigating climate change impacts within urban communities.

More information about the tree report can be found at: