Projects and Initiatives

Various projects, initiatives and creative works.


Beyond Trees: US forest Service International Urban Forestry Seminar  (2017)

Hosted by the US Forest Service, the inaugural International Urban Forestry Seminar was held in Chicago, IL, and New York City, NY, in June 2017. Sixteen participants were selected from around the world to come together to observe, discuss, and share urban forestry, conservation and community participation practices and approaches during the two-week program with the goal of developing action plans for our respective countries. The purpose of the workshop is to explore innovative ways to manage shared spaces and transform thinking about urban development, planning, and community engagement. Click here for the photo album. Click here for the article published in The Nature of Cities.

Growing the urban forest: revealing the processes that shape urban canopy (2016)

With support from the National Socio-Ecological Synthesis Center (SESYNC), the Growing the Urban Forest workshop was held in Annapolis, MD, in February 2016. Bringing together leading researchers and scholars in urban forestry, the purpose of the workshop is to advance theories of urban forest change by bridging approaches from currently disconnected literatures, including socio-spatial dimensions of inequitable canopy distribution, urban greening governance and planning, and forest population dynamics. Principal Investigators: Lara Roman, Research Ecologist, US Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Philadelphia Field Station; and Hamil Pearsall, Assistant Professor, Geography and Urban Studies Department, Temple University. Steering Committee: Morgan Grove, Cecil Konijnendijk van den Bosch, and John Battles.

Canadian urban forest network: regional workshops

As part of her role with Tree Canada, Adrina is responsible for providing strategic direction for the Canadian Urban Forest Network and Strategy. In autumn of 2015, the Canadian Urban Forest Network (CUFN), with assistance from Tree Canada, hosted five regional workshops across Canada with the support of TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. The main objective of the workshops was to strengthen the regional networks and foster greater collaboration in urban forestry by advancing the objectives and tasks outlined in the Canadian Urban Forest Strategy (CUFS). These workshops are in preparation for the Canadian Urban Forest Strategy meeting at the Canadian Urban Forest Conference. For further interest, click here for article

Totten Fellows, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, NYC Urban field Station

“The Totten Fellows of the New York City Urban Field Station are emerging scholars—PhD candidates, early-career academics, and educators—from a broad range of social science disciplines conducting research on urban social-ecological systems. An inaugural Urban Natures Workshop was held in June 2014 to launch this program, bringing together nine participants from the United States and Canada to share research-in-progress, seed a network of young scholars, and investigate the interface between research and practice across the New York City landscape.”

Urban Forests, Trees and Greenspace: A political Ecology Perspective

Urban Forests, Trees and Greenspace: A Political Ecology Perspective is an edited compilation resulting from, and inspired by, the UFPE Conference from April 2013 in Toronto. The volume showcases an inspiring collection of international contributors of leading experts from all over the world. Details for publication and availability can be found on the publisher’s website.

Limbwalkers: Documentary

Limbwalkers is a short independent film that sheds insight into the social complexities of working arboriculture. The story explores the connections that field arborists have with the important work they perform and their close relationships with trees. This film is a tribute to the men and women who nurture our urban trees and maintain our urban forests. See here... Adrina’s research for this production was first presented at the 64th annual International Society of Arboriculture, Ontario Chapter, conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario. (February 13-15, 2013. Conference Theme: Climbing to the Top of Our Profession).

Partners in Action: A shade policy for the city of Toronto

Partners in Action: A Shade Policy for the City of Toronto (2014), which describes the twelve year journey of the Shade Policy Committee of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition (TCPC) won the 2014 Canadian Dermatology Association Public Education Award. Adrina was the Director and Writer of this film. As a member of the Toronto Cancer Prevention Coalition, and in collaboration with Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Adrina was also involved in the Development Guidelines for Shade (2010), and How to Conduct a Shade Audit (2005), for the City of Toronto.

Urban forests & political ecologies: celebrating Transdisciplinarity (UFPE conference 2013)

The first of its kind, this international three-day conference covered a wide range of issues related to urban forests, trees and green spaces from political ecology perspectives. Designed for students, faculty, practitioners, community members and artists who are interested in enhancing their understanding of the various narratives that shape urban ecologies. Initiated by Adrina, and co-organized by colleagues and friends, the conference was held from April 18-20th, 2013, in Toronto, Ontario. The partners included the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University; the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto; and Humber Arboretum & Centre for Urban Ecology.

The alternative campus Tour at York University

The Alternative Campus Tour was born as an assignment in a first-year Environmental Studies course at York University. The tour was based on the idea of thinking critically about different sites and aspects of the campus, to encourage students to study their immediate everyday surroundings, and to see the campus as a microcosm of the world. Adrina was the Project Lead for Research and Development of site Narratives, and Student and University Engagement. The tour challenges common assumptions about the campus and records alternative stories and narratives (see Adrina’s Boyer Woodlot piece).

Building international bridges for forest futures: Armenia

In partnership with Tree Canada, the primary goal of this project was to help develop sustainable and innovative forest management methods suitable for Armenia based on the rich experience, best practices, and guidelines of Canadian sustainable forest management (SFM) in the framework of the National Forest Strategy and the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. This project also helped build close cooperation and institutional linkages between the Armenian youth and the government sector, on behalf of our Armenian partners: the Young Armenian Scholars and “Gugark Forestry Agency.”

Toronto District School Board (TDSB): Tree inventory and assessment plan

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), in partnership with the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, has been conducting a tree inventory and assessment of their school grounds since 2004. With over 5,000 acres, the TDSB is the largest school board in Canada and the 5th largest board in North America. Adrina initiated this endeavour for her Master of Conservation Major Paper requirement and was awarded the Fred G. Jackson award for Best Research Paper in Forest Conservation.

Kidney foundation of Canada: give the gift of life

Since its creation in 1964, The Kidney Foundation has helped millions of Canadians suffering from kidney failure and related disorders. On February 20th, 2010, Adrina’s uncle and godfather, Arto Okutan, passed away at age 56. He was one of the longest living kidney transplant recipients in North America. In his tribute and memory, a group of 75 family and friends gathered to participate in the Kidney Foundation of Canada's Give the Gift of Life Walk for kidney health and organ donation awareness. As captain of "Team Arto" Adrina led the group in raising over $20,000 in pledges to establish an endowment fund in her uncle’s name.


  1. Photography: Book Projects and online Photo Gallery

  1. Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto, Centennial Lecture Series (2007)

  2. -Robert Bateman: Forestry Centennial Lecture Series

  3. -Margaret Atwood: Forestry Centennial Lecture Series


Photo by Adrina Bardekjian