Branches and Banks

Branches and Banks Tree Plant and Creek Clean-up

Saturday May 27, 2017 | 9:00 – 11:30 am


Our 22nd Annual Event! 

For a second year we’re planting along the Bow River in the riparian area next to the Bow Meadows community.
We will be planting up to 500+ trees and doing a river shore cleanup.  Be sure to dress for the weather as the event goes ahead – rain or shine.
Bring gloves and spades for planting. Wear rubber boots for shore cleanup.
Don’t forget to bring along your water bottle.

Volunteers are requested to Register online so we have food and beverages for all.

Eventbrite Event registration:  SIGN ME UP!

Questions?  Send an email to





























Mission Statement

“Cochrane Branches and Banks seeks to promote environmental stewardship and community spirit in the Town of Cochrane through the planting of trees and environmental enhancement activities within the community.”

Through this program Branches and Banks is trying to;

1) Increase awareness and knowledge of local watershed issues.  An environmental education program is part of both planting days, where specialists will speak to small groups of the school children and the public volunteers during the events to highlight the ecology of the local watershed. 2)  Improved conditions of local watersheds.  Restoration of riparian area of Bighill Creek [currently grassed areas] with native willows to help protect potential trout spawning sites.

3) Experiment and develop a new technique of planting pre-rooted willows native to the local area to reduce mortality of trees obtained from our native plant nursery.  Bow Valley Habitat Development harvested several willow cuttings from around the creek.  They have been rooted and maintained in a “hydroponic” system to establish extended root systems.  The willows will be planted in augured holes with the intent that the fast growing willows will establish quickly.


Frequently Asked Questions:


What is the Branches and Banks Foundation?

For many years the event was organized by the Branches and Banks Foundation, a registered non-profit society dedicated to organizing an annual tree plant and waterway clean-up.  In recent years the event has been organized by a sub-committee of CEAC.  The project originated as a community event to promote the formation of the Cochrane Sustainable Communities Initiative (SCI).  It was also a symbolic gesture of sustainability and the philosophy of this organization.


Who is Involved?

The event is a family event, teaching young participants the benefits of volunteering and protecting the environment.  This is an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the wellness of our community, now and in the future.  Support and enthusiasm builds each year for this community development project.  The list of returning volunteers continues to grow larger as the project is eagerly anticipated each spring.


In 2009, the project moved to a two day project.  The extra day is directed at developing a sense of stewardship with school age participants drawn from Glenbow Elementary, Mitford and Manachaban Middle Schools.  Working in cooperation with the schools many links were created to various curriculum.   Both project days will involve a creek clean-up, removal of invasive species and the planting of about 1000 – 1500 native trees and shrubs.


Is this event supported by the community?

Approximately 35,000 trees have been planted in Cochrane by an estimated 3200+ volunteers since the inception (in 1996) of this community project and with the generous support of local businesses, corporations, community organizations, and provincial agencies.  A partial list of sponsors includes; Town of Cochrane, Alberta Stewardship Network, TransCanada Pipelines, Unilever –Evergreen, Evergreen- Home Depot, Spray Lake Sawmills Ltd, Bow River Basin Council, Eco-Action, TransAlta, , TD Friends of the Environment, Shell Environmental Fund, Bank of Montreal, Bow Point Nursery, The Cochrane Foundation, Cochrane Lions Club, Bow Meadows Community Assoc., Cochrane Environmental Action Committee, Guy’s Cafe, IGA, Rexall Drugs, Cochrane Coffee Traders, and Alberta Sport Recreation Park and Wildlife Foundation.


Where are the trees to be planted?/How are the sites chosen?

The trees and bushes are usually planted in areas with some existing canopies to help rejuvenate those zones and to try and increase the survival rate of the new plants.  This has included planting along the Bighill Springs Creek and the Jumping Pound Creek.


The sites are selected through a consultative process with Parks Department from the Town of Cochrane and other consultants and the committee.


When does this event take place?

The public event typically occurs on the last Saturday of May.  The School event occurs on the Friday preceding the public event.


What are the day’s events?

Depending on the location of the planting and clean-up, volunteers will meet in advance for registration and a breakfast snack.  After receiving safety and how-to instructions the volunteers are divided into groups for each of the planting areas where they are assigned duties by the “area leaders” who coordinate all the tasks for that zone.  The planting and waterway clean-up takes 1 1/2 – 2 hours.


The project includes an environmental awareness education program for the volunteers.  Several specialists are invited to develop short talks to highlight the ecology of the area.  Through these talks, we hope the volunteers will begin to have a greater appreciation of the local environment, and greater sense of pride and “ownership” in these projects.


Branches and Banks Milestones

Our 20,000th tree was planted in 2003 and in part celebrating the Town’s centennial.  Branches and Banks also won the Emerald Foundation Award for Community Group in 2003.  The 25,000th tree was planted two years later.

A major accomplishment for B & B in 2008 was the completion of the first of a set of educational signs slated for the waterways in Cochrane.  The sign provides a brief overview of a riparian zone as well as a meander belt.  It is located on the pathway just south of Glenbow Dr.  In 2010 we installed our second sign providing information about some of the species that can be found in the creek.  It is located near the bridge coming down from Glenhill Dr.  Also in 2010 B & B partnered with the Town and Spray Lake Sawmills to start a slope restoration project Park that had been badly overused and damaged in the Cochrane Ranche.  A spray mulch impregnated with native grasses was applied to decommissioned trails.

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