Branches and Banks History

The Branches and Banks Environmental Foundation, a spinoff of Cochrane Environmental Action Committee, is a registered non-profit society dedicated to organizing an annual tree plant and waterway clean up in the Town of Cochrane each spring.

Since the inception of this community project in 1996, over 3,200 volunteers have planted nearly 35,000 trees in Cochrane, all of which are native species. Volunteers also clean the creek and riparian area of garbage as part of the event.

In 2009, Branches and Banks organized its first two day event. In addition to the public tree plant on Saturday, two schools participated in a separate tree planting on the Friday prior. Over 500 students have joined the list of volunteers that have made a difference in our community. This event is a family event, teaching our youth the benefits of volunteering and helping the environment. This is an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the wellness of our community, now and in the future.

Past Events & Projects
May and October 2007 – Bioengineering
In another hands-on project, Branches and Banks worked with Sandi Reimersma, a bioengineering expert, in May of 2007 to stabilize an eroding bank on Big Hill Creek. Bioengineering is a simple yet effective stream bank stabilization technique which uses cuttings of live local native trees such as willows. Large cuttings are pounded into eroded banks and smaller cutting are woven in tiers to create stability. The original structure will inhibit erosion of the bank until the roots of these cuttings are well-established trees and shrubs whose roots act as a tangled web, holding the bank in place and providing a natural silt catchment.

Man of Vision – Reclamation Work
In 2010 Branches and Banks partnered with the Town and Spray Lakes 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. Work will continue in partnership with the Town of Cochrane with the planting of bushes and shrubs on the slope as well as reconstruction of the stairway.

Big Hill Creek Signing
In 2008 Branches and Banks completed 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 Drive.

In 2010 a second sign was installed providing information about some of the species that can be found in the creek. It is located near the pedestrian bridge over the creek coming down from Glenhill Drive.