Rooted in Art 2021


Rooted in Art

The second annual Rooted in Art took place from September 11 - 25, 2021. To celebrate the importance and beauty of Charlotteown's urban forest, six Island artists installed tree-inspired art installations along an accessible 1.7km route. The intent of this initiative was to help residents interact with trees in new ways and to further their understanding of these essential members of our community. See below to learn more about Rooted in Art 2021 - meet the trees and artists that were involved and see the inspiring temporary art installations that were created!

Rooted in Art Tour 2021

Meet the trees & the artists:

1) Joe Ghiz Park

Latin name: Fraxinus pennsylvanica
Common name: Green ash
City tree: 9964 - 9987*

Help me! I am at risk in Eastern Canada because of an insect known as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). EABs make tunnels under our bark that block the flow of sugars and water causing us to slowly die. Woodpeckers rip off our bark to find and eat EAB larvae, which is one sign of EAB damage. As adults, EABs exit the tree and make a D-shaped hole. This is another sign that we are under attack. You can help by looking for these signs and reporting them to the City of Charlottetown. Also, make sure not to move firewood from one area to another. This is a common way that insects are moved around, putting me and my fellow ash relatives at risk.

Artist: Quinn Howard

Quinn Howard is an emerging climate adaptation professional, delivering nature-based solutions rooted in the context of place. Quinn is a Planning and Green Infrastructure Intern with ClimateSense Program, hosted by the University of PEI. Quinn holds a BSoc.Sc. in International Development and Health Science from the University of Ottawa and Masters’ of Landscape Architecture for the University of Guelph. As an artist Quinn explores complex topics, like the impacts of climate change through both the lens of art and science. 

This installation draws directly from the ongoing threat of EAB to the urban forest and aims to educate the public about the problem. Tied deeply to site and species this project is intended to leave individuals conscious of the impending threat to ash trees in the City of Charlottetown as well as the proactive actions taken to maintain and improve our urban forest.

2) 307 Fitzroy Street

Latin Name: Tilia cordata
Common name: Littleleaf linden
City tree: 918*

I am a very common tree along the streets of Charlottetown but I actually come from Europe. I grow well in tough urban conditions so I was planted as a street tree for many years. My leaves are smaller than other linden trees, hence my name. In the summer, my flowers create a beautiful fragrance and are loved by pollinators. These flowers are also used to make a tea with medicinal properties. The wood I produce is good for carving and was once used to make shields, prior to the invention of firearms. 

Artist: Monica Lacey

Monica Lacey is a multidisciplinary artist driven by curiosity, service to her community, and the pursuit of beauty in all its forms. She has received several grants and awards for excellence in her work, and her artwork is in public and private collections across North America.

Linden trees are associated with love, home, protection, and the heart. To Lacey, a resident of this neighbourhood, this linden has become a beloved elder being and a tree-friend. In the last number of years most of the old, large trees on Fitzroy Street have been lost to storms or disease. This installation serves both as an offering of comfort and beauty to the linden tree, and a memorial in acknowledgement of the nearby trees no longer standing, ones who shared land, rain, and space with this surviving tree; its neighbours and family.


3) 191 Fitzroy Street

Latin Name: Aesculus hippocastanum
Common name: Horsechestnut
City tree: 650*
My name comes from the fact that my leaves and fruit are similar to sweet chestnut and the belief that my seeds helped panting or coughing horses. Another thought was that my name came from small horseshoe-like markings on my branches (can you see them?). My leaves and cone-shaped flower clusters are unique. People describe my leaf-shape as palmate, since it looks like a palm with fingers spread. My shiny brown seed was used in diets of both humans and animals. To get the seed out, you have to take off my toxic, spiky covering that is bright green in colour.

Artist: Willow Davidson

Willow Davidson is a Creatrix and visionary living in an enchanting cottage on Epekwitk, the traditional and unceded territory of the Abegweit Mikmaq First Nation. Her soul’s desire is to create art that celebrates the joy of creativity while leaving a legacy of giving back to the world that inspires her. Working with traditional and modern art tools and techniques her Art blends Science, Art and Nature. 
With this project, Davidson celebrates the magic of trees and asks viewers to imagine what it would be like to discover Fairies living in harmony with the city in the trunks of beautiful trees. After all, new species of plants, animals and fungi are discovered all the time! Keep an eye out as you complete the entire Rooted in Art tour to see if the fairies have created any more doors for you to discover!
Instagram: @thrivingmoon Website:

4) King's Square 

Latin name: Quercus rubra & Acer rubrum
Common name: Red oak & Red maple
City tree: 620, 622 - 624*

The four of us are much more connected than we look. Beneath the soil we communicate through a network of our fungi friends, which create what some scientists call the internet of trees or the "wood wide web". Through our roots, we give the fungi sugar that we make through photosynthesis and the fungi help us absorb nutrients from the soil. These fungi are also an important way that we communicate with other trees. The fungi act as networks that can carry nutrients between different trees when one of us is sick or hungry. This network even allows us to warn each other of coming danger, such as pests!

Artist: Sarah Saunders

Sarah Saunders makes art as an expression of what it is to be part of the ongoing succession of life. By working with objects and techniques that have memory and meaning for her, she aims to address themes of vulnerability and endurance, particularly in relationship to the traces we leave in our surroundings.

With this project Saunders is interested in drawing attention to the relationship between trees and the air around them. Trees play a vital role in improving air quality, particularly in urban areas. They remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide oxygen. They reduce the effects of particulate matter and absorb odours, dust and wind. Trees are also known to communicate through the air, using pheromones and other scent signals. This installation also provides a visual interpretation of this communal aspect of trees, which live as a part of a community and are interdependent with one another.


5) King's Square 

Latin name: Ulmus americana
Common name: American elm
City tree: 615*

My name says that I am American but I am actually native to PEI and one of the largest trees that grows in Eastern Canada. Many of my elm relatives were lost in Charlottetown due to Dutch elm disease (DED). Every three years I get an injection (like a COVID-19 vaccine) that builds up my immunity to DED. DED can be spread from tree to tree through our roots, which are very important for communication. Digging a trench between trees can be a method used to prevent the spread of the disease (think self isolation for trees). The City of Charlottetown now plants elm trees that are resistant to DED.

Artist: Iddo van der Geer

Iddo van der Geer is an artist born in the Netherlands who has been a resident of Canada for the last twelve years. His work is primarily focused on hand-felted and woven products that stand the test of time and leave a lasting aesthetic impression. Always having had a fascination with nature, van der Geer describes his work as a study of the natural world and how it’s perceived by the human mind; our view of nature's spellbinding mystique that can create new and innovative designs.

This mushroom circle, or fairy ring, is made from Canadian grown wool that has been processed on PEI. The installation is inspired by the impact that trees can have in cleaning the ground and feeding the organisms within it. This installation conveys the interconnectedness, both between trees and their surroundings as well as within our wider communities, that so often runs much deeper than the surface reflects. 

6) Corner of Kent and Cumberland Streets 

Latin name: Acer saccharum
Common name: Sugar maple
City tree: 808*

I am a native PEI tree known for my beautiful fall colours and sweet sap that is used to produce maple syrup (it takes about 40 litres of my sap to make 1 litre of syrup). My seeds grow within a set of wings that allow my seeds to fly away and spread to new places. When I am young I can grow in the shade of trees in the forest but as I get big, I like to grow in the sun. In areas where my beautiful, hard wood is harvested, I am used for making furniture and flooring. My biggest claim to fame is that I am Canada’s national tree and my leaf is the central feature on the Canadian flag.

Artist: Nancy Cole

Nancy Cole is a PEI textile artist. Her work thrives on interaction and is a unique interdisciplinary process that bridges visual arts, textile arts, installation, performance, and new media. She often selects unconventional materials, such as the Tyvek she has used for this installation.  

A common element of human celebrations is the gift of flowers. This practice is also a way that we mark milestones, from birth to death. This project, entitled Pricked, is offered in appreciation for all trees do for us – cleaning and cooling the air, providing shade, assisting with stormwater management, and sequestering carbon, just to name a few. However, it also acknowledges that if we are not mindful, we can prick or be pricked.

Instagram: @perrywinkle.cole

*For an interactive map of City-owned trees, visit