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Group of Active Community Members Plants 300 Trees at Veterans Memorial Park

Project type: 
Park Naturalization

On Saturday 18 October, of the last planting weekend of the year, 28 volunteers joined together at Veterans Memorial Park on River Road to get 300 plants in the ground before the snow drifts in and the ground freezes. Joining the event were numerous members of community groups including Clark Road Secondary School, Wildlife Conservation Society at Western University, Thames Regional Ecological Association, and the Million Tree Challenge Action Team. The event was so popular, TV crew from Rogers came to shoot a few scenes and interview volunteers and staff for a local environmental program running soon. The Great Lakes Gardening Fund made this event possible through their generous support.

The ten degree air and the rocky ground made things tough but the keen group was nothing but smiles and enthusiasm as an efficient production line was set up where teams dug holes while others followed behind planting trees. The production line made for an efficient afternoon and every task was finished within three hours including planting trees, mulching around the trees, and placing protective tree collars on the trunks to prevent damage from hungry animals over winter. 

There were many first time volunteers out to learn more about ReForest London, Tree Gurus involved in their first event, and long term volunteers always ready for the challenging sites.  John Burroughs recently joined the Million Tree Challenge Residential Action Team that comprises like-minded community members who promote tree planting in residential areas. He came to Saturday’s event to learn more about ReForest London and how planting events are run. John brought his five year old son Sawyer who helped plant a few trees and enjoyed running around in the park waving a stick and watching his Dad work.

Sarah and Erin were also new to planting and heard about the event through Western University’s Wildlife Conservation Society. They recently joined the Society which raises awareness about sustainability and environmental issues. "We can volunteer at animal shelters, go on nature walks, help at events like this,” Sarah explains. They joined a group of seven friends from the Society and were having a great time. “It’s really fun to be out here helping and we are just so glad it’s not raining,” the students say.

A recent Tree Guru trainee, Sylvia Klassen, came along to hone her tree identification and planting skills enhanced through the volunteer Tree Guru training through which anyone can become a knowledgable tree planter and help out at planting and aftercare events. Sylvia became a Tree Guru because, she says with a smile, “stuff grows for me. I’ve always loved gardening and hiking and recently on my forest walks I’ve been noticing tree species more, leaf shapes and seeds and I’m more and more interested and so I became a Tree Guru to learn more and help at the same time.”

Another active community member, Jennifer Elder, member of the Thames Regional Ecological Association, joined her daughter “for the chance to give back.” She explains, “We take so much from the environment and hardly ever give back so this is our chance. It feels good to give back to the world around us.” Jennifer recently flew to Halifax from London and viewing both cities from above, was shocked to see the small area of forest in London compared to the green sea of Halifax. She realized that “we really need to plant more trees in London.” Jennifer brought along her daughter Arianna who thought it would be fun to celebrate her eleventh birthday planting trees. Talk about a cool eleven year old! 

Thanks so much to everyone who made this event possible. For anyone interested in the Tree Guru Training or the Million Tree Challenge Action Team, go to


Sylvia students
DadSon Family
Group Group