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ReForest London Newsletter
How do I get involved as a school?
Planting a tree in a school yard takes planning, funding, and a commitment to aftercare. The planting day is actually the easiest and most fun part of the project. ReForest London has assembled some information to help you with your project.
Working with ReForest London
ReForest London works with school groups to plant trees in the school yard or other places in the neighbourhood. ReForest London matches funds raised by your group (minimum of $1,000, maximum $2,000), making your resources go farther.
- You gather support for your project among your school. Administration, teachers, parents, and students should be involved in your project team. It is essential to have the support of principal, and eventually, approval from the operations and maintenance leaders is required.
- Once you've assembled your team, contact Amber Cantell at email@example.com or by calling 519-936-9548 x224. We'll arrange a meeting with your project team and come to your school to tell you more about the program and to talk specifics about your project idea. We'll take a walk around the school yard or other location where you'd like to do the project. We suppport projects located only in areas where children play and learn.
- After an initial meeting, we create a project plan and budget to propose to you. In the meantime, your group raises or gathers $1,000 minimum - and up to $2,000 - that will be matched dollar for dollar by ReForest London. We can help you with fundraising ideas.
- Each school is required to get permission from their principal and operations department to plant trees. The Thames Valley District School Board has a form to complete that can be found here.
- Once we've agreed on a project plan and you've completed or gotten a start on your fund raising, you complete this Schoolyard Greening Project Proposal. This document is a Word document that you can complete and save to your computer and then email to ReForest London. The document asks you to:
- Explain your project, what you want to plant and where you will plant it. We will support you in completing this plan by creating a drawing and map of the project plan and give you budget numbers.
- Describe your organization's plan is to maintain the trees in the coming years.
- We mutually set the date for the project. We encourage all students to get involved with the planting.
- Trees are planted, we all take a deep breath and smile from the cleaner air, more beautiful landscape and healthier community.
- Your school group cares for the trees by watering, weeding and mulching them for at least 2 years.
This document is due by February 15 for all spring planting projects and by August 15 for all fall planting projects. ReForest London's Projects Review Committee then reviews and approves or denies the project plan. If you have any questions about completing the form, please do not hesitate to contact Amber Cantell at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519-936-9548 x224.
We have put together a number of tips to make this process go more smoothly for schools.
Research and Rationale
Kids need trees. They need them to protect them from harmful UV rays and the heat of the late spring and early fall. They need them for creative, fun places to play. They need them to help study the natural world, to observe the changes in the seasons and the life cycle. Go to any school yard, especially when it is hot, and you'll find kids playing or talking in the shade of the school's trees.
Why plant a tree? Twenty-nine reasons why trees are good.
There is an abundance of evidence that creating natural spaces in school yards leads to more active and more creative play, reduces agression, and encourages even those children who are less active to participate in a more cooperative way. One study that reviews the literature is here (PDF document). A recent Globe and Mail article summarizes how nature helps children learn and recharge while they play and explore.
ReForest London asked two local schools with excellent naturalizations projects -- Brick Street School and Lord Robert School -- to give us their advice on how to get started, successes and challenges, sources of funding and more. This information also contains well-developed curriculum by grade developed by a TVDSB principal for outdoor learning. Click here to learn from those of have succeeded!
Here is a great resource from the provincial government for planning your schoolyard greening: School Ground Greening Guide (PDF document- 3.4 MB)
Evergreen's School Grounds Program also has great resources for planning your project, along with the benefits of school yard greening.
ReForest London has completed a number of projects with schools. Come be inspired by what other London schools have done with us. Project desciptions and photos can be found here. Here are a few sample projects plans from past ReForest London projects. The resources above show other project plans.
Raising funds is always a challenge. Here are a few resources and ideas:
- Penny Drive - London's Brick Street School has an annual penny drive to support their Penny Lane Park.
- Local Businesses - With a project plan by ReForest London and a letter requesting support, Academie de la Tamise raised more than $1,000 for their project from the businesses near the school.
- Outside Funding Sources - These foundations support school greening projects.
- TD Friends of the Environment Foundation - This foundation has an online application form. Applications are accepted three times per year. A charitable status number is required, to be sure to have your school's number on hand.
- Evergreen's School Grounds Program - This organization accepts applications for greening project due in February.
- Tree Canada has funding and tips available for school ground greening.
- Other Ideas: Schools we have worked with in the past have fundraised through magazine sales, May fairs, popcorn sales and school carnivals.
Thanks to Our Program Supporters!
The Greening Our Schoolyards program is possible in large part because of the ongoing contributions of two of our local businesses, Norm's Tree Service and Blue-Con Construction, who provide in-kind support in creating the seating areas for our Reading Circles.
We are also grateful to the many different organizations who have provided funding to various school projects since we were founded in 2005 - please see our Annual Reports, sponsors page and individual school success stories to learn more!