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Kensal Park Naturalization - Small but Mighty

Project type: 
Park Naturalization

By Web Reporter Heather A. Rennalls 

On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, 10 people ventured to Kensal Park, located in the Coves in central London, on June 6, 2015 to reforest the area with a mixture of 142 native trees and shrubs.













ReForest London Project Manager, Amber Cantell reported she was excited for the less common and rare Chinquapin Oak tree would be planted.  Also called Rock Oak and Chestnut Oak, the Chinquapin Oak tree “would be good for this project as the area was quite rocky.” Various trees that were also planted included the following: White Pines, Trembling Aspen, Hackberry and Red Oak, shrubs included, Dogwood, Serviceberry, Snowberry and Viburnum. 

According to Amber, “three types of volunteers were present:” two staff from Reforest London, Amber and Elizabeth Stec, Rebecca Dole from Friends of the Coves, 2 ReForest London Gurus in Training; Michelle Dore and Misa Tanaka and Joel Harmer the lone local resident.

Over a year ago the City cut down about 15 to 20 mature trees to complete work in the ravine. Joel said local residents kept asking when the trees would be replanted. So when he saw the notice that ReForest London would be planting today, Joel offered assistance. Joel’s friend Mark, who resides a street over, also came to help and both men’s daughters, Alyssa and Ashley, respectively, later joined the small group. 

Communication and Outreach Intern for Friends of the Cove, Rebecca Dole explained that it is a non-profit registered charity that was started by two retired teachers. The Coves use to be part of the Thames River that meandered and got cut off from the river becoming smaller ponds that were polluted. The teachers created an ecological plan that over the years has greatly improved the Coves. As Rebecca explained to the small group, the goal is to lower the water levels to prevent Carp from breeding so native fish like Pike, can be introduced into the Coves.





Amber provided information on the Chinquapin Oak tree and illustrated the proper way on how to plant trees to the small gathering. (See video). 

While out walking her Whippet Moshi, local resident Mary noticed the planters and provided praise and thanks to the group. Mary said she is “very appreciative of this”, as she will “benefit from it every day.”





Tree Guru Michelle Dore joined ReForest London as a volunteer this past April when she took the Community Liaison and Tree Guru courses. This is her first planting. Misa Tanaka volunteered two years ago but she wanted to learn more about native trees so she took the two-day Tree Guru course. This is her first tree planting as a Tree Guru.

2015 marks the 10th Anniversary of Reforest London Amber reported that 260 planting projects have occurred with 43,000.00 native trees and shrubs being planted by volunteers. London Life is the major supporter. Launched in June 2011, the goal of the Million Tree Challenge is to plant a million trees over ten years. To date, 237,830 trees have been planted.

Despite the small group of volunteers present at Kensal Park, all 141 trees and shrubs were planted transforming the once barren park.