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Last Planting of 2014-Western Students Give Back

Project type: 
Park Naturalization

The final planting event of the season took place on November 6th 2014 in rainy, cold, and muddy conditions. In an attempt to have everyone stay warm and dry for as long as possible, instructions for the planting were given on the bus before 35 undergraduate students from Western spent the afternoon planting 368 native trees and shrubs at River Road Park.

Girl PLanting a tree

This planting fulfilled the community service learning component of the Restoration Ecology course offered in the Department of Biology at Western. Through community service learning, students get to give back to their community and gain hands-on-skills by taking part in a real ecological restoration project. ReForest London was thrilled to be able to have the students take part in the VMP River Road naturalization project and, despite the weather, students seemed genuinely excited about the experience.



Students PLantingDaria Kosinski created the Restoration Ecology course in 2012 and included the community service learning component as a way to show students that “restoration is almost always a collaborative process that involves local non-profits that often lack the resources to hire consultants”. Since then, the course has had maximum enrollment and students have been excited about the idea of giving back to their community while completing coursework.




Daria and Students

Daria wanted to partner with ReForest London this year to “give students the opportunity to participate in a real restoration project as they work on designing their own restoration plans, many of which involve planting trees”. She says that “it is important that the students get to see what a restoration project involving planting looks like”.

When asked why she chose to take the Restoration Ecology course, Lindsay, a student in her final year of undergraduate studies, exclaimed that “it is unique, it is not like any other course at Western”. Currently, Restoration Ecology is one of two community service learning course offered in the Faculty of Science. 

Planting TreesLindsay was enthusiastic about the idea of community service learning in general stating that “community service learning gives us the opportunity to get to know the London community and to get to know what happens outside of the Western bubble”, a sentiment that was echoed by many of her classmates.

Sjaelan had volunteered at a previous planting with ReForest London. She jokingly said that she “felt lucky to have it be raining and cold every time”. She said that she liked the idea of doing a planting as part of a course “since many students wouldn’t get to experience a planting because of busy schedules and they would miss out on the experience”

Planting TreesMany of the students who attended had never planted a tree before but were more than up to the task. After a slow start the 37 students and three ReForest London staff dug deep to plant all 368 trees and shrubs in the 2 hour window the course had available. Planting so many trees in such a short time was a resounding success for the final planting of the year.




This project was one of several plantings we undertook in 2014 in partnership with the great folks from the Veterans Memorial Parkway Community Program, which is working to see several thousand trees planting along the VMP corridor by 2018. You can visit their website to learn more about this fantastic initiative.

Thank you to the Government of Ontario for funding this project.