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Marie Curie School

Project type: 
Greening our Schoolyards

Fall 2006, Spring 2007, Spring 2008

Over the past three years, Marie Curie students have added 38 new trees to their school yard. Shrubs and a butterfly garden have also been planted. Ecole Marie Curie is truly one of ReForest London's biggest success stories.

In 2006, two beautiful fall days were filled with tree planting at Marie Curie, a francophone school in northwest London. All the children of the school helped plant 12 trees and 36 shrubs. Seven trees were planted near the play structures to provide shade. We also created an outdoor classroom by planting 5 Hackberry trees in a circle and placing wood log benches in front of each tree to create a seating area, enclosed by the ring of trees.

VanDenNest Nursery, a family run business based in Eden that grows species native to southwestern Ontario, supplied the trees and shrubs. Pat, Josh and Corey VanDenNest worked with students to plant the trees. As we planted, we talked about why trees are important and how to take care of the trees.

In the spring of 2007, the children added 21 more trees to their playground. Eight additional large shade trees were added and 13 White Pine trees were planted along the perimeter of the the school yard. Additionally, the students planted a butterfly garden that was attracting butterflies before the planting was even complete!

In Spring 2008, we planted some trees in the uppper grade area of the playground, creating another outdoor classroom. Before the classroom was even finished, the students were using it for play. It was a great day of learning, planting, and fun.

Many thanks to Norm's Tree Service for the huge pile of woodchips and the 5 large wooden log benches for both outdoor classrooms. We are really greatful for his ongoing support!.

The students worked hard to dig five large holes for their Spring 2008 project.

The student help lower the tree off the truck.

A group of students celebrates their new outdoor classroom.

Students have fun in the newly created classroom, participating in a call and response song.


Twelve deep, wide holes were dug by very enthusiastic students.


Girl power!


The kids loved planting so much that many came back at lunch and recess to help some more.

As we planted we showed the children parts of the tree and talked about how to care for the tree.

The hole is ready -- time to get the tree.

The students helped to use the hydraulic lift to raise the trees from the bed of the VanDenNest's trailer.

Each tree, with its large root ball, weighs about 150 kilograms.

The trees is moved to the hole on a giant wheel barrow.

Then the tree is lowered carefully into the hole.

The hole is backfilled with compost and soil.

A large berm is created around the tree, and 3 shrubs are planted around the tree to protect it.