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London greener thanks to tree-mendous support for Trees, please!

London Life and ReForest London teamed up to plant 870 trees this spring. The London Life initiative, titled Trees please! included tree planting, as well as educational and fun activities at the London Life offices.

Beginning on Earth Day (April 23) and continuing over 11 days, London Life staff added 500 seedlings to their yards and 370 trees and shrubs to Ann Street Park as part of a community effort to make London more deserving of its title of “Forest City.” London Life staff also donated $900 to the effort.
Trees, please! was triggered by London Life’s new role as lead sponsor of ReForest London, a local non-profit environmental organization that engages individuals, groups and businesses in planting and caring for trees in neighbourhoods and natural areas throughout London.

On April 23, staff arriving at work were surprised to discover that forests had appeared overnight in the lobbies, complete with the soothing sounds of birdsong and classical music. Clintar Landscaping, landscaping contractor for London Life, had brought in a display of trees as tall as 12 feet high, along with several shrubs and flowers, which they would later donate to ReForest London. 

Over the next two days, employees made donations to ReForest London, entitling them to take home a seedling or participate in a massive tree-planting event.   

On Friday, the cafeteria offered its “most poplar menu ever,” a pun-tastic, tree-themed bill of fare featuring tree-cheese lasagna, evergreen salad, branch dressing, and other culinary delights.

Staff returned to the cafeteria throughout the following week, marking a map with the locations where they had provided tree care over the weekend. Three lucky raffle winners, selected from those who had correctly identified at least five of the plants in the Queens Ave. lobby, each took home a shrub provided by ReForest London.
As the Trees, please! initiative culminated on May 2, a diverse group of almost 100 London Life employees, friends and family members aged six to 60-plus gathered in Ann Street Park by the Thames River, digging in to help fill the once-derelict park with trees. In recognition of their efforts, City of London Controller Gina Barber announced that the City would also add nine large shade trees to the area later in the year.

Participants then walked to the London Life recreational grounds for a celebration barbeque, where a group of youngsters gave the term “tree hugger” a literal interpretation. When asked how many kids it would take to hug a venerable old tree in the parking lot, a dozen children linked hands to lovingly encircle the knobby cottonwood. The gesture was fittingly symbolic of the enthusiasm with which staff, families and friends embraced the Trees please! initiative.

London Life’s support for ReForest London comes through The Key to Giving™, the national corporate citizenship program of Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. Through The Key to Giving, the companies contribute to non-profit, charitable and community organizations across the country to address health and wellness, education, social services, arts and culture and civic initiatives. The program also supports the volunteer involvement of staff and financial security advisors in their efforts to meet the needs of the communities in which they live and work.