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More Trees for Residential and Industrial Areas

Tree planting in the Forest City will increase in coming years, thanks to a significant grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Dr. Ted Lo, volunteer with Ontario Trillium Foundation, announced on Saturday that through the $120,000, two-year grant, ReForest London will launch several new programs aimed at increasing tree planting and care in residential and industrial neighbourhoods.

“I’m delighted that our government is providing funding to help plant more trees in residential and commercial areas here in London,” said Deb Matthews, MPP London North Centre, who also serves as the Deputy Premier of Ontario, and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “This grant will help Reforest London educate people about the importance of trees and will help us work together to improve our environmental and human health and beautify our neighbourhoods for future generations to enjoy.”

The Neighbourhood Tree Captain program will train volunteers to promote tree planting in residential neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood Tree Captains will be charged with championing tree planting in their neighbourhood, seeking new places to plant trees on private and public property, and connecting their neighbours with resources to plant and care for their trees. The City of London will support the project through tree planting on boulevards.

Neighbourhood Tree Captains will receive free training, access to free and discounted trees, and support from ReForest London to plan tree planting projects in their neighbourhoods. A one-year commitment is required for this 6 hour a month volunteer position.

“It takes different tactics to plant new trees in different land use types,” said Dean Sheppard, Executive Director, ReForest London.  “With Ontario Trillium Foundation’s support, these new programs will target front yards, back yards, streets, and even industrial lands. It will all contribute to a healthier and greener city for all of us.”

Through the grant, ReForest London will also seek tree planting partners in industrial areas. Tree planting on industrial land improves land values, reduces heating and cooling costs, and helps companies retain their workforce by providing a better workplace. Interested land owners are invited to contact ReForest London to learn about programs to plant trees.

In the fall, ReForest London will introduce a “Lunch and Learn” educational program for companies and organizations that want to learn more about tree planting, native species, Emerald Ash Borer, and other relevant tree related subjects.

Through all these new programs, ReForest London hopes to increase tree planting, and engage thousands of Londoner in tree planting and improved tree care for our existing trees.

London is “the Forest City”. We are enjoying the benefits of trees that planted a hundred years ago.  These trees are now under immense pressure from a variety of factors such as old age, climate change and invasive insects such as Emerald Ash Borer, “ said Ivan Listar, the City of London’s Urban Forester. “We need to maintain and protect the trees we have now and replace those that have been lost.  The million trees that we plant now will be our legacy to future generations. They will define our neighbourhoods and the Forest City a hundred years from now.”

Residents who would like to learn more about the Neighbourhood Tree Captain program are invited to an informational meeting on Thursday, April 11, 7:00pm at London City Hall, 300 Dufferin Street, 2nd floor.