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ReForest Speaks at EnviroWestern

EnviroWestern hosted “Seedling Ideas; an Educational Talk and Networking Event” on Monday November 24, 2014. This event was part of their Green Education Initiative and was a chance for students to be exposed to local environmental issues, ideas, and initiatives. Around 50 students made it out to see talks presented by three invited speakers who spoke about issues including sustainable food, trees in the City of London, and electric vehicles. 

EnviroWestern Melanie Columbus, ReForest London staff, was one of the invited speakers at this event.  Melanie gave a TED-style talk about the value of trees to human health and the economy. “By coming out to an EnviroWestern event these students already understand the environmental value of trees. I wanted to focus on the less obvious benefits like improved health and the economy,” Columbus said.

In fact, statistics on the economic value of trees are impressive. Many people do not realize that the initial expense of planting a tree has an incredible return on investment. For example, a treed residential property will sell for between $10,000 and $25,000 more than a similar property in the same neighbourhood that is lacking in trees and over the lifetime of the tree it can return direct monetary benefits in the form of reduced energy costs to the homeowner.

The students in attendance seemed genuinely intrigued by the many values of trees they had never considered. One attendee, who signed up as a new ReForest London volunteer the following day, said that Melanie’s talk “taught [her] the complexity and the importance of trees” and sparked her interest in becoming a volunteer with ReForest London.

After the speaking portion of the event there was time for students to network with the invited speakers. ReForest London was able to speak one-on-one with a number of the students who had insightful and new ideas of how to approach the Million Tree Challenge. “My hope is that I was able to reach some of the students and that maybe they will consider using their education to help the community by joining our Million Tree Challenge Action Teams or volunteering their passion and talents to other ReForest London programs,” Columbus said.