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Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Gearing up at Novak's, Nathan Ferguson, a local Financial Advisor, and Dominik St-Denis look to raise awareness and donations for London's recently launched Million Tree Challenge by thru-hiking over 800km of the Bruce Trail.

Waking up to the sound of planes, trains, and automobiles pushes one to want to re-connect with nature. It's the visceral urge to connect with the natural environment that pushed two local professionals to seek adventure close to home. Nathan Ferguson, a Financial Advisor with the Lance Howard Group and Dundee Wealth, along with his friend Dominik St-Denis, heard the call of the wild.

Both well travelled, each works in the financial industry and stress a balance between lifestyle and money. "It's the cornerstone of our practice.", said Nathan. "We work with each client to determine how they can live their desired lifestyle with the peace of mind that they are meeting their long term financial goals."

Inspired by the launch of London's Million Tree Challenge, Nathan and Dominik decided to see just what a million trees might look like. They are undertaking an 800km thru-hike of the Bruce Trail, Canada's oldest and longest continuous footpath. When asked why he would decide to commit to such a lengthy journey, Nathan said, "Having travelled and appreciated so many other natural environments around the world, it seemed about time to take in what we have to offer locally. The work of Reforest London is inspiring, and their monthly newsletter reminds me to stop and take a look around during my busy days."

Reforest London, a local non-profit organization, and the City of London are the founding partners of the Million Tree Challenge. The challenge is put forward to Londoners to plant one million trees locally over the next 10 years. As the Forest City, it is only fitting that we should celebrate our namesake. Though re-foresting London hasn't been without its challenges. "Ten percent of London's estimated 4.4 million trees are Ash, which we are at risk of losing over the next few years due to the Emerald Ash Borer.", says Katie Van Den Berg, Special Projects Coordinator at ReForest London. Katie stresses the fact that much of the work of ReForest London is just to keep up with the natural attrition in London's tree population due to pests, road construction, and new construction.

Special projects, like the Million Tree Challenge, and private partnerships are key elements of the organization's mission. Katie says, "Eighty percent of the planting area in London is made up of privately owned yards, business, and commercial properties." ReForest London partner's with private business to run team building tree planting days.

The organization reminds us that the life of a tree is often more than meets the eye. "A tree provides vital natural infrastructure that contributes to our health and economic well being and sustains our environment for over a hundred years," said David Crockett, Chair of ReForest London. "The cost- benefit grows every year from a tree planted today. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the next best time is today to realize this beauty and value."

Follow Nathan and Dominik on their Journey

You can follow Nathan and Dominik during their journey through ReForest London's twitter @rfldn and Facebook. ReForest London wil be posting updates, stories and photos of their 800km hike of the Bruce Trail.

Share Your Care Contest

ReForest London is part of a nationwide campaign sponsored by Fido to support environmental causes. You can vote through your Facebook account every day from now until August 14, and we could receive $25,000 to plant trees through the Million Tree Challenge.

Visit www.shareyourcare.ca/causes/million-tree-challenge to vote. The funding will support tree planting in parks and schoolyards throughout London.

Make a Donation

If you would like to donate to the Million Tree Challenge directly, and challenge others to do so too, connect at www.MillionTrees.ca. You can also donate to Sponsor a Tree, or you can donate directly to ReForest London online at CanadaHelps.

Learn More About ReForest London

If you would like to learn more about ReForest London please visit our About Us page or by contacting Kelsey Nicholls, Community Egnagement Coordinator at kelsey@reforestlondon.ca, or by calling 519-936-9548.