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Pond Mills Tree Blitz

Project type: 
Neighbourhood Re-Leaf

Reporter: Candida Carr-Harris

It was raining hard at times on Sunday, October 16th, but that didn't stop more than fifty steadfast volunteers from showing up ready for ReForest London's final Tree Blitz of 2016.  Headquartered in Pond Mills’ South Optimist Park, it was the last of the door-to-door free tree giveaways that had started in 2015, and then re-launched and more than doubled in scope in 2016. 

And it is easy to see why planting trees was a one in four prospect in the London neighbourhoods we visited. The trees are free, the cost-savings and health benefits are real, and now ReForest London makes it easier than ever to do.  

'Some homeowners are streamlining the process even further.  By texting our coordinator with their preferences,  we can then show up with the right tree and plant it', noted Tree Specialist Tammy. “Not only that, some families take three or even four trees”, having a significantly higher impact that way. 

One such homeowner was Mohammed, who has been an active supporter of ReForest London for years, registering three new trees on the Million Tree Challenge website years ago. He was having a new Blue Beech planted today.  “This really is the best kind of work”, he said.  “I work as a biologist and I know how important this is for our area.  Without trees we cannot survive. And now I have grandchildren, and I want to pass this down to them.” 

Volunteer Tree Planters Josh and Gouled were hard at work helping him achieve just that, when Mohammed decided to lend a hand.  “Plants take care of us.” he commented.  “We must take care of them, too”. 

For Josh and Gouled, however, protecting their six foot charges was almost over and they were feeling encouraged.   A student of Fanshawe’s Environmental Technology program, Gouled knew that “this is great experience for me personally, and it is practical for my resume, too”. But it’s meeting all the different people I was really looking forward to, he said.  That’s the fun part. 

They met the family of Wakas and Afsheen, who immediately decided to trade off duties on the planting.  Wakas made arrangements and Afsheen supervised while their little son ran up and down the yard celebrating. Their Honey Locust might have a treehouse for him someday, but for now he took his job as the official representative of their property very seriously! 


At day’s end, and back at the Depot, it was Tree Specialist Tammy who was guiding the last perspective planters to their ideal choice. But just when it looked as though it was all over, in wandered thirty year Pond Mills resident Paul, who had lost a beautiful White Ash to the pervasive Emerald Ash Borer years ago.  “I had to invest $9,000 in an awning to replace the shade that tree gave me”, he said, but as good as it was, he still missed the beauty his prized tree had provided. 

Tammy was able to narrow his interest down to two trees in no time, and after careful considering, he chose the lovely and size-appropriate American Hazelnut, whose yearly harvest has been said to delight cooks and squirrels alike! 

And so, roughly 100 trees stronger, the community of Pond Mills generously built a healthier London for all of us. Our fifty volunteers outdid themselves, too, not only pushing forward despite the pouring rain, but doing that in the highest numbers we have seen at any ReForest London Tree Blitz all year! Congratulations, Pond Mills, that is environmental progress!

Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Richard and Beryl Ivey, a fund within the London Community Foundation, TreeMe and the City of London for being lead funders on this project.