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Southcrest Tree Blitz - June 18

Project type: 
Neighbourhood Re-Leaf
Year: 
2016
Season: 
Spring
Location: 
Southwest

 

Saturday June 18th was a typical Canadian summer day, perfect planting weather for Southcrest's first door-to-door Tree Blitz.  Even before the 9:30am start time, area residents were gathering around numerous species of starter trees, trees that would soon be carefully chosen and then planted in their yards.  

Thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, 38 ReForest London volunteers set off in pairs with wagons filled with 6 foot starter trees, ready to canvas the area for interested homeowners.

 

 

Southcrest (south of the Coves) was 2016's fifth neighbourhood to be a part of this free tree giveaway. The goal was to encourage new tree plantings in neighbourhoods with relatively low tree canopy.

Homeowners had been notified well in advance, so many, like twenty year resident Colm, were ready to get planting.  Remembering his many nieces and nephews playing in his parents' trees as kids, he was looking forward to making new tree memories, even planning a family swing for the not too distant future.

 

Hard at work planting his new Red Maples were volunteers Ryan and Leemala, who wasted no time getting them into the ground.  When asked what motivated him to volunteer on his weekend off school, Ryan was straightforward “I just wanted to go out and help plant trees", he said, "It’s a really good cause I thought I could help out with".

 

 

Back at Headquarters Tree Specialists Tammy and Suzie were helping homeowners Archie and Lindsey pick out the best tree for their property, which is plagued with yearly flooding and drought, and treed enough now to offer only shady conditions. They had done their research before the event, and knew they'd be able to get a starter called a swamp white oak tree, which is suited for both wet and dry conditions and that thrives in shade.

"Different areas of London have different kinds of soil", explained Tree Specialist Suzie, "so we make it a point to bring in trees that will do well in these areas.  And homeowners have personal preferences as well, so we try to cater to that".

 

 

Another Tree Specialist, Tammy, summed it up this way "The great thing about the Tree Blitz is that it just makes planting trees more accessible for everybody, and that's what we're aiming for".

If the speed at which our wagon was emptied was any indication, people were quick to cooperate with the initiative; in fact 169 of a total of 171 trees were planted that day, which is a 99% plant rate.

Thanks to the generosity of Southcrest homeowners, London is now a tangibly healthier and more sustainable city.  The natural beauty and tranquility those trees will add to the neighbourhood is long lasting. 

Thanks to everyone who made it happen!

Storyteller: Candida Carr-Harris

Photographer: Kate Sepi