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ReForest London Newsletter
Westmount Lions Park I - Sept. 24, 2016
We had an amazing time planting with London area First Nations and newcomers to our country thanks to our community partners Nokee Kwe and the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre this past Saturday! This was our second time partnering with LCCLC for such an event and our first time working with Nokee Kwe. Our fantastic volunteers planted almost 400 native trees and shrubs in the course of three hours, which was followed by another 450 at an interfaith event the next day.
The multicultural planting sprung from a vision to bring together volunteers from the area’s oldest communities (local First Nations) and its newest (recent immigrants and refugees) to share stories about the importance of trees and the environment in their respective cultures and to work together to undertake the first part of the planting at Westmount Lions Park.
Nokee Kwe, an adult literacy organization founded on Aboriginal principles, and the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre were the two community partners helping to organize volunteers for the event. Their staff and volunteers were similarly excited about the collaboration and the tie-in to cultural diversity in the Forest City:
“Trees have been home, protection, sustenance, medicine, and a symbol of peace to First Nations people. Nokee Kwe is thrilled to participate in this multicultural reforestation event as we celebrate the planting of native trees, especially because it brings together Canada’s earliest inhabitants with its newest immigrants. These trees will be good for all Londoners! Our door is always open to those who may find our services useful, and we wish Londoners new and old, all the best today!” said Gena Burnett, a member of Nokee Kwe’s Board of Directors.
“The Cross Cultural Learner Centre is looking forward to another exciting Multi-Cultural Tree Planting Event this Saturday Sept. 24th in partnership with ReForest London and Nokee Kwe. Please join us as we work together to better our community!” said Heather Kipp, Community Network and Match Facilitator at the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre)
Sharing stories about the importance of trees in the many cultures represented by the volunteers was an important part of the event. Early on, Heather Hammond of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation (Anishinaabe culture) spoke about a tradition among some First Nations of placing tobacco, considered to be a sacred plant, at the base of trees after they are planted, while a group of three speakers from the London Cross Cultural Learner Centre spoke about the trees in Sudan, Liberia, and Jamaica.
The events were made possible thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada (through the EcoAction and Inter-Action programs), Literacy Link South Central and the City of London. All trees planted at this weekend’s event will be counted towards London’s Million Tree Challenge (www.milliontrees.ca)