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You Can Make Young People's Lives' Greener Through Trees

Project type: 
Other
Year: 
2016

Tree Planting by Emily Carr PS students

If you’re a Million Tree Challenge Partner with an interest in youth and building a greener future for them, the School Community Tree Challenge may be of great interest to you!

Launched in spring 2014, the School Community Tree Challenge inspires school groups to grow, plant, sell or give away trees in their neighbourhoods and schoolyards. It is a collaborative program between ReForest London, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU), Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

MLHU Public Health Nurses promote the program and act as liaisons between the schools and ReForest London & UTRCA. Schools apply to the program and, if they are selected to participate, work alongside ReForest London and UTRCA staff to plan and implement their tree projects.

Tree planting at Chippewa PS“In 2014/2015, we worked with twenty school groups in London and Middlesex who, collectively, were able to plant, grow, sell or give away over 5000 trees!” said Brianne Curry, School Community Tree Challenge Coordinator. “I have the privilege of working with school staff, parents, students, and community members to help them achieve their goals for planting trees in their schoolyards and communities.”

Now, in the program’s second year, we’re excited to be partnering with an additional fifteen schools. These groups are planning a wide variety of tree projects for their communities. Some of the tree projects this year include: park naturalization plantings, shade tree plantings in schoolyards, the creation of outdoor classrooms, tree giveaways, and growing native trees from seed in schools.We believe each child should be given the opportunity and responsibility of environmental stewardship. 

If you’re a Million Tree Challenge Partner, there are many ways you can be involved in and support the School Community Tree Challenge. 
 
Sponsorship Opportunities: 
  • Seedling growing sponsorship opportunities are available for as low as $1 per tree. Your organization’s contribution of $100 will provide supplies and support for a half-day planting event led by ReForest London staff and volunteers for 3 to 4 classes of students.

  • Schoolyard shade tree sponsorship opportunities are available for $400 which will fund the supply and installation of one 10-to-14 foot native tree planted in a schoolyard. Your contribution will provide shade for generations to come for students in schoolyards, many of which have seen recent losses of deceased Ash trees.

  • Your business or organization can sponsor trees planted in parks by students. Park naturalization projects vary in size and cost but generally a complete park planting project is $5,000 and a half is $2500. If this is of interest, please call us to find out what is available and what the associated costs are. 
  • Your business or organization can donate directly to a specific schoolyard greening initiative. Contact us for a list of schools we are currently working with to learn more.
Volunteer Opportunities:
  • Your group can provide planting support for park naturalization projects or schoolyard greening projects by assisting with site preparation, planting trees and shrubs, watering and weeding newly planted schoolyard trees in the summer months, and volunteering at school tree sale events or tree giveaways.
  • Your group can host a seedling giveaway in June 2016, with student-grown native trees. 
In-Kind Donations:
Can your business or organization offer donations or discounts on the following items or services? If so, please get in touch.
  • Woodchips or shredded mulch for tree planting projects
  • Site preparation services for landscaping projects, including rototilling, sod removal, placement of seating logs or stones
  • Landscape design services for schoolyard greening initiatives
  • Educational materials related to trees and native species
  • Shovels, large watering buckets, trowels and rakes for schoolyard greening projects
  • Snacks and drinks for students for tree planting days
Planting white pines Mulching at Rick Hanson PS

In some cases, schools have a clear goal identified – for example, they may wish to create an outdoor learning environment for their students. We are able to offer support and funding to schools to help these outdoor environments come to fruition. 

In other cases, planting trees in parks, or growing seedlings in classrooms offers teachers and students hands-on, experiential learning opportunities centered in environmental education. While each school chooses the projects that they wish to undertake, the focus remains on education and community engagement through trees. As Partners in London's Million Tree Challenge, you can make a difference in these young lives.

White pine seedling"It has been a truly rewarding experience, working with students and helping them to feel a connection to planting London’s future forests." Curry said, "Showing young people just how large the mighty oak may grow from their tiny acorn provides a sense of awe and curiosity. We giggle while imagining ourselves at 100 years old, next to our tall tree that might grow from that little seed. While many kids can identify hundreds of corporate logos, few children can identify our provincial or national trees. We’re excited to be offering kids the opportunity to learn more about our native trees while giving them the opportunity to plant and grow seedlings." 

We thank all partners and participants in the program. In addition, we gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, TD Bank, the Arcangelo Rea Foundation, and The Lawson Foundation. We also are grateful for the work of the UTRCA, MLHU, TVDSB and LDCSB for their ongoing collaboration in this initiative.  

So as you can see, there are many ways to be involved in the School Community Tree Challenge. Please contact Sheila Creighton, Partnerships and Marketing Manager at Reforest London, 519-936-9548 Ext. 228  if you would like to be a sponsor or if you would like more information about this important program.

High School student planting Park planting
Lord Roberts Tree Sale Tree planting at Orchard Park
Seed planting day Watering seedlings
Orgaworld hosts CCH students Planting seedlings at St. Marguerite DYouville