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Our Roots

ReForest London was born out of the growing concern over tree loss in The Forest City – and a growing commitment by the community to take positive action to reverse that trend.

In the fall of 2003 and again in September 2004, London Community Foundation hosted two gatherings of community leaders for forums on London’s environmental health. These “Foundations for Change” meetings resulted in planning reports and proposals for future initiatives. One of these initiatives, “ReForest City”, was conceived by the Urban League and funded by the London Community Foundation.

ReForest City planted trees in three visible locations in the city – York-Adelaide-King intersections, London International Airport, and Westminister campus of the London Health Sciences Centre at Commissioners and Wellington. These plantings are intended to demonstrate how a densely planted public space can change the cityscape and to inspire others to plant trees throughout London.

In the summer of 2004, the Urban League of London convened a meeting of representatives from City of London, the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, the Middlesex Stewardship Committee and other local environmental organizations. City Councillors Joni Baechler and Judy Bryant hosted the meeting. One product of this meeting was London’s StraTreegic Plan, a long term plan to plant trees in a deliberate and sustained manner in targeted areas throughout the city of London.

At about this same time, residents on Emery Street in Old South lost many mature and beloved trees as sewer work was completed on their street. Saddened by the loss of the trees, and unwilling to accept the possible delay of tree re-planting on their street by the City program, the residents worked together to lobby the City and local funding sources to raise money and plant many larger trees on both sides of their street. The result is a stunning display of “planting the future today” along this stretch of Emery Street just west of Wortley Road.

ReForest London is the next logical step to these initiatives. It seeks to implement the StraTreegic Plan and further the work initiated by London Community Foundation’s environmental health forums. The power generated by a motivated community as demonstrated by the Emery street tree project inspired the matching funds component of ReForest London.

ReForest London provides expertise and funding for groups to plant trees in their own neighbourhoods – this simple plan is proving effective because it taps into the energy and pride found in London’s neighbourhoods and businesses. ReForest London took root after it received a substantial grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. It grew even more with financial support from London Community Foundation, TD Friends of the Environment and the Wetland Habitat Fund.

In the fall of 2004 and in preparation for the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of the city of London, representatives from the City gathered together the Chamber of Commerce, elementary, secondary and post-secondary educational institutions and the health care institutions to encourage a multi-stakeholder city-wide ReForest initiative to honour the city’s sesquicentennial.

In January 2005 in a ceremony led by Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco, ReForest London was officially launched with the dedication of a new Spruce tree planted in Victoria Park.

The mandate of ReForest London is to improve London’s environmental health by planting trees in the community – along streets, in backyards, in parks, and in natural areas.

ReForest London Goals:

  • Empowerment – Empower community groups, businesses, and individuals to plant and care for trees
  • Ecosystem Health – Improve London’s environmental health through planting trees and shrubs in natural areas, parks, yards and along streets.
  • Education – Educate Londoners about the importance of trees and how to plant and care for them.

ReForest London recruited a Board of Directors and incorporated as a non-profit, charitable organization in 2007. Our Board is committed to continuing to build a sustainable, effective organization.

In 2015, ReForest London celebrated ten years of tree planting in London. See more here.