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South Branch Park Naturalization

Project type: 
Park Naturalization

There's probably no single feature in London that people associate more strongly with our city than the Thames River. Designated a heritage river in 2000, it has played an important part in our community's history for the last 11,000 years, having been continuously settled since more or less the end of the last ice age (!)

It was the birthplace of agriculture in Canada, with farming having started around 500 A.D. by the area's First Nations. It was also a major theatre of war during the War of 1812. Called Askunessippi, which means "antlered river" in Anishinaabe, the Thames is home to an incredibly diverse number of fish, mammals, birds and other wildlife as well as numerous plant species, including Carolinian favourites such as sycamore, black walnut, and tulip tree.

Planting trees along our rivers helps improve water quality in several ways: tree roots can help hold the soil of the banks together, preventing erosion, while their trunks can help slow down destructive floods during a storm. They help improve water quality before water reaches the river itself, while their leaves cast shade on the water, reducing the temperature and improving its ability to retain oxygen, which is important for fish.

We were fortunate to be able to hold two tree planting events right along the Thames River in South Branch Park this spring, on May 9th and 23rd, 2015, planting a total of 440 native trees and shrubs in the floodplain. We were joined by volunteers from the community as well as McCormick Canada and TD Bank. Thanks so much to everyone who was able to come out, and special thanks to RBC Blue Water Project and the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for their support of our planting efforts at South Branch this spring!

South Branch

South Branch Park

South Branch

South Branch South Branch
South Branch South Branch