Reforest London is known in the community for trying to turn London back into the forest city. Reforest London has created a new program for students in grades 4,5, and 6. The program, Seeds to Forest, has a four-part education activity module in place. The activities include:
1) Growing Tree Seedlings in the Classroom: Students plant seeds of native tree species and raise seedlings throughout the winter and spring, before taking seedlings home in May/June. Students learn about the life cycle of trees and requirements of plants.
2) Tree Planting Site Planning Workshop: Students work with Reforest London staff to learn how to make appropriate species recommendations for schoolyard trees. Students learn about tree requirements (light, moisture, soil, etc).
3) Schoolyard Tree Planting Event: Students plant large shade trees in their schoolyard, with assistance from ReForest London staff. The number of trees planted at each school will vary, but on average we expect 450 trees per year to be planted in London schoolyards.
4) Tree Hike Field Trip: Students attend a tree hike through a local mature forest in one of the city’s Environmentally Significant Areas.
Two classes from every elementary school in London can participate. Brianne Curry is the school coordinator for Reforest London. She said “ we know that youth need to value and understand nature in order to protect it in the future. So by creating programming that allows kids to have a better connection with nature, we hope that they will in turn value it and grow to protect it in the future.” Having trees planted in the schoolyard helps London as a whole “Every tree we plant counts to making a greener and healthier city.” said Curry.
The program has received plenty of support from the community and outside of it thus far. Curry added, “We’ve received support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the government of Ontario, the city of London, TD friends of the environment, Tree Me tree matching fund, and The Arcangelo Rea Family Foundation.”
The new program also contributes to London’s one million tree challenge. “London has a number of campaigns and initiatives that are all about trees. So London’s million tree challenge, which was launched by Reforest London and the city of London, is a goal to plant a million trees in the city. Of course, our city council has also approved an urban forest strategy, which sets a target of 35 per cent tree canopy in the city by the year 2065. So this is really important to London and every tree in one of our schoolyards that we are planting helps to reach those goals.” Said Curry.