A Wonderful Week for Trees in the Forest City

Project type: Million Tree Challenge
Year: 2019

One thing we know for sure is that Londoners love trees and every year, during one particular week, it is evident for all to see! That special time is National Forest Week. Of all of the communities who celebrate this week, in our minds, the Forest City is at the top of the list.

Each year the last week of September is known as National Forest Week. This year it ran from September 22-28, with National Tree Day being celebrated on Wednesday the 25th.

This celebratory week is a great time for not only getting a tree or seedling to plant in your yard, but for other tree-related activities too.

On Sunday, we kicked the week off by hosting a tree depot at the Emancipation Day Celebration, allowing many nice native trees to find new homes.

On Monday, Robinson Mitsubishi hosted a launch event at the dealership with the support of several other businesses including M&T Printing Group, Bridlewood Homes, London East Lions Club, TRY Recycling, The Better Bin Company, Don Adams and the Komoka Kings, Merit Group, 101.3 Easy, Jack102.3. and music by Captain and Toad.

In partnership with MTC partners at Robinson Mitsubishi, this year we developed a fun Tree-mobile promotion to stop at different places around London and give out ‘tree kits’ to people.

The Tree-mobile was present at our launch party, and many people came out to enjoy a mini tree depot, music and refreshments. Despite the windy and rainy weather, the event attracted locals, with support from our two live radio remotes.

Thanks also to Lowe’s for the discount on our mulch/watering buckets. Big thanks to Bobbi Mahon from Robinson Mitsubishi who devoted her whole week to helping with the Tree-mobile promotion as well as volunteer extraordinaire, Don Adams who also assisted in getting trees to people, and to ReForest London volunteers who helped each day, including Eiman Mohammad who assisted all week!

Our work with youth is so important, we knew that we had to include them in our week of celebration. On Monday we did two Site Planning Workshops, one at Byron Somerset Public School and the other at East Carling Public School where students learned about trees, the urban forest, and soil testing for their schoolyard.

Monday was big day for us because we also held the fall Tree Cycle event at ReForest London’s office. This is when homeowners can pot up non-invasive “volunteer” trees that have grown in their yards and donate them to be planted in fall plantings around the city.

On Tuesday, we visited the new Silverleaf subdivision by York Developments, with some homes by Bridlewood Homes and assistance from Lighthouse Landscape. Thanks also to Magazine Lationo! for coming out to cover the event.Robinson Mitsubishi and M&T Printing Group sent out 12,000 postcards to area homes about the Tree-mobile promotion and many people who either got a card in the mail, or happened to be passing by, stopped in to pick up a tree kit.

Each tree kit contained a beautiful 3-7’ native or fruit tree, plus a watering bucket full of mulch, a tree collar to protect the young tree and a ReForest London hat. The tree kits were a big hit with people and many already knew about trickle watering young trees with a bucket, which was encouraging to ReForest London staff and volunteers.

The Wednesday of National Forest Week is National Tree Day and the big day for tree and seedling giveaways in London. The City of London– founding Partner in London’s Million Tree Challenge – hosted three large tree depots again this year and Million Tree Challenge Partners and supporters gave away over 1,000 native tree seedlings from their locations.

ReForest London also hosted a tree depot, sponsored by STIHL Canada for the third year in row!

This National Tree Day, we had several repeat supporters that we are most grateful for. Scotiabank has been part of National Tree Day for many years and gave away seedlings to their customers at all 12 of their London branches. Western University has also been involved for many years and this year held two seedling giveaways on campus. MPP Peggy Sattler has also been supportive of National Tree Day for many years and this year was no exception as she held a giveaway at her constituency office. Goodwill, also a longtime supporter, gave away seedlings at six London locations and the Friends of the Civic Garden Complex again supported this big day for trees.

The City of London’s large tree depots, co-hosted with ReForest London, were again a big hit with Londoners who lined up to get the perfect trees for their yards. With the immense help of City staff and ReForest London staff and volunteers, over 2,400 trees were given out in one day. This is such a feel-good event that everyone involved has a great time. It is always great to hear nice comments from Londoners about the City’s tree depots!

On National Tree Day, ReForest London also hosted a planting event with students from Montessori Academy London at Cantebury Park with Harris Home Hardware and support from Tree Canada and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

On Thursday and Friday, the Tree-mobile stopped at ReForest London’s office and Victoria Park. Both locations were well attended and many more tree kits were given away to happy Londoners. The weather was lovely which made the experience a good one. This year we noticed an increase in young families wanting trees to plant in their yards.

Thank you to everyone who made National Forest Week 2019 a big success. Our city got a whole lot greener in just one day.

We will again be celebrating National Forest week and National Tree Day in 2020 in support of London’s Million Tree Challenge with an even bigger and better celebration week for all of the tree lovers who call the Forest City home!