The ReForest London planting team was greeted with smiles and excitement as members of The Filipino-Canadian Association of Niagara (FCAN) unloaded from their buses, preparing for a wonderful morning of tree planting. This event, which took place on Wednesday, June 8th, was a partnership between ReForest London and FCAN to help naturalize the Byron Hills Stormwater Management Pond. The event was a success, and our 80+ volunteers made quick work of the site, planting a total of 176 trees and shrubs!
FCAN is a cultural and social organization for the Filipino community in the Niagara Region and was founded in 1968 by early Filipino immigrants. Members participate in various cultural, artistic, and communal events, including the “Seniors Step-up to the challenge” project, which “aims for seniors to continue to avail the benefits of being healthy both physically and mentally by engaging in activities that promote active living and community involvement,” explained Carlos, the FCAN president.
It was a pleasure to be surrounded by a community of enthusiastic individuals with plenty of gardening and planting experience under their belts. Knowing that we were able to engage a community from outside of London to help achieve our collective goals was inspiring.
We would also like to extend a warm thank you to our core volunteers, Don Austin, Johanna de Haan-Ward, and Colleen Clark for ensuring the event went smoothly.
A variety of trees and shrubs were planted at the site, including: eastern white cedar, black cherry, staghorn sumac, serviceberry, ninebark, and some smooth wild rose. These plants will help with slope stability and erosion control, assist the stormwater pond in absorbing water and pollutants, and provide a habitat for local wildlife.
Once planting wrapped up, group photos were taken, and letters of thanks were exchanged between groups. Finally, FCAN members loaded back onto their buses and the ReForest London team waved as FCAN drove off to explore more of what London has to offer. There was a sense of accomplishment as folks cherished the opportunity to work as a team in making London greener.
Carlos shared many kind thoughts following the event, stating that “Four days had already passed and our participants (mostly seniors 65+) are still talking about it. Truly they felt a big sense of accomplishment.”
As always, events like these would not be possible without the support of our funders and sponsors. We’d like to thank TD Friends of the Environment Fund, the Ontario Government, and the City of London for sponsoring this event. We are always so grateful for our sponsors and partnerships in aiding us to keep our programs running to achieve our goal of planting one million trees in London!