On June 17th more than one hundred people, including federal, provincial, and local elected officials and students, celebrated the launch of London’s Million Tree Challenge in Harris Park. This new initiative challenges Londoners to plant one million trees during the next 10 years.
The Million Tree Challenge begins with a first phase goal of One Tree for Every Londoner in the next three years. School children from London Christian Academy planted over 30 native trees toward this audacious goal in a small new naturalization area at Harris Park.
ReForest London, the City of London are the founding partners of the Million Tree Challenge, with another 25 London corporations, organizations, and institutions also signing on as partners.
The Challenge also calls on individual Londoners, who own more than 80% of London’s land, to plant trees in their yards, businesses and commercial property. According to the City of London’s UFORE report, the vast majority of plantable space in the City of London is located in residential, commercial, and agricultural zones.
“A tree provides vital natural infrastructure that contributes to our health and economic well being and sustains our environment for over a hundred years,” said David Crockett, Chair of ReForest London. “The cost-benefit grows every year from a tree planted today. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the next best time is today.”
Londoners are invited to learn more about the challenge at www.milliontrees.ca. At this website, participants can pledge to plant a tree, record the trees they have planted, and learn more about how to plant and care for trees. They can also sponsor the planting of trees in parks and natural areas. The website will track the trees planted toward the million tree goal and record where trees are planted throughout the city on an interactive map. Users can also see the economic and environmental benefits of the trees they plant through a tree benefits calculator.
Mayor Fontana also encouraged everyone to visit the website to track the Challenge’s progress and to learn more about how they can get involved.
I think shovel sales may skyrocket in the next few months as Londoners get out and take part in the Million Tree Challenge. I have no doubt we can achieve this goal because this is the Forest City and Londoners continue to show how environmentally savvy and committed they are to making a difference in the health and well-being of where they live. The City of London is pleased to be a Founding Partner.– Mayor Joe Fontana