Volunteer Spotlight – January 2018

Name: Phil Brewster

Roles: Trees Committee, GIS Team, Office Assistant, Community Liaison, Tree Planter, Tree Aftercare Assistant, Data Team, Tree Specialist.

Volunteer since: June, 2017

Autobiography: I’ve been a Londoner for my entire life, and I’m proud of it. Growing up right next to the Pond Mills / Westminister Ponds conservation areas led to me developing an affinity for the environment pretty quickly. I realized that my calling would be to help preserve amazing natural sites like these, both for their own sake and so that future generations could also appreciate what they had to offer.

I went on to attend Western University and graduated with an Honours Specialization in Geography, focusing on physical geography and the study of geographic information systems (GIS). I followed that up with a Masters of Environment and Sustainability, also from Western. During my environmental career I’ve worked with organizations and programs such as the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority and Alberta’s Living Laboratory Project. On a more local level, I’ve also volunteered for the Thames Talbot Land Trust and the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.

I discovered ReForest London early in the summer of 2017, when I attended one of their tree aftercare sessions. Since then, I’ve become increasingly more involved with the organization, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Its been an amazing way for me to give back to my hometown (and to learn all about trees, to boot!).

In my spare time, I’ll likely be found biking, hiking, making candles, painting miniatures or relaxing to music.

Why Phil volunteers with ReForest London: The main reason I love volunteering for ReForest London is due to its unique and accessible approach to conservation. The reasons for an individual, neighbourhood or business to plant and care for a tree on their property are innumerable, but it always has the end benefit of improving environmental and human health. I also appreciate its community-centric methods, and the sense of pride in our city that it helps to foster. On top of this, it has and continues to be an excellent learning experience for me, and it has honed my knowledge on subjects ranging from the identification of native tree species, to the economic benefits trees can provide for citizens.