Volunteer Spotlight graphic with a photo of Leticia

Volunteer Spotlight – January 2023

A photograph of Leticia at a tree planting

Name: Leticia Tojer
Volunteer Since: Spring 2022
Roles: Planting Leader, Community Outreach

About Leticia:
“I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A concrete jungle, many would say. Luckily, I lived just across the street from a beautiful park, so I spent my childhood playing under the canopies of different species of Ficus, towering palm trees, and bamboo groves. I guess that my love for nature, especially trees, started there.

At University, where I studied International Relations, I developed a great interest in environmental treaties and conventions and decided I wanted to start a career in the area. However, after just a few years attending conferences on environmental law, networking with environmentalists and volunteering for Greenpeace, I learned a hard lesson: advocating for the environment is extremely dangerous in my home country. Life-threatening, literally. Since I was the mother of a sweet little girl back then, I put my passion aside and “did what I had to do” – I got a corporate job and enjoyed nature in my free time.

In 2017, I moved to London. My first 2 years here were chaotic: I was a full-time student with a part-time job, so I barely had the time to explore the Forest City. Shortly after I finished college, the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, and one of the safest places to be was outdoors. I started hiking (compulsively) and a whole new world opened up to me. Plants that looked dead in winter but came back to life in spring. So many nuts, berries, and mushrooms. Foliage that changes colour in fall. So different, yet, as enchanting as the Atlantic rain forest of my home city. Moreover, I felt at peace whenever I walked into the woods. I had rediscovered my happy place.

Why Leticia volunteers for ReForest London:
When I learned that less 15% of the original Carolinian Canada still remains, I felt compelled to take action. I wanted to do everything I could to protect the environment of my new country (I feel safe here)! After just a few minutes searching the web, I came across ReForest London’s website, and signed up for a tree aftercare event. Then, I became a Planting Leader and participated in as many events as I could. I have many fond memories of my volunteer work, but I love to think of the impact of our work on Londoners of ALL species, and that we are leaving a legacy for future generations.

Thanks to my volunteer work with ReForest London, I learned that I love working outdoors and that being surrounded by like-minded people gives me hope (eco anxiety, anyone?) And, of course, working with ReForest staff is a pleasure. They give us proper training to do everything and are always available to answer our questions. Thank you, ReForest!”

Thank you, Leticia!