Volunteer Spotlight – March 2016

Name: Sommer Foster
Volunteer since: 2012
Roles: Tree Guru, Tree Planter, Aftercare Attendant, Community Liaison, Tree Committee, Field Assessment & Site Plans Assistance

Autobiography: Born in Montreal, I moved to London during high school. I attended Western University to complete a Bachelor of Science degree, honouring in Biology (2008-2012), where I veraciously gained more knowledge about wildlife and ecosystems. I began my ReForest London (RFL) journey after my undergrad, when I was a tree newbie.

I then proceeded to complete the Master of Forest Conservation program at the University of Toronto (2013-2014), where I learned (among many other things) about tree identification, natural resource management, and urban forestry. This helped me to understand and appreciate all the work RFL was doing, and I was better able to help apply my tree management skills to more complex projects.

I now work full-time with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change in London. As a member of the newly created Tree Committee, I look forward to continuing my RFL adventure by working with other board members to bring more trees to the Forest City.

Forever a nature enthusiast, I am continuously attempting to identify all trees, wildflowers and animals that cross my path. Alternatively, I love to read, but never have enough time to read as much as I would like. Other favourite pastimes include exploring new areas, knitting, cooking and eating with family and friends.

Reflections on Volunteering: What attracted me to first volunteer with ReForest London as a Tree Guru was the training’s Tree Identification Hike. I wanted to learn as much as possible about tree identification. It has been a pleasure working with RFL staff over the years, and getting involved in many aspects of the organization.

As new issues come about such as invasive species and illnesses, planting and maintaining healthy trees is incredibly important. Healthy urban forests result in healthy communities and ecosystems. ReForest London’s goal of reforesting London’s urban areas is incredibly ambitious, but I’m ecstatic to be part of it.