You Can Make Young People’s Lives Greener Through Trees!

Project type: Other
Year: 2016

If you’re a Million Tree Challenge Partner with an interest in youth and building a greener future for them, the School Community Tree Challenge may be of great interest to you!

Launched in spring 2014, the School Community Tree Challenge inspires school groups to grow, plant, sell or give away trees in their neighbourhoods and schoolyards. It is a collaborative program between ReForest London, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA), Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU), Thames Valley District School Board and the London District Catholic School Board.

MLHU Public Health Nurses promote the program and act as liaisons between the schools and ReForest London & UTRCA. Schools apply to the program and, if they are selected to participate, work alongside ReForest London and UTRCA staff to plan and implement their tree projects.

“In 2014/2015, we worked with twenty school groups in London and Middlesex who, collectively, were able to plant, grow, sell or give away over 5000 trees!” said Brianne Curry, Director of Programs & Westminster Ponds Centre Coordinator. “I have the privilege of working with school staff, parents, students, and community members to help them achieve their goals for planting trees in their schoolyards and communities.”

Each school chooses the type of project they want to undertake. Some participants may wish to create an outdoor learning environment for their students. Others may want to plant trees in parks, or grow seedlings in classrooms to create hands-on learning opportunities. While each school chooses the projects that they wish to undertake, the focus remains on education and community engagement through trees.

If you’re a Million Tree Challenge Partner, there are many ways you can support the School Community Tree Challenge.

Sponsorship Opportunities:

  • Seedling growing sponsorships are available for as low as $1 per tree.
  • Schoolyard shade tree sponsorship opportunities are available for $400 which will fund the supply and installation of one 10-to-14 foot native tree planted in a schoolyard.
  • Your business or organization can sponsor a tree planting in one of London’s beautiful parks. These projects vary in size and cost but generally a complete park planting project is $5,000 and a half is $2500. If this is of interest, please call us to find out what is available and what the associated costs are.
  • Your business or organization can donate directly to a specific schoolyard greening initiative. Contact us for a list of schools we are currently working with to learn more.

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • You can provide planting support for park naturalization projects or schoolyard greening projects by assisting with site preparation, planting trees and shrubs, watering and weeding newly planted schoolyard trees in the summer months, and volunteering at school tree sales or tree giveaways.
  • Your group can host a seedling giveaway in June 2016, with student-grown native trees.

In-Kind Donations:
Can your business or organization offer donations or discounts on the following items or services? If so, please get in touch.

  • Woodchips or shredded mulch for tree planting projects
  • Site preparation services for landscaping projects, including rototilling, sod removal, placement of seating logs or stones
  • Landscape design services for schoolyard greening initiatives
  • Educational materials related to trees and native species
  • Shovels, large watering buckets, trowels and rakes for schoolyard greening projects
  • Snacks and drinks for students for tree planting days

We thank all partners and participants in the program. In addition, we gratefully acknowledge the generous financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, TD Bank, the Arcangelo Rea Foundation, and The Lawson Foundation. We are also thankful for the work of the UTRCA, MLHU, TVDSB and LDCSB for their ongoing collaboration in this initiative.

Please contact Sheila Creighton, RFL’s Partnerships and Marketing Manager, at 519-936-9548 ext. 228 if you would like to be a sponsor or if you would like more information about this important program.

It has been a truly rewarding experience, working with students and helping them to feel a connection to planting London’s future forests. Showing young people just how large the mighty oak may grow from their tiny acorn provides a sense of awe and curiosity. We are excited to be offering kids the opportunity to learn more about our native trees while giving them the opportunity to plant and grow seedlings.

– Brianne Curry, Director of Programs & Westminster Ponds Centre Coordinator at ReForest London