Green Legacy Feasibility Study

Since its inception, ReForest London has maintained a vision to create a community that thrives in a healthy urban forest. ReForest London and our project partners at the City of London, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, Thames Valley District School Board and London District Catholic School Board saw an opportunity to further develop this vision through the Wellington County’s Green Legacy Programme. In 2017, RFL and its project partners began a year-long study into this program.

Wellington County’s Green Legacy Program

“The Green Legacy program started out with the goal to plant 150,000 trees to celebrate the country’s 150 year anniversary.” This program, which works with Wellington elementary school students to grow and plant trees, quickly grew to become the single largest municipal tree planting program in North America, with over 2 million trees planted since the program’s founding in 2004!

The Study

As a part of this study, we have produced:

  • A final report: This report analyzed not only Wellington’s Green Legacy nursery but also several other non-commercial nurseries we identified over the course of the study. The report then explores London’s particular situation, and shows how we developed a preferred model for our community.
  • An operations manual: This manual details the day-to-day and season-by-season operations of Wellington’s program. It will be a valuable planning tool for any community looking to start a tree nursery of their own.
  • A business case modelling tool: This excel workbook allows users in any community to model a business case for a community nursery. The model is based on the number and size of container-grown trees required by local partners. It calculates operating and capital costs, area requirements, volunteer contributions, total project value and more. The model can also be adjusted to allow for different levels of plant mortality, inflation, price to recipients (depending on whether trees would be offered for free or at a discount) and age of plants before transplanting. As this tool is currently in the beta testing phase, this modelling tool is only available by email request – this allows us to contact users with future versions if corrections or changes need to be made.


If you have any questions about this study, encounter any programming errors using the modelling tool, or just wish to offer suggestions for future improvement, please contact us at [email protected].

Acknowledgement & Thanks

This project has been made possible thanks to the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the City of London.

We would like to extend our gratitude to the staff and volunteers of the Wellington County Green Legacy programme for their time and contributions to this project. Their vision of a greener and healthier Ontario and their support of this project has been fundamental to its success and completion.

We also gratefully acknowledge the contributions and support of the many staff members from the City of London, UTRCA, TVDSB, LDCSB, as well as other organizations, agencies, and departments in London and other communities, who provided information and insight into this project. Achieving our shared vision of a thriving urban forest in London is only possible with the support of our community partners. We also thank Christine Burow Consulting for the development of the business models and infrastructure assessments for this project, and Axent Consulting for their help in refining some of our work. Thank you all for your support!