By partnering with ReForest London and the Million Tree Challenge, organizations help create a better community for everyone
Photo: Robert Bierbaum, brand manager at Old Oak Properties, poses with an oak tree planted at Whisperwood Park. Old Oak Properties has been a Silver-level Million Tree Challenge Sponsor for three years
TEN YEARS AGO, ReForest London set out an ambitious challenge to Londoners: to plant a million trees in a community-wide initiative aimed at building healthier, greener and more livable neighbourhoods in the Forest City.
The challenge was open to anyone in the city who could register that they’d planted a tree, adding to the total and getting London closer to its goal of a million new trees.
Since its launch, the Million Tree Challenge has already accomplished a lot to make London a leafier locale. In 2018, the challenge passed an important milestone of having planted one new tree for each person in the city. Now, as the challenge approaches its 10th anniversary, the number has kept growing, with over 470,000 trees planted in the last ten years.
(If you have planted trees on a London property since 2011 and have not registered them in the Challenge, you can still do so at milliontrees.ca to be included in this community-wide initiative.)
With the support of a number of partners, including the City of London, ReForest London has also made great progress in working towards the completion of the Westminster Ponds Centre for Environment & Sustainability, set to become a flagship environmental centre for the Southwestern Ontario region.
It’s no small feat to accomplish that many trees planted, and ReForest London has enjoyed overwhelming support from the London community, with many businesses, community organizations and non-profits stepping up either to lend financial support or to get their hands dirty and plant some trees of their own.
“If you take a drive through one of our older complexes, Forest Hill, you are greeted with deep nature trails, towering trunks and a 50-acre forest, all in the core of a one London’s most populated areas,” notes Robert Bierbaum, brand manager at Old Oak Properties, which began sponsoring the Million Tree Challenge in 2018. (Officially, they sponsor — you guessed it — the oak trees.) “So, when the opportunity came to us to sponsor oak trees planted by ReForest London, well, it was something we couldn’t pass up.”
Photo: Convertus Group has been a Bronze-level Million Tree Challenge Sponsor for three years and annually hosts a tree depot for London homeowners. Pictured left to right: Ann-Marie Cooper, Matt Straatman, Michael Leopold and Cheri Fischer
A difficult and unprecedented 2020 didn’t hold back the Challenge, with many individuals and business partners stepping up during the pandemic to see more trees planted, and to see a greener future for the entire city.
That support has come from organizations like Canada Life, which has served as the lead sponsor for ReForest London for over 10 years, and additional partners like Convertus, KPMG, Fanshawe College, London Food Bank, rTraction and many more, all of which contributed to help ReForest London plant trees, build community gardens, give away trees and seedlings to residents and help educate the community on the benefits of trees — all work that ReForest London can’t do on its own.
That work is far from over, however, with plenty of time and opportunity for organizations to get in on the Million Tree Challenge. ReForest London is always open to further partnerships with organizations committed to sustainability and the many community benefits that trees can bring.
There are plenty of ways that partners can get involved, ranging from planting trees on company property to sponsoring a tree giveaway or encouraging staff to volunteer their time.
By partnering with ReForest London, partners can help the entire community towards a healthier, greener future, and help ReForest London work towards our dream of establishing a leafy legacy for future generations to enjoy in this beautiful Forest City.
This story was created by Content Studio, TreeTown Media’s commercial content division, on behalf of ReForest London.