All about the London planting event

The following blog post about our London planting event was written by our Sustainable Development Coordinator, Emelia. Do you have a story you want to share on our blog or a testimonial you’d like to share with us? Let her know!

Our London planting participants! Photo courtesy of David Neads & ReForest London.

Wait, another tree planting event?!

As part of our Lake Erie Guardians program, we hosted not only one but two tree planting events this year! As we mentioned in our last blog post, the London planting event took place just a couple weeks after the Leamington planting event. Here’s how it went!

Who did we work with for the event?

Since this event was part of our Lake Erie Guardians program, we worked with Freshwater Alliance to organize the London planting event. As we mentioned in our Leamington blog post, Raj from Freshwater Alliance has a ton of contacts in the London area. We’re so grateful we get to work with her for the Lake Erie Guardians program!

We were also honoured to partner with ReForest London for the London planting event. As they say on their website, ReForest London’s mission is to inspire, educate, and empower Londoners to plant and care for trees and to be part of a sustainability-focused future for the London community. Their’s is definitely a mission that we support, and we are so appreciative of the work they do. 

In the week leading up to the event, we opened registration up to the general public since ReForest London could accommodate more spots than we could fill with just our Lake Erie Guardians. We were blown away by the response; in just a few short days, almost 100 people registered to attend, with some even having to join a waitlist. With this kind of enthusiasm, we knew the event would be a success, just like the Leamington event was. 

Photo courtesy of David Neads & ReForest London.

When and where

On October 16th, almost 100 participants showed up ready to start planting. We almost couldn’t believe the turnout; some people even told Gabi that got a spot off the waitlist just the night before. Londoners don’t mess around when it comes to tree planting, I guess! 

The event was held at the Sunningdale stormwater pond in London, which neighbours the Medway Valley Heritage Forest. As the folks at ReForest London explained, stormwater ponds are important for water quality for several reasons. As their name suggests, “stormwater ponds” collect and store stormwater runoff. In doing so, they help control water quantity and prevent flooding. They also improve water quality, which is of course very important to us here at Water Rangers! The ponds do this by filtering pollutants from water before the water makes its way to bigger waterbodies like Lake Erie. 

A map of the Sunningdale stormwater pond in London, Ontario
A map of the Sunningdale stormwater pond

So why shoreline planting at a stormwater pond, and not at Lake Erie itself?

As previously mentioned, stormwater ponds help improve water quality before the water even reaches Lake Erie. Stormwater ponds, then, are important to protect and maintain if we want to conserve and improve Lake Erie’s condition over time. By planting trees along the pond’s shore and in the general vicinity of the pond, we’re helping it do its job. Trees and shrubs like the kind we planted that day absorb water from excess surface runoff, not to mention filter out pollutants and fertilizers from water. They also help prevent erosion and provide important habitat for wildlife and aquatic species. Clearly, these are all super important functions- water requires trees just as much as trees require water! 

Photo courtesy of David Neads & ReForest London.

What did we plant?

In total, we planted over 300 trees of 22 different species! These species included Black Cherry, Burr Oak, White Pine and more. ReForest London will provide us with an update on how well the trees survive in a few months. We are so proud of all the volunteers who helped make this happen. 

So what’s next? 

Now that the Lake Erie Guardians program has more or less come to an end for 2021, we’re starting to think about what’s next for the program. What we know for sure is that we would love to host more tree planting events in the future! The Leamington and London planting events were both such a blast. Keep an eye on this space for updates regarding the future of the Lake Erie Guardians program. 

Photo courtesy of David Neads & ReForest London.

Thank you from us!  

Thanks again to Raj Gill from Freshwater Alliance for helping us make this planting event happen. The Lake Erie Guardians program wouldn’t be possible without you. 

Thank you as well to the folks at ReForest London for all your hard work in putting this event together. There’s no way we could have pulled off such a spectacular event without your help.

This event was generously supported by the Government of Ontario

Thank you to the Government of Ontario’s Great Lakes Local Action Fund for generously sponsoring this event and the Lake Erie Guardians program in general. We appreciate your support tremendously!