Go Green London

Go Green London is a new, yearly London, Ontario, Canada (for those readers in Mexico, Australia or Russia who may think I live in England) magazine that promotes green initiatives in our city.  When I first saw the magazine, I contacted the publisher and asked if I could write a story.  Craig said he would enjoy that... but he couldn't pay me.  I told him that I volunteer a lot of my efforts to the green cause and didn't have a problem with that.... to me, it's more important to get the word out than worry about making a few bucks!

Just recently, I received that final proof and now I'm excitedly waiting for a hard copy to be delivered to my door... any day now!!!!

So - I thought I'd share this story with all of you, so you can learn more about the tree planting efforts happening in London, Ontario and be inspired to use these same ideas wherever you may live.

I am not able to share the pdf file showing the layout that the magazine used, so I've added a few of my own personal photos to make this read more enjoyable.....

Preparing for 2065

By Jim Kogelheide

Each month, I learn more about what the City of London is doing to prepare our city for the future.  The Trees and Forestry Advisory Committee (TFAC) is a group of city staff members, ReForest London employees and community volunteers dedicated to ensuring that our urban forests and streetscapes will continue to be filled with trees. 

In 2012, our previous Council asked TFAC members to get involved with an initiative to create a Tree Planting Strategy.  Since then, TFAC members, along with many City department employees and local businesses have completed working on plan that will continue to unfold and evolve until 2065!  The Tree Planting Strategy was approved by City Council last autumn.

Presently, London’s forest canopy is very low, when compared to other urban landscapes, with only 24% canopy coverage.  London’s new TPS is designed to increase canopy coverage to 34% by the year 2065.  The effects of this document are already having many positive outcomes throughout the City…

If you take a drive along Bradley Avenue, you will see that the green areas along the road – dividing the four lanes – have been planted to capacity.  Just around the corner, heading south on Jalna Blvd., by White Oaks Mall, both sides of the street have had close to 100 trees planted!  In the northern part of London, Windermere Rd., Beaverbrook Ave., Proudfoot Ln. and Sugarcreek Trail look like armies of trees have taken root!  Even Oxford Street - in the west end of the City – has seen a positive abundance of trees planted… just last year!

It was common City practice to plant around 1 200 trees each year.  Over the last few years, this number has been steadily increasing and last year the number of trees that were planted topped the 5 000 mark!  Although this number is quite significant, it still needs to increase many more times if the 2065 goals are to be met.

Last spring, TFAC members were delighted to receive a presentation from Rob Johnson, the project manager for the highly successful Wellington County’s Green Legacy program.  This program is mostly run by just a few specialists and its success comes from the fact that thousands of elementary school students get involved in learning how to grow trees from seeds, while also planting trees throughout their region.  TFAC members prepared a motion to ask City Council to look into bringing a similar program to London.  Councilors agreed!

ReForest London was assigned to (in partnership with the City of London, UTRCA, TVDSB and the LDCSB) complete a feasibility study (funded by The Trillium Foundation) to see if copying the model for the Green Legacy program will work for London.  Not only will this help to supply our City’s ever increasing demand for trees, but the educational components of this plan will be a wonderful addition to our children’s school curriculum offering them opportunities to learn about and appreciate Nature.  This feasibility study will be completed this coming August and if all goes well, Londoners may see several locations across the city become quite busy as greenhouses will need to be built.

All of these efforts are a positive step in the right direction, but without London residents getting involved, it is likely that all of these ambitions will still not be enough to ensure that we reach the goal of 34% canopy coverage by 2065.  So, we need London residents to take action!

Each spring and fall, ReForest London, The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and many other community organizations hold their own tree planting events!  It’s always a nice way to spend a couple of hours with your friends and family… so be inspired to get involved in tree planting events in your part of the city.  By working together, we all shoulder a small bit of the responsibility that is our united future.  

Jim Kogelheide
Summer 2018

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