Veterans Memorial Garden at Hillcrest Public School

VMG at Hillcrest

In the fall of 2015, Greg Murray, grade 5 teacher of Hillcrest Public School (Hillcrest), attended a presentation and dinner, in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, at the 427 (London) Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Association. While waiting for the event to start, a memorial garden on the grounds inspired Mr. Murray to think of the need for one at his school.

“It’s a sacred place. There are environmental benefits with trees. It’s a daily reminder of the sacrifices that our veterans made.” ~ Greg Murray

After much discussion and planning between the Trees for 3 Dots Planting Inc (T43D) team,  Mr. Murray and the school, the concept was put into action in mid-June of 2016 at Hillcrest  as the first school in Ontario to plant a memorial garden (beginning as a grove) as part of T43D’s Veterans Memorial Gardens (VMGs). This project was proudly sponsored by the London Chapter of the Canadian Institute for Management.

VMG at Hillcrest 3

VMGs are designed to serve as both a project for T43D’s Vimy Ridge Commemorative Tree Planting program (VRCTP) and Sesquicentennial Celebration Tree Planting program (SCTP). VMGs will consist of a grove of ten (10) maple trees, a base for a future garden, and a basic plaque. The Red Maple trees, Green Mountain Sugar Maple trees, and Pyramidal Silver Maple trees represent the diverse society and cultural mosaic of Canada, and the Regal Petticoat Maple represents all those who came to Canada and created something new.

The grove of trees will help generations of students to remember the service of our veterans by providing a venue for the school’s Remembrance Day services. They will also provide the school with an opportunity for hands-on curriculum activities focused on the environment and history as well as supplementary projects to extend, enhance, and maintain a future garden. Click here to learn more about our VMGs.

Planting a Veterans Memorial at Hillcrest

VMG at Hillcrest 4

On June 15, 2016, the site was prepared and ten large-caliper trees were moved into place by professionals from T43D’s local partners, Tunpetti Corp and Lanktree Tree Services. The planting of the trees was completed by students and staff, who learned enough urban tree planting skills to be designated a first level Volunteer Urban Forester (VUF). Several students proudly wore their uniforms from Scouts Canada and Girl Guides of Canada, also ongoing partners of T43D.

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Click here to read article “Hillcrest public school pupils plant a garden as a tribute to veterans” by the London Free Press.

Admist the tree planting, it started to rain yet everyone continued to work diligently to finish the task. And though no one wants to get wet, we know the trees really need the water to grow. This is one lesson of the many lessons that VUFs are taught while learning to plant a tree.

Paul R. Gagnon, Environmental Horticulturist and Tree Advisor of Trees for 3 Dots Planting Inc. teaches a valuable lesson about planting trees at the proper depth.

As the tree planting came to a finish, the entire student body was brought outside to see their new veterans memorial, but the rain came down harder so they were sent back inside for a brief assembly while the planters finished the job.

VMG at Hillcrest 5

“The most pressing question that students asked was…When can we make maple syrup? The answer is…we can probably start making small quantities in 3-4 years. ” ~ Barry Sandler

Congratulations to Hillcrest, and Thanks to all  the VUFs and our Supporters!

DSC01100 - CopyOn June 29, 2016 during the last day of school assembly, a formal appreciation ceremony was held to recognize the efforts of the 28 student tree planters (level 1 VUFs), Hillcrest for being the first school to plant a VMG project, and our funding sponsor who made it possible for the project to happen.

Mayor Matt Brown congratulated everyone and presented certificates of appreciation on behalf of the City of London to Hillcrest Public School via Mr. Murray, and the London Chapter of the Canadian Institute for Management (CIM).

“It’s a really special day at Hillcrest because we get to say THANK YOU.  Always say thank you to a veteran as because of them we get to do stuff like go to school, to learn, and to live our lives in freedom. We need to remember them. Be very proud of what you have done to say thank you.” ~ Mayor Matt Brown

The ceremony finished off with recognition of our Environmental Horticulturist and Tree Advisor, Paul R. Gagnon the President of Tunpetti Corp, who helped get the trees and trained students on how to plant the trees, our Hillcrest VUFs.

Hillcrest VUFs

Hillcrest VUFs (2 not shown), Mayor Matt Brown, and T43D Project Partners. Nine of ten trees planted are shown.

The Hillcrest VMG project was proudly sponsored by:

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London Chapter

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