Meet Roseann McKay, Coordinator of the Woodland Restoration Project with the Garden Club of London.

“Roseann has been an ambassador for the Garden Club of London for the Woodland restoration project - a living laboratory of Native and Carolinian trees, shrubs and wildflowers. She coordinates on-site upkeep, exploration and annual tours in our Woodland which has sparked a renewed interest in conservation and responsible stewardship...she is a positive force in our club, a champion for our environment.” - Lorraine Peters from the Garden Club of London

This month we’re excited to feature Roseann as our July Volunteer Spotlight! We interviewed her and here’s what she had to share with us:

Tell us about yourself!

“Born and raised in the rugged landscape of Northern Ontario - energized and captivated by the rock, bush and lakes. I feel most at home in nature. Lived my entire childhood and early adulthood in a totally French community where school, church and social clubs instilled a pride of place. I am fluent in both languages, have an Honors BA in French literature and a Master in Library and Information Science. A 30+ year teaching career as a High School teacher and Department Head. Taught French Second Language and French Immersion. Have been teaching T’ai Chi and Qigong since 2001...started in 1998, fascinated by a centuries old Practice that continues to evolve and stay relevant. Performing T’ai Chi Forms, Sword and Fan. I am still teaching classes in London Community Centres.”

Why did you start volunteering with the Garden Club of London?

“This Garden Club was a good fit. I am a life-long learner. I thrive in different environments. I need the freedom to tailor my approach depending on the situation at hand. I was struck by the energy and spirit of collaboration I found in this Garden, its vast potential for learning and engagement, the many outlets for self-expression and creativity, the opportunities for leadership, and contribution. I was able to transfer all my experiences and perspectives to leadership roles and in community outreach activities. But the Woodland Restoration Project won my heart and has kept me passionate and involved for 19 years now.”

What is a memorable moment you’ve had while volunteering?

“Witnessing ‘stewardship’ in the proverbial bud. Thanks to a partnership developed some 14 years ago with CCH and its Student Environmental Leadership Program, The group is bused in early April to groom our woodland trails. Different cohort each year – same glorious reaction. The energy, enthusiasm and sheer exhilaration is palpable – cheeks flushed with exertion, faces beaming as they shovel woodchips into wheelbarrows, navigate the loads along narrow winding paths to mates ready to spread them. The day is inevitably cloudy and cold – usually drizzly. The Woodland is still dormant. Yet their joy is undeniable.”

Other highlights of the Woodland Restoration Project as shared from Roseann:

  • "The re-introduction of native and Carolinian species tree and plants - the tree and plant labelling program to raise awareness and educate.
  • The rate of natural plant regeneration and the constant increase in the number of people visiting on a daily or on a weekly basis.
  • OUR GREATEST PRIDE as a Team - our partnership with schools to provide hands-on experience in conservation responsibilities."

To learn more about the Garden Club of London and all the great projects they run you can check out their website here!

Nominate a volunteer you know by filling out this Volunteer Spotlight Nomination Form!

To stay up-to-date on local environmental volunteer opportunities visit our page by clicking here.