Thames Valley District School Board students and staff depaving paradise

Posted On Wednesday June 15, 2022

This news item has been updated to reflect the new date of Day 2 (Planting) as Friday, June 17, 2022

Location: Jeanne Sauvé French Immersion Public School

Day 1 (Depaving): Friday, June 10, 2022
Day 2 (Planting): Friday, June 17, 2022

The London Environmental Network and Thames Valley District School Board have teamed up to rip out 100m2 of pavement and replace it with plants and trees in an underused outdoor area at Jeanne Sauvé Public School.

At Depave Paradise events, local volunteers gather to reclaim the soil. Using pry bars and shovels, community members break up an area of unused pavement and turn it into living green space by planting native and pollinator friendly species.

Removing pavement and adding permeable surfaces is a great way to slow down water and runoff, and allows it to be naturally filtered through the ground before entering our groundwater systems and the surrounding environment.

The London Environmental Network and the Thames Valley District School Board are working together to remove 100m2 of pavement from a local school playground. This is the start of a larger effort to naturalize the playground and provide more shade trees and green space for students to enjoy.

In London, there are lots of parking lots and roadways that collect a lot of debris, salt and chemicals that travel into our rivers and water systems. By replacing these paved areas with green space, we are allowing water to flow naturally and also reducing the risk of flooding due to improper grading or drainage. Improving stormwater management is a way to promote healthy ecosystems and encourage proper design practices for future developments as well as provide an opportunity for thriving community initiatives.

In the words of Marianne Griffith, Director of Programs of the London Environmental Network, “This project has so many benefits, including offering a new space for Jeanne Sauve staff and students to enjoy outside. Students will help transform their own playground and learn about the value of native plants. We are looking forward to seeing more pavement removed across London and replaced with green infrastructure.”

Tom Muth, principal of Jeanne Sauvé shared that, “Bringing more green space to our school yard has ushered in a renewed enthusiasm for environmental stewardship at Jeanne Sauvé! As part of this project, students gained first hand design and construction experience that they can use to make a difference in our city. The appetite for green space has never been stronger in downtown London and the Jeanne Sauvé community is proud to be one of the first in London to participate in this important initiative.”

This project is building on the success of last year’s Depave Paradise project at Fanshawe College and will set an example for what type of transformation is possible at a schoolyard. London is already a fairly pavement heavy city and it is important to retain these pockets of nature and reclaim them for permeable, native, biologically diverse public spaces.

Project partners include: Green Communities Canada, Thames Valley District School Board, City of London, Heeman’s, Stone Paradise, Try Recycling, McCabe Promotional, the Agape Foundation and the JP Bickell Foundation.


LONDON, ON - For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Weedmark, TVDSB Communications Lead/Manager of Communications,, 519-630-6777
Marianne Griffith, Director of Programs,, 226-977-1139
Cole Taylor, Green Infrastructure Program Lead,, 226-504-2905

Location: Jeanne Sauve French Immersion Public School
Address: 215 Wharncliffe Rd N, London, ON N6H 2B6
Day 1 (Depaving): Friday, June 10th 2022
Day 2 (Planting): Friday, June 17th 2022


Media Backgrounder
Depave Paradise
Removing asphalt at neighbourhood work parties is an exciting new trend that renews neglected urban spaces. At Depave Paradise events, local volunteers gather to reclaim the soil. Using pry bars and shovels, community members break up an area of unused pavement and turn it into living green space.

London Environmental Network
London Environmental Network is an environmental charity, and a solution-based network focused on enhancing and protecting the environment. London Environmental Network brings
together grassroots communities, non-profits, businesses and government to promote creative collaboration and environmental issues. Service offerings include capacity-building workshops, member-focused networking and online communications for the sector. It is the host organization for Green Economy London.

Green Communities Canada
Founded in 1995, Green Communities Canada is a national non-profit association of 20 community-based environmental organizations working together for a vibrant, equitable and
sustainable future.

GCC’s current program areas of focus are home energy efficiency, stormwater management and active transportation. Member organization work cuts across additional program areas including waste, food insecurity, climate education, and youth engagement. We also work to influence government policy, at all levels, as it relates to environmental  climate issues.