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Cortes students in the early primary years can tell you all about their tree friends – the special little hidey holes for critters, the squirrel’s breakfast corner, the perfect limb to climb out on and take a nap, the delicate fairy nook. ‘Tree friends’ have been a long-standing nature programme for school children in forested areas adjacent to the Cortes and Linnaea School grounds. Well, how many children and families have discovered tree friends in their back yards or close to their homes!
The Children’s Forest and Cortes Family group (CCHA) are challenging you – families, children and adults, to go wandering in your immediate area, and yes!, listen to a tree calling to you.
Is there a tree that you intuitively feel drawn to? Children may immediately begin building shelters or fairy homes, but adults may enjoy creating a special ‘sit spot’ with their tree. This activity is open to all of you, not limited to families.
However you explore the idea of a tree friend, it is guaranteed to brighten your day.
Spring is stirring in forests and wild places….
BioBlitz 2019 hosted four special guests at the Friday evening campfire circle – four alumni from the book, ‘Forest Alphabet: Artistic Visions of a Forest in Trust to the Children’. In 2010, Alma, Kai, Kiera & Liam were amongst 33 children to contribute artwork and writing to the book that was published in 2014. These four young adults are now pursuing post-secondary school studies in universities across Canada. Their reflections were an inspiration to the current youth who listened to their stories of how the Children’s Forest has been a significant influence in shaping values, world view and career choices. There were a few teary eyes amongst the adults present.
Nineteen youth were honoured as Children’s Forest Ambassadors at the graduation ceremony around the BioBlitz campfire. These youth have been active participants and leaders for many years in our monthly nature study days, theatre programs and annual bioblitz. Many of the youth are moving on to attend school off-island or to embark on adventures elsewhere.
The Children’s Forest Board extends their deep appreciation and thanks to this tribe of Children’s Forest Ambassadors for their passionate dedication to the Children’s Forest, and tasked them to carry their zeal for the Children’s Forest out to the broader world. The tribe: Tosh & Asha, Ilo & Makawi, Laara, Katie, Josh, Mira, Lily, Lilly, Angus, Kaysha, Sofia, Maria, Teyo & Govind, Seamus, Nola and Bella.
“V is for voice, our very valuable voice in speaking for the forest: vital, vigilant and victorious!!”
Meanwhile, the 3rd wave of children, the new short-legged tribe, were occupied in playing tag and building forest fairy homes. The significance of these three generations of forest youth around the campfire was potent, and the torch was passed along to the new tribe of Forest Children.
This gallery contains 5 photos.
October’s Nature Study Day November Art/Nature day
Bioblitz 2019 was a great success, with nearly 100 participants!
Here are a selection of photos from the Bioblitz and forest camp.
A FOREST FULL OF THANKS…
… to the great community turnout for BioBlitz 2019!!!
Yet again… close to 100 enthusiastic participants walked into Carrington Bay Park basecamp the first weekend in May to visit, observe or inventory with us the Children’s Forest.
Cortes youth stepped into the leadership roles this year and led participants in study groups focused on insects, plants, Buchia fossils, lichens, Vertigo snails, mosses, intertidal marine life and great blue herons!!! WOW!!!
Notable scientific observations included:
1. the location of an active great blue heron rookery, Ardea herodias fannini; this coastal subspecies is listed at risk in BC
2. possibly… the first documentation of the shrub, falsebox, Pachistima myrsinites on Cortes Island; keen, youthful eyes were on the ground!!
3. Vertigo snails were found in the heavy moss mats covering maple trees; this TINY arboreal (lives on trees) snail has species which are listed at risk; we have microscopic identification underway… that’s exciting!!!
This year we learned that when you cannot get the expert to travel to Cortes, you can travel to the expert with a small collection in hand!!! Trevor Goward is the Curator of Lichens at UBC and the province’s finest lichenologist. We made a small collection of lichens from three sensitive ecosystems in the Children’s Forest during BioBlitz 2019 and took them to Trevor at his home just outside Wells Gray Provincial Park. Trevor graciously took these into his lab and identified them for us, adding 30 species of lichen to our growing inventory for the Children’s Forest. Thank you Trevor!
Our new Short-legged Program created the opportunity for full participation of our youngest demographic of Cortes youth. Fifteen short-legged participants explored the wonders around Carrington Bay Park camp all weekend and added life and love with every giggle!
BioBlitz 2019 also provided the platform for a celebration of the Forest Tribe of youth that lie at the heart of our efforts to preserve and protect this forest in perpetuity!!! As our Forest Tribe of youth move into the world, they carry with them a strong sense of the forest and the values it has taught them.
BioBlitz! 2019 moves us ever closer to our goal of purchasing the Children’s Forest and gifting it in perpetuity to all children.
We invite all of you to join us, in – Imagining… a forest in trust to the children!!!
BioBlitz! 2019 was sponsored by the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS).
green cedar feathers
rambunctious children chatter
soft forest stillness
The Board of the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society recently honoured several youth as Children’s Forest Ambassadors at a campfire graduation ceremony during the 2019 bioblitz. A number of youth who took active leadership roles over the last several years in our annual bioblitz, monthly nature study days, and theatre programs are moving on to attend school off island or to embark on adventures
Four ‘alumni’, who are now pursuing post-secondary school studies, joined the 2019 Bioblitz tribe to tell their stories about what the Children’s Forest has meant in their lives. Alma, Kai, Kiera & Liam contributed to the ‘Forest Alphabet’ book in 2010, and inspired the youth with their reflections on the importance of the Children’s Forest
Liam is studying environmental studies at the University of Victoria, BC. He offered that the forest is near and dear to his heart and that he became enchanted with the ‘forest’ here in the Children’s Forest itself.
Kiera didn’t realize how special the Children’s Forest was growing up. She is now studying environmental geography at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC. She thinks that being involved with the forest is something that will continue for the rest of her life.
Kai acknowledged that it’s easy to take nature for granted while growing up on Cortes. “Here we all have connection to the forest.” When she left home she found few had this same upbringing and experience. She had an amazing access to wilderness and now is so grateful to the people such as Christine and Sabina who have been working on this for so long! Kia is currently studying Liberal arts and Eco-Tourism at Quest University, Squamish, BC.
Alma shared that this is a special place, rich and diverse. “One does not get this in other places. It’s a chance to be involved in something bigger than self. It’s making a change in the world. It’s a chance to act on what is right.” She recognizes that there are different points of view and value of forest, and asks that the people who do not value nature for what it is should spend time in the forest. It warms her heart to see all ages and generations at the Bioblitz. “The young children are like young trees.” Alma is now a Bio-medical student at Waterloo University, Ontario.
The Children’s Forest Board extends their deep appreciation and thanks to the new cohort of Children’s Forest Ambassadors: Tosh & Asha, Ilo & Makawi, Laara, Katie, Josh, Mira, Lily, Lilly, Angus, Kaysha, Sofia, Maria, Theo & Govind, Seamus, Nola and Bella. Our ‘graduating’ youth were asked what the Children’s Forest means to them, and what were some of their favourite memories.
Khalil: “Being in nature.”
Tosh: “It’s watching tides change, and bioluminescence… It’s to inspire the
next generation to reconnect with nature.” Tosh was happy to do the Theatre performances in the past, knowing it was for the forest, even with his fear of performing! “The forest has a calm grounding effect. It’s nice to always have this to come back to in mind and heart when facing hard things.”
Laura remembers years of our monthly forest walks, eating lunch at Grandmother Grove, making fires, looking at the forest, spending time, and swimming all year. This was very fun for her! “We hold an annual Bioblitz to catalogue endangered species so we have an inventory that we can take to Island Timberlands/Mosaic and prove that this forest is worth saving.”
Katie enjoyed jumping in puddles in winter, getting muddy, and filling her
boots with water!
The Children’s Forest torch has now been passed onto the next generation of bright-eyed, eager, short-legged children.
“V is for voice…our very valuable voice in speaking for the forest – vital, vigilant and victorious.”
“Z is for zeal …and that’s how we feel about protecting our forests forever.”
On March 3, the Forest Tribe gathered for a walk into the springtime sounds of the Children’s Forest!! We were welcomed by golden-crowned kinglets calling from the high canopy and we mimicked the nasal calls of the red-breasted nuthatches by holding our noses and calling out… neep, neep, neep!!!!!!!!!!!
What fun to be a bird, in springtime, in the Children’s Forest!!!
We welcomed some of our newest tribe members to this walk; young Zorah, just 11 months old, peeked out of Mom’s backpack and later happily crawled across the forest floor at the base of the towering Sitka spruce in Grandmother’s Grove. Zorah was completely absorbed in the rich, brown, soft, humusy, crawling, decomposing world of the forest floor detritus!!! Those of us not living s close to the ground anymore, often overlook this critically important ecosystem!
Our Forest Tribe grows annually; our recruitment is awesome… so we are well on our way to securing the Children’s Forest in perpetuity for all Zorah’s to come!!!
Imagine… a forest in trust to the children!!!
Sabina Leader Mense welcomed the Quadra Island Outdoor’s Club members to the Children’s Forest on a beautiful January the 23d!!! Club members rolled in on the first ferry to Whaletown Bay and had their walking poles out and on the trail in no time!!!
It is always exciting to welcome our neighbours from Quadra Island to Cortes Island and especially exciting to share with them the ongoing work of the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS) towards purchase of the Children’s Forest.
We spoke of our strong youth engagement and the youth excitement over the annual BioBlitz’s that FTCCIS sponsors. This year we hope to have even more participation by Quadra Islanders!
We marvelled continuously over the colour… green; so vibrant at this time of year!!! Most people fail to recognize that winter in coastal BC is the GREENEST time of the year!!!
Club members walked home at the end of a great day with a couple of copies of the youth’s fundraising book, Forest Alphabet: Artistic Visions of a Forest in Trust to the Children, where it is written…
G is for green… the colour of Gaia’s glorious garden!!!