2019 BioBlitz Photos!

Bioblitz 2019 was a great success, with nearly 100 participants!

Here are a selection of photos from the Bioblitz and forest camp.

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BioBlitz 2019!

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).

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Ceremony Honours Children’s Forest Ambassadors

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
elsewhere.

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
project.
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.”

"B is for biodiversity...  which makes the world go 'round". Kiera reading and showing her page from the Forest Alphabet Book.

“B is for biodiversity… which makes the world go ’round”. Kiera reading and showing her page from the Forest Alphabet Book.

 

Four of the alumni sharing their stories of the Chidlren's Forest - Kiera, Kai, Alma, Liam

Four of the alumni sharing their stories of the Chidlren’s Forest – Kiera, Kai, Alma, Liam

 

Liam presenting a braided cedar bracelet to a graduating ambassador.

Liam presenting a braided cedar bracelet to a graduating ambassador.

 

One of our graduating ambassadors presenting a  braided cedar bracelet to an alumni.

One of our graduating ambassadors presenting a braided cedar bracelet to an alumni.

Inspirational story-telling around the campfire!

Inspirational story-telling around the campfire!

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March Nature Study Day; a study in detritus!

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!!!

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Quadra Outdoors Club Visits the Children’s Forest

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!!!

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BioBlitz 2018 Video Trailer

The 2018 BioBlitz in the Children’s Forest was a great success! See this post for the full report, and this post for fantastic photos of the event shot by Seamus Summers. Here is a short video trailer from the BioBlitz, courtesy of Island Light Photography.

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BioBlitz 2018 Photos!

This collection of photos, shot by Seamus Summers and Jonah Weyler, captures the wonder of BioBlitz! 2018 in the Children’s Forest. Learn more about Seamus’s photography here. For a full report from the BioBlitz, check out this post, or watch … Continue reading

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A FOREST FULL OF THANKS …

A FOREST FULL OF THANKS…
… to the great community turnout for BioBlitz 2018!!!

bioblitz 2018 group shot

Close to 100 enthusiastic participants walked into Carrington Bay Park basecamp and explored the Children’s Forest with us over the first weekend in May.  Guest researcher and forest ecologist, Andy MacKinnon, turned all our heads towards a new way of thinking about and seeing our forests. Did you know that 94% of the vascular plants in our forests have mycorrhizae (microscopic fungal filaments) associated with their roots? These mycorrhizal networks can cover acres of land, changing the old ideology of forest competition to one of forest cooperation!!! We have trees on Cortes Island because fungi wrap their roots; this is an obligate relationship!

Youth learned a new word to dazzle their parents with… circinate vernation; right up there with supercalafragalistic; it describes the way a fern fiddlehead uncurls.

We learned about indicator plants, the tallest trees in the world, the beautiful fern-leaved goldthread, the oxymoron of the word saprophyte and how it takes 1000 years to accumulate coarse woody debris.

Most importantly, we learned that we know virtually nothing about the majority of organisms living in our sensitive ecosystems; less than 1% are described. By protecting our sensitive ecosystems, we protect the 99%.

BioBlitz! 2018 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! 2018 was sponsored by the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS).

Checkout this two minute teaser for the upcoming BioBlitz! 2018 documentary short:

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Youth Streamkeepers Spring 2018

IMG_3169Youth streamkeepers were making their way gently down the creek, wild, wet & slippery, and any respectable trout or coho were as far away as possible from the hip-wading youth participating in another youth streamkeeper programme!

Our location was James Creek, flowing into the Children’s Forest. The programme was a joint venture between the Children’s Forest Trust and FOCI Streamkeepers, with thanks to the Vancouver Foundation for some final grant money and Dave Clough, fish biologist extraordinaire.

Two live minnow traps (with appropriate licenses) were set, catching a beautiful 11cm adult cutthroat trout and a large 12.5 cm prickle sculpin in one of the traps. We also scooped up a new sight to our eyes when the pole seine brought in a 15 cm lamprey! Streamkeepers would be interested in hearing if anyone else has seen lamprey in any creeks on Cortes.

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Cortes Wild! exhibit opening at Linnaea Education Center

on site species at risk-barn swallow and pygmy owl

FTCCIS is excited to announce their participation in an exciting new partnership on Cortes Island!!! Cortes Wild! is a partnership initiated by the Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society (CIMAS) to support their new satellite natural history exhibit on Cortes Island.

The Linnaea Farm Society has partnered in and provides the physical facility to house the exhibit at the Linnaea Education Center.

The Friends of Cortes Island Society have partnered in to further their mandate for ecological integrity & community education on Cortes Island.

The Discovery Islands Ecosystem Mapping (DIEM) Project has partnered in to share their recent advances in mapping and remind us of our place within the Discovery Islands.

The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS) has partnered in to integrate Cortes youth into the partnership.

The Cortes Wild! partnership welcomes everyone to come for a visit! Summer hours are: Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.

Check out the awesome natural history displays and curiosity cabinet, try on a species at risk “skin” and delight in the celebration of… Cortes on the wild side!!!

on site species at risk-townsend's big-eared bat

curiosity cabinet

Madame Cladonia-ribbon cutting

western toad guest of honour

decadently wild desserts

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