About the Children’s Forest Trust
The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society was formed to purchase Island Timberland forest land holdings immediately adjacent to Carrington Bay Regional Park on Cortes Island. These forest lands will be held in trust for all the children of Cortes Island, in perpetuity. They will offer educational, recreational, cultural and spiritual value for all our children. They will provide the opportunity for our youth to embrace and practice stewardship of forest lands and watersheds.
The parcels of land that have been identified for the Children’s Forest Trust are:
NW ¼ S38, NE ¼ S38, NW ¼ S39, NE ¼ S39 and portion of SW ¼ S39.
They are immediately adjacent to Carrington Lagoon and connect to the proposed Carrington Bay Regional Park Reserve.
These forest lands, at the heartland of Cortes Island, are ecologically significant and contain the provincially designated sensitive ecosystems: riparian, wetland, herbaceous, woodland and old growth. These forests are home to many rare plant communities and species that are listed on both the provincial and federal species at-risk lists. The biologically diverse James Creek watershed provides extensive wetland and riparian habitat that supports cutthroat trout and spawning salmon. This heartland represents vital wildlife corridors and protects the beauty and wildness of the northern parts of Cortes Island.
Historical Origination & Context
In 1999, the Heiltsuk Nation acquired a 74 hectare parcel of land on the estuary of the Koeye River, near Bella Bella, which is part of the Great Bear Rainforest. QQS Projects Society was established to hold the land for the Heiltsuk youth. Koeye River Youth programs have been developed and offer cultural & stewardship programmes for youth, both near-by, from across the province and country, and internationally.
This model provided the initial seed of inspiration for the formation of The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society, which is responsible for raising the funds from donors and the Cortes community, for the purpose of acquiring the five identified parcels from Island Timberlands.
Children & Community Initiatives
The children of Cortes Island have had a long-standing relationship with James Creek and the Carrington forest lands. School children have released coho fry into James Creek in association with Klahoose and the Quinsam Hatchery, and assisted in stream stewardship. Since the birth of the concept of holding lands in trust for the children, there have been several projects that involved Cortes children promoting the protection of these lands now known to the Cortes community as ‘The Children’s Forest’.
The Forest Alphabet project was initiated in the spring of 2010 when 33 children created original pieces of art using paint, collage and drawing to illustrate the educational text for the Forest Alphabet written by biologist Sabina Leader Mense. The Old Schoolhouse Gallery hosted an art show for the Cortes community in October, 2010, which show-cased all 33 original art pieces. Poetry readings and music by the children accompanied the showing of artwork.
Art cards of the children’s art have been professionally printed, and sold at the Christmas craft fairs and local stores.
The Forest Ent project (J.R.R.Tolkien, Lord of the Rings) was initiated in the summer of 2011 when 29 Ent faces were created out of clay by local and summer children. The Ent faces have been mounted on Douglas fir bark for display at the Christmas craft fairs and the credit union, and are being sold as a fund-raiser for the Children’s Forest.
The Forest Alphabet booklet, featuring art work & personal writings by 33 Cortes children, educational text and dedications by Robert Bateman, Ann Mortifee and Tzeporah Berman was printed in May 2014 with funds generated by an Artist’s Journey initiative in 2012.
IMAGINE… a forest in trust to the children