FTCCIS Virtual AGM 2022 – Forest Alphabet

This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we made the decision to keep our AGM virtual for the second time. Despite the challenges of this platform our AGM was a resounding success and wonderfully wrapped up this exciting year for the FTCCIS! We are delighted to share this presentation of the Children’s Forest Alphabet by some of our Alumni and guest speaker Andy MacKinnnon. The words of our Alumni truly affirmed the importance of the Children’s Forest and why we are all here.

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Virtual AGM Presentation by Paul Stamets

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Giving Tuesday Update

Giving Tuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year on the first Tuesday of December. This year, the FTCCIS decided to participate for the first time in Giving Tuesday and benefited from the organizational structure of Canada Helps.  We were overjoyed with the generosity and response from the Cortes community, near and far. Our fundraising goal was $2000, and we exceeded our goal by several hundred dollars!! How amazing and confirming that is.

The following letter of thanks & appreciation was posted on Tideline, the Cortes Island on-line community forum, by director Eric Hargraves.

“The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of you who participated in #GivingTuesday. Because of your generosity, we met our goal – we raised $2,020 in just one day – that’s right, $2,020 for 2020!

These funds makes our vision possible – to nurture relationships between children and nature and to inspire advocacy for the natural world.

One of our donors phrased it beautifully in a comment:

“The children’s trust is truly worth supporting. Over the years I have seen many volunteers offering their expertise and many children who have learned about the wonders of this little piece of Cortes. I remain hopeful that your goal will be achieved. Thank you so much for continuing to educate us all on the importance of forests.”

If you’d like to share our vision with others, share our 
homepage or our Facebook page.

If you didn’t have a chance to donate, you can still 
give here.

As always, we thank you – our community – for your continuing support and generosity. And we wish you a Happy Holiday season!

With sincere gratitude,

Eric Hargrave on behalf of the FTCCIS Board

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2021 Virtual AGM

Please join us for an entertaining and informative afternoon!!  The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS) will hold their 2020 AGM via Zoom on Saturday, January 23, 2:00 –  3:30 pm.  Paul Stamets will entertain us with fungi stories & a short report of our 2020 mycoblitz, accompanied by Mira Andrews’ fabulous iNaturalist photos. A review of 2020 with all its surprises & challenges will be covered, and a look ahead to 2021 as the value of getting outside and connecting with nature is becoming recognized and prescribed by medical doctors. A follow-up notice with further information will be posted on the Tideline in a week to facilitate pre-registration with zoom details for the AGM.

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MYCOBlitz 2020 Article in the National Observer


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Quiet in the Forest – Covid-19 Update

“Q is for quiet…Quiet is found in the forest and the forest is found in quiet.”

Forest Alphabet

The Children’s Forest Trust are taking a pause from our usual monthly walks & activities in accordance with the Covid directives from our provincial health authorities. We will not be offering our Nature Study Day on December 6, and we will keep you posted on the annual family Christmas Bird count into the Children’s Forest & Carrington Lagoon and other future activities.

Winter is a potent time of the year in the forest and all around as life is quietly collecting its energy for the great stirrings in spring. It is a special time for contemplative forest walks or exuberant wind-filled jaunts. The pine siskins are chattering and swooping through the treetops; the occasional Pacific tree frog is valiantly calling from its hiding place; the moss and forest greenery is alight from within.

We are most fortunate to live amongst the stunning beauty of forest and sea at any time, but especially in these pandemic times. The Children’s Forest Trust encourages all (within your safe bubble), young & old, families & individuals to embrace the natural beauty we live in, and get outside – look, smell, touch, taste, and feel!

“Ribbit, frog croaks

In a happy kind of voice

It’s going to rain”


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MYCOblitz 2020

One forest…

One mycologist…

Six youth apprentices…

A simple recipe for a powerful weekend of citizen engaged science in the Children’s Forest on Cortes Island.

On October 17 & 18, the Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society (FTCCIS) hosted a MYCOblitz, to assess the diversity of macrofungi on lands identified by FTCCIS for purchase, and affectionately known to the children of Cortes Island as… the Children’s Forest.

Sixty-three species of macrofungi were identified to genus and species by a research team of Cortes Island youth lead by mycologist, Paul Stamets.

This inventory will form our foundational fungal working list and is an important addition to the species lists compiled, to date, from BIOblitz data 2016-2019.

Mega MYCO thanks to Paul Stamets for a weekend of MYCO merriment! 

Paul generously shared with us his love of mushroom lore; we learned soooooo much!

We learned that mushrooms are the fruiting bodies (above the forest floor) of the mycelia (below the forest floor); the mycelia form a giant fungal engine in the soil; superhighways to move nutrients across miles of forest lands! As we walk across the forest floor, the mycelia sense our footsteps! Mycelia breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, just like us! We are more closely related, evolutionarily, to mushrooms in Kingdom Fungi than animals in Kingdom Animalia! We also learned that woodpeckers carry fungal spores (up to 120 species) on their beaks from one tree to the next, inoculating them with fungi that will break the wood down and provide good habitat for insects. When the woodpeckers return a year later, they remember the trees they inoculated and feast on the insects! We learned that mushrooms sometimes grow upside-down and that there are giggling mushrooms! Raindrops splash fungal spores out of the wee cups made by the Bird’s Nest Fungus to spread them across the forest floor! Tonics made from mushrooms boost the immune system and that is the primary medicinal role of mushrooms!

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James Creek Spawning Gravel Project

James Creek cascades through the heart of the Children’s Forest and empties into a large salt-water lagoon at Grandmother Grove. The biologically diverse James Creek watershed, the largest on Cortes Island, provides extensive wetland and riparian habitat that supports spawning chum, coho and cutthroat trout. The FTCCIS sponsor streamkeeper workshops & activities, organize annual youth spawner counts, and provide youth stewardship of James Creek. 

Much of the natural spawning gravel that once existed in James Creek was scoured away during early logging practices. The James Creek Spawning Gravel Project aims to add spawning gravel to the creek and increase the spawning potential for chum. We can report a highly successful completion to the first phase of laying spawning gravel into James Creek in Sept 2020.

Support and approval was obtained from the following parties: Mosaic Forest Management Corporation for access to the private managed forest lands which James Creek runs through; Fisheries & Oceans Canada who provided licensing and site approval; Mainroad Contracting for the free supply and transportation of spawning gravel to the area; FOCI for their administrative support and  insurance coverage;  the Ministry of Forest & Lands for permitting approval; the Community Forest General Partnership for access to gravel storage on crown land, and FOCI Streamkeepers for overall coordination of the project.

The spawning gravel was transported by bucket, wheelbarrow and zipline by 21 hard-working community members in 2 epic work bees. We estimate the project took 180 total volunteer hours and moved 460-part buckets and 9000 pounds of gravel. Twenty-one very tired bodies but lucky spawning chum!

The following link takes you to an article posted on Cortes Currents:

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2020 AGM Presentation

The map shows the 5 parcels of forest lands that have been identified as ‘The Children’s Forest’ that stretch contiguously from west to east, encircling Carrington Lagoon.
The vision of a Children’s Forest begins.
The text for Forest Alphabet is written and the artwork for A to Z is created by 33 Linnaea School students, inspired by their love of forest & nature.
“F is for frogs, red-legged and tree…hopping happily through forest and stream!”
An art exhibit of the student art panels is held at The Old Schoolhouse Gallery, Cortes.

Forest Ent clay works are created by youth for promotion and raising funds, and Forest Ents come alive on trees throughout Cortes.
Daniel Pierce of Ramshackle Productions comes to Cortes to film youth in the Children’s Forest for a documentary.

The Artists’ Journey sees visiting artists join local artists in the Children’s Forest to create beautiful works of art inspired by the forest.
An art auction of their work is held on Saltspring Island to raise money to publish the book, Forest Alphabet, and is hosted by Paul Horn & our very own Ann Mortifee, an honorary director.
A community celebration is held at Mansons’s Landing Community Hall to officially announce and launch the Children’s Forest
The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society is officially registered as a BC Society on November 15.
The FTCCIS sponsor a logo contest for local youth and the winning logo was jointly created by Mira & Shantima Braaten. This design is the backdrop to all the slides.
A second Artists’ Journey art auction is held on Cortes at the Coop to raise more funds for publishing of the book Forest Alphabet.
The Forest Trust for the Children of Cortes Island Society is granted charitable status by Revenue Canada on May 15.
Forest Alphabet, Artistic Visions of a Forest in Trust to the Children
is published. A book launch party is held at Linnaea, and a big cake is made by a locally renown Austrian pastry chef, Trude.
Monthly nature study day/forest walks are started on the first Sunday of each month, and are still happening, 6 years later. Why don’t you join us?!
Homeschooling children learn basic stream assessment skills, and monitoring of fish and the riparian area begins in James Creek.
The Children’s Forest youth perform a Solstice celebration at the Gorge Community Hall with animal puppets & youth performers. The Forest Rap is performed, which was a joint effort by Dan Peters and youth. “A is for awesome animals…”
The first youth interpretative training workshop is held in the Whaletown Commons.
Youth interpreters lead walks into the Commons for summer guests.
The Children’s Forest youth troupe do a Forest Alphabet school tour for 6 schools on Saltspring Island, and have a special visit with Robert Bateman.
The Children’s Forest youth troupe write and perform Shades of Green at the Gorge Harbour Marina which shared their favourite stories of playing in nature.
The first annual bioblitz is held focusing on small mammals, bats, fish & plants. The midnight watch for flying squirrels was everyone’s favourite activity.
A second interpretative training, So You Want to Be a Naturalist, is held at Linnaea School – an amazing examination of bones & mysterious objects.
The Children’s Forest youth troupe perform Shades of Green at Hollyhock Learning Centre as a fundraiser.
The Forest Rap is produced as a music video by Immanuel McKenty.
“… R is for the rainforest we will not fail…!”
The 2nd bioblitz is held focusing on bugs, bugs and more bugs with entomologists from the Royal British Columbia Museum.
The Children’s Forest youth troupe perform Without One, None for the Quadra School and Cedar School in Campbell River. This is a murder mystery set at a bioblitz in the Children’s Forest.
The first youth streamkeeper training, Gently Down the Creek, is held at Hansen Creek, Cortes Island. Water, water, everywhere! “Oh, where are those fish hiding?”
Imagine… a Forest in Trust to the Children Art Show is held at the Old Schoolhouse Gallery, Cortes, curated by Krista Smith which featured over 25 youth artists.
The 3rd bioblitz is held focussing on plants with provincial plant guru and campfire musician, Dr. Andy Mackinnon.
The Wild Cortes Exhibit has its official public opening and the Cortes Wild Interpretative Centre and EcoLab are launched. “Watch out for endangered animals milling about!”
A 2nd youth streamkeeper training, Gently Down the Creek, is held at James Creek in the Children’s Forest. “It’s a coho! How long is it?”
An introduction to iNaturalist is held at the Linnaea Ed Center and 2 youth make a presentation at the FTCCIS Annual General Meeting.
The FTCCIS youth participate for the first time in the Christmas Bird Count, in association with the Cortes Museum & Archives and Bird Studies Canada.
The 4th bioblitz is held focusing on herons, fossils & plants.
The first alumni gathering happens and Alma, Kiera, Liam and Kai share how important the Children’s Forest has been to them.
The first forest ambassador ceremony happens around the campfire, and the graduating youth are tasked to continue sharing the story of the Children’s Forest.
The first meeting of directors happens with Mosaic, who are now responsible for on-the-ground operations for Island Timberlands. Mosaic personnel and FCTTIS Board directors take a walk into the Children’s Forest.
Youth participate again in the national Christmas Bird Count.
What will the next 10 years look like? Let’s begin to imagine…
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Where is Your Tree Friend?

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.

tree friends

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