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.”