Big Event Launches Tiny Forest Project

On Sunday, October 2, over 125 volunteers came together to take practical action on climate change in Calgary. Together, we planted 210 trees and shrubs in Bowmont Park and celebrated the launch of the Calgary Climate Hub's Miyawaki Forest Project.

It was inspiring to see so many people working together to care for our shared home. Families with young children, Eco-Elders, students, and Hub Board members all took part in a bucket brigade to move the saplings to the planting location. (Hub Director Angela McIntyre may even have shed a tear or two of joy.)

The Bucket Brigade brings trees to the planting site.

Over and over, people commented about how good it was to be outside doing something tangible. You can feel the positivity in this photo gallery from our event photographer, Albert Woo (hosted on Facebook).

A family plants a tree

Good news! There's more to come. The Hub has received a grant from Alberta Ecotrust to plant ten Miyawaki tiny forests around Calgary. The October 2 event was a test run organized by The City of Calgary, Parks in cooperation with the Hub. It included a ceremony to sign the contract with Heather Morigeau, who will be running the project, and a blessing by Elder Marilyn Shingoose. An important part of the project will be Elder consultation. 

We are currently seeking volunteers to 'foster' tree seedlings over the winter as part of this project. If you're interested, please email our Project Leader, Heather, at [email protected] for more details.

(L-R) Hub Director Angela McIntyre and Project Lead Heather Morigeau sign the contract as Elder Marilyn Shingoose looks on.

The Miyawaki Method

- By Rob Miller

The Miyawaki Forest project draws on the work of Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, who developed a method of planting tiny forests using native species. The forests are designed to regenerate a native ecosystem and soon birds, butterflies, and wildlife begin returning to the forests.

The Miyawaki method involves:

  1. Survey and research of the native trees and vegetation for a given area.
  2. Soil testing for the plantation site.
  3. Preparation of the soil to restore it to a healthier and native composition.
  4. Tight planting of multiple native species to encourage competitive growth.
  5. Watering (if required) for the first 1-3 years to allow for the plantation to take hold.

The beauty of this forest regeneration system is that in a very short period of time it will become self-sustaining and can be left alone. It is estimated that within 20 to 30 years a dense and thriving native forest will be restored, with significant growth in just a few years. By restoring a native forest the soil continues to improve and the forest provides flood mitigation, barriers to wind and fire, and a home to an abundance of life.

(L-R) Project Steering Committee Co-chair Rob Miller and Hub Co-chair Joan Lawrence.

A huge thank you to the Nature Node for initiating this project, including Rob Miller, Sandra Mills, and Heather Addy. 

Thank you to Alberta Ecotrust for grant support.

Joan Lawrence


Writer, interpretive planner, climate activist in Treaty 7 territory.