September 2023

The Mini Forest planted at the Calgary Centre For Spiritual Living (CCSL) covers 200m2 and contains over 800 trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Indigenous Elder Marilyn Shingoose provided a blessing, thanked the Creator for providing a beautiful day for planting and praised the volunteers for working to heal Mother Earth by planting a new forest. Elder Shingoose reminded us all to consider how we were connecting with nature as our hands touched the soil. Nature also seemed to provide her thanks when two Swainson's Hawks hovered low over the team leads providing a tree planting demonstration to the crowd of onlookers. It was an exhilarating moment!

In her land acknowledgement at the start of the event, Heather Addy (from the Forests for Calgary steering committee) reflected on what it meant to be gathered together at the site, noting that the event gave participants a valuable opportunity to learn from Elder Marilyn Shingoose about rebuilding relationships with that piece of land and with the native plants to be planted. Heather noted that such learning is an important first step, but as settlers, we have to do more than learn and reflect. To honour the teachings that were shared with us and to live up to our obligations as people of Treaty 7, we also need to take action to advance reconciliation. Heather shared her commitment to supporting and promoting the work of Indigenous Climate Action (www.indigenousclimateaction.com) and invited all participants to think about one action they could take to carry forward what they learned during the day and help us all move forward together as Treaty 7 people.

Approximately 70 volunteers from CCSL and the Calgary Climate Hub participated on forest-planting day.

Planting was completed in about 3.5 hours thanks to a well organized plan created by project manager Heather Morigeau. The planting area was divided into 27 planting zones with teams of four working in each zone. Planting kits were created for each zone that included packages divided into groups of trees, tall shrubs, short shrubs and small herbaceous plants (such as wild strawberries). A Hub volunteer team lead managed two teams and several planting zones. Planters were given distinct tasks and asked to plant one of each type of plant in roughly one square meter plots within each planting zone. This allowed all volunteers to participate and get their hands dirty!

The CCSL event was the Calgary Climate Hub's first solo forest project, where we managed all aspects of the project. This included:

  • working with a landscape architect, Dave Spencer, on the site design, which was a challenge due to the steep slope
  • selecting all plant species and ordering from Wright Nursery and ALCLA Native Plants
  • ordering loam, compost and mulch
  • arranging for site excavation and landscaping by LE Tree Care 
  • event planning and site preparation for forest-planting event
  • communications and press releases
  • hosting of forest-planting event
  • design and installation of a drip line irrigation system 

This project was funded and supported by the Living Cities Canada Fund, a program of Green Communities Canada. A portion of our grant from Alberta Ecotrust was also used to cover additional expenses, and a generous donation from Burnbrae Farms supported the purchase of trees and shrubs.

 

(Photo by Jose Joy)

Photos by Albert Woo

Forests for Calgary is funded by Alberta Ecotrust Foundation’s Climate Innovation Grant Program.

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We would also like to acknowledge the generous support from the following funders:

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