June 19, 2018 - 4:15pm
1,000 Trees Planted in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region
In an effort to limit the environmental impact of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, in June 2018, the Government of Canada entered into an agreement with the Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve to make the summit an environmentally responsible event by reducing its carbon footprint. One of the highlights of this agreement was the planting of 100,000 trees across 14 of Canada’s 18 United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere reserves. The G7 Tree Planting project included the UNESCO-designated Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) located on Vancouver Island.
“Our team had the chance to plant one per cent of these trees, which will sequester 143 tonnes of carbon over the course of their lifespan,” says Ashley Van Acken, MABR Coordinator.
Through this national initiative, the MABR partnered with the City of Parksville, Snaw-Naw-As First Nation, TimberWest, and Vancouver Island University (VIU) to identify suitable lands which would accommodate the planting of 1,000 Douglas fir trees. On March 5, City of Parksville Council passed a resolution to support this collaborative partnership. Top Bridge Park was dedicated as the location for this 50-year protection project. Upon approval by the City of Parksville, TimberWest Forestry Corporation committed to donating Douglas fir trees for planting and to provide expertise in the field during the community exercise. Over the next few years, TimberWest will also be working with the MABR to ensure an 85% survival rate of planted trees.
“This project has put the MABR and all of its partners on a national platform,” says Van Acken. “These collaborative partnerships really showcased how various local entities can come together to combat climate change. But, most importantly, it was an opportunity to engage youth about the importance of the land, traditional territories and our ecosystems.”
On April 6, over 45 youth had the opportunity to participate and plant these trees. Youth participants ranged from ages 3 to 25 and attended from Rivers, Oceans and Mountains School, the Collaborative Education Alternative Program from School District Parsville-Qualicum, the VIU Forestry Department, and preschool children from Snaw-Naw-As First Nation. TimberWest and VIU forestry students provided assistance to all participants to ensure planting was executed successfully.
“At one point the preschool children were singing the “this is our land" and it was very powerful,” says Van Acken.
“Engaging youth in these types of events leaves them with a memory for the rest of their lives and ultimately creates a deeper connection between people and nature.”
All partners are excited to announce the successful planting of 1,000 Douglas fir trees which will offset about 143 tonnes of carbon dioxide. For more information about the initiative please visit Canada’s 2018 G7 Summit website.
Rae-Anne LaPlante, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University