After a spring with record-breaking heat, orange smoky skies, and some planting activities, we find ourselves very busy and motivated. It turns out that the bulk of the effort with urban afforestation is the extensive prep work and ongoing maintenance that occurs ahead of and after the few hours of a tree-planting event.
What other activities is our organization doing? Let’s look back over the past week to talk about a few of the additional things we have been up to.
Last Monday started with a tour and workshop with a great group of students and teachers from the Norman Johnston Alternative High School. We did some hands-on grafting practice in the community food forest at our Base of Operations at the Just Food Community Farm in Blackburn Hamlet and talked about how food-bearing trees help bolster food security in urban settings.
After the students departed, we prepared samples as part of the multi-year biodiversity and soil study on our Tiny Forest Demonstration plots to send to our collaborators at the University of Guelph Centre for Biodiversity Genomics.
We received, potted up, and watered 142 of the leftover trees from the Ecology Ottawa giveaway program to “tree-sit” them over the course of the summer.
Additionally, we have several thousand of our own seedlings that we are tending destined for fall plantings. Their final destination sites include 4 more Tiny Forests at Ottawa Community Housing (OCH) and public school properties.
Forêt Capitale Forest commits to caring for the sites we have afforested with the active assistance of a wonderful base of volunteers and community associations. We need to ensure there is water at our ‘off-grid’ sites. To minimize our costs and ensure timely water deliveries, we shift away from our dependency on water trucks, and fill our own water totes, with the assistance of the EV experience team.
Did you know an electric vehicle can easily tow a 1000L water tote?! It can, and in order to facilitate a rapid transfer of water from a filled tote to an empty on-site tote, we tested our rechargeable battery-powered transfer pump this past week.
Within the past week, we also received and delivered to the OCH site two batches of large caliper trees for an upcoming celebration and volunteer event they will be hosting. These trees are safely delivered to an OCH holding site, and we look forward to planting them in the upcoming OCH planting event.
There are 2 more events this week. We have a Volunteers Event ‘open house’ (well, it is actually a big red barn) on Wednesday, June 14th for anyone who wants to learn what we are doing and potentially wants to volunteer with us. Get the details here.
In our role as Tree Canada Forestry Specialists for Eastern Ontario, we will also host a corporate volunteer event where those team of employees will be tasked with several challenging but rewarding missions. They will pot up some more trees, plant some willows on some degraded and chronically wet areas, and help build the Medicine Wheel garden beds at the Birch Path Healing Forest (for which I am so happy to serve on the steering committee along with many other dedicated folks). Birch Path Healing Forest is a newly established member of the National Healing Forests initiative and is also located at the Just Food Community Farm.
This was a brief retrospective, essentially “a week in the life of a young non-profit organization”. I could not be prouder of our small grass-roots organization and its mighty set of hands and hearts that are definitely having a positive impact on the world around us.