Vancouver Island’s first ‘mini forest’ now in bloom south of Nanaimo

Vancouver Island's first 'mini forest' now in bloom south of Nanaimo
Photo: Rotary Club of Nanaimo
The new forest is located in front of a transitional housing complex on Snyneymuxw Territory in Cedar, south of Nanaimo.

What’s believed to be the first “mini forest” on Vancouver Island is now in bloom with thousands of native trees and shrubs, according to the Rotary Club of Nanaimo.

Volunteers were out in droves to bring the new forest, located in front of a transitional housing complex on Snyneymuxw Territory in Cedar, to fruition. The Rotary Club says the plot of land now has more than 1,000 plants closely planted together, all in an effort to promote biodiversity just outside the Harbour City.

To make it happen, the club teamed up with the First Nation and Green Communities Canada, a national non-profit that supports grassroots projects.

“A mini forest is a beautiful way to transform a site, and there is potent symbology in seeing how the dense plantings of trees and shrubs work together to help the whole forest grow,” said Emily Amon, Green Communities’ director of green infrastructure.

Story continues below

(Photo: Rotary Club of Nanaimo)

Rotary says that while the forest may be small in scale, measuring about 2,000 square feet, it still has a big impact on the environment and those who utilize it. It says it will provide transitional housing residents with a welcoming space that supports social well-being.

“Densely planted mini forests are self-sustaining and are beneficial in many ways, including promoting biodiversity, reducing runoff, improving air quality in urban areas, providing mental health benefits and creating wildlife habitat,” it says.

Green Communities has more information about mini forests, also known as “micro” or “tiny” forests, on its website. It describes the planting technique as “dense” and says it “results in taller plants in a shorter time period.”

Community comes together

Amon lauds the project, saying it brings “native biodiversity and Indigenous medicine plants back to the landscape while beautifying this important transitional living site.”

Rotary says it provided $13,500 in funding, as well as landscaping expertise and project logistics. The First Nation helped with site preparation and topsoil application, while Green Communities provided $10,000 and expertise. The City of Nanaimo also pitched in, donating $3,000 for the forest, according to Rotary in a news release.

“A heartfelt thanks goes to Cinnabar Farms, Streamside Native Plants in Bowser and Nanaimo Area Land Trust for their generous support and enthusiasm for the project,” it added, also thanking the volunteers from various organizations.

“From planning and logistics to rolling up our sleeves and doing the physical work, this project was a true partnership and group effort,” noted Nanaimo Rotary Club president Rebecca Taylor.

“We thank the Snuneymuxw First Nation for welcoming us onto their land to do this project, Green Communities Canada for their mini forest expertise and guidance, and the local suppliers who helped reduce the overall project cost.”

(Photo: Rotary Club of Nanaimo)

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!