‘Mini forest’ coming to Smiths Falls’ Corbett Park

REAL volunteers, town hall staff and council members and Grade 7/8 students of Duncan J Schoular gather at the site of the future mini forest. – Submitted photo

In celebration of its 35th anniversary, the Rideau Environmental Action League (REAL), in collaboration with the Town of Smiths Falls, has announced plans to establish a “mini forest” in Smiths Falls by the fall of 2024.

The mini forest, set to be located at Corbett/Hyland Park, will consist of 300 trees and shrubs planted within the greenspace between Empress, Sussex, Elgin, and Chambers Streets.

A mini forest, also referred to as a micro forest or tiny forest, embodies a community of native trees and shrubs densely planted in an urban or suburban environment using the Miyawaki method. This approach prioritizes dense plantings, diverse locally-native species collections, meticulous soil preparation, and multi-layered design to emulate the complexity of a natural forest. By employing this dense planting technique, the mini forest is expected to foster the growth of taller plants in a condensed timeframe.

Preparation for the mini forest began on April 13 with soil groundwork, followed by a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, April 17. Despite inclement weather conditions, over 40 volunteers dedicated their efforts across four shifts to lay down the necessary layers for the forest base. The town contributed park land for the project and supplied forest floor material from the compost site, while Gemmill’s Garden Centre facilitated the provision of a water truck and hoses.

Further contributions came from Campbell’s Trucking, which provided strategically placed large rocks at the site’s edge. Additionally, Grade 7/8 students from Duncan J. Schoular School contributed by painting paint stir sticks with uplifting messages to be showcased throughout the area.

“Public Works and Utilities, along with Planning and Community Services, assisted with the donation of lands and provided materials from the compost site to collaborate in ensuring the success of this awesome REAL initiative,” stated Engineering and Environmental Coordinator Vanessa Bernicky. “This mini forest assists in the continued development of the town’s tree canopy needs and helps to address climate change. Well done REAL and resident volunteers.”

To remain updated on the progress of the mini forest project, interested individuals are encouraged to follow the Rideau Environmental Action League on Facebook or visit their website.

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