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Tree Planting on Treaty Settlement Lands

Tree Planting

Did you know that the forest behind Edgehill Elementary is part of the 涩a蕯am嫂n Territory? The Nation generously permits the school to use outdoor classrooms on their Treaty Settlement Lands, which are accessible through the trails located at the back of the school’s field. Last year, Thichum Forestry, a company committed to the sustainable management of natural forestry resources for all 涩a蕯am嫂n Nation members, logged a substantial portion of this forest as it was considered unhealthy. 

The time had arrived to begin replanting the trees, and the Nation graciously invited our students and teachers from Edgehill Elementary to take part in their silviculture (growth and management of trees to meet B.C.'s resource management objectives) experimental trial. This trial aims to test different tree species and seeds to determine which ones can thrive in various future climates. 

Thichum has a policy of thinking forward seven generations, which includes managing for a resilient forest both now and into the future. Historically, the trees that have been planted in forestry operations come from a natural seed source nearby or from trees that have been bred in a nursery to mimic local conditions. This means that trees that have adapted to a local region and climate would be the best choices to plant for short-term survival and long-term resilience. Thichum’s experimental trial involves planting a cross section of tree species and genetics that are suited to different climate scenarios, with specific consideration to cultural keystone trees such as taχamay (western red cedar).   

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This spring, the forestry company intends to plant the 6 tree species listed below in specific areas of the Treaty Settlement Land. They are going to mark some of these areas as tree measurement plots, which will provide our students with ongoing opportunities to come back to over time to check on the progress, and deepen their understanding about forestry, silviculture, and climate change.

  • taχamay from seeds that were collected next to the planting area 
  • taχamay from a seed orchard on Vancouver Island that have been selected for their growth characteristics 
  • Grand fir – which grows in drier and warmer areas nearby, such as Texada Island 
  • Sequoia – which grows further south in California and is in the same genetic family as taχamay 
  • White pine and Douglas fir as additional species that currently grow in the qathet region and are adapted to drier conditions 

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The planting process officially began today on March 14th. The district is extremely grateful to the 涩a蕯am嫂n Nation for providing our students with this incredible learning opportunity. 

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