Volunteers sought for Confederation Forest project

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The award winning Macphail Woods ecological forestry project is located behind the heritage homestead and is a flourishing example of holistic heritage. Environmental educator Eric Edward examines a hawthorn on the site that offers a huge nursery dedicated to native Island plants, shrubs and trees.

UPTON — Volunteers and families are being sought to help create a new Confederation Forest with a planting effort this weekend to bring back the original Acadian forest cover of P.E.I.

Volunteers can put on the boots, grab a shovel and plant trees for the new Confederation Forest in the Upton Farmlands on Saturday, May 17.

“Islanders are invited to come out any time between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and help create a unique legacy of our commitment to healthy forests and communities,” says environmentalist Gary Schneider.

Schneider is the director of the Macphail Woods Ecological Forestry Project in Orwell and with support from the P.E.I. 2014 Fund and the Upton Farm Trust, will create a new four-hectare Acadian forest.

“We have damaged the original forests considerably,’’ he said. “But we have not obliterated them and the need is to try and restore some of them.”

Schneider said beautiful, healthy Acadian forests still exist, such as the MacLean woodlot in Lewes, Townsend Woodlot north of Souris, and the Sir Andrew Macphail property, where seed can be collected.

“We’ll be putting in a mixture of species on Saturday that will do OK in full sun and relatively dry soil like red oak, white ash, red maple, larch, wild rose, highbush cranberry and lots of ferns and wildflowers.”

Throughout the day, Macphail Woods staff will be teaching best planting practices, offering pruning tips and helping with identification. Hands will get dirty and refreshments will be provided.

This is just one of the many activities that will make up the Upton Farmlands Confederation Forest project. In association with Beaconsfield Historic House, there will also be a public presentation on planting for the future on May 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the carriage house in Charlottetown.

Organizations: Upton Farm Trust, Beaconsfield Historic House

Geographic location: Acadian forest, Farmlands, Orwell Lewes Charlottetown

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