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REAL’s first mini forest will be planted in 2024 at Corbett Park, Smiths Falls.  The Town of Smiths Falls is providing space at the north end of the park, and  REAL  will be coordinating the building of the forest. 

What is a Mini Forest.  A Mini-Forest, also known as a micro or little forest, is a community of native trees and shrubs planted tightly together and based on the Miyawaki method.  This method emphasizes the use of dense plantings, diverse locally-native species, soil preparation, and multilayered design to mimic the complexity of a native forest.  This dense planting technique results in taller plants in a shorter time period.

Benefits.  Mini-Forests offer both environmental and social benefits, from reducing air pollution to increasing biodiversity, and providing habitat for wildlife.  They provide much needed green spaces for people to enjoy, offering mental health benefits and improving air quality. Mini-Forests also help reduce runoff, prevent flooding and mitigate urban island heat. 

Volunteers.  We will be recruiting volunteers from the community to help with the forest floor preparation April 13, and on a planting day in October.  

Soil Preparation, Saturday, April 13.  We will be laying the forest floor  on April 13, and will need help to lay the layers of cardboard, leaves, compost and woodchips over the 100 square meter area.  We are looking for adults and teens who can help shovel, rake and wheelbarrow the floor components into place in 1.5 hour shifts:  9 – 10:30, 10:30 – 12, 12 – 1:30 and 1:30 to 3:00.  

If you can help us on April 13, please email [email protected] (or call Dave at 613-205-0320).     We will also need to borrow shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows,  so if you can bring your own that would be helpful.  

Planting Day.  The layers will need six months to develop into good forest soil.  Organizers will develop a grid to indicate where the canopy, subcanopy, understory and shrubs/groundcovers are to be placed.  Volunteers of all ages will be invited ot come on a the chosen Saturday in October to install the 300 plants.   Watch for more details in early September.

Site Preparation April 13, 2024

Resources

Smiths Falls Gets Mini Miracle.  Tiny Forest Planned for Corbett Park, in March 2024 Issue of Hometown News

Charlottetown Experiments with Mini Forests to Speed Up Growth, Nancy Russell,  CBC News, 

Our Shared Garden:  The Importance of Native Plants, Michela Rosano in April 2023 Canadian Geographic

Green Communities Canada (GCC) National Mini Forest Pilot (2023).  See also the GCC Facebook page for photos of other communities creating mini forests.

Planting a Network of Mini-Forests Across Canada, Canadian Geographic website.  See descriptions and photos of mini-forests planting during a 2023 pilot in Markham, Hamilton, Guelph, Toronto and Richmond, B.C.

Kathy Botham interviewed Dale Horeczy and Dave Thornley about the Corbett Park Mini Forest for Cogeco YourTV: