By Josh Cowan
While the day started with threatening thunderstorms it ended with many good conversations at the Little Forests Kingston Tent at the Skeleton Park Arts Festival (SPAF) on a beautiful June 24, 2023. Under a tent graciously supplied by Elsabe Falkson and the Rotary Club of Kingston we joined other local community organisations and introduced pocket forests to our neighbours and fellow Kingstonians. For those who don't know, SPAF is one of the best and most well attended music and arts festivals in Kingston. The organisers had heard of LFK through our newsletter and reached out, hoping that we could attend. After some discussion by the Outreach Node, we decided SPAF was a good place to connect with residents who are looking for ways to bring biodiversity and climate resilience to their property. It turned out to be a resounding success.
While arranging trees and shrubs to represent both Keystone and Wet space Pocket Forests as part of our display, Nathan and I wondered how many people would stop by and when the rain would stop. Like Ilia Underwing caterpillars to a White Oak, the people came, intrigued by our baby trees and our message of hope and action. In fact, so many people dropped by that it often took three or more of us to share the great work that Little Forest Kingston is doing. Under clearing skies, we spoke with many, perhaps 75 or more people.
Shout out to Nathan Nesody, Joanne Whitfield and Jerri Jerret for their booth design and signage. Whether it was Nathan Nesdoly's patient and knowledgeable exchanges, Master Gardener Susie Everding's ability to highlight the marvelous botany supporting Pocket and Little forests, Joanne Whitfield's masterful listening and guiding people towards knowledge and excitement, Alex Donkin's able help or even this author's game attempts to spiel about the benefits of Pocket and Little Forests it was clear that those who stopped by were interested and enthusiastic! In fact, 38 people signed up, most of whom had space for and interest in a pocket forest and want to explore planting on their land. Others are interested in getting involved in Little Forest Kingston’s mycelial network. Speaking of Susie, please check out her GoFundMe https://www.gofundme.com/f/making-a-big-difference-with-a-little-forest where she's trying to raise money to bring a Little Forest to Grenville Park! While we were all tired after a long day, we were also all excited about the connection and community that LFK was able to encourage. It was truly a wonderful day! Miigwech for the invitation SPAF!