Thanks to three special volunteers, Guiding leaders Maryann Brock, Teresa Marshall, and Barb Mackay, and their energetic 12- to 14-year-old Pathfinders, an environmental program called Haney Stewards continues to flourish.
The nine girls arrived at the R.J. Haney Heritage Village after school last Tuesday, their regular meeting day. They were going to learn a new skill, how to plant trees.
Teresa Marshall said the timing was perfect. She was looking for an environmental project for the girls and R.J. Haney Heritage Village staff members were the first on the list to come forward. Teresa’s Pathfinders were about to make a significant environmental contribution to their community.
For museum staff, the timing was also perfect. The tree planting event was a way of acknowledging Earth Day and fulfilling a commitment to care for the parkland that surrounds the Village. Temperatures were warm and foliage was starting to blossom. Any warmer weather would have diminished the chances for tree survival.
For a second year in a row, Skimikin Nurseries president James Kusisto donated 250-month-old seedlings. James made sure the seedlings came out of the freezer early enough to thaw for the plant.
Museum board members Gary Cruikshank and Garry Landers laced up their hiking boots. Both love the property and want to see the 40 acre park preserved.
The Guides were introduced to the project: planting regional species of trees in an environmentally managed forest. Gary knew the site needed more conifers and the girls received a short lesson on tree planting from Haney Village’s Gardener Norm Klassen, a seasoned tree planter.
Norm decided the upper trail needed the most attention this year and had the eager workers move uphill to the deer fence bordering the neighbouring Salmon Arm Campground. A recent development at the Campground had changed the look and feel of the nature trail near the village’s amphitheatre. The Haney team wanted to plant trees near the fence to create a buffer between the subdivision and the theatre’s green space.
Sheltered by the existing 120-year-old trees, the Pathfinders worked hard to plant larch, ponderosa pine, and Douglas fir seedlings. The choice of tree for the upper trail made sense. The trees were native to the property. Norm made sure the bundles of seedlings were varied between the planters and a natural mixture was planted as the group moved north.
Within a short time the girls planted 250 trees.
As many of the Pathfinders move on to Rangers, we will have new volunteers to help with the buffering project. This year’s Pathfinders have promised to come back and watch their trees grow. Thank you Haney Stewards.
Will any of these kids use the skills acquired at R.J. Haney Heritage Village and become high rollers in the tree planting world? Some of the Pathfinders considered the possibility while planting their trees. Of course at this point no one knows for certain, but in the meantime over two hundred seedlings have a permanent home.