I am posting this a little late because our team’s focus of late has been on crowdfunding and we did not want to overwhelm you with email. We are now into our second week of crowdfunding and we are pleased and thankful for the support of our network of friends and champions. We have reached 10% of our goal but I need your help. Please encourage your friends and family to share our campaign and, if they can, to contribute so that we can fight for the forest.
On Sunday, October 23rd, I took a group of people on a Winnipeg Walk. This was no ordinary stroll. It was to look at and to talk about the urban forest of the city of Winnipeg. For the most part, the trees are the American elm, ulmus americana. I have been told that these trees were selected from species that grew along the banks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. To my eye, as a botanist, I think these trees are of a slightly different genome to those around the city of Ottawa and to those of the Eastern seaboard of Canada. In particular, I am thinking of the rare elms of Prince Edward Island, with their very long trunk and a less weeping canopy. The leaves are smaller, too.
The urban forest of white elms of Winnipeg are a model for the rest of the world. There is no urban forest like it anywhere. It consists of about 8 million trees and over 160,000 mature elm trees and. These form green arching canopies over the residential roads and are growing in a separate strip of maintained grass that separates the traffic from the homes. These trees are banded. At breast height, they carry a bracelet of Tanglefoot™ sticky resin to keep the pests away. The city has been combatting Dutch Elm disease-carrying beetles with a fierce regimen of tree maintenance for many years. They should be proud of doing this.
I did mention to Winnipeg’s present mayor that I would be happy to do a Medicine Walk with a medicine man or woman of the local aboriginal population, on the health benefits of such an urban forest. I would speak of its benefit to the circulation, lungs and anti-cancer effects, amongst other topics. It could be used to attract tourists to this unique natural construct within the city from all over the globe.
I have set in place the master plans to replant the urban forest for the city of Ottawa. I planted the first tree for this two years ago downtown. It was an American basswood, Tilia americana. This tree is the greatest insect-feeding tree in the world. Honey bees adore it and work, in July, the fragrant flowers late into the evenings to get he last drop of medicinal nectar that the tree supplies. Other cities worldwide are thinking about urban forests, too.
So now, we, the crew of Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees, are waiting for the film festivals to show interest in our film and launching our crowdfunding campaign. Our eyeballs are on Berlin, then Rotterdam and Dublin. So we are hoping to be placed. Then we can begin to show the film theatrically and, if our crowdfunding is successful, we will have the opportunity to create more events to support local and national conservation initiatives. Jeff McKay has also added around 20 videos on the planting and care of trees. My electric cat called Greyling is the star. So you have the answers all served up on a platter. Pull up your sleeves, get a shovel and an acorn. Join me, please. Together we must stop this monster called climate change. It is in our sights…