Tree Time

by Priscilla Brewer

We are finally beginning to understand the tremendous benefits of trees and forests.

We know that trees filter air pollutants and give us fresh clean oxygen to breath. They also store groundwater, purify our drinking water, and capture vast quantities of carbon. They keep us cool in summer, protect us from winter chills, and provide us with food, fuel, lumber, fibres, crafts and medicine. It’s almost as if we need trees to survive (WE DO!).

But trees don’t only benefit humans – they also create and nurture their own ecosystems and support vital biodiversity. Trees immensely help other plants and wildlife to flourish, they keep river habitat healthy, help protect and replenish our watersheds and aquifers, and improve soil conditions for an immeasurable number of below-ground critters.

Trees provide all these valuable services for free, 24 hours a day, without complaining. Yet they are sometimes treated as if they were unimportant objects, appreciated solely for their dollar value.

Incredibly, there has been a recent wave of research that delves deeper into the mystery of trees. New studies and compelling literature suggest that trees can communicate with each other, pass information, share nutrients with other trees and plants, and even recognize and nurture their offspring. This would imply that trees think, care, and feel pain.

Even more mysterious is the idea that trees can help humans on a spiritual level. Around the world, studies have shown that by spending time immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of a forest we can lower our stress levels, improve our memory functions, lower our blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and depression. Many countries consider ‘forest bathing’ a recognized form of health care. Hanging out in a forest can actually make us happier and healthier.

We could all use a little more tree time!
The Yellow Point Ecological Society (Y.E.S.) hopes to inspire local residents and visitors to appreciate the enormous gifts we receive from our precious forests.

Together, let’s speak out to protect what remains of our forest, so that the trees can continue to protect and nurture the complex and biodiverse ecosystem that lives beneath their branches – including us.

Please join us for our monthly Yellow Point nature hikes! Or February hike is on the 11th at 11:00am at the Yellow Point Ecological Reserve (meet at the end of Whiting Way, no dogs please). Our March hike will be at Wildwood, March 11th at 11:00. See you there!

Priscilla Brewer

A Voice for Nature

Yellow Point is a very real place, even if nobody knows where it begins and where it ends. Is the Crow and Gate in Yellow Point? Maybe not. Is Wildwood Ecoforest? Yes – Merv Wilkinson certainly thought so. Is the land around Brenton-Page Road? Yes, but at some point down the road maybe it ceases to be.

I like it this way – Yellow Point becomes more of a state of mind. If you think you live here, you do. And if there’s one thing that most Yellow Pointers love, it’s Nature with a capital N. It’s the forests, the lakes, the farmland, the quiet country roads, the trails, the ocean. Yes, the ocean. It’s the barred owls, with their seven-note build-up to that final whoo-oo. It’s the beavers, working quietly as guardians of the lakes. It’s the river otters, making their way up the ravine to Yellow Point Park. It’s the explosion of wildflowers from March to May. It’s the new young herring, filling the sea in their teeming thousands before they take off to the larger ocean.

It’s the knowledge that the Stz’uminus and the Snuneymuxw First Nations have lived on this land for thousands of years, and appreciation for their stewardship.

It’s the trees, the proud red cedars in their family groups, the determined Douglas-firs, the billowing maples.

It’s the appreciation for all who in years past have donated their land to become parks, who made Yellow Point Park possible, who worked to create the Yellow Point Ecological Reserve.

And now, for all who wish to protect and preserve and celebrate this beauty, we have the Yellow Point Ecological Society (Y.E.S.), newly formed this August. Like most non-profits, the society was formed because of a perceived threat to our remaining green space, wetlands and watershed.

The threats continue, but there’s so much to be said by way of gratitude for Nature in this region. It is our hope that over the years people will step up to say YES, I want to be part of this. YES, I want to add my commitment to preserve, protect and celebrate its beauty. And YES, I want to be a voice for the wildlife, forests and plants who have no human voice with which to speak.

Nature will face huge challenges over the coming years, as development continues, the climate crisis grows and other threats emerge. It is our hope that the Yellow Point Ecological Society will be around for two hundred years, long enough for local residents and the Stz’uminus and the Snuneymuxw First Nations to see the forest recover its old-growth character, to see the salmon and herring return, and to be part of a new ecological civilization being born.

Guy Dauncey