A group of youth calling themselves the children’s forest alumni, who have been involved since childhood, are making a film about the Cortes Children’s Forest Trust.

“It’s going to be around five to seven minutes long. We  want to capture the social and ecological spheres  of the children’s forest and present that in a film for people to know more about it and connect with the forest if they haven’t been there. Then maybe more people will want to go and experience the beautiful trees and the beautiful ecosystems,”  explained Kai Harvey.

Asha Harvey in the Children’s Forest during ecological monitoring – Photo courtesy Kai Harvey

She is one of the children’s forest alumni, and a contributor to the ‘Forest Alphabet: Artistic Visions of a Forest in Trust to the Children‘ (2010).

Harvey added, “It comes full circle. We have all either graduated from university or are working now, but our love for the children’s forest and for the island here and the community here has not faded.”

The alumni are planning the film, but hoping to interview a variety of community members: children, elders, scientists, and members of the Klahoose First Nation.

“We want to represent a wide range of perspectives and show how many people love these forests and the ecological significance of them, especially considering that we are so vulnerable to the effects of climate change on such a rocky small island that we live on.”

They want to show the ecological significance of the old growth trees and mature second growth forests that are just starting to serve the ecosystem functions normally performed by old growth trees.

“So we can’t be taking them away now,” said Harvey

“I think all of us are realizing that we don’t have enough media that really tells the story of the children’s forest and shows the community’s connection to the place.”

They are working with  Ben Grayzel of  Olam films. He is based on the West Coast and only works with Indigenous groups, nonprofits and value driven businesses. Grayzel is very specific about the clients he takes on, and only works for people who have a strong vision and ecological social agenda.

“I feel really lucky to have his creative vision, but also his capability to capture the children’s forest story and to be able to share that world.  Not only is this really inspiring and really exciting for the Cortes community to be able to have this awesome kind of community based conservation here, it’s also very inspiring for other communities in this area to be able to look at what is happening here. This is a model that could be adopted by other communities. it is amazing really what the community has accomplished in the last decade and we really want this film to tell the story,” said Harvey.

“I think all of us are  looking for a way to give back to that community and to this forest and continue our stewardship with the skills that we have now, compared to the skills that we had when we wrote our short poems  for the Children’s Forest Alphabet Book. We’re just looking for a way to continue to be involved and to continue to give back and to steward this forest in the ways that we know how.”

The alumni are hoping the Children’s Forest Trust documentary will be finished by September and hope to have a Cortes Island community screening event.