On Saturday September 22 the community of Membertou will be planting a forest!

Community members will be planting trees that are native to Cape Breton in an effort to restore their forest environment.

Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre’s (MELC) UnamaKIDS received a grant to organize the project from Canon’s Take Root Program, presented by Evergreen.

Atknujik wla kmu’jk wjit elmi’knikewaq–Restoring MEMBERTOU’S Connection to the Forest One Tree at a Time” will provide a wide range of native trees and seedlings, planting equipment and advice from forestry experts.

Activities get underway at Membertou Heritage Park on Saturday, 22 September at 10 AM and continue throughout the day until 2 PM.

A community BBQ and ceremonial planting of Black Ash will take place at noon.

Membertou has experienced an unprecedented period of growth over the past decade.

What was once a small Mi’kmaw reserve in the forest on the outskirts of Sydney has become a booming centre of business with new roads, housing subdivisions, convention centre, hotel, cultural centre and business park.

With the gain in infrastructure has come a loss of the community’s sense of being a part of the forest.

Atknujik wla kmu’jk wjit elmi’knikewaq will help the community restore its connection to the forest and the natural world.

Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre (MELC) provides education, leadership and sharing of ideas with groups that have a similar vision and objectives on sustainability, preservation and management. Current projects include Unama’KIDS, a program for grade six students and Nikani Awtiken, a summer camp for high school students.

Evergreen is a national environmental organization that makes cities more livable through community naturalization projects. Canon’s Take Root Program, presented by Evergreen is providing a $5,000 grant and a PowerShot digital camera to 30 local groups across Canada. Take Root aims to add more than 7,500 trees to the Canadian urban landscape annually encouraging community engagement in public spaces through native tree-planting events, invasive-species removal and other community stewardship, monitoring and developmental activities.