Families grow with city parks

    Birth Forest_B1J8618

    From Left: Mom Alana Johnson gets some help from her son oldest son Sawyer, 7, to plant a tree for her youngest son nine-month-old Marshall Paddock in the 2017 Chestermere Birth Forest on Sept. 27. Photo by Jeremy Broadfield

    Chestermere’s birth forest grew with the planting of 18 new trees in honour of children in the community Sept. 27.
    “It’s kind of neat you’re planting roots here just like your family and you can always come back and see it,” said Alana Johnson who, with the help of her kids, planted three trees, one for each of them.
    Johnson said that even though she grew up in Chestermere, this was the first time she had heard of the birth forest.
    “I just think it’s a cool gesture,” she said, “each kid has their own tree and they know they can come look at it and hopefully they’ll live out here for a long time too.”
    While her son Marshall Paddock at nine-months-old is too young to understand that he has a tree in the birth forest, Johnson said her other kids, Sawyer Johnson, 7, and Molly Johnson, 9, have been really excited about getting their trees.
    Both of Sawyer and Molly like to frequent the bike park with their friends.
    “I’m sure they’ll come and see their tree all the time,” said Johnson.
    The birth forest planting event, which is a partnership between the Streetscapes Committee and the city parks department, was organized by Chestermere Parks Department Gardening Lead Hand Alison Ciupa.
    “I was pleased with the fact we had 18 families,” she said.
    Ciupa said that she chose trembling aspen as the trees this year.
    “They’re a native tree and they do very well,” she said.
    Barring extreme weather, such as heavy snows, or disease, all the trees planted in the forest should live for at least the next 50 years.
    Participation in the birth forest has been slowing growing in the community with both this year and last year being slightly above average in the number of families who planted trees.
    This year’s forest was planted along the fence line between the park and Rainbow Creek Elementary School.
    Although the location is a bit hidden, Johnson likes that there are hidden gems, like the birth forest, to discover in Chestermere.
    “That’s one of the nice things in Chestermere,” she said, “there’s lots of nice little paths to go down.”