The Acquisition and Debt of Wildwood
In November 2016, EIS won a Supreme Court of BC decision that allowed the society to acquire Wildwood. The purchase price was $800,000, of which $450,000 was a mortgage backed by VanCity Credit Union. The remainder of the purchase price was covered by the strong support of the Wildwood community. In addition, three EIS Directors provided $115,000 in personal loans to provide immediate operating funds for the society. As a result, EIS has developed a strategic plan to manage and pay down the debt. Any assistance you can give us would be appreciated. Just click on the Donate button below…
2017 Timber Harvest
In Fall 2017, the Ecoforestry Institute Society completed the first Wildwood timber harvest in 10 years. This harvest took place during four days of harvesting from October 14 to 30 when the fire danger was low, the soil not saturated and outside the nesting season for the resident bird population. 63 trees were felled with 24 (38%) of them classified as danger trees situated near buildings and along the main road. The selection of non-danger trees was based on a criteria-ranking developed by the EIS Forest Management Committee, of which the overarching principle is to support the ecological integrity and functions of the forest.
The logging technique was designed to minimize damage to the forest and to be affordable for small woodlot owners. Trees were hand felled by chainsaw, then towed by a farm tractor with a light weight logging arch sporting a small hand-driven winch. Many thanks to Fred Green for the use of the farm tractor and to Jay Rastogi for the logging arch.
The merchantable harvest volume netted 35m3 and the crew recorded details for every cut tree such as selection rationale, species, GPS coordinates, dbh, stump diameter, and height. Single tree to group selection within 100m of the mill site opening (relatively geographically concentrated to avoid more wide spread disturbance) was 69% of harvest volume. Trees were bucked to 8,12, 16, 20 ft lengths to maximize grade value of milled cuts. Approximately 9 cu meters were milled to net 2700 board feet of lumber for the Homestead renovation project. Tops and branches were left on site to increase ecologically important “dead” wood volume on the forest floor, adding nutrients to the soil and habitat for beneficial insects.
Thanks to the contributing volunteers: Peter Jungwirth, Barry Gates, Erik Pikkiila, Bruce Hepburn, Michael Hollihn and Christopher Walther. Photos above by Bruce Hepburn
The Homestead Restoration
In April 2017, the EIS Board prioritized the restoration of the Homestead as a key project due to the society’s educational mandate and the need to develop a large revenue stream to help pay down the EIS debt. The Board designated $50,000 to begin the project, but, as with many reno projects, it soon became obvious that the Homestead required far more updating than anticipated. Fortunately, the Society was awarded two large grants: $150,000 from the Regional District of Nanaimo and $65,000 from the Province of BC Capital Project Gaming grant.
As a result, the Homestead has undergone a full restoration, from top to bottom; inside and out. The renos were completed in July 2018, and the 14-month project has produced stunning results. The Homestead now features a charming rustic décor supported by new plumbing, electrical, water and septic services. There are all new wood floors, doors, and double-paned windows. Many features, such as the heat pumps, insulation, and solar panels ensure a more energy-efficient operation.
The living room is equipped with a projection screen and projector. A new well was drilled providing potable water for the first time, a large cistern was added for water storage, and rain barrels collect rainwater for use on the new native plant and herb garden. All the asbestos has been removed, as were the resident rats. The rare and protected Little Brown Bat colony that was living in the attic spaces was gently rehoused in their very own, brand-new bat condos.
For more information on booking the Homestead, click on the Inquire button below.
Ongoing educational tours and programs
Since the end of the year in 2017, we have given over 40 tours to groups ranging from elementary school classes to university groups, and individuals interested in ecoforestry, with local, national and international participants.
In October 2018 we hosted a pit-cook for Wildwood friends, supporters and volunteers.
In the coming year, we have more tours and activities planned including Forest Bathing. We will also be organizing a number of workshops that highlight Wildwood, value added products, and activities based on the forest and all it has to offer. We have a group of knowledgeable and skilled naturalists and ecoforesters who are looking forward to leading these activities.