EALT celebrates 10-year anniversary with tour of private protected land.
By CBC News.
July 27, 2018 at 3:58 p.m.
For 10 years, the Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT) have been hard at work, securing lands around the Edmonton area and conserving them as natural habitat.
To celebrate their anniversary, the organization will show off a piece of private land that is home to one of the most unique microclimates in the city.
The Forests and Farmlands guided tours at Visser Lands on Saturday will lead people through parts of the 180-acre habitat, home to more than 80 species of birds including 15 species currently at risk.
There are also many shrubs in the area, including saskatoon berries, high and lowbush cranberries, beaked hazelnut and chokecherries.
"They have the longest growing season in the area," Pam Wight, the executive director of the EALT, told CBC's Radio Active.
The land is near a sharp curve in the North Saskatchewan River northeast of Edmonton. Parts of the old forest are also used by Indigenous people for traditional ceremonies and education.
Wight said the land trust was contacted by the owner of the land, asking how it could best be preserved.
All of the 11 protected areas under EALT's management are through collaboration with the owners of the land. Landowners reserve the right for minimal use of the lands while the organization places a protective notation on them.
The guided tours will include a nature interpretive tour, a tour of the nearby Lady Flower Gardens, an urban agriculture tour and a forest therapy tour.
Forest therapy, or forest bathing, is a practice which started in Japan. Doctors will routinely prescribe time spent outside.
It has since moved to the U.S. and Canada.
Wight said even 20 minutes spent in the forest is valuable, considering that many Edmontonians spend a lot of time inside a concrete environment.
The guided forest therapy tour is meant to be slow, experiential and sensory.
It's part of the Saturday tours Wight said would be valuable to anyone looking to escape the city for a day.
"Actually being there, feeling it, listening to the passion of the landowners, listening to the experts and feeling the soil, maybe even participating in some of the activities, there's no question that that does much more for people," she said.
"We invite them to enjoy it with us."
Tickets for Saturday's event are available for $30 here.