Cornwall downtown Tiny Forest launched

Transition Cornwall + Tree Action Working Group volunteer Daniel Marion speaks with a small group (not shown) during the launch of the Tiny Forest at the Cornwall Public Library on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – People in downtown Cornwall don’t need to dream anymore about a forest walk during their workday.

The Tree Action Working Group of Transition Cornwall + officially launched the Tiny Forest at noon today (Oct. 1) on the east side of the Cornwall Public Library along Sydney Street.

The urban forest is a partnership between the group, the City of Cornwall, the Cornwall Public Library and Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School (CCVS).

“Our group was looking for a space to create a healthy, small urban forest for our community that would provide a place to grow knowledge, appreciation of trees and the natural world because trees are a part of the city’s health,” Tree Action Group chairman Lynn Macdonell told a small group outside the library.

Macdonell says Scott Porter, who was Cornwall’s parks supervisor and arborist at the time Sydney Street was being redeveloped, and “was fully behind the project.” The urban tree canopy also received “full support” from the Cornwall Public Library board of directors and staff.

“It is anticipated that, as the library serves the community, so will the Tiny Forest,” she said.

A number of officials also spoke, including Mayor Glen Grant, who said this is a “perfect example” of partnerships. “It’s tough work to get people educated and keep them on solid ground with the environment.”

“It’s very encouraging to see leaders in the community step up like this and tackle an issue like climate change and approach it in a serious way by taking real action and not just talking about things,” Cornwall Parks Supervisor Dan Drouin added.

After the speeches, people were given a tour by Tree Action Group volunteer Daniel Marion, who is also an urban farmer.

A section of the Tiny Forest at the Cornwall Public Library on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

The Tiny Forest has a number of species including Pawpaw, Black Elderberry, Chokeberry, American Plum, Staghorn Sumac, Crab Apple and Eastern Red Bud, plus wooden log benches for people to sit and escape the daily grind for a few minutes. There’s also a box with pamphlets and a QR code to access a website for more information.

The forest was planted about a year-and-a-half ago. Some of the trees will reach 13-16 feet (4-5 meters) while the American Plum could go as high as 35 feet (11 meters).

During the tour, one attendee said people don’t have to drive out of Guindon Park or the Long Sault Parkway when “this is right here.”