BREAKING NEWS! A piece of land in the heart of Fern Gully Forest was officially donated to the nonprofit in loving memory of Vicky D. Friend. The donors are “pleased to be able to support [the CNF] vision for children who may not have easy access to nature or being outdoors and for preserving natural parts of the urban environment.”
Celebrating Progress to Save Fern Gully Forest
The community forest, that has been locally nicknamed “Fern Gully Forest,” is connected to vital wetlands, Indian Creek, and a wildlife corridor along the Woodland Trail system. Indian Creek drains into the Puget Sound and is an important watershed with only 20% of forest remaining according to the City of Olympia’s information on Streams and Shorelines.
Fern Gully Forest includes important wildlife habitat and old growth Western Red Cedar trees that make it a ‘small but mighty’ hidden gem in the city. It provides important ecosystem services, including air and water purification, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, and wildlife habitat. There are also numerous social and cultural benefits as well, including intellectual development, spiritual enrichment, recreation and creative and aesthetic experiences for adults and children alike.
The community relies on this forest for a sense of place, early-childhood environmental education programs, as well as a nature sanctuary for everyone to enjoy. Including the wildlife that desperately need this habitat. Other urban forests in the same watershed are rapidly being developed, resulting in a loss of wildlife habitat and other ecosystem services, and reducing overall community well-being and resiliency.
The founding board members of the CNF see the alarming rate of the conversion of urban forests to development as a major threat to the over-all well-being of our communities and the beautiful nature that Olympia is known for. The nonprofit was born out of a need they saw in the community to specifically protect community forests, not simply endangered species habitat as is the focus of other conservation organizations in the area. The CNF aim to also provide equal access to outdoor education and spaces where people can connect with nature and children can safely play and learn together.
These mothers are on a mission to protect urban forests from the threat of development, educate, and build resilient communities. Their regenerative projects are designed to restore the health of ecosystems while educating and helping people connect and feel a stronger sense of belonging and well-being. Uniting around their common goals of equally caring for people, wildlife, and the planet. The CNF is collaborating with other conservation organizations and nature-based programs, such as Fern Gully Forest School to provide equal access to outdoor education and events that foster good stewardship of the land, restore the natural environment, and build a sense of community and inclusivity, especially for low-income and minority populations.
Although this is great news for the conservation of Olympia’s vital urban forests, there is more work to be done! An additional acre of this community forest that the CNF is working to protect is still at risk of development. “We are making good progress on the Save Fern Gully Forest project. We've been in communication with the development company that owns the acre of developable land, and they are willing to sell to our nonprofit, if we can raise the funds” shares the Community Nature Foundations Board President Charissa Waters. “We need your help to protect the last remnants of Olympia’s beautiful forests for the wildlife and our human communities, present and future. Our children and their children are counting on us.”
You can check out the CNF’s progress to Save Fern Gully Forest and how to help here: