Work party aims to restore balance to Nanaimo forest

Michael Geselbracht is trying to restore balance to the forest in Pioneer Park but he needs some helping hands to accomplish his goal.

Mariko Ihara and Zamir Dhanji serenading the trees with their hung drums after a day's work in Pioneer Park Forest

Mariko Ihara and Zamir Dhanji serenading the trees with their hung drums after a day's work in Pioneer Park Forest

Michael Geselbracht is trying to restore balance to the forest in Pioneer Park, but needs some helping hands to accomplish his goal.

He’s organized a permaculture work party, the third he’s put together, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 4) to remove spindly trees.

“I would love to see more forest thinning in the Nanaimo Regional District and to eventually have the forest community-owned so we would not be clear-cutting in areas we cherish,” said Geselbracht.

The forest was logged previously and the existing trees are too close together, choking out the undergrowth. Because the trees are so tightly packed, deer can hardly walk through the area and there are hardly any birds.

The state of the forest highlights the necessity of changing forestry practices and bringing back balance so ecosystems are restored, saidGeselbracht.

“This forest will greatly benefit from being thinned it will greatly increase the biodiversity of the area,” he said.

Participants will use hand tools, which Geselbracht said is to help people connect to each other by providing an environment that fosters more social interaction and conversation.

People are invited to participate in any part of the activities they are comfortable with.

The day begins with stretching at 8 a.m. followed by meditation at 9 a.m. Forest thinning work is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a lunch break at 1 p.m. From 5-7:30 p.m. there is a potluck, as well as music and performances by Joanne and Richard Sales, who will teach participants dances of universal peace.

Geselbracht said an important part of the event is the connection with people and a spiritual connection to the earth.

“People are trying to do good work in the world and create a more positive and hopeful future,” he said.

To create a more spiritual connection, a sweatlodge is also planned for Friday (Sept. 3), from 3:30-6:30 p.m., in preparation for the work party.

“The sweatlodge is an important place for setting energies and healing,” said Geselbracht.

There are several sweatlodge protocols people must adhere to, including refraining from alchohol at least four days prior to the ceremony and bringing a small gift or donation to the lodgepourer. Geselbracht said people should contact him for a list of the sweatlodge’s protocols and to reserve a spot.

For more information, please e-mail Geselbract at michael.geselbracht@gmail.com.