On Saturday, April 22, 2023, Free the Fern participated in Earth Fest. This event, organized by Champlain Heights Community Association and the Everett Crowley Park Committee, was held at the centre of Everett Crowley Park. At the event 13 local non-profits and volunteer groups had tables set-up sharing environmental information and offering craft activities for the public. In addition, there was a drumming demo and a musical performances by The Carnival Band.
This year, under our Free the Fern tent, we had 3 tables set-up. At our first table, we had a display of invasive plants, with a focus on English ivy and Himalayan blackberry. Free the Fern Treasurer, Joe Boyd, also had his ivy baskets on display on the table and gave a live demo of the weaving technique.
On the second table, the focus was on native plants. There were fresh-cut samples of native flowers and ferns, along with native plant art by Valentina Pagetto. Invasive Species Council of BC had provided Free the Fern with Grow Me Instead brochures and stickers to hand out. In addition, we had our Free the Fern tri-fold poster showcasing our stewardship effort along the Red Alder trail.
The final table was a craft table. Free the Fern Secretary, Catherine, led a pressed flower suncatcher craft. These were made out of pressed flowers on wax paper, framed with a mason jar ring lid. They could be hung, via jute twine, to let the sun shine through them. Many of the materials for this craft had generously been donated by the public. In addition, Free the Fern director, Anne, also applied and received a Neighbourhood Small Grant to fund the craft and refreshments for our volunteers. At the craft table, we also had the artist, Valentina Pagetto, present to help Catherine with the craft.
We had over 100 people come to our Free the Fern booth curious to connect with us about invasive & native plants, or make a suncatcher. Thank you to our amazing 8 volunteers to helped out today: Grace, Joe, Erin, Connor, Yasu, Catherine, Valentina, and Linda.