top of page
Flower Buds

Atlantic Provinces

Abegweit Healing Forest

Scotchfort Reserve, PE Established in 2019 Atlantic Canada’s first Healing Forest, located on Prince Edward Island’s Scotchfort Reserve, was established in 2019. Led by Brendan Kelly and Leigh Gustafson in partnership with Roddy Gould from Abegweit First Nation, the Healing Forest includes over 150 native trees and shrubs planted by community members. The opening ceremony included a prayer by Elder Stephenson Joe and was attended by local students, Indigenous youth groups, Island Nature Trust staff and community members and political representatives. A walking trail, fire circle, and handcrafted benches made by a local community member were built among the trees. The project will expand to include an interpretive trail with signs explaining the seven sacred teachings to encourage self-reflection, mindfulness, and healing. Native wildflowers will also be planted in the understory of the forest to be harvested and used in traditional practices.

ila’latl Healing Forest, Skye River Trail

We’koqma’q, Nova Scotia Established in 2022 In 2022, sisters Ella and Eva Nicholas of the We’koqma’q First Nation led efforts to create a gathering space for sacred ceremonies along the Skye River Trail in central Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For millennia, the Mi’Kmaw people have harvested food and medicine from the riverside forest. Find out more about this Healing Forest project in this CTV News story.

Riverside Knowledge Path Healing Forest

Cape Breton, NS Established in 2021 The Riverside Knowledge Path is tucked away behind Riverside School in Albert Bridge, Nova Scotia. An accessible gravel two-kilometre walking path guides you through the surrounding Acadian forest. Read a book from the comfort of one of the wooden benches, gather in the Mawita’nej Learning Pergola or make music at the Sule’katike’l Sound Garden. The Path is home to a Healing Forest and a sharing circle, a space where students, staff and visitors can come together in the spirit of reconciliation. Stephen Augustine, a Mi'Kmaw Hereditary Chief and Associate Vice-President at Cape Breton University said, "This is reconciliation in action. They are actually reaching out to Indigenous Peoples.” Partner: Mi'Kmaw Nation

West Brooklyn Wabanaki Healing Forest

West Brooklyn, Nova Scotia Established in 2023 Celes and Susan Davar's family are the current stewards of about 72 acres of Wabanaki (Acadian forest) whose southern boundary is a creek that flows into the Sikunme’katik (Gaspereau River), well known by Mi’Kmaq peoples over many generations. This forest is older, with 80 - 100 year old eastern hemlocks, white pines, red maples, red spruce, yellow birch, and white ash. Living on South Mountain, with views of the Minas Basin (Bay of Fundy), the family is taking steps to protect this forest in perpetuity. A first step was to officially establish the Wabanaki Healing Forest in 2023. Since then, they have been widening their circle to learn how the site may be a gathering place for Two-eyed seeing conversations with First Nations knowledge keepers, forest ecology walks with local community members, and other forms of healing within the forest. They have invited knowledge-keepers from Bear River First Nation, and two young members of Glooscap First Nation to walk this land with them, which they did. There are creeks, flying squirrels, many mammals, and Eastern Wood Pewees (Species at risk) among the many residents of this forest. They have created a new visitor experience as part of an Annapolis Valley experiential tourism initiative which involves going to the forest for a SoundWalk, and then coming back to the local community hall to write songs with revered Annapolis Valley songwriters, about their experience in the forest. They have had a mycology workshop here. Trail cams are revealing who travels these forests by day and night. The Davars are on a journey to learn how this forest can become a learning forest in collaboration with both indigenous knowledge keepers (youth and elders), with settlers community members, and with the scientific and forest conservation communities. They will be creating some temporary signage this year identifying the forest as a National Healing forest, in the Mi’kmaq and English languages. They are grateful for this healing forest to have been dedicated as a National Healing Forest, and will continue to move forward as part of our commitment to fostering a greater understanding of truth and reconciliation in Nova Scotia

bottom of page