Ladysmith, BC – The Ecoforestry Institute Society (EIS) is pleased to be among the 60 recipients chosen to share $5 million in Capital Projects funding administered by the Province of British Columbia through the Community Gaming Grants program.

“We are extremely grateful that EIS has been awarded $65,000 to go towards the restoration of the Wilkinson Heritage Homestead at Wildwood,” said Barry Gates, Co-chair of EIS. “While the log and stone structure of the Homestead is sound, the majority of the facility requires serious renovation and upgrading. These funds are very welcome and will go toward ensuring we have an energy efficient and safe facility for public access.”

The Homestead is to be developed as an educational and research centre with accommodation for conservation holidays. The Capital Projects grant will be used primarily to install new potable and grey water systems, a fire response system, roof solar panels, double paned French doors and a kitchen upgrade.

The EIS Education Committee is in the process of designing a slate of educational workshops and tours for 2018 for a wide range of audiences from school children to professionals and academics. Course subjects include ecoforestry philosophy and practice, timber harvest practices, non-timber and value-added wood products, mushrooms, plant identification and uses, and timber frame construction methods.

EIS is a volunteer charitable society that holds Wildwood Ecoforest in trust for the people of British Columbia. EIS is dedicated to ensuring the public has ongoing access to this working demonstration forest to learn about ecoforestry and to see the work in practice.

Wildwood is a renowned demonstration ecoforest, the longest continuously managed ecoforest on the west coast of North America. Merv Wilkinson began logging the property in the mid 1940s after studying the Scandinavian method of selective harvesting. He was awarded the Orders of Canada and British Columbia for his pioneering work in ecoforestry. He built the current log and stone structure in 1963 after the original structure was lost to fire.

Under the Wildwood Trust Deed, EIS is mandated to continue Merv’s work at Wildwood as tangible evidence that humans can benefit from the environment while maintaining a fully functioning ecosystem. Wildwood stands as a global example of an ecoforest, boasting numerous old growth and mature trees, intact wetlands, lake foreshore and an abundant wildlife habitat managed in a woodlot landscape. Selective logging practices ensure that forest growth is maintained entirely through natural regeneration cycles.

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