The Naturalization Gallery

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The Naturalization Gallery is encompassed within the 38-acre property located on Hilltop Drive in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, known as the Terry Fox Sports Complex. The gallery is accessible via a two-kilometer trail around the property. The trail-start can be accessed from the parking lot at 79 Hilltop Drive. The Grand Opening was June 24th, 2018 to officially open the grounds.

The idea for the gallery originated from an artistic perspective, as Mother Nature’s palette is discoverable throughout the Naturalization Gallery. There is no other area within the community to experience all the Island’s indigenous tree species, while comfortably travelling a gravel walking trail.

Because of the establishment of the gallery, the wildlife benefits as well. The gallery provides a wildlife corridor for animals to migrate, a sanctuary for birds, plentiful fruits, nuts, and seeds. The forest will increase biodiversity and habitat quality, decrease incidents of disease, increase community resilience, and promote active environmental stewardship and forest conservation.

Naturalization refers to allowing a space to grow unimpeded, without any human intervention that would compromise growth, such as mowing or fertilizing. The idea for naturalization originated from the value in manifestation of a natural state. This gallery is unique in that it is not manicured, and provides users with the experience of a natural forest. Click and view our sustainability plan

Indigenous Acadian Forest

The vision for the Naturalization Gallery is to have an Indigenous Acadian forest be completely self-sustaining, and a public space to showcase this native forest. This means that there should be no human intervention and areas be left natural. The trails and treed sections should not be mowed or wiper-sipped; the grass and other ground brush should be left to grow unimpeded, as they benefit ecosystem.

The Naturalization Gallery also serves to preserve the history of our indigenous Acadian forest and the ecosystem within them. It showcases the native forest-type that was once covering this Island, but has since been reduced to less than 10% on the Island due to agricultural land use and urban development.

The Indigenous Acadian forest planted in the gallery will capture carbon for hundreds of years, reducing our communities carbon footprint. Consider that one tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, and will sequester one ton of carbon dioxide by the time the tree is 40 years old. Many trees planted in the gallery have a lifetime of over 100 years.

Community Connection

Promoting the relationship between communities and forests, provides a multitude of benefits.

Community members benefit therapeutically from spending time in nature, among trees and wildlife. Time spend walking on the trail, within the gallery, provides relaxation, mindfulness, grounding, exercise, education, and a refuge from the fast-paced technological world.

The signs, benches, and open spaces welcomes the user’s curiosity and imagination, which enhances the experience.

The importance of the future of the Naturalization Gallery stems from a communal and global responsibility. According to the UN Paris Agreement, as a measure to offset the atmospheric carbon levels and reduce the human carbon footprint, communities should engage in forest planting and reforestation.

The Naturalization Gallery hinges on the community involvement in activities, and enjoyment on the trail. Where the gallery is found to have meaning, the community will attach value and importance to it. The more the community uses and attends this space for well-being, education, and recreation, the more important the Naturalization Gallery becomes. Therefore, this venue needs to be promoted and included in community programming.

It is imperative that we all support this sustainability plan today and into the future. The Naturalization Gallery addresses a national and global issue as it grows, that is the adaptation to climate change. This community will recognize the benefits of carbon capturing, naturalization, reforestation and biodiversity, while reeling from the impacts from climate change. In the future, there will be profound lifestyle changes within the community. Inevitably, we will be forced to adapt, to become more resilient, collaborative and creative. There will be a greater demand for forests and natural spaces for community to gather and discuss key issues. The gallery is recognized as a place to reconcile and reflect, to relax the mind and breathe deeply. This may evolve as global change becomes more evident. If you would like to become a ‘Friend of the Trail” and volunteer annually please subscribe

Visit the Memorial Grove

A place to remember and reconnect

Here are several news articles about the creation of this indigenous acadian forest!

SaltWire November 11th, 2017

CBC July 13th, 2018

The Guardian July 13th, 2018

The Journal Pioneer November 12th, 2019