More on McLellan Forest

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Since the Art in the Forest event October 28th, Grade 11-12 students from the various majors at LFAS have become interested in the fate of McLellan Forest. In the interest of fairness, the students and teachers have made an attempt to hear both sides of the story. On November 7th, the Mayor of Langley Township, Jack Froese, and one of the council members, Charlie Fox, visited the school to talk to interested students and teachers about their view of what is happening with the forest.

Mayor Jack Froese explained that McLellan Forest West had already been taken off the market, for the time being. He also explained the way land inventory works in Langley, and the difference between public land and parks. McLellan Forest was going to be sold for funds that would be used to purchase land for a much needed recreational building in Aldergrove.

On November 14th, students and teachers listened to artists and ecologists interested in protecting the forest. Susan McCaslin, who initiated and organized Art in the Forest, spoke about how important it is to make the changes you believe in. As she said, she never thought of herself as an activist, but rather left that to her husband Mark Haddock. She realized recently that art and activism go hand in hand, and that one could use the arts to express the changes one desires.

Mark Haddock, a local environmentalist, explained the importance of the unique habitat of McLellan Forest and how it is home to many red- or blue-listed animals.

The common theme of the day was the beauty and importance of not only protecting the forest, but also standing up for what you care about.

Langley Fine Arts students stepped into McLellan Forest on November 15th. That day, the photography, writing, drama, and dance majors had the chance to appreciate the forest.

The students were able to explore the forest through different forms of art, such as singing, and photographing the beauty of nature. Students performed in the forest, starting with Juliana Loughin’s solo of “Stewards of Gondor” from the movie Lord of the Rings by Leonard Cohen, then students sang along to “We Are Young” by Fun and “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye.

Later on, as the final event of the trip, two musicians from B.E.A.R. (BACK to EARTH ADVENTURES and RE-CREATION), performers who create music inspired by the sacred beauty of Mother Earth, celebrated along with the students. Tim Steinruck sang as he played the guitar with his vocal, percussion, and flute partner Thilo Mehrhoff.  “[It] is no coincidence we all gathered here today; we don’t need to know each other, we just need to know that were loved and we are all connected through the forest and through the trees,” says Mehrhoff as he reaches out to the forest.

The grand trip to McLellan Forest was a success: many students left with a better awareness of the forest.

Taylor Murray and Jennifer Shim

Here is a video from the day – created by Sophia Cho

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