Taking flight

How it all began. Told by Ann Mortifee, co-founder of the Trust for Sustainable Forestry.

I live on Cortes Island. About a decade ago, 153 acres of our small island was slated to be clear-cut. Our neighbours banded together to see if we could rescue the forest. The price tag for the land was over a million dollars, more than any of us could muster. But I couldn’t let it go. In a whirl of emotion, I went for a walk alone on the beach.

To Whom it may concern,” I called over the ebbing waves.

I’m willing to take a chance to save this land. But I need to know you’ll support me.” For an unknown reason I added, “If you are with me in this, place a white eagle tail feather on the beach today.”

It was a low-risk request. The eagles had molted months ago.

I walked on for another minute then stopped to gaze at the rocky shore. My eyes fell on my answer, perfectly framed on a bed of seaweed.

I picked up that eagle feather and have never let it go.”

Ann MortifeeAnn Mortifee, OC

Founder, The Trust for Sustainable Forestry





The first Living Forest Community.

What began as the simple act of picking up an eagle feather became Everwoods, our first Living Forest Community. The 153-acre Everwoods property pioneered a completely new kind of land development that unites non-profit and business interests around a common commitment to forest preservation.

Everwoods has:

  • 15 clustered, light-on-the-land residences
  • protected 93% of the forest from clear-cutting
  • created jobs through ecosystem-based forestry on the property
  • developed a stunning five-acre old-growth park for community use

The Everwoods community is so unusual, the regional district created entirely new zoning law for its preservation—the Community Land Stewardship zone.

Elkington Forest is our second Living Forest Community and will take the same approach to land conservation and development. This time we’re aiming higher, conserving 1000 acres of vital woodlands in the Shawnigan Lake watershed, near Victoria, British Columbia.