MTRI is a non-profit co-operative with a mandate to promote sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve and beyond through research, education, and the operation of a field station.
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Funded and sponsored by TreeCanada, Loblaw and Taste of Nature, this exciting and delicious project consisted of planting 14 varieties of native or heritage fruit and nut tree and shrub species at in the Kempt and Caledonia communities of Queens County, Nova Scotia. The 14 varieties were planted at the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute’s green facilities in Kempt, and also at the North Queens Regional School (NQRS) in Caledonia. They totalled approximately 85 plants in all, and included:
Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Alleghaney Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis)
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus ssp. strigosus)
Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa)
Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum trilobum)
Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta)
Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Apple (Malus sp)
Pear (Pyrus sp)
Peach (Prunus persica)
Plum (Prunus sp)
Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium)
Many of these species are native to Nova Scotia and provide a snapshot of the edible opportunities we have in our own native forests and wetlands. Other species already naturally found around MTRI and NQRS include Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp), Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium), Black Huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), and Large Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon).
MTRI, the NQRS, and the community not only benefit from the product of fruit and nuts, but benefit from a continued educational site, cleaner air, shade, wildlife habitat and beauty. The planting site hosts informative signs about each plant, its uses and benefits and have added to the educational green technology, garden and agroforestry projects already in place at MTRI. Once the plants begin to bear fruit, MTRI staff expects to have an annual public harvest event in which harvest will be donated to the community.
A big thank you goes to Scott Verreault and Jeff Craft, two champion volunteers that worked hard to complete this project successfully. A thank you also goes to students from NQRS and exchange students from Toronto who also assisted in planting this garden. Please visit us again... come enjoy the fruits of your labour!