Npilanej Wksu’skik | Let's Heal the Hemlocks

By Rebecca Jacobs, Posted on November 8, 2023

The Hemlock forests of Asitu’lisk are not just a treasure of nature’s beauty; they are a sanctuary for countless species and a safehouse of traditional knowledge. However, a looming threat, the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), poses a serious danger to these forests. This tiny invasive insect, driven north by climate change, has the potential to decimate these forests, affecting both ecological integrity and cultural heritage.

We are working hand in hand with our partners, Ulnooweg Education Centre, to safeguard the Hemlock forests of Asitu’lɨsk. This is a collaborative endeavour, with Community Forests International in solidarity with our partners on the ground.

Our strategy includes precise chemical treatments for individual trees, long-term biological control at a landscape level, and sustainable forest management practices. We are collaborating closely with local communities, Mi’kmaq elders, and experts to ensure a comprehensive and informed approach.

Milestones So Far

The past few months have been filled with dedicated efforts and an incredible attitude from staff and volunteers who have made a remarkable difference. Here’s a quick overview of our recent achievements:

  1. Extensive Treatment: After months of planning, two dedicated weeks have been devoted to treating the affected areas, with an inspiring turnout of up to 15 volunteers each day.
  2. Educational Outreach: Our project extends beyond preservation; it’s about knowledge sharing. Three classes of local high school students joined us as volunteers, engaging in hands-on learning about the importance of environmental conservation.
  3. Strategic Preservation: We’ve treated approximately 14 hectares at Asitu’lisk, focusing on high-priority areas, including those around buildings and the preservation of old-growth hemlock stands.
  4. Trees Saved: An amazing 3,100 hemlock trees have been treated to date, exemplifying the tangible impact of the collective dedication of Asitu’lisk staff, Community Forests International, and volunteers.

Community Forests’ staff and volunteers attend the second week of Hemlock treatment.

How You Can Make a Difference

“It was both an honour and an absolute delight to lead the tree-marking week in the Hemlock forest of Asitu’lisk. Each moment spent beneath the Hemlock canopy, touching its ancient bark, invoked indescribable sensations – an overflow of joy, a hint of nostalgia, and a profound connection with nature on a level that words alone cannot capture. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the preservation of these majestic Hemlock forests, and to also protect the rich biodiversity that thrives beneath their protective canopy. Together, we are making a difference, and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this project.”
– Maria H., Nature-Based Climate Solutions Coordinator

  1. Volunteer: We’re assembling a team of volunteers to assist in this crucial project. There are many ways to get involved.
  2. Donate: No matter the size, your financial support will directly fund efforts to combat the HWA invasion and protect the Hemlock trees at Asitu’lɨsk.
  3. Spread the Word: Share this urgent message with your friends, family, and community. Together, we can rally the support needed to save our Hemlock forests.


Your Chance to Be a Part of Change

Hemlock trees are more than just trees; they’re a vital part of Indigenous heritage and our collective future. Join us in this fight to protect and preserve the Hemlocks. To learn more about the Heal the Hemlocks project, to donate, and to stay updated on volunteer opportunities, visit

We invite you to join us in making a difference. Whether you can contribute your time, resources, or share our message within your community, you can play a vital role in preserving Asitu’lɨsk’s Hemlock forests.