Bennett Arling of the 2022 Fernie Secondary School graduating class next to trees that will be planted in Hosmer as a legacy forest for the graduates. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Arling)

Bennett Arling of the 2022 Fernie Secondary School graduating class next to trees that will be planted in Hosmer as a legacy forest for the graduates. (Courtesy of Jacqueline Arling)

‘Legacy forest’ to be planted in the name of 2022 Fernie Secondary School graduates

Sixty-five trees will be planted in the Hosmer wetlands as the graduating class’ legacy

Graduates of Fernie Secondary School (FSS) will be leaving a unique kind of legacy this year in the form of a forest, with sixty-five trees to be planted for each graduate in the Hosmer wetlands.

According to Jacqueline Arling, mother of recent graduate Bennett Arling and co-chair of the grad committee, the forest is being funded by about $2,000 of leftover money from a fundraiser for the graduation commencement ceremony, prom and dinner.

“And we said because our theme was ‘enchanted forest’, let’s plant trees as our legacy,” Arling said.

The cap and gown graduation commencement took place on Thursday (June 23) at Memorial Arena, with the prom dance that night.

The trees will be planted by the Elk River Alliance (ERA) and FSS graduates, Arling said.

“(The ERA has) identified a spot, and they’re fencing it off for us, so we’re just going to firm that up,” she said, adding that they’ll probably be planting them the week after the graduation commencement.

The trees, procured from a nursery in Pincher Creek, will be both coniferous and deciduous, and include white spruce, water birch, trembling aspen, dogwood, and cottonwood.

“And they’re all indigenous, meant for rehabilitating the wetlands.”

She said that about a ton of carbon is consumed in the lifetime of each tree, meaning 2022’s FSS graduating class will be helping rid the atmosphere of about 65 tonnes of carbon over the legacy forests’ lifespan.

Arling said they hadn’t anticipated putting a commemorative plaque for the grads at the site, and the forest will likely be purely organic.

It’s the first time a graduating class from FSS has planted a legacy forest, according to Arling.

“We’re hoping to continue the tradition.”

READ MORE: Fernie seniors celebrate graduation with a reverse parade


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