ICHK Hong Lok Yuen Forest
The First Miyawaki Forest in Hong Kong.
ICHK Hong Lok Yuen is an accredited Forest School Leadership Centre, which is the highest form of recognition for Forest Schools. Only a few Forest School programmes exist in Hong Kong, and ICHK is the only example of the ethos encompassing the whole school.
As outdoor education is a core aspect of their teaching, they were the perfect candidate to set up the first Miyawaki forest in Hong Kong. Students from grades 4-6 (9-12 years old) were involved not only in planting over 300 tree and shrub seedlings, but personally made name tags for every tree in the forest. They will also be involved in the continuing documentation and monitoring of how the forest grows, and will have the opportunity to immerse in the space through its walkway and barefoot sensory path, observing what biodiversity the site attracts over time.
The school has also set up a timelapse camera that will be part of capturing its transformation.
“The Miyawaki Forest will be a key element for the school to fulfil its vision of being a leader in outdoor learning. By enabling the children to be part of developing and nurturing a vibrant ecosystem, we are empowering them to learn about and love the natural world. This not only enriches their lives but enriches the world around them.”
Derek Pinchbeck — Head of School
Forest Report: 1 Year
Survival Rate: 83%
Average of Tallest 3 Trees: 189cm
This is a resilient forest with a high survival rate, though is growing more slowly than the typical rapid Miyawaki pace. This is not surprising given the challenges the forest faced in its first year (insect attacks, issues with chemical contamination from wood chips and very poor soil located at the site pre-intervention).
The Clammy Cherry (Cordia dichotoma) has now grown over 500%, with the tallest example now at 220cm. The species were all under 30cm when planted. The girth of the tallest Clammy Cherry is an impressive 12 cm.
A number of native ‘weeds’ that are actually medicinal plants, such as the Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) and Old World Diamond (Oldenlandia corymbosa), are growing. Most have been left in place unless they were crowded tree bases/roots.
Most interesting is the presence of a lot of new native tree saplings that must’ve made their way either from nearby trees or from the compost/mulch. These new plants are filling in the gaps. We also identified several pioneer species among these, such as the Parasol Leaf (Tanarius Macaranga), Turn-in-the-wind (Mallotus Paniculatus) and Mountain Tallow tree (Sapium discolor), none of which we were originally able to plant due to unavailability in August 2021. We are confident these developments will see the forest flourish in its second year!
Angled castor butterflies (Ariadne ariadne), handmaiden moths (Syntomoides imaon), along with various red bugs and millipedes. We found a bird feather, most likely from a Red-whiskered Bulbul (Pycnonotus jocosus).
Forest Report: Planting