You don’t have to fly to the second star to the right and straight on till morning to find fairy folk anymore.
They’re living among the natural world at the heart of LaSalle, where they can easily tend to the wildflowers, help the leaves of the trees bloom, and sing the wildlife to sleep each night.
During the pandemic, the fairies put out a petition for help – as their numbers increased, so did their need for new homes. That’s where Deb Rawlings, the ‘Mayor’ of the Fairy Forest stepped in.
Rawlings has always had a knack and interest for crafts. She said building fairy houses and accessories has been one of her favourite projects, and the beginning of the Fairy Forest was created to bring people together and give youth a fun experience they can participate in.
“We were all on lockdown and there wasn’t a whole lot to do,” said Rawlings. “It reminds me of an Easter egg hunt because you have to go through the forest and try to find these little houses that are kind of spread out throughout the trees back in that area. It has brought families together when they needed it the most.”
As the pandemic continued, the contribution to Fairy Forest grew. Residents from LaSalle and surrounding areas began bringing crafts of their own for the fairies to enjoy and make use of.
After a difficult winter however, Rawlings said it’s time for a good spring cleaning.
“Unfortunately a lot of the houses and decorations are falling apart,” said Rawlings. “We need new, durable creations for the Forest.”
One of the issues that has been brought up regarding the Fairy Forest in the past was the potential for litter and artificial products negatively affecting the animals and habitats in the area. To keep this from being an issue, Rawlings is urging anyone interested in creating houses or accessories for the Forest, to keep their craft materials as natural as possible.
Shingles can be pine cone seed scales, walls can be accessorized in peanut butter with bird seeds as decoration, and small stones can be used as bricks. Paint is still allowed.
“Try to use natural products in your creations and not a lot of small plastic things like beads and sequins because they tend to fall off and we don’t want any wildlife eating things they shouldn’t,” said Rawlings. “The month of April will be used to clean up what the winter has destroyed, try to fix what we can and set up new parts … To rethink things and just kind of give it another fresh look again.”
The Fairy Forest and the Pixie Pathway can be accessed by using the path at Sprucewood and North Woodmont.
“I’m pretty proud of it,” said Rawlings. “I want to see it continue on because people are still going out there. There are so many people putting houses up there now and it’s sweet. The area is such a small patch of forest and to be quite honest, it likely won’t be there in a few years. So let’s enjoy it while it’s here and make it nice for everybody to enjoy.”
The Fairy Forest Facebook group has over 1,600 members who contribute to it, with more joining every day.
For more information and updates on the Fairy Forest, check out their LaSalle Fairy Forest and Trails-Ontario, Canada Facebook page.