Let’s Heal the Hemlocks

Let's Heal the Hemlocks

Npilanej Wksu’skik

(N-bil-on-edge wk-Sues-gig)

When you step into a Hemlock forest the first thing you notice is the quality of light. The canopy high above is made up of millions and millions of uniquely delicate needles that purify the air and transform sunlight into a dappled shade that is unlike anything else in the world. It can be healing just to walk through a Hemlock forest.

These protective canopies and the old-growth Eastern Hemlock trees they sustain are under threat across Nova Scotia. The invasive hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA), a tiny insect, has been advancing northward with the changing climate. Feeding on the feathery needles of Eastern Hemlock, the HWA causes the decline and death of these majestic trees, disrupting the delicate balance of forest life they support.

We are taking action to save Asitu’lisk’s beautiful and irreplaceable Hemlock forests.

We invite you to join us. Our current financial need is $100,000 in 2023 to treat and save 7,000 trees, preserving the healing and life they offer.

The Importance of Eastern Hemlock

Eastern hemlock, the longest-lived and largest conifer in the Wabana’ki-Acadian Forest, holds immense value and significance. Its towering presence, forming closed-canopy networks overhead, evokes a sense of awe and spiritual connection.

Hemlocks are adaptable and resilient, thriving in shaded environments and persisting on the same sites for thousands of years. 

  • Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is a keystone species that provides essential ecological functions such as cooling the understory, and makes up a significant portion of remaining old growth in the Wabanaki forest.


  • Hemlock creates a dense canopy, offering unique microclimates during summer and winter which creates shelter for wildlife such as the mainland moose and deer, and provides food for many bird and animal species.


  • Some Mi’kmaq use eastern hemlock for tea, and the roots and stems can be used for health treatments, while the bark can be used in a dye.

The Threat: Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) poses a significant threat to the Eastern hemlock and the entire forest ecosystem it supports. This invasive insect pest infests hemlock trees, feeding on their feathery needles and depleting their energy reserves. 

HWA has rapidly spread across Turtle Island, including the Wabana’ki-Acadian Forest, wreaking havoc on hemlock populations. The loss of hemlocks due to HWA infestations not only disrupts the majestic beauty of these forests but also leads to the decline and loss of numerous species that depend on the hemlock ecosystem for their survival.

  • Hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA) is an invasive pest devastating eastern hemlock forests, killing over 95% of infested trees within 2-10 years.
  • HWA was first identified in Nova Scotia in 2017 and has rapidly spread to seven counties in southwestern Nova Scotia.

The Plan: Confronting HWA

Immediate action is crucial to combat the spread of HWA and protect the invaluable Eastern hemlock and its associated biodiversity. 

Rooted in the wisdom of nature, our approach combines the careful application of targeted medicines, the integration of natural controls, and proactive forest management practices, ensuring the preservation of the invaluable role of the Eastern hemlock for generations to come.

Under the guidance of Elder Jane Meader, we have also incorporated sacred ceremonies that honor the ancient Hemlock trees, infusing our nurturing approach with deep spiritual reverence and cultural renewal.

    • Precise inoculation of individual trees
    • Long-term biological control at the landscape level
    • Forest management to prepare untreated areas for the loss of hemlocks.
How to Help

Donate • Volunteer • Share

Preserving the hemlock grove at Asitu’lisk and protecting old-growth hemlock forests in general requires collective effort. Remember, saving the old growth hemlock forests requires sustained support and collaborative action. By contributing your time, resources, and spreading awareness, you can play a vital role.


The Asitu’lisk project, in collaboration with organizations and experts, requires financial resources to implement treatment and management plans. The current financial needs are $100,000 in 2023 to treat 7,000 trees.

Consider making a financial contribution to support their efforts in treating and saving the Hemlock trees. Donations can directly contribute to the preservation of this unique forest ecosystem.


Our volunteer signups have reached full capacity! Thank you to everyone who has generously offered their time and support. Your dedication to the preservation of the Hemlock grove is greatly appreciated.

For those who couldn’t secure a volunteer spot this time, don’t worry. You can still stay connected with the project’s updates and learn about future opportunities.

Additionally, you can check out Hemlock Heroes, a group that has been operating in Nova Scotia for a while now. 

Thank you for your enthusiasm and commitment to our cause. Together, we make a difference!

Spread Awareness

Help raise awareness about the importance of old growth hemlock forests and the threat posed by HWA. Share information about the Asitu’lisk project and its goals with your friends, family, and community. Encourage others to support the cause and get involved in preserving these valuable ecosystems.

Follow us for more! @AsitulskUEC

Stay Up to Date

Blog posts that follow our healing journey

HWA Treatment: Week Two

As the second week of our Hemlock Woolly Adelgid treatment concludes, we are filled with gratitude and awe for the collective spirit that has made this journey possible. Over seven dedicated days, the heartbeats of between 3 to 15 volunteers … Read More

Featured Post

Treatment Week #1

1,550 Trees and Countless Memories: Celebrating Our First Week of Treatment During our first week of HWA treatment at Asitu’lisk, we achieved something truly remarkable. Against all odds and expectations, we managed to save approximately 1,550 trees! This monumental feat … Read More

Featured Post

Tree Marking Week: Celebrating Dedication, Unity, and the Road Ahead

As the sun gracefully sets on the horizon, a profound sense of gratitude envelops the heart of Asitu’lisk. We lift our voices in songs of appreciation for the extraordinary volunteers who poured their time, energy, and love into a cause … Read More

Featured Post

Healing Has Begun

? The first tree receives the nurturing touch of restoration ? Recently, we had the incredible opportunity to gather at Asitu’lɨsk for a momentous occasion – the initial tree was embraced with medicine and care, marking the beginning of healing … Read More

Featured Post

Preserving the Legacy: A Resilient Future for Asitu’lɨsk’s Hemlock Forest

Welcome, dear friends of Asitu’lisk. Today, we come to you with a heartfelt update on a pressing matter that demands our collective attention. Our cherished Ksu’sk Kmu’ja’qamitk (Hemlock forest), a living testament to our cultural heritage with some of the … Read More

Featured Post

The Importance of Eastern Hemlock

Eastern hemlock, a majestic and resilient conifer, stands as a symbol of endurance and cultural significance within the Wabana’ki-Acadian Forest. Its towering presence and closed-canopy networks evoke a profound sense of awe and spiritual connection. The dominant tree species on … Read More

Featured Post