After over 6 years of planning, the experimental prescribed burn on Cameron Ranch, Carden, finally took place on April 13th. Fire is thought to be a part of the natural process of alvars, and has definitely been a part of the history in Carden with fires recorded in 1946 and 1881. These large fires, however, were not planned and had major impacts on the community at that time.
Despite the possibility of scary winter weather, almost 150 people attended The Couchiching Conservancy Annual General Meeting on Saturday, January 28th at Lakehead University. Those in attendance watched presentations on our conservation efforts from 2011 as well as our plans for the upcoming year and beyond.
Equally at home in either an urban or rural setting, the diminutive Downy woodpecker is a welcomed guest at bird feeders, especially during this rather dull time of the year.
The smallest of the Woodpecker family found in North America, the Downy is about six inches long, from the tip of its bill to the tip of the centre tail feathers. It is adorned with black and white body feathers; the males have a red patch on the back of their head. They are often confused with the larger Hairy woodpecker as both sexes of each species are similar.
Anyone who has driven County Rd. #6 between Kirkfield and Lake Dalrymple can be forgiven for thinking the landscape looks out of the ordinary and even a bit desolate. What they are seeing is in fact quite uncommon. Most of Carden Township contains alvars, a globally-rare habitat featuring flat limestone bedrock, dotted with lightly wooded habitats. Alvars are found in only a few places in the world (Sweden for example) and in Ontario, they can be found in a couple of areas such as Manitoulin Island and Carden Township. To have such an unusual and fascinating landscape so close to Lindsay and Orillia is something we can be proud of.
So far this winter our region has been spared the near-record snowfalls and bitter cold of previous winters. It is still a challenge for us humans to get around and go about our daily business. But consider how much more difficult it can be for our feathered friends who must tough it out through the harsh and unforgiving winter.
Rocky outcrops, dark blue lakes, and dense forests; it’s no wonder that members of the famous Group of Seven artists chose locations on the Canadian Shield for their masterpieces.
The Canadian Shield, also known as the Precambrian Shield, covers almost half of Canada and reaches as far south in our region as the Severn River corridor.
During the last ice age, about 15,000 years ago, huge glaciers scraped the land pushing topsoil and rocks hundreds of kilometres south, leaving exposed bedrock, large hollows in the surface and very little topsoil.