Taking Care of our Land: Spring/Summer 2015

In Nature Reserves & Easements, Past News by couchiching

The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority allowed Dorthea and Aiesha to take part in the electrofishing which took place in McGee Creek at Sedge Wren Marsh, Carden (with landowner permission).  Along a 45 metre stretch, 9 species of fish were observed with a total population count of 422.  Electrofishing puts 100 watts of power into the river, and temporarily stuns the fish.  They are put back alive. (Sept 1)


August 28, 2015

Volunteers at AgnewKudos to Carol and Jane for picking up broken glass at the Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve.

On the edge of the Trent-Severn Waterway, the property is adjacent to the Robert and Emily Fawcett Natural Area and the two properties contain the same precious wetland complex, teeming with wildlife.



August 24, 2015

Jamie and Anne Ross pick Purple Loosestrife at East CoulsonThe East Coulson Swamp property team made a sweep of the wetland area looking for purple loosestrife to behead. They found lots!

Anne and Jamie Ross (in picture) were assisted by Paul, Leonore and Dave. Also found was a nice patch of yellow monkeyflower and a few stems of great lobelia.

Margaret Atwood donated this special property set within the forested hills of the Oro Moraine to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. We steward this property with the assistance of volunteers like Jamie and Anne.


Dave at Turnbull Ranch

July 23, 2015

Using the ATV on loan to us from Garry Fell, Dave Hawke was able to survey the 400-acre Turnbull Ranch looking for dog-strangling vine. This invasive plant was found in three locations (yikes!).


Also, Joe Blundell was busy rebuilding the lane at Turnbull Ranch. Holcim Canada (Dufferin Aggregates Carden) donated 120 tonnes of gravel to ensure that the vehicles going into Turnbull Ranch also had a good chance to come back out (finally).


Dufferin atTurnbull Ranch



July 22, 2015

Youth Stewardship TeamDave lead a training session for the new Youth Stewardship Team, who will be caring for two properties! All are university students 18-24. More are welcome!


July 17, 2015

Young MooseWhile some of the Water Quality Team were out at their testing site, they came across this young moose.


July 15 & 16, 2015

In the field at Carden Alvar Provincial ParkOn Wednesday, July 15th, and Thursday, July 16th, 2015 Stewardship Program Manager Dave Hawke and Conservation Assistant Cameron Curran of the Couchiching Conservancy were joined by Ecologists from Ontario Parks At Carden Alvar Provincial Park. Vegetation Sampling of shrubs and herbs on the alvar took place to collect baseline data for future studies pertaining to parks management.


July 14, 2015

Water Quality Teams

Capstone students Makayla and Ashley taking their first water tests.

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board Capstone students had their first day of water testing on July 14th. The Capstone program allows senior highschool students to tackle a subject of interest from a variety of viewpoints including gaining community experience.  Three students (Makayla, Ashley, and Katie) and their teacher (Jeff Cole) are starting their academic year early so that they can participate in our Carden Water Monitoring project.  So glad you have joined us!  (photo by Kristi Cole).


Mark at Grant Wetland


July 14, 2015

Dave and Mark went looking for a beaver-plugged culvert in the heart of Grant Wetlands… and found it! (Why does the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” come to mind?)


July 10, 2015

Trudy and Meagan Coughlin at the Perch Creek headwaters

Trudy and Meagan Coughlin at the Perch Creek headwaters

The headwaters of both Talbot and Perch Creek are now being monitored by the Conservancy’s newly-trained Water Team.

Last Friday July  3rd Jamie and Anne Ross conducted the first water tests of the Talbot River headwaters, at the Monck Road.  This Friday the mother-daughter team of Trudy and Meagan Coughlin took the first water test at the Perch Creek Headwaters, also at the Monck Road.  The water at both sites is cold and clear and we hope our monitoring work will help ensure it stays that way.  A total of 16 volunteers have now been trained to take water tests and we will be moving teams to locations

along Talbot, Perch, and McGee Creek over the next month.  All three rivers flow through the Carden Alvar.  Thanks to Ontario Streams for helping us set up this program.  See a photo album here



July 7, 2015

Mark and Ron at Ling Easement

Dave, Ron and Mark checked out a new 400-acre easement property, and once again proved that the farther you are from the car, the heavier it will rain! But they did find ragged fringed orchid and smooth green snake.


June 30, 2015

At Kris Starr SanctuaryAnne Barbour, Dale Leadbeater, and Ellie Larsen joined up with Dave Hawke to do a “sedge blitz” at the Kris Starr Sanctuary. They found some great plants, as well as a five-lined skink. Land donor Molly Starr stopped by to chat with the group, which was a very pleasant addition to the outing.


June 29, 2015

A Bobolink with a Geolocator Backpack is held in the finers of a volunteer with a split rail fence and tree in the background.

Bobolink with a Geolocator Backpack. Photo by Ginny Moore

Our Bobolink team  completed banding and deploying geolocators on 12 male Bobolinks within the Carden Alvar project area. Once they finish the nesting cycle, they will be on their way to Argentina with their little electronic backpacks securely in place.

Our thanks to Hazel Wheeler, Nigel Shaw, and Bruce Wilson for their expert advice and assistance, and of course to grad student Alice Pintaric and field assistants Ginny, Ben and Cam for their dedication to the project. Alice and crew have now located thirty-three (yes, that’s 33!) bobolink nests this season, and are tracking their success rate as the young birds fledge.  –Ron Reid, Carden Coordinator


June  26, 2015

A tour of Turnbull Ranch

Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry staff visit Turnbull Ranch to hear Leanne Grieves and Alice Pintaric discuss Loggerhead Shrikes and Bobolink research happening in Carden.


June 3, 2015

Adrienne Kohl, Nancy Fyfe and Lisa Neville stand along the banks of the Talbot River holding up the Nitrate testing equipment looking at their results

Adrienne Kohl, Nancy Fyfe & Lisa Neville testing for Nitrates


Half the Carden Water Quality Team spent the day along the Talbot River with Deb Silver from Ontario Streams.  They were learning how to test for seven water quality “Parameters” such as phosphates, nitrates, temperature and Ph.  They also learned how to conduct benthic “kick tests” and identify 27 separate groups of Macroinvertebrates.    A photo album of the journey so far

The second group of volunteers will undertake the same  training on June 27th.

With thanks to the Intact Foundation, RBC Bluewater, Ontario Streams and Lakehead University for their support of this project.


June 2, 2015

2015_06_02 Eastern Meadowlark


A wonderful sighting: An Eastern Meadowlark chick newly hatched in Carden this morning!!

Ginny Moore and her Field Assistant Cameron Curran continue their Bobolink research.





May 29, 2015

Bobolink eggs in CardenExciting day for our Conservation Assistant, Cameron Curran – the Bobolink research team found 11 eggs in 2 nests while out on the Carden Alvar.

We’re working on a special project with Earth Rangers to help the Bobolink.


May 24, 2015

Jim Woodford memorial walkOn the morning of May 24 over 125 friends of the late Jim Woodford gathered with his family on Cameron Ranch to celebrate his many achievements. Ron Reid and Greg Sadowski each led a guided hike onto Jim’s beloved alvar to seek out birds and plants.


May 23, 2015

Garlic Mustard pull at Church WoodsDave was assisted by three students from Barrie’s Eastview  Secondary School. Nicole, Jillian and Brianna are part of the school’s environmental program, and volunteered their time to pick garlic mustard at Church Woods Nature Reserve. Hooray for these three gals!


May 22, 2015

Carthew Bay teamMembers of the Orillia Naturalists’ Club have formed a property monitoring team for the Carthew Bay Nature Reserve. This task had been covered by the Twin Lakes Conservation Club for many years, but their organizational demise last year left the property in need of a team. Arni Stinnessen has rallied several ONC members to provide regular visits and undertake trail creation and maintenance. Nine club members joined Dave Hawke for an orientation tour of this special parcel of land.


May 22, 2015

Trees at Grant's Woods Two very tall but dead white pines had to come down beside the Grant’s Woods office. Our corporate sponsor, Davey Tree, arrived with a bucket truck to first remove the top 25 feet, then drop the remaining trunk. Thank you Davey Tree for making our parking lot a lot safer!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ May 13, 2015

Ted Greatrix and Ingrid VanderMarel sitting on a natural "tree bench" in Copeland Forest with their boots in the air.  Ted is clutching his kitchen sieve

Ted Greatrix and Ingrid VanderMarel on the hunt for Vernal Pools


The Ecology and Sustainability Committee for Copeland Forest headed out on a blessedly bug-less evening to search for Vernal Pools.  The four-seasion biological inventory conducted in 2011 identified 24 Vernal Pools in Copeland Forest.  We began our search in the northeast section of the forest and have so far come up with very little.  Maybe it was the dry spring.    On the trip were Mike van der Jagt, Ingrid VanderMarel, Pat Woodford, Ted Greatrix, and Dorthea Hangaard.  Stay tuned as the search continues…

If you would like to join the Ecology and Sustainability Committee, contact Dorthea (705) 326-1620.


May 13, 2015

Butler Spring Team VisitThe Butler Reserve Team got together with Conservancy staff Dave Hawke, Tanya Clark and Cam Curran to pick a very small area of garlic mustard and do a property walk. Dave led the group through the property and identified a number of plants and bird calls such as Eastern Towhee and Great Crested Flycatcher.


May 12, 2015

Bruce Duncan looks at Roehl signOn a bit of a blustery day, Bruce Duncan and Dave Hawke traversed Sparrow Lake to retrieve the wayward Roehl Wetland sign that had broken its anchor chains and drifted into Deep Bay. Due to its rough condition, they had to remove the sign from the lake. BIG THANKS to Jason Stanton and staff at Bayview-Wildwood Resort for preparing and providing the use of a boat and motor!


May 10, 2015

Black bears at Turnbull RanchOn Mother’s Day, while conducting a monitoring visit for garlic mustard at Turnbull Ranch, Dave encountered this family unit up an ash tree. Aww, so cute!

Photo is a result of using a long camera lens and cropping image (while enthralled with the sight, Dave opted to keep his distance!).


May 3, 2015

Alexander Hope Smith volunteersMany volunteers of the Alexander Hope Smith Nature Reserve met to pull garlic mustard and enjoy a nature walk on a fabulous day. Besides finding garlic mustard, many special observations were made: water snake, garter snake, Blanding’s turtle and barred owls. Youngsters Atticus and Finn lent their willing hands and added to the joy of a terrific neighborhood event organized by Cathy Massig. (May 3)


May 2, 2015

Church Woods Garlic Mustard pullThey are at it again! The Church Woods Stewards met for a breakfast meeting and then scoured the forest for garlic mustard. This is a great neighborhood activity arranged by Suzanne Robillard and Dave. Youngsters Campbell and Lilith added their enthusiasm to the task, joining with members who have been controlling this invasive plant for many years.


May 1, 2015

Bluebird RanchPaul and Dave have enhanced the pasture grasses at Bluebird Ranch within the areas where trees and shrubs have been removed. Although there is still woody debris cleanup to be done, it was important to get the new seed sow in time for the rain.


April 5, 2015

Clark Family at Grant WetlandOn Easter Sunday, Peter, Marilyn, Luke and Tanya all headed out in the sunshine to enjoy a walk of the neighborhood and do a little garbage clean up. Together, they picked up three bags worth of wrappers, cans and other litter. They stopped by Grant Wetland to check things out and thankfully no garbage there! (These nice looking people also happen to be staff member Tanya’s family.)


March 19, 2015

Agnew team walkThe Fawcett/Agnew team took advantage of the perfect weather and got out for a snowshoe of these two properties. No signs of wildlife other than moose in the wetland and a heron nest.


March 10, 2015

Bluebird RanchWith the warm weather comes the opportunity to continue the field work at Bluebird Ranch. For over a year now, volunteers have been working with Dave Hawke to remove clumps of cedar trees to open the area up for more grassland.


March 8, 2015

North Bear AlvarWith seasoned stewardship walkers Marian and Harry Hall, along with Ginny Moore, Julia Wolst and Tom Wilson, the group ventured out for a day on the Carden Alvar.

The goal was to try and get to the NW corner of Wolf Run Alvar along the western boundary of North Bear.

A great group of adventurers – snowshoeing through deep snow! The first quarterly stewardship walk of North Bear Alvar for 2015 had been completed.



North Bear Stewardship Walk



Read previous Notes from the Field: Spring/Summer 2014 & Fall/Winter 2014