With the snow disappearing, it’s a great time to get out and explore our region’s forests as they get ready for another growing season.
Bill Grant left Grant’s Woods, a 52 acre forest in Orillia, Ontario, to The Couchiching Conservancy in memory of his brother Jack. When Bill passed away some months ago, he left another legacy to the Conservancy.
The story of the Grant family dates back about 100 years. For years, the Grant family acted as stewards for the forest. Through their ownership of the property, there was little impact on the forest and as a result some of the trees are over 200 years old.
Set back from the Severn River, this 12 hectare (30acre) property was donated to the Couchiching Conservancy was donated in 2001 by the family of Ross Butler in his memory. The protection of this land was a long held dream for Ross. Together with surrounding Crown land, it will help to ensure that cottage country always has the wildlife that makes it so special.
The waterways associated with the village of Washago have seen development pressure over the past several decades. However, a relatively large block of natural habitat is still intact in the area bounded by Riverdale Drive, between the Green River and Cooper’s Falls Road. This area includes a diversity of ecological communities typical of the southern Shield, as well as habitat for several species at risk.
At its south end, the Sanctuary takes in a small piece of the Carden Alvar, and the steep limestone slope created by the rough caress of the glaciers. At the foot of this slope, the Head River meanders across the reserve, its spring floods nourishing a rich floodplain forest. Beyond that is a band of mixed forest of oak, pine and birch on pockets of drier soils. But the northern half of the Sanctuary, north of Monck Road, is classic granite barrens with scattered trees and a mosaic of beaver ponds and wetlands. All on this one property, the ecological transition known as The Land Between is fully on display.
Every piece of land has a story. Sometimes it’s a tale of fortunes made and lost or historic efforts great and small.
For green spaces, sometimes it’s a story of overuse and recovery but often it is a celebration of dedicated individuals who cherish the natural values of the land. This is one of those stories.
The red-shouldered hawk was once common in southern Ontario, but suffered a decline several decades ago. Through conservation efforts this magnificent raptor has made a strong comeback.
Its recovery owes much thanks to famed author Margaret Atwood, who donated 87 acres of wetland and woodland near Bass Lake in Oro-Medonte Township to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Wetlands are among the most endangered habitats in Ontario. Despite the crucial role they play in providing natural habitat and maintaining the health of our lakes and rivers, they are disappearing at a rate of 80 acres a day.
Protecting such vanishing wilderness is a high priority for The Couchiching Conservancy, and when the opportunity to create the Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve arose, we acted.
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.
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.