Carden Field Journal: Intro to field work

Monday, May 11th, 2015 marked the start of my 16 week adventure in the wilderness of Carden, Ontario.

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I will be working as a field/ conservation assistant, for my 5th UW co-op term, with the Couchiching Conservancy, an Environmental NGO – Land Trust. The organization aims to protect 12,000+ acres of natural land for the future in the Couchiching-Severn region, near Orillia, Ontario.

I will be posting a weekly personal journal article documenting highlights from my experiences, including a few photos showcasing what subjects I am able to capture. My goal is to have a set of notes and visuals, synopsizing my experiences this summer, in one of my favourite places.

Following the completion of administrative tasks, I was able to venture into the field with one of my supervisors, David Hawke, Stewardship Program Manager, to the Butler Reserve in Severn, Ontario for a garlic mustard pull. Volunteers also joined us. Afterwards, we hiked the glacially-influenced landscape, where wild columbine, tent caterpillars, and various dragonflies were present. I learned that moose desire striped maple, giving it the nickname moose maple.

On Thursday I worked in Carden where I met another one of my supervisors, Ron Reid, Carden Coordinator. I learned about the projects I’ll be involved with which pertain to Species at Risk.

Other cool sightings included seeing a porcupine in a tree for the first time, a mother noisy killdeer with its 5 chicks, American kestrel and indian paintbrush and prairie smoke alvar wildflowers in bloom. A great first week, with many long, eventful, and exciting days to come!

Future journal articles are primarily going to consist of sightings, and activities that happened in the field. If interested, I hope you enjoy following my adventures this summer!

Carden Nature Festival 2014: “Plain” and Simply Inspiring

I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Carden Nature Festival which fell on the weekend of June 7th & 8th, 2014 at the Carden Community Centre on the shores of Lake Dalrymple. Touching a special place in my heart due to its location, this event proved to be a success with respect to spreading conservation awareness and coming together as a community in an effort to sustain the natural lands of the township of Carden and the Carden Plain.

The event was an opportunity for a wide range of environmental professionals, knowledgeable locals and passionate nature enthusiasts to gather and simply appreciate nature at a local level. Through educational seminars participants like myself got to visit select properties owned and managed by the Couchiching Conservancy.

During the festival I got to explore North Bear Alvar, Little Bluestem Alvar and Prairie Smoke Alvar. All of the sites showed many signs of wildlife including bear, moose, fox, coyote, rabbits, amphibians, insects and birds! Click here to view my entire album of photos from the weekend.

One of the highlights of my experience at the Carden Nature Festival was having the opportunity to travel a segment of Wylie Road monitoring eastern bluebird boxes. Herb Furniss, leader of the Carden Bluebirds program, took me and 3 other festival attendees (including our marshall) to roadside locations near and along the road in search of eastern bluebird chicks. Herb tracks and documents nesting activity in over 75 nesting boxes in the area. Based on previously recorded data he knew where the best opportunities for observing active boxes would be. In total, we got to see 3 active bluebird boxes and 1 active tree swallow box, all containing newly hatchedand/or fledging young.

Practical, hands on work with wildlife such as with the Carden eastern bluebirds project can help community members and beyond to appreciate the value of nature. Being able to hold the fledglings in the palm of your hand allows for a more intimate understanding of what is at risk. To put it simply, real-life experiences of getting your hands dirty have great potential of making a difference in ecosystems that may be potentially threatened by human activity. Thanks, Herb for this fantastic experience.

So, if you’re located in the Greater Toronto Area, Carden, Ontario is a short 90 minute trek by car; take the time to understand why the Carden Plain is so significant and worth protecting! Learn more at CouchichingConserv.ca.

– Cameron

Mud Inspired Photography: Nature Harmlessly Captured.

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