It had seemed that winter had concluded but we received fresh snow and rain before the introduction walk at the McColl tract on April 21 making conditions challenging for a hike through our newest property.
At least 21 intrepid friends and members arrived in the morning and walked the perimeter of the property. We visited the various tree plantations on the property as well as the hilly hardwood forest. We even made it down to the north edge of Cold Creek and stood in the springtime sun.
Trails have not been fully established on the property which added to the footing challenges. Our property stewards are working to define a path which will enable us to monitor the property for invasive species.
We have new stewards for two properties. James Munn is taking over duties at the Munn Tract, which is so fitting because it was James’ mother Cora who donated the land to us, and it was James who planted many of the trees in the former agricultural areas. Having returned to the area after a career in forestry, James will be invaluable in helping us prepare for the next scheduled thinning of the planted areas.
We are also delighted to welcome Catherine Hayday and Neil Gower as the first stewards of the newly acquired McColl Tract. Neil and Catherine joined Lone Pine shortly after moving to this area a few years ago, and they are very keen to learn this property. Their passion for conservation and good stewardship will be a tremendous asset. Catherine, Neil and James now join Paulette Hebert (Wilkinson Tract), Rob Kennedy (Kennedy Tract) and Sharon Moro and Tim Whitehouse (Lone Pine Marsh – Braham Tract) as our slate of land stewards. These are the people who visit our properties monthly, record observations, pick up garbage, check fences, and a hundred other things that keep the properties in good shape. Thank you all for your dedication and key role in the proper management of our properties.
It was a crisp but sunny morning on March 24 when members congregated at the Wilkinson Tract. Maple sap was just starting to flow well after a cool week of weather. We assisted Helmut and Janice Enns, who make maple syrup at the Wilkinson Tract, collect syrup from about 40 taps around the property.
After collecting sap, we tasted the various concentrations of boiling sap from the stove.
Donor George Wilkinson joined us around the fire and some non-members also came to learn more about the creation of maple syrup. It was a wonderful start to spring!
On February 15, Jeff Bowman, professor at Trent University and scientist at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, presented to a packed house (72 people) at the Cobourg Public Library (Northumberland Land Trust and Lone Pine Land Trust organized this event).
Dr. Bowman began his talk by showing the relationship of flying squirrels to squirrels common in North America – they are closely related. Two species of flying squirrels are found in North America, the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) and the southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). Both of the species are found in Ontario, though the southern flying squirrel is limited by cold temperatures in the middle of winter. The northern flying squirrel is found in coniferous forests, while the southern flying squirrel prefers deciduous forests. Where populations overlap, Dr. Bowman’s research group has found that the two species can hybridize. This may be due to the southern flying squirrel’s winter nesting behaviour, as they prefer to nest with other individuals (presumably to keep warmer).
Dr. Bowman showed how the research team monitors a population of flying squirrels at the James McLean Oliver Ecological Centre research station (using PIT tags and small radio collars). These techniques have allowed the group to examine nesting and caching behaviours of the squirrels. He also touched on other interesting aspects of flying squirrels, such as their ultrasonic vocalizations.
Dr. Bowman answered the audience’s questions following the presentation. Comments by the audience were very positive and we all felt that we had learned a great deal about about these elusive creatures.
For more information, visit the Flying Squirrel Project.