Welcome New Stewards

James, Catherine, and Neil, new property stewards.

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.

Visit to Wilkinson Sugar Shack

Collecting sap at the Wilkinson Tract.

Pouring maple sap at Wilkinson Tract.

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.
Helmut tends the sap pans at the Wilkinson Tract.

After collecting sap, we tasted the various concentrations of boiling sap from the stove.
Tasting maple sap with Helmut at the Wilkinson Tract.

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!
Outside the sugar shack at the Wilkinson Tract.

Jeff Bowman, Flying Squirrels – Feb 15, 2018

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.

Introducing McColl Property, a new woodlot

Through the generosity of Dr. William and Judith Mills, the land trust has acquired a new 68 acre woodlot along the Old Wooler Road near Codrington. It is part of Judith’s McColl family farm which was purchased by F. H. McColl in 1934.

Early attempts at agriculture by the McColls were not very successful due to the sandy, erosion prone soils. Therefore, in the 1950’s the McColls began a tree planting program using scots and red pine. Planting continued into the 1970s and also included sections of white spruce, Norway spruce and black walnut. The forest has been maintained as a registered managed forest since 1975.
Thinning of the planted stands was carried out in 2003 and again in 2011. As a result, the regeneration of hardwoods (most notably red oak) is progressing very well. It is the goal of the land trust to allow a natural regeneration of the reforested areas to mature mixed forest.

The rear of the property is transected by the main water course of Cold Creek and features an impressive stand of 40 year old white pine. The rear section also contains an eight acre swamp.
A series of forested ridges transect the middle of the property. Between two of these ridges is a very moisture rich cedar valley which contains many seeps and vernal ponds.
In early June we were saddened to hear of Judy’s passing. She had always wished that the property be conserved in its natural state. We are honored to become stewards of her cherished property.

Grassland Management for Threatened Species

written by Doug McRae
The acquisition and wise stewardship of biologically important properties is a land trust’s greatest responsibility and we take this very seriously, which is why all of our holdings have management strategies that guide our actions.
Our flagship property, the Lone Pine Marsh – Braham Tract, has seen great changes since we acquired it nearly a quarter century ago. The original purchase by our founder, Murial Braham, was essentially the large cattail marsh only. A subsequent purchase allowed us to take control of the adjacent cornfields and begin the conversion to habitats more suitable to our biodiversity goals. While the marsh habitat itself hasn’t changed significantly, the surrounded lands are now unrecognizable from their corn field days.
Some areas along the western boundary regenerated naturally and have since filled in with alder and birch, while others areas were planted with hundreds of trees. Those earliest plantings now constitute a 20 year-old forest that connects to the existing forest along the southern boundary. This spring we had two Grade 9 classes from Cobourg plant 200 more trees in this area to fill in some gaps that didn’t take in the first planting.

The two fields north of the marsh are being managed as grassland habitat to provide a nesting place for Bobolink and Meadowlark, both listed as Threatened under Provincial and Federal legislation. At present we have about 8 pairs of Bobolink and one pair of meadowlarks nesting here. To improve their chances of breeding successfully we do not permit hay to be cut from the fields until August, well after the young have fledged.
We suspect that the area could support greater numbers if we undertake some management efforts so we are presently investigating our options regarding improving the quality of this habitat through reseeding the fields to benefit grassland birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

Another issue we have looked at is the thin line of conifers that were planted along the west side of these fields, and in an east-west line dividing them. These trees were planted about 15 years ago before we had defined our grassland management strategy and unfortunately they are now starting to get to a height where they will negatively impact grassland birds that prefer wide-open spaces. Short shrubs like the dogwood and sumac that are currently there are not a problem, however a wall of tall trees will be. Once the spruce and pine get much taller they will reduce or eliminate the suitable grassland habitat.
After much discussion and consultation with the Ontario Heritage Trust (OHT holds an easement on this property) and others, we have decided to cut the row of planted conifers. While we generally don’t like to remove trees (besides invasive species which we remove regularly) this is a necessary action for the long-term health of our grassland habitat.