Speaker Series 2019

The Lone Pine Land Trust is continuing its partnership with the Northumberland Land Trust in sponsoring an annual Speakers Series. This year the Speakers Series will be held at Venture 13 at 739 D’Arcy Street Cobourg, ON. The speaker events will take place on the third Thursday of January, February, and March at 7pm.
We have a very exciting line-up of speakers.

Allie Anderson • January 17

Allie is a PhD candidate from Trent University who has been working on the James Bay Shorebird Project. Her PhD research examines flexibility in shorebird migratory strategies related to stopover diet, habitat use, departure flights, and migration.

Dianne Saxe, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario • February 21

Prior to her appointment, Dianne was one of Canada’s most respected environmental lawyers. She has 40 years of unparalleled experience writing, interpreting, and litigating Ontario’s energy and environmental laws. Dianne was appointed ECO in 2015. In 2018, the government cancelled her position. Visit http://eco.on.ca for information on the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

Monique Aarts and John Urquhart, Blazing Star Environmental • March 21

Blazing Star Environmental has been working locally over the past year looking at natural habitats for specific species, particularly reptiles and amphibians. The focus for their project has been Durham Region and Northumberland County due to the rapid pace of growth in the area. Fortunately, a considerable amount of connected natural habitat exists in the area. This same area is an obvious data gap for reptile and amphibian species at risk (SAR). Blazing Star Environmental has teamed up with local conservation groups to find and protect any undiscovered populations of reptiles and amphibians before it is too late. They will present their findings from the past year of study in the 2 regions.

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.

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.