On Saturday (June 22nd), Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development, Minister for Women and Gender Equality, and Member of Parliament for Peterborough—Kawartha, announced on behalf of Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, that the Government of Canada invested $215,000 in support to the work of the Kawartha Land Trust for the protection of the Cation Wildlife Preserve.
“We are on track to meet our climate change targets because we have a 50-point plan and it’s working,” says Monsef. “It includes pollution pricing, phasing out coal and plastics, investing in clean technology and protecting our land and waters. The protection of the Cation Wildlife Preserve is part of our government’s plan to double the amount of nature protected in our lands and oceans.”
MP Maryam Monsef speaks with crowd at the grand opening of the Cation Wildlife Preserve.
Kawartha Land Trust acquired land donated by David and Sharon Cation and conserved land, adding 270 hectares to Canada's protected areas network.
The Cation Wildlife Preserve is in a natural conservation corridor that sits right in the middle of several important protected areas including Balsam Lake, Indian Point, and Queen Elizabeth Wildlands Provincial Parks, the Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve and the Carl Sedore Wildlife Management Area.
Tara King, development manager for Kawartha Land Trust, with MP Maryam Monsef
The 668.5-acre Cation Wildlife Preserve includes marked trails for passive recreational use by the public, such as hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
“We are grateful for the federal government's contribution to support the protection of the Cation Wildlife Preserve and also Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Ecological Gift program that provides tax incentives to land owners to protect private lands in perpetuity,” says Tara King, Kawartha Land Trust Development Manager. “This landscape is vibrant and so full of life.”
Dave and Sharon Cation address crowd at the grand opening of the Cation Wildlife Preserve
The celebratory grand opening of the Cation Wildlife Preserve featured guided tours of the trails to the general public.
Dave Cation points out something in the distance during a guided walking tour
“Canadians like the leaders at Kawartha Land Trust asked our government to introduce a program to incentivize more conservation, and we listened,” adds Monsef. “Working together, we will ensure the wealth of our region is protected for our kids and grandkids.”
[UPDATE: December 28th: After seeing our post, Peterborough Airport says in a tweet that the snowy owl lives at the airport every winter. “She can be seen perched all over the airport and stays well clear of the runways.”]
We’re not sure if this snowy owl was at the airport hoping for a flight to warmer parts but whatever the case naturalist Drew Monkman was there and caught beautiful pictures of the bird there on Christmas Eve.
Photo by Drew Monkman
Drew says he first saw the adult white owl perched on a red-roof building adjacent to Flying Colours at the very end of Brealey Drive, and then it flew to the runway taxiway sign where Drew caught these amazing pics.
Photo by Drew Monkman
Drew tells PTBOCanada the pictures “were taken with a 600mm lens and then cropped, and photographed from Flying Colours parking lot.”
Parks Canada has been rehabilitating the earth dams along the Trent-Severn Waterway in Peterborough. Earth dams are vital for flood mitigation and therefore the safety of visitors, residents and property. These investments will further reduce the risk of flood damage along the canal corridor.
After beginning work in the fall of 2015, it has reached the active heavy construction phase this past spring. Below are updates for specific areas.
Work continues along the Earth Dam south of Parkhilll road in Peterborough
THE EARTH DAM AT THOMPSONS BAY IN NORTH PETERBOROUGH
This was the first to reach the construction phase and is now nearing the final stages of work. At this location, all vegetation has been removed, the dam strengthened, and the new earthen material compacted into place. The water facing side of the dam has also been repaired and armoured with rock. The final stages of work will see additional top soil added to the berm followed by a re-greening of the surface using a specially developed seed mix of tall grasses. The work is slated to completed by mid- to late-September.
THE HURDONS EARTH DAM & CURTIS CREEK EARTH DAMS
At these locations along the western shoreline north of Parkhill Road and the eastern and western shorelines south of Parkhill Road, the contractor continues to remove vegetation—particularly tree roots—which posed a threat to the long term reliability of the earth dams. Work along the dry surfaces will continue late into the fall with the in water work occurring after the close of the Trent-Severn Waterway’s navigation season.
PETERBOROUGH EARTH DAMS
Large sections of Trent-Severn Waterway shoreline within the City of Peterborough are engineered structures designed to keep water inside the canal and out of adjoining neighbourhoods. In 2015, Parks Canada announced a project to rehabilitate more than 2 km of these earth dams.
The major repairs to the Earth dams throughout Peterborough began in November 2015 and are estimated to continue until Summer 2019. In order to rehabilitate and strengthen these dams, washouts will be repaired, dam height will be increased where necessary and vegetation will be removed.
HOW THE PUBLIC CAN ENJOY THE EARTH DAMS WHEN COMPLETE
Following the completion of repairs, the dams will be green-scaped with beneficial plants like milkweed, wildflowers and tall grasses. Recognizing the part the earth dams play as public green spaces, Parks Canada will be formalizing the walking trails at these sites at the end of the project so that they can be better enjoyed by members of the community.
Thanks to a generous grant received from the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, the Rotary Greenway Trail Link between Water Street and the main Rotary Greenway Trail now has lighting.
The lighting system uses energy efficient LED lamps that focus the light downward and along the trail and meets dark sky standards. The lighting system only uses the equivalent of 5 ½ 100 w bulbs, which is an impressively low amount of energy. The project donor placed environmental sustainability as a high priority, which is also why the lighting system was installed with direct mount poles to minimize impact to existing vegetation and trees.
Students from both TASSS and Trent University will benefit from the trail lighting—particularly those involved in extracurricular activities or evening lectures who use the trail outside of the eight solid hours of daylight during the darker months of the year.
As well, the lighting will open this part of the trail for more use by residents of the Whitaker Mills Condominiums and the Waverley Heights subdivision, who use the trail to get to and downtown and other parts of the City.
OTCC says on their Facebook page they are "currently incubating eggs from 6 species found in Ontario: Blanding's turtles, wood turtles, eastern musk turtles, northern map turtles, snapping turtles, and painted turtles."
Blanding's turtle eggs
OTCC encourages people to bring injured turtles to the centre, even if they think the turtle may already be dead. The reason: OTCC can retrieve and incubate the eggs that a female turtle had been carrying, so that the misfortunate event that injured or killed the mother does not have to determine the fate of her eggs as well.
This initiative is incredibly worthwhile, as 7 of Ontario's 8 turtle species are species at risk, including the Blanding's turtle (pictured above), which is a threatened species in Ontario.
Snapping turtle eggs
The round shape of snapping turtle eggs (pictured above) make them easy to identify, as other Ontario turtles lay oval eggs, according to OTTC's Facebook page post. The large body size of snapping turtles allow them to carry and lay the largest number of eggs in a single clutch. Snapping turtles can lay more than 50 eggs per clutch, while other Ontario species typically lay anywhere from 3-20 eggs in a clutch.
Painted turtle eggs
OTCC says they'll be sharing photos of the hatchlings once they start breaking out of their eggs over the next couple weeks to make sure to "Like" OTCC on Facebook to see the results!
Lead by the folks at GrowHappy.ca, Immaculate Conception elementary school in Peterborough created a "food forest" as part of an amazing class project on Thursday (June 23rd). Mitch Champagne's Grade 6/7 class collaborated with Mim Devitt's Grade 1 class to create a permaculture food forest.
Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.
A Food Forest is a low maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems—incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.
Teacher Mitch Champagne, who live tweeted much of the day (see some below), says their School Based Food Forest Permaculture project focused on teaching students about food systems, habitat, environmentally sustainable farming practices, cooking, preserving, seed gathering and propagation, pollination and more.
Champagne says there is a great deal of research that links gardening in youth with positive mental health—something GrowHappy.ca espouses as part of their "Plant It Forward" approach—and the class explored these links.
"It was an incredible opportunity to create a sustainable Food Forest with our students," Champagne tells PTBOCanada of this memorable day. "The children brought so much energy, curiosity, and wonder to the whole experience. They really understood the links to positive physical and mental health and were very eager to 'Plant It Forward.'"