We all know we live in a spectacularly beautiful part of Ontario, but sometimes it takes highly knowledgeable experts to open our eyes and look at our own back yards in a new way. Who knew that scientists from all over the world travel here to marvel at and study things we take for granted: “pillow” rock formations from ancient sea beds, the Plevna Fault (which is not a shortcoming of the good citizens of that town), traces of the last glaciers to scour this landscape, a watershed divide, and an extensive wetland and headwater that harbours rare species? We can even boast of Little Round Lake: a meromictic lake, which is a stratified lake consisting of two layers that do not completely mix, and creatures that thrive without oxygen.
On the Woodlands and Wetlands Tour on April 23, organized by Friends of the Salmon River, about fifty lucky passengers learned to look at their terrain in a new way, thanks to some local scientists and experts.
Gray Merriam (landscape ecologist) taught us about the Kennebec Wetlands complex, Dave Smallwood (professional forester) pointed out past and present forestry practices and woodlot management, Dugald Carmichael was the geologist on board who enlightened us with stories of events millions and billions of years ago that formed what we now see in the rocks at roadsides, and Don Cuddy (ecologist) shared his knowledge and insights into the complexity of the relationships between living things and the landscape.
The route took us north on Road 38 to Sharbot Lake, then up Road 509, through Snow Road Station, Ompah, Plevna, Meyers Cave, south on 41 to Northbrook, Henderson, and continuing south through Arden, returning to our starting point in Verona. There was never a dull moment as commentators both educated and entertained us.
The trip was a partnership sponsored by Friends of the Salmon River, the Ontario Woodlot Association: Limestone Chapter, and the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation.