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Participants learn points and plants of interest along Millennium Trail’s wetlands

Tamara Segal and Terry Sprague led the walks

Tamara Segal and Terry Sprague led the walks

Two dozen people explored sections of Prince Edward County’s Millennium Trail Sunday during a wetlands safari hosted by the Hillier Recreation Committee.

Naturalist Terry Sprague and herbalist Tamara Segal guided the tour noting points and plants of interest.  Sprague focused on wildlife and the importance of wetlands while Segal spoke about the uses of plants as food and medicine.

Tamara Segal explains the value of nettle berries

Tamara Segal explains the value of nettle berries

Some on the tour tasted offerings from a few plants including a nutty tasting nettle seed, Segal says is considered an energizing super food that can easily be added to food.

She also noted the edible benefits of cat tails, also known as the “supermarket of the swamp” which produces edible starch that can be used as a flour; as well the tips, stalk bottoms and spaghetti-like roots are all food.

Sprague noted the importance of the cat tails as sponges of the swamp retaining water and holding it back as needed in their position between open water and dry land. Cat tail “fluff” was traditionally used to stuff bedding, in crafts, bedding and pillows, among other things.

Sprague also informed participants that the Bay of Quinte area once had no swans, but now three kinds are common to the area.

He said the first Mute Swan (they do have a muffled voice) was seen in the area at Consecon Lake in 1963 and now, the County and area probably has one of the largest breeding populations in eastern Ontario. He noted we now also see many of the smaller Tundra Swans during each spring and fall migration and the large Trumpeter Swan, thanks to a re-introduction program in the 1980s at numerous sites in the province, including Prince Edward County.

The tour included visits to the Gardenville Marsh, Hubb’s Creek Wetland, Consecon Marsh and the Slab Creek Wetland.

Prince Edward County council, in September, approved a request from the Prince Edward County Trails Association group to officially become a community interest group in order to issue receipts for donations.

A fundraising goal of $80,000 has been set for the 49-km County-wide recreational trail system stretching from Carrying Place through to Picton with various vistas and natural landscapes.

The association is interested in moving forward on a $450,000 project to resurface portions of the trail with a 50 per cent contribution from the province’s Ontario 150 Community Capital Program.

Should the application be successful, the County would contribute $70,000 through capital budgets in 2017 and 2018. If the County is unsuccessful with grant applications for the rehabilitation of the trail, funds raised will be used toward urban areas between Wellington and Picton as well as eco-friendly solutions for designated wetlands near Hillier.


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