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Speakers inspire ways to protect Crown Land block and wildlife areas

By Cheryl Anderson
An enthusiastic crowd filled Picton Town Hall Saturday to discuss uses of the Ostrander Point Crown Land Block and the Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area.

The South Shore Joint Initiative Fall Symposium was a day-long event focused on gaining input from participants. Three speakers inspired the crowd.

Les Stanfield took the group from the very origins of the geology of the County 176 million years ago, to the present-day with emphasis on the uses of the South Shore by Indigenous tribes and European settlers. That geology and subsequent glacial scraping resulted in the karst geology of the South Shore making it poor farming land, but excellent habitat for wildlife.

Stanfield explained how the South Shore areas were used for defence training and aerial bombing practice during and after the Second World War and how ultimately, the area was developed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources as a hunting and fishing resource.

Dr. Graham Whitelaw, from Queen’s University, offered a change of pace by describing how organizations can effect change in ecosystem planning.

He talked about the Niagara Escarpment and Oak Ridges Moraine and explained how the citizens’ groups involved worked to assure protection of these unique areas.

By describing a careful four-step process, starting with goal-setting and emphasizing a flexible, inclusive and adaptive approach to reach that goal, Dr. Whitelaw helped participants see the way forward toward ensuring protection for Ostrander Point Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area.

In the afternoon, Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC) Mark Stabb shared a brief survey of the two new NCC properties on the South Shore.

The Hudgin-Rose Property and the Brodeur property bookend Ostrander Point Crown Land Block, share the same habitat types and species including several species-at-risk.

NCC hopes to enlist local people in a species-at-risk project in the area to identify, monitor and list species and suggest ways to protect and enhance their habitat.

Participants were asked to suggest other ways to reach out to other groups and individuals providing a fully-inclusive campaign to protect the important public areas.

A “big map” project allowed everyone to indicate their uses, hopes and dreams for Ostrander Point and Point Petre NWA. The lists created will help to inform SSJI’s on-going efforts to protect the public lands.

SSJI president John Hirsch was pleased with the day.

“We had a great turn-out and learned some very important and new things,” he said. “Les, Graham and Mark gave us the inspiration and information we need as we move forward to speak with the Minister of Environment Conservation and Parks about the importance of protection for the last undeveloped land on the north shore of Lake Ontario.”

The South Shore Joint Initiative is a not-for-profit coalition of individuals and partner organizations working to protect the County’s south shore. Click here to find out more. 

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  1. sarah moran says:

    As with many things in life, much is taken for granted. I am grateful that the SSJI exists. I discovered so much through the excellent porgramming provided by enthusiastic and incredibly knowledgeable volunteers at this event. It builds a growing understanding of just how special the landscape, nature and heritage of what we have all around us is. Thank you to everyone who makes these gatherings happen.

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