">

What Is It Wednesday: Northern Map Turtle

Name: Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) 

The Northern Map Turtle is one of eight native turtle species found in Ontario. Its name is derived from the map-like contour lines that run along the top of its shell, also known as the carapace, and the bright, yellow lined pattern on its skin. Its lower shell, or plastron, is usually a light yellow to cream and behind its eyes, this turtle sports a bright, yellow spot.

(Photo Credit: Scott Gillingwater)

Read more
Share

Sunday Funnies: Field Bloopers

Are you looking for an easy and creative way to spruce up your wardrobe? Do you like wearing nature-themed attire? Then have we got a solution for you! Come walking with us through the meadow on a fall day, and you too can discover the wonders of Tick Trefoil. Simply walk past this plant and your clothes will have instant seedy decoration. The plant uses this strategy to disperse its seeds far and wide by sticking them to deer and other mammals, who wander around and drop seeds wherever they walk. And it’s not just Tick Trefoil; there are also other sticky seeds such as burrs and beggarticks. Their Velcro-like coating ensures they stick to any passers-by. For an extra treat, put your seedy clothes through a washer-dryer cycle and transfer these beautiful adornments to everything else you own. Your family members will delight in discovering a seedy pattern on their favourite shirt or a clump of burrs in their socks.

 

- Rebecca Launchbury

Share

What Is It Wednesday: Bloodroot

Name: Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot is a native, perennial plant that produces a single flower and a single leaf. The flower is white with a golden centre and can have anywhere from 8-16 petals, and its leaf is round with multiple lobes. Its blooming progression occurs throughout March, April, and May. The stems and roots of this plant harbor a red-orange and poisonous sap.

(Photo Credit: Leah Derikx)

Read more
Share

What Is It Wednesday: Eastern Flowering Dogwood

Name: Eastern Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Eastern Flowering Dogwood is a native understory tree that grows to be 3-10 m tall. In Ontario, this tree can be found in the Carolinian Zone, the area that extends southwest from Toronto to Sarnia and down to Lake Erie. Its flowers bloom in mid-spring before its oval leaves have had a chance to unfurl. As these trees mature, the bark is often referred to as alligator skin due to its brownish-grey colour and scale-like texture. The tree produces bright red berries in late summer, which are poisonous to humans, but provide a tasty food source for many birds and small mammals. 

(Photo Credit: Cathy Quinlan)

Read more
Share

What Is It Wednesday: Phragmites

Name: Phragmites (Phragmites australis subspecies australis)

Also known as: European Common Reed

 

 

 

(Photo Credit: Darby Alderson)

Phragmites is a tall, invasive perennial plant that is most commonly found in wetlands, roadside ditches, and shorelines. It can grow as tall as 5 m (15 ft), spread horizontally at least 3 m per year, and produce a density of at least 200 stems per m2. The native home of Phragmites is Eurasia. How it came to North America is unclear, but it can now be found in every province in Canada, as well as the Northwest Territories. In Ontario alone, this invasive plant spread over 5,000 hectares between 2010 and 2017, which was about a 30% increase from previous years.

Read more
Share

Sunday Funnies Field Stories: Perceptible Deception

It rained the last two days. Today there is no rain, just an intense heat that is laden with the moisture of the previous days. You just know the mosquitoes are humming in the dank swamp that we are working in today, but that’s what I signed up for. Another full day of pulling the invasive garlic mustard plants off our nature reserves while the mosquitoes feast on my blood. The job of a conservation technician is bug bites, sweat and injury driven – the kind of work often described as “character building”. But that’s what I signed up for.

We walk down an ATV trail mottled in potholes filled with turbid rainwater. We skirt the edges of the trail in our rain boots, avoiding the puddles. Why are we avoiding the puddles if we have rain boots? The others must be trying to keep their boots clean for the truck ride home. No matter, we arrive on site and start pulling garlic mustard.

After a rigorous morning it is time for lunch. I walk out of the wet forest to see my boots coated in sticky mud. My coworkers start down the ATV trail skirting the edges, avoiding the potholes once again. What’s the point? I step straight into the puddle. Big mistake.

Read more
Share

What Is It Wednesday: Red-winged Blackbird

Name: Red-winged Blackbird

The Red-winged Blackbird is a common sight in Canada. In fact, it is considered one of the more numerous native birds in North America (see Figure 1). In Canada, these birds are one of the earlier signs of spring.

Migration occurs from mid-February to mid-May, bringing the males first. The males arrive first to claim the best territories, attempting to impress the late arriving females. Males are also the last to go once migration to the south begins in August.

 

Read more
Share

Community Commentary: A Hairy Situation

We here at TTLT love hearing from our supporters. That is why we hope this article is the first among many stories shared to us by you! We want to know all about your experiences with nature, whether they be funny, heart-warming, sad, or ridiculous. Send your stories to info@ttlt.ca.

This week’s story was contributed by one of our long-time, loyal supporters, Jim Rule. Read on to find out about A Hairy Situation…

 

 

Read more
Share

What Is It Wednesday: White-marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar

Name: White-marked Tussock Moth Caterpillar (Orgyia leucostigma)

The White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar is abundant in eastern North America and its range extends as far west as Alberta. It measures about 35 mm in length and is covered by a variety of toxin-laden hair tufts. Black, quill-like hair strands stick out from both sides of its reddish-orange head, while the rest of its body is covered in spiky, black and white tufts.

 

 

Photo Credit: Barbara Riddell

Read more
Share

What Is It Wednesday - Trout Lily

Name: Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Also Known As: Adder’s Tongue and Dogtooth Violet

The Trout Lily is a native perennial plant found throughout eastern North America (Figure 1). It prefers the partial shade and moist floors of woodlands and forests. It is a colony plant, meaning you are likely to find a large amount of them growing together in a single area. They are one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, but quickly produce seeds and die out by early summer. Young plants are flowerless and produce only one mottled leaf, whereas older plants produce one nodding flower and two mottled leaves. The flowers are bright yellow with six petals that pull back to reveal six brown stamens.

Photo Credits: Daria Koscinski (left) & Dave Wake (right)

Read more
Share

In Memory Pat Dewdney

Pat Dewdney memory

For many of us TTLT folk, a lasting memory of Pat will be of her as our charming and hospitable host during gatherings at the Nook at Newport Forest, in the shade of a mighty Black Maple. Conversations at the Nook were always lively and informed, often under the close watch of a raccoon overhead in the tree.

The Nook was also where light refreshments were served to participants after innumerable field trips at Newport Forest, general nature hikes, or specialized hikes to survey butterflies in the summer or fungi in the fall. Pat moved around the group plying us with her delicious home-baked snacks and cold drinks. She was always fascinated and delighted on hearing what the visitors had discovered. As a well-trained amateur botanist, she had an intimate knowledge of the diversity of plant species, particularly flowers, thriving at Newport. Pat and her husband, Kee, donated this much-loved property to the Land Trust in 2007. Pat will be missed by the a wide community of naturalists that had come to know her over the years.

-Stan Caveney

Share

Stories from 20 Years: In the Beginning – Part 2

As related previously, the work of the Organizing Committee tasked with creating the Thames Talbot Land Trust culminated in the decision, on April 17, 1999, to proceed with incorporation.

On May 24, 2000, the Trust drew its first breath under an interim board consisting of Bernie VanDenBelt (President), Mary Kerr (Vice-President) and Bill De Young (Secretary-Treasurer).  Many of the original Organizing Committee members stayed on, serving as an Advisory Committee to the interim board.  Now the focus shifted to such areas as communications and board recruitment.  An application for charitable status was also submitted and approved.

Read more
Share

Stories from 20 Years: In The Beginning Part 1

Upon entering the Ministry of Transportation building on Exeter Road – his copy of the book Creative Conservation in hand – Bernie VanDenBelt took the elevator to the third floor.  Here, tucked in amid the offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), was the desk of Don Gordon, then Executive Director of Carolinian Canada.  Bernie had an important question for Don:  In his capacity with Carolinian Canada, would he be interested in assisting with the creation of a land trust for the London region?  A lot was riding on Don’s answer.

There was a sense of hope, but also of urgency, in the question.  The continued destruction of natural habitats was of great concern to many.  Even seemingly “protected” areas appeared to be ever at risk through, among other threats, changes in zoning or through poor management.   Was there a vehicle through which more permanent protection could be achieved, and through which people could ensure the protection of cherished properties beyond their own tenure on them?  It turns out there was.  Recent changes in legislation had opened the door for a new type of community-based conservation organization: a land trust.

Read more
Share

Stories from 20 Years: A Land Trust Primer

A “trust” is a legal entity that takes ownership of, or authority over, a piece of property from its previous owner for the benefit of a third party.  Thames Talbot Land Trust (TTLT) is a local land trust, one of 33 in Ontario that protect more than 85,000 acres (34,398 ha) of significant land for public benefit.  Sometimes called land conservancies, nature conservancies or conservation land trusts, organizations such as TTLT are private (non-government), not-for-profit charitable organizations. They act primarily through volunteers to conserve lands of significant natural or cultural value “in perpetuity” – that is, for ever.

Read more
Share