TTLT Projects and Accomplishments

(2015) Beryl Ivey Woods 
The Beryl Ivey Woods is a 20.2 hectare (50 acre) property located in the Municipality of Middlesex. It is south of Newbury and west of Wardsville in Middlesex County and part of the Skunk’s Misery Natural Area (SMNA). This property was deeded to the St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Wardsville by one of its parishioners approximately 25 years ago. The Beryl Ivey Woods is a significant conservation land parcel from a national and regional perspective. 

(2015) Hawk Cliff Woods 
Hawk Cliff Woods is a stunning 230 acre property fronting on Lake Erie near Port Stanley.  Steep cliffs provide sweeping views of the lake.  The woodland here is one of the most significant deep interior forests in Elgin County. In the maple-beech forest you will find Carolinian specialties, including the Tulip-tree and Pignut Hickory as well as the Endangered Butternut and American Chestnut. Rare birds such as Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Wood Thrush thrive in the deep woods.

(2014) The Lusty Family Woods
TTLT successfully raised acquisition and stewardship costs for the Lusty Family Woods, a 53-acre parcel of spectacular Carolinian swamp forest which lies at the heart of the West Lorne Woods in the Municipality of West Elgin. The West Lorne Woods is 600 acres of almost continuous deciduous forest. Its mix of swamp forest and upland woods creates habitat for a rich array of Carolinian species.

(2014) The Bebensee Tract
The Bebensee Tract was gifted to the TTLT in May, 2014 by Elaine Bebensee of Calgary in memory of her husband Lloyd Bebensee, both of whom grew up near Skunk's Misery.The Bebensee Tract is a 26-ha (64 acre) wooded property within the Skunk's Misery swamp forest complex, one of the largest remnant Carolinian forest blocks in southwestern Ontario. The property is bordered by large forested tracts owned and managed by the County of Middlesex and the Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority.

(2012) Wardsville Woods
TTLT purchased Wardsville Woods, a 50-acre tract of upland and ravine forest located in the Skunk's Misery Natural Area (SMNA) with incredible support from corporate sponsors, foundations and invididual donations. The SMNA represents the finest example of Carolinian (deciduous) swamp and upland forest remaining in southwestern Ontario. Wardsville Woods is mixed-deciduous woods with mature specimens of two iconic Carolinian species, Tuliptree and Sassafras, as well as American Beech, White and Red Oak and Sugar Maple trees. A creek flows through the property to the Thames River.

(2011) Black Creek Heronry
The TTLT purchased a 5-acre hardwood wetland at the headwaters of Black Creek in East Perth County. The wetland abuts the 100-acre Eberhardt Farm protected by a Conservation Easement held by the land trust. The Black Creek Heronry has been the breeding grounds for a large colony of Great Blue Heron for at least 30 years and is one of only two heronries in Perth County. The TTLT is grateful to Marcia Eberhardt and other local supporters for providing land trust with the opportunity to secure and protect this precious wetland in perpetuity.

(2010) Tanager Tract
Solely with generous support from nature organizations, charitable foundations and more than 160 individuals, in November 2010 the Thames Talbot Land Trust was able to purchase the Tanager Tract, a 40-ha tract of Carolinian hardwood forest near West Lorne in West Elgin. The Tanager Tract is part of a 380-ha forest known as the West Lorne Woods, a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) and an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI).

(2010) Strategic Plan
Developed in May 2010 through committee and Board discussions, and a facilitated workshop in Strathroy involving various Directors, committee members, Stewards and donors, the Strategic Plan for 2010 to 2013 endorsed the existing Vision Statement and Mission Statement and set the following Goals: 1. Acquire More Land; 2. Recruit More Members and Volunteers; 3.Raise Money; 4.Tell People Why We Do This; Objectives: A. Secure new conservation properties totaling 600 acres by December 31 2013; B. To increase the number of our membership to 350 as of December 31 2013; C. Achieve annual unrestricted giving of $75,000 per year from 2010 through 2013; D. Develop a communications strategy by December 31 2010; E. Recruit 20 new volunteers to serve on the Board and Committees by the 2012 AGM; F. Hire a part-time staff person by the 2012 season; G. To establish one new major corporate sponsorship / partnership per year until 2013.

(2009) Five Points Woods
Driedger Tract In January 2008, Al and Lillianne Driedger signed a letter of intent to donate their 74-acre wetland-forest property near Putnam in Thames Centre to the Thames Talbot Land Trust. As owners, they had protected and enhanced the property's natural features for more than 20 years. The donation was conditional on their residence being severed from the conservation land, which took place in 2009. The Driedger Tract is at the core of the 400-acre Five Point Woods Wetland Complex, a provincially significant wetland. The tract contains White Cedar and soft maple swamp, Sugar Maple-Beech upland forest and old Red Pine plantations on abandoned farmland. The trail system on the property is open to the public.

(2009) Tiedje Woods
Tiedje Woods was donated to the Thames Talbot land Trust in April of 2009 by John and Dorothy Tiedje of Sarnia. As life-long naturalists the Tiedjes had purchased the property 20+ years previously to enjoy and protect its natural features. They have entrusted the care of the property to TTLT creating a natural legacy. The 15-acre wooded property is on Sylvan Road, about 800 metres north of the bridge of the Ausable River in Hungry Hollow area just east of Arkona. Access is from Sylvan Road via a gateway that leads to a short track down to the creek. The property has a steep to rolling topography, covered with intermediate to early successional deciduous forest with good canopy cover. A low-order tributary of the Ausable River dissects the property towards the eastern boundary on Sylvan Road. A steep-banked ravine flanks this creek.

(2009) Blain Farm
TTLT entered into an agreement of purchase and sale in January to acquire this 68-acre property that includes 1.4km of Thames River shoreline. The Blain Farm is a roughly equal mixture of cropland and natural area. This is the first land acquisition under the Skunk's Misery Natural Area Conservation Plan. The property lies to the south of the Thames in Elgin County near to Newport Forest. Under TTLT ownership the natural areas will be enhanced and somewhat enlarged and the good farmland will remain actively farmed using best management practices.

(2008) McTavish Tract
The McTavish Tract consists of 46 wooded acres near Shakespeare in Perth County that has been cared for by generations of the McTavish family. The site includes a variety of habitats including a mature upland hardwood component, a cedar swamp and a spruce plantation. The property also features a spring-fed stream that is a tributary of the Avon River. Stuart, Robert, Murray, Hugh, Laura, Marian and Donna together determined to protect the property in perpetuity by transferring title to the Thames Talbot Land Trust. The McTavish Tract will remain as a testament to the foresight and land ethic of one of our founding families.

(2008) TTLT Fund at London Community Foundation
TTLT creates an endowed fund for each acquired property in order that the income from those funds will meet the property's future needs. This provides the security to allow us to protect properties in perpetuity. The TTLT endowed funds are held with the London Community Foundation.

(2007) Skunk's Misery Natural Area Conservation Plan
Skunk's Misery is one of the largest and most significant forested blocks remaining in the Carolinian Region of southern Ontario. It is a large tract of deciduous forest and farmland situated along the Thames River, sixty km southwest of London, ON. It has been identified as a Carolinian Canada site, Provincially Significant Wetland, an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest, an Important Bird Area, and has been identified as a key biodiversity area within the Great Lakes. Skunk's Misery is surrounded by the communities of Newbury, Wardsville and Bothwell. The Thames Talbot Land trust and the Nature Conservancy of Canada recently partnered to produce a detailed 5-uear strategic plan for the conservation of Skunk's Misery. The Skunk's Misery Natural Area Conservation Plan sets out a vision for protecting and enlarging the core forested area and enhancing wildlife linkages to the Thames River.

(2007) Newport Forest
After carefully managing and studying this diverse property for seven years, Kee and Pat Dewdney generously donated title of Newport Forest to TTLT in the summer of 2007. Purchased by them from the Newport family in 2000, the110 acre site is located on the south side of the Thames River near Wardsville and features both riverine and upland forests, meadows and a tributary of the Thames, Fleming Creek. The property is being managed primarily to conserve existing natural habitats. Restoration efforts took place to enhance forest cover on the site while retaining some meadow habitat as well. It is also hoped that corridors linking the site to the greater Skunk's Misery forest complex to the north can be enhanced. While not open to the general public, the site is available for tours and research purposes with the permission of the Trust.

(2007) Joany's Woods
In September of 2007, TTLT successfully completed its most ambitious securement project to date with the acquisition of Joany's Woods. This 367 acre forest is located near Sylvan in northwest Middlesex County. The property was purchased from the estate of Thomas Doherty following a nine month fundraising campaign. Donors to the campaign included Richard and Beryl Ivey, through the Ivey Natural Lands Legacy, the Ontario Greenlands program (MNR & NCC), the McIlwraith Field Naturalists of London (Inch bequest), the ELJB Foundation, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority, the HIVA Environmental Fund, the Walter Blackburn Foundation, and numerous private donors. The site boasts significant frontage along the Ausable River and features several internationally significant populations of mussels. Adjoining properties are also well forested making the Ausable valley one of the region's most significant woodlands. A group of local volunteers is overseeing management of the property which is open to the public. TTLT efforts have improved trails, new signage, interpretive materials and the elimination of incompatible uses such as ATV riding.

(2005) Ivey Natural Lands Legacy
In the summer of 2005, TTLT established its Opportunities Fund. The purpose of the fund is to accumulate capital for the costs associated with land securement. These costs include the purchase of land, stewardship funds, transaction fees, and professional fees. In October 2005, TTLT was pleased to announce an inaugural gift of $1 million to the fund by Richard and Beryl Ivey. The donation is one of the largest private gifts in Ontario's conservation history and has greatly assisted TTLT in our land securement efforts.

(2005) Inch Bequest
TTLT signed a partnership agreement with the McIlwraith Field Naturalists of London to the purchase of a conservation property in honour of Helen and Spencer Inch, two long-time McIlwraith members. The McIlwraith Field Naturalists pledged $94,000 of the Inch bequest for this purpose, which was later used to purchased Joany's Woods. The Inch Trail is named in honor of Helen and Spencer Inch.

(2004 & 2005) Headwaters Project: Eberhardt Easement
For some time, the Trust has been holding discussions with several landowners at the upper reaches of the Thames River in Perth County. Several of them are considering conservation easements to protect the natural features of their properties. Under an easement, property remains in private ownership, but certain restrictions are registered on title with the property to protect special features. Future owners must also abide by these conditions. The first formal agreement of our Headwaters project is a conservation easement on the farm of Eric and Marsha Eberhardt. The easement agreement was registered on title in February of 2005 and celebrated with a dedication ceremony and property tour in June. The easement will help protect the property's ecological features while allowing organic agricultural operations to continue on the site.

(2002) Meadowlily Nature Preserve
Through the generosity and foresight of Carol and Rick Richardson, the citizens of London and area received a remarkable gift in the acquisition of the Trust's first property. The designation of this property as the Meadowlily Nature Preserve is an important component in assuring the ecological integrity of the larger Meadowlily ESA. The 5.9 ha Nature Preserve borders the Thames River, and is comprised of floodplain lands, meadow, and upland forest.
A Stewardship Fund has been established to provide for the future management of the property. Through generous contributions from the Richard and Beryl Ivey Fund (a fund within the London Community Foundation), the Archangelo Rea Foundation, the Middlesex Stewardship Committee and the McIlwraith Field Naturalists, the Trust achieved its $50,000 goal to ensure the financial resources to properly care for the site over the long term. The Trust has also established a Meadowlily Property Management Committee to oversee management of the site. Such management is an ongoing activity. Thus far, the property has seen: a clean-up; tree and shrub plantings; the building of a foot bridge and protective entrance gate as well as signage. Funding for some of this work was provided by the Friends of the Environment Foundation with the work on the bridge and gate being undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers.