Remembering Muriel Braham

submitted by Elizabeth Chatten
I first met Muriel Braham when she came to our farm store to buy apples. She brought me heart nuts that she grew on her mature nut trees in Grafton. Muriel belonged to the Niagara Nut Growers association and enjoyed visiting with fellow nut growers.
When she saw the Lone Pine Marsh property for sale she felt she wanted to buy the land to preserve it . Not having enough money for the purchase price she went to talk to her bank manager. She must have told a good story as the bank loaned her the money she needed to buy the land. The name she chose came from the lone pine tree growing on the property.
I invited her to be a guest speaker at one of our monthly meetings of the Brighton Horticultural Society. Many people enjoyed hearing about the interesting things she was doing.
Muriel would be surprised and very pleased to see how her idea of a land trust for this area has grown over the years.

Lymantria dispar caterpillars

The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) is an invasive insect that originates from Europe and was introduced as an experiment intended to develop a silk industry in North America. The experiment failed but the gypsy moth remained and has taken hold in its new home. It feeds on tree foliage as its population cycles from an ever present, but manageable low to alarming highs associated with cyclical outbreaks.
Gypsy moth populations have been building in Ontario since 2019, first in the southwest and now across large parts of southern Ontario. Forested areas from Cobourg to Belleville had severe gypsy moth defoliation in 2020 and are expected to be equally hard hit this summer, unless mother nature decides otherwise.
You may have noticed gypsy moth egg masses on your trees this winter. They resemble a quarter-sized mass of beige felt which covers up to a thousand eggs in which tiny gypsy moth larvae, or caterpillars, have spent the winter. They emerge from the eggs in May and by the time the spring leaves have unfurled, they are making their way to the tips of branches to feast and grow.
During a severe outbreak, your trees may be eaten bare. Fortunately, the caterpillars soon mature (July) and wrap themselves up in a brown tear-drop shaped pupal case to begin their transformation into their adult moth form. And the feeding stops. Your deciduous trees begin to recover and put out new leaves to replace the ones that were eaten. Gypsy moth caterpillars may also feed on coniferous trees, especially pines. These cannot replace their needles once they have been eaten and will likely die if the defoliation is extensive and/or repeated over several years.
female Lymantria dispar with egg masses on tree
During an outbreak, you can’t get rid of the gypsy moths, you have to wait it out. But there are things you can do to protect valuable trees on your property. The City of Toronto website has excellent instructions on how and when to manage gypsy moth:
https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/water-environment/trees/forest-management/threats-to-trees-insects/european-gypsy-moth/
A gypsy moth outbreak may last 2 to 4 years. As the population density reaches its peak, diseases and parasites begin to overcome the gypsy moths and the population begins to decrease rapidly. Nucleopolyhedrosus virus (NPV) is a naturally occurring virus that is the major cause of gypsy moth population collapse. Entomophaga maimaiga (EM) is a fungal disease that was introduced to help tackle the gypsy moth problem. Its spreads readily during cold wet weather and can also lead to a population collapse. A species of wasp called Ooencyrtus kuvanae is known to parasitize gypsy moth eggs and can reduce gypsy moth populations.
You can find out more about gypsy moth, including mapping of the current Ontario outbreak, at https://www.ontario.ca/page/gypsy-moth or by sending an email to .

Wilkinson Property Pipeline Repair

About a year ago, the LPLT was approached by Trans Northern Pipeline (TNPL) who needed to do a repair on a small section of their petroleum pipeline located on their right of way (ROW) passing through the Wilkinson property. The LPLT actually owns the ROW land and therefore TNPL seeks our approval before doing any work.
Once again, we approached a lawyer and Doug McRae who donated their time to negotiate a financial compensation agreement with TNPL. We have done this successfully on two previous “digs”. The monies received are used to fund the biological studies being performed now on all our properties.
To access the repair location and cause the least amount of disturbance to the ground cover, TNPL constructed a wood mat access road approximately 250m long from Pogue Rd to the dig location in the marshy wetland.

Wood mats from Pogue Rd to site of excavation.

At the dig site a larger wood mat area was created surrounded by silt fencing (to control runoff) to be used as a work platform and to temporarily store excavated material.

Excavation site with hoarding.

The actual steel pipe is buried about 2m and once exposed, the repair is quickly made. Constant monitoring of the pipe’s condition allows these preventative repairs to be made before a potential leak occurs.

Inside the TNPI excavation.

With the repair completed, the excavation was back-filled with the same material, the site cleaned up and the wood mats removed, all in a 2 week period. Very little of the native ground cover has been disturbed and within a few months and spring growth, it would be difficult to identify where the work occurred.
We will monitor the site for any sign of invasive species. All the construction equipment which entered the property was cleaned and new wood mats were used to eliminate the chance of invasives taking root.

Fragile Gifts

by Helmut Enns
A group from Brighton’s United Church and a growing group of friends have been on a virtual walk from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and perhaps to the Arctic Ocean. Prior to the walk, and now, along the way, visits with First Nations communities are helping gain an insight into community life, community issues, and concerns for creation, concerns crucial to all of us. You are invited to join us on this journey, contact me for more information.
In February, DJ Fife, Park Warden at Petroglyphs Provincial Park, spoke to us. DJ has focused on recovering his Indigenous connections, through learning his language, a language born in relationship to all Creation. By spending every possible minute in nature with those that fly, those that swim, those that travel on four legs, those that sway in the breeze, yes, with all our relations, DJ Fife is learning to listen, and to speak about the concerns of creation.
In March, Anne Taylor, whose spirit name is Loon Feather, spoke of her path to a deep connection with the land and the language. Her Granny taught her to be proud of her heritage. Her Papa taught her about connecting with the land and the water and all those who dwell there. Anne challenged us to do everything in our power to assist Indigenous children in learning their language, to recover their heritage and teachings. We can all benefit from this knowledge, but for it to survive, we need to help restore it for First Nations Children, restore what we so effectively tried to destroy.
In April, from the shores of the Shubenacadie River, Mi’kmaq Grandmother Dorene Bernard implored us to love water, thank water, and respect water. One day, while visiting the Shubenacadie River, Dorene observed some heavy equipment at work, and soon discovered that a natural gas project was about to pollute the river with thousands of gallons of salt deposits, part of the process of cleaning salt caverns for natural gas storage. You can learn more by viewing the documentary, “There’s Something in the Water”, available on Netflix.
Fragile gifts of water, language, and a thriving environment go hand in hand. Mary-Anne Kechego says we will be very poor people if we do not do all we can to preserve heritage plants, preserve language, persist in our love and care of all life. With love, care, respect, and a lot of effort, each of us attentive to these fragile gifts can respond in ways that lead us on a path towards a healthy creation for the next seven generations.

Lessons from the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

(submitted by Kate Hayday)
Two years ago, while volunteering for Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre (SPWC), I took the opportunity to learn more about turtles at the Turtle Trauma Workshop run by Dr. Sue Carstairs and the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre. What follows are a few highlights of turtle info from that day, mixed with a bit of my personal experience working with turtles as a volunteer at SPWC.
painted turtle
Why did the turtle cross the road? Because roads are everywhere. The largest proportion of Canada’s turtles are in southern Ontario, which unfortunately perfectly aligns with the highest density of roadways in the province – you can’t travel more than 1.5km in southern Ontario without encountering a road. These roads highly fragment the landscape and ecosystems, and turtles must cross them in order to function.
Roads are second only to habitat loss as the reason turtle species are at risk in North America. Turtles in Ontario do not begin breeding until they are 8-25 years old, and they cannot sustain the losses of so many breeding-age adults being hit by cars. That is a lot of years of successfully, slowly, crossing roads before turtles even begin to breed.
8 species, 8 warnings: Ontario has 8 species of turtle: wood, spotted, blanding’s, spiny softshell, musk, map, snapping and painted. And all, all, are listed either provincially or federally as at risk, ranging from Special Concern, Threatened or Endangered.
Is it hopeless? Nope! Turtles populations have proven to benefit from assistive interventions by humans.
Studies have shown that for turtles, rehabilitation has a population level effect, and interventions can have a substantial impact.
Egg-cellent work: As part of the OTCC’s population rehabilitation work, if an injured turtle was a pregnant female (and about 1/2 of female turtles that are hit by cars are carrying eggs) the OTCC — as well as other wildlife rescue centres, like SPWC in Napanee — can and will remove, incubate, and hatch the eggs. The resulting hatchling turtles will be safely returned to the wild, giving their species that much more opportunity for survival. Other deceased turtles are also sometimes accepted by the OTCC for data collection.
The OTCC had over 1400 admissions in 2019, and over 1000 in 2020, even with Covid-19 restrictions. In 2018 alone, the OTCC released 2100 turtles back to the wild, and incubated 4000 eggs. If you can support the OTCC or SPWC in any way – financially, with donations of items on their wish lists, or by becoming a member of their volunteer driver teams, I highly recommend doing so.

What can we do?

• when it’s safe to do so, help turtles across the road — always in the direction it was already travelling. Learn how you can safely move even a large snapping turtle in this video from Adopt-a-Pond: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgd_B6iKPxU
• follow OTCC and SPWC on social media, to learn so much more about how amazing turtles are;
• submit sightings of turtles and turtle nests with the Ontario Turtle Tally through the Adopt-a-Pond app: https://report.adoptapond.ca/;
• install proper nest protectors if you find a turtle nest on your property: https://ontarioturtle.ca/get-involved/turtle-nests-and-nest-protection/;
• bring injured turtles to the OTCC, even if you think they’re dead or dying.;
• share information about the role of turtles in our ecosystems, the importance of wetlands to a healthy water supply, and your love of turtles!
And if you find any turtle in trouble and you need guidance on what to do, contact the OTCC and they will be happy to help you help turtles. Learn more at https://ontarioturtle.ca and become that much more turtle-y awesome! OTCC Turtle Hotline: 705-741-5000