June 10th and 11th
Celebrating Resilience & Renewal
Being on the land promotes physical, mental and spiritual wholeness.
Ian McInroy of the Barrie Examiner writes in Wellness day more than a walk in Springwater Provincial Park:
Students experienced a variety of events that can contribute to positive overall wellness.
Barrie North staff led sessions on activities such as guitar playing and song-writing, Tai Chi, hiking, food and mood, among other things.
“We are also fortunate to have Beausoleil First Nations staff leading a medicine walk, drum circle and other sessions,” said Barrie North vice-principal Peter Bowman, who is part of the wellness team at the Grove Street school.
Beausoleil First Nations have operated Springwater in partnership with Ontario Parks since July 2015.
Bowman said having First Nations representatives take part was important.
“We are here in this part of the world and they were here a long time ago and had a whole bunch of things figured out,” he said. “I think we can learn from that and they are looking at doing some great things here at Springwater (park).”
And what do the students think?
Barrie North student Sam Sampson watched Beausoleil First Nations member Steve Beedie lead a fire-bow demonstration.
“Having First Nations here today is amazing,” she said, after watching fellow student Bree-Anne Bessey coaxing some smoke from the fire bow. “They were here before us. This is their land and we get to learn about their culture.
I have never seen a not-for profit community group concentrate as much power in their executive.
Inconsistent with several democratic principles. Perfect to serve corporate or corporatist interests.
Changes in red.
Board members: Sandy Buxton, David Strachan, Margaret Prophet, Connie Spek, Barb Kutcher, Kevin Newman
A new building to tell an important old story.
Wandering through a Simcoe County forest surrounded by towering trees and thick leaf coverage, it’s hard to imagine 100 years ago the land could best be described as a barren desert.
“If you went back 100 years in this area you would have very, very little forest cover. It’s surprising to people that there was much less forest 100 years ago than we have today,” said county forester Graeme Davis.
The rich history of Simcoe County Forests will be told with stories and artifacts inside Simcoe County Museum’s new forestry interpretative building.
Construction will begin on the 1,000-square-foot EcoLog home this spring.
It will be located on the museum grounds in Minesing in a forested section on the edge of a small embankment.
“It’s going to be beautiful when it’s all finished,” said museum curator Kelley Swift-Jones.
Simcoe County Forests celebrates its 100th birthday in 2022.
These woods played an important role in our history, Davis said.
In the early 1800s when the first European settlers arrived, much of the county was covered with valuable forests of both softwood and hardwood species, including huge stands of natural white pine.
For 100 years, the forests fell to the lumberjack’s axe.
Timber barons harvested, milled and shipped the wood to England with little thought for the future.
“The thinking at the time was ‘My goodness, there is so much forest we could just cut forever,’” Davis said.
The remaining trees were seen as an impediment to farming and vast areas were cleared and burned.
By the early 1900s there was little timber left and the once abundant forested areas had become dry, sandy wastelands.
“They had to plow the roads in the summertime for the sand,” Davis said.
When E.C. Drury, a longtime resident and community leader of Simcoe County, became Premier of Ontario in 1919 he was instrumental in establishing the Agreement Forest program.
The County of Simcoe was the first to take advantage of this program and acquired the wasteland for marginal prices. It was then turned over to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests for protection and forestry development.
The first trees were planted May 8, 1922, at the Hendrie tract in Vespra Township.
In the mid-1990s, management was turned over to the county.
Today, Simcoe County Forest is the largest and one of the most productive municipal forests in Ontario, totalling nearly 33,000 acres. Timber sold from the forests is reinvested to buy more land, Davis said.
Construction on the forestry interpretative centre should be complete by summer’s end.
Davis hopes the building makes people think about the future of our environment.
“It’s to get people to understand some of the poor decisions made in the past. It’s important to remember that stuff and recognize decisions on what we do with the broader landscape have implications. We don’t want to go back there again,” he said.
The building will host nature-based educational programming.
Donations are welcome. Contact the Simcoe County Museum at 705-728-3721.
Lots of talk of celebrating 150 years; nice to see a Barrie Advance article covering action to preserve the methods of co-operation:
First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students learn about canoe-building at Springwater Park
A group of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit secondary students from Barrie, Midland, and Beausoleil First Nation got a chance to build a traditional birch bark canoe at Springwater Provincial Park over the course of a week.
The students spent four days at the provincial park learning from local artist and Haudenosaunee carver Josy Thomas about building a birch bark canoe, a practice that is being more and more uncommon.
Zak Hajjaoui, a First Nation, Métis, and Intuit student advisor at the Simcoe County District School Board, helped organize the canoe-building project.
“We’re trying to hold on to as much culture as we can,” he said. “The more we hold onto the knowledge, the more we know who we are as a people.”
Most canoe builds like the one the students worked on take two to three weeks. They’re doing it in four days.
It’s no easy task.
“You appreciate how much work our people put in back in the day,” said Shanice Costain, a Grade 11 student from Barrie North Collegiate Institute.
Students said they enjoyed being outside, the hands-on aspect of the build, and meeting new people.
“It’s a chance for me to learn some leadership skills and it’s a chance for me to learn more about who I am,” said Justin Kennedy, a Grade 10 Georgian Bay District Secondary School student.
Thomas, the canoe builder, said the first canoe he ever built was with his grandfather when he was about 12 years old, and he has been building them ever since.
The most important thing he learned building his first canoe?
“Patience,” he said. “The whole entire canoe is just patience.”
He says making a canoe feels good and brings people together.
“I think its important for them to do it because it’s a dying trade,” he said of the students, noting that he knows of only eight other canoe builders in Canada who still make the traditional birch bark canoes. “That’s quite limited. If it’s not carried on, it’s going to disappear.”
Once completed, the plan is to use the canoe for outdoor education at the Simcoe County District School Board.
Dr. John Bacher is an award-winning environmental author, speaker and consultant.
Elder Beaton says he should be listened to about unnecessary deforestation in parks.
St. Catharines Standard
April 12, 2017
Bacher knows his trees
Letters to the editor
Danny Beaton, Turtle Clan Mohawk Nation
I’ve been Dr John Bacher’s friend and co-worker for 30 years promoting environmental education and environmental protection.
We were honoured in June 2016 when Bacher was asked by Huron County to serve as an expert in a clear-cutting case and the county’s tree-protection bylaw. Bacher is also known throughout Simcoe and Dufferin counties by farmers and environmentalists for his knowledge. He is respected throughout Ontario by Maude Barlow and Elizabeth May, leaders of Council of Canadians and the Green Party of Canada for his wisdom and endless work for Mother Earth.
Bacher has been a leader for Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society for 30 years or longer. The list goes on and on for his love and energy in defending Niagara from misguided developers.
His book Two Billion Trees and Counting: The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz — Zavitz held the position of chief forester of Ontario, deputy minister of forests and director of reforestation — is a masterpiece.
When Standard reporter Karena Walter wrote her recent story regarding Centennial Park tree-cutting, quoting Bacher as saying the trees were native species, were not invasive and were a mix of ages including some very young trees, he should be listened to.
Some of the trees were providing shade for an intermittent stream. He said the trees in Centennial Park are in forested parkland which is large enough to provide habitat for wildlife like wild turkeys and the great blue heron.
The city should leave part of the park as a natural forest. The Manitoba maples, willows and poplars are being cut down as a preventive measure.
Who do you believe when Bacher says this is wrong as the animals, birds, insects and plants need this forest?
Please help Bacher protect the farmland and forests before all are killed.
Download a pdf here.