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Autumn Garlic Mustard Blitz - Dec. 9, 2023

We live in hope that one day there’ll be no need for this to be an annual event, but given the resilience of this cross-ocean invasive, that seems unlikely. This summer the understory growth in the woods was so lush that finding stray plants later in the season was impossible. So, on Saturday, December 2, we’ll meet to resume the search, now that most of the other vegetation has died back. Park along Thickson Road near the Waterfront Trail (avoid the “no parking” section to the north), walk east down the trail to the entrance to the woods on the right, follow the path south all the way through the woods to the house on your right, where tools and directions will get you started. Keen birders will already be working on their winter lists. Who knows what surprises the bumper crop of tree seeds may have attracted to Thickson’s. The myriad white pine seeds helicoptering down over the past month should spur a population boom in white-footed mice and meadow voles to encourage visiting owls to linger 

 

Thickson's Woods is the last remnant of old-growth white pines on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Once reserved for masts of sailing ships of the British Royal Navy, the towering pines provide a vital resting place for countless migrating songbirds each spring and fall.

Galvanized into action when the pines were threatened with logging in 1983, a handful of naturalists formed a non profit corporation and purchased the woods. Donations from hundreds of caring people, from as far away as England and Japan, raised $150,000 to pay off the mortgage. Thickson's Woods became the first natural area to be listed in the Ontario Nature Trust Alliance registry.

In 2001 we took on another challenge: protecting this tiny natural jewel from encroaching development by purchasing an 8 1/2-acre meadow just north of the woods—for more than half a million dollars. Again, caring people responded, giving so generously that the five-year mortgage was paid off nine months early. Today, what short decades ago was a cow pasture is regenerating into valuable habitat that buffers this precious woodland from the fumes and noise of trucks and industry.

Biodiversity studies by the Matt Holder Environmental Research Group have recently revealed what a treasure trove of species urgently needs protection there.

 

Charitable Registration # 11926 3176 RR0001

(This website was created and is maintained by Lois Gillette. Photos in this website are by Mike McEvoy and Lois Gillette)