• Protecting Water and Farmland in Simcoe County

A few thoughts on Wildlife and Our Environment

In Innisfil
Aug 17th, 2010

By Jennifer Howard Nature Works Photography August 17 2010
What I think is very important is that all folks who live right on the water should invest in putting in a buffer zone. This is my son Jeff’s big thing.  
A buffer zone for those of you who don’t know …is an area along the shoreline, lake, stream, what have you.

You plant a garden with of course native plant zoned for your area. Find that info out from your local garden center.
Plant this shoreline with native plants 3 feet in depth and 3 feet in height (minimum). Using butterfly shrubs ‘n flowers, hummingbird flowers and bushes to attract these amazing creatures. Grasses etc. This will also make it difficult for Canada geese to forage on your lawn. They don’t like to cross something they can’t see the other side for predators. Of course you can make it as deep as you want which makes it even better. This makes habitat for ground nesting birds such as song sparrows and ducks. And importantly filters out toxins that may otherwise flow straight into the lake. Hopefully you lake front people DO NOT use anything nasty. I believe even organics have something we don’t want to breath or enter our waters. Otherwise how would they kill weeds?? Although I am not an expert in that area. Even our rain which is (acid rain) gets filtered through these buffer zones.
I am not sure but there may even be funding available to some who do this from your local conservation authority or stewardship. Not 100% sure on that one but worth checking it out. You’ll be surprised at what is available when you are helping the environment. Adds value to your home and property and looks gorgeous. And depending on what you plant you may even create shade for fish habitat,and attract beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds to your waterfront as well.
So, you are adding habitat, filtering toxins from flowing into “your” water and making it beautiful.
LSRCA or NVCA conservation authorities should be able to give you info on that.
Protect wetlands
Wetlands should ALL be protected and not be allowed to be developed. They are a major factor in habitat for so many species,watering hole,breeding ground,nesting area, shelter,and again a filtering system for the water around us. One big ecosystem that should not be touched.
Less tree removal:
We are loosing trees at a rate so fast the birds are declining. The wildlife are roaming the streets with their innocent young ones, getting killed, and harassed by humans. Red headed woodpeckers and other woodpeckers NEED dead trees to nest in. Pileated woodpeckers need 10 acres for their nesting area. They both in fact all nest in the marina area here on Big Bay Point. If you need to take down a tree,leave 20-30 feet of it standing. This leaves some habitat still standing that the woodpeckers will come to for years to get grubs and peck at and possibly even nest in. I have had a few people here on the point do that and they have been happy at the results. People here are removing trees for no reason. I see it all the time.  Trees are important for our health. Yes  some have to be removed for safety reasons. I am talking about healthy trees. Some take down and replace. And if you do that ,please do it after the birds are finished nesting. I get calls all the time about people asking what do I do with this baby bird or nest that was in that tree. And when building,only what is necessary should be removed by permit. And that should be monitored closely. I have seen places totally cleared out. It is sickening.
This marina itself here in Big Bay Point is taking out thousands of beautiful healthy trees. A tree which is at risk the butternut tree is apparently also being hit. My question here is, why do we have the species at risk act? It is not strict enough. It should be enforced more heavily.  Just so upsetting. For what. Wetlands, forests, habitat, wildlife will loose their homes, their breeding grounds, deer yards that have been a safe haven for them for years. Haven’t seen any fawns this year. And although a few people have. Not too many. We have many species of birds and animals in that area alone. We need to designate more greenspace that CANNOT be touched by developers.  Yes some of them do a beautiful job when done. But the life that is lost on the way. So unnecessary. I don’t know about you but there are well enough people in this country. And if I wanted to live in Toronto, I would be there. I moved here for the peace & quiet. The birds, the animals and the friendly people. Over the last 20 years the change has been huge. I have seen people bang on pots and pans to scare the birds away, throw shoes at a passing fox. But their cats roam as they please and kill my birds and their young and the chipmunks who were here first by the way and are only trying to survive as best they can in our world. I have 3 and they are happily indoor cats with their own back screened in porch. One a rescue that has never tried to get out. So that excuse doesn’t work when people tell me they can’t keep them in. It is time and patience and perseverance. I can be very harsh on that topic. Cats live longer healthier lives indoors. You can build them a place that is safe outside and they will love it. Any wildlife rehabilitator will tell you that cats are the number one killer of birds, babies and adults and other small animals.
So do we need more and more forests and wetlands and fields taken to build on. NO. We need to deem them a safe haven for our wildlife. Make them into “walking” trails where you can go and view beautiful trees, birds, animals and just sit and enjoy the tranquility of what mother nature has to offer us all….. that some choose not to see….and others can’t get enough of. It’s called keeping the blood pressure down. Toronto has areas that have herons nesting, egrets, birds of prey nesting and raising their young. it’s amazing,waterfront trails and parks. Green space. All Innisfil seems to want to do is take it all away with buildings and houses. We can move away from it if we choose. But wildlife can not. My son has grown up in this house and in the marina here, watching baby birds just hatched, and foxes searching for food for their little ones back in the den. Praying they didn’t find the newly hatched killdeer chicks that weren’t but minutes old and not on the move yet. But at the same time knowing one must die for one to survive in the wild. And he spent many hours just thinking in his quiet space by the lake. Now 18, he is in Fleming College in Lindsay taking ecosystem management. His first year down. 2 maybe 3 more to go. He is determined to make a difference and I believe he will. He has won many environmental awards and scholarships and did 600 community service hours during his high school years. He has had many impacts over his 18 years from wildlife rescues and this marina’s loss. An area so rich in life.
So, buffer zones.
Protecting habitat, ours and the wildlife’s.
Less developing and more greenspaces designated.
Birding trails, parks, sanctuaries.
Rumm of Geranium could do a lot for our environment …. make this area into a sanctuary with trails and leave it as it is as natural as he can. In the States people go from all over the world to go through these areas. Myself included. Make it into trails, boardwalks over and through the wetlands. And pay for the maintenanceif necessary by charging a small fee to enter or build a gift store with like related items, books, binoculars, etc, creating a few jobs. And bringing people in from all over. Creating income. There would be  an idea I would go for. It could be huge. I go to Florida and hit all of these places. I know birders who would come from far and wide to go into the marina area. It is so rich with wildlife. It would work.
However that will not happen here, I’m afraid.
But that is what we need to do more of and less mega unnecessary development.
Well as you can see I am long-winded here. But I have good reason to be. I see things differently than most. I have rescued animals, reptiles and birds from the interactions of what human encroachment can do. Some made it and some had to be humanely put down bringing tears to my eyes. And I see a lot of it through the eye of my cameras lens. So I have reason to feel strongly on what I see. And unless you do what I have done and do with my life,you may not understand. I do a lot of wildlife survey’s here in my area and I see first=hand the changes from development. And it is not good. We always get told that they will find another place. One day, there won’t be another place and we will not be seeing this life. Our children and grandchildren will not grow up see a turtle or a frog. Is that what we want?? They depend on us to make sure they do. As I see it….

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