Among the guests was WBFN member and long-time friend of Hazel Bird, Audrey Wilson. Photo© Ken Strauss
On Sunday June 10th 2012 The Nature Conservancy of Canada hosted a special reception to celebrate the opening of their newest nature reserve in the Rice Lakes Plains. The Hazel Bird Nature Reserve was named after Hazel Bird (1920-2009) a well-known local naturalist and the recipient of many awards for her work in Northumberland County. The Robson Road property in Hamilton Township, was one of Hazel Bird’s favoured locations for her well-known bluebird trail.
Photo© Ken Strauss
The rolling Rice Lake Plains, on the east end of the Oak Ridges Moraine between Peterborough and Cobourg, contains the largest unprotected oak savannah and tallgrass prairie remnants in the Great Lakes region. To date, The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and its partners have conserved over 1,920 acres (777 hectares) of significant habitat on the Rice Lake Plains – almost 70 percent of our current 5-year conservation goal. NCC is restoring and expanding natural prairie and savannah remnants, bringing the rich natural heritage of the Rice Lake Plains back to life.
Central Ontario Program Manager, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Mark Stabb spoke at the reception. Photo© Tim Tottenham
NCC’s newest project is 290 acres (117 hectares) of oak woodland, savannah, sand barren and grassland habitat on Robson Road in Hamilton Township. It is the location of numerous sightings of at-risk species such as Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Red-headed Woodpecker and Whip-poor-will, and provides habitat for the rare Ghost Tiger Beetle. The property features a large block of grassland that is a known hot-spot for the fastest declining bird group in North America: grassland birds – a group including Eastern Meadowlark and Savannah Sparrow. When this property came up for sale, NCC quickly secured an agreement to purchase it in order to conserve its species and habitats from development and incompatible recreation. The Robson Road property is one of the last documented sites of a healthy Wild Lupine population - food for the Karner Blue butterfly which is no longer found in Ontario, but continues to live in areas of the eastern United States. Conservation partners are ramping up plans to restore Wild Lupine in the hopes that the property will become a key reintroduction site for Karner Blue.
For more information on the project click on the link below:
Central Ontario Program Manager Nature Conservancy of Canada
18 Second Avenue Uxbridge, ON L9P 1J9
Eastern Swallowtail. Photo© Ken Strauss