February 4, 2011
The Essential Natural Elements According to Park Naturalist David Bree
by Cathy Keddy
The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) public lecture series, Biodiversity and Vital Connections for Fauna, Flora, and People, continues February 17 with the fifth presentation, “The Essential Element: What Makes Charleston Lake, Bon Echo and Sandbanks Parks Special.” You do not need to be an expert to enjoy these lectures—just bring your curiosity or appreciation for wild nature.
David Bree, Senior Natural Heritage Education Leader (Chief Park Naturalist) at Presqu’ile Provincial Park and a native of Almonte, will be MVFN’s guest speaker. He has travelled six continents and worked as a naturalist in as many different provincial parks. David’s accumulated knowledge of birds, plants, insects and geology will greatly enrich our appreciation of three spectacular Ontario parks and place them in context as outstanding natural areas designated to conserve the integrity and diversity of eastern Ontario nature.
Our guided investigation of these natural environment parks, all within 100 km of Lanark County, will tease out the essential element that makes each one special. Using clues from park geology to help identify the essential element for each park, David will then show us how it affects the plants and animals (and human behaviour) we observe at these protected natural areas.
Do you know which park is closest to where you live? Which park has drawn artists (including The Group of Seven) for hundreds of years, has over 260 native pictographs (the largest visible collection in Canada), is home to five-lined skinks, and is renowned for a sheer rock face 1.5 kilometres long and rising 100 metres above an adjacent lake—one of the deepest lakes in Ontario? Exposed to the waves when the glaciers retreated, another park contains two spectacular stretches of sand dunes up to 25 m high, including one considered the largest freshwater baymouth sand dune system in the world—which park is this? The third park, once on the boundary between two ancient bodies of water, now sits on the strip of Canadian Shield stretching between Algonquin and the Adirondacks. Twisted, folded and deformed, its rocks tell of intense heat and pressure in the distant past. See the accompanying photograph for a hint for identifying the park trio.
Don’t know these parks? Plan to attend David Bree’s presentation, “The Essential Element: What Makes Charleston Lake, Bon Echo and Sandbanks Parks Special.” Get up to speed and add one of these natural spaces to your special summer places! His lecture takes place Thursday, February 17 at 7:30 p.m., at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte. All are welcome ($5 fee for non-members). For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Cathy Keddy at 613-257-3089.