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November 7, 2017

A small but energetic group of volunteers braved the cool temperatures and overcast skies on Saturday November 4th to complete a cleanup of the Nature Area.

A fall cleanup is undertaken every year and includes the trails and pathways along Wilmot Creek itself.

“It is encouraging that members of the community are prepared to assist the Nature Area Committee volunteers “said Committee Chairperson Brian Reid. “ But it is troublesome to see the amount of garbage that still seems to “miss “the receptacles that are provided at numerous locations throughout the trail network. “ Particularly irksome is the debris left behind by some anglers – everything from broken lawn chairs and fishing rods to empty styrofoam bait containers. “Worst of all ” , said Reid, “is discarded fishing line which poses a serious threat to birds and other wildlife.”

Fortunately, there are far more people who respect and enjoy the Nature Area than there are those who abuse it.

Many thanks to all who assisted with the cleanup this year and to all who make the effort to keep the Nature Area a clean and pleasant place to visit.



November 1, 2017

By Brian Reid

WE DID — 200 TIMES!!


On Saturday, October 21st, members of the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Advisory Committee and 25 community volunteers, planted 200 trees on Nature Area lands as part of the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute project.

SWNA Can you Dig it (1)

The trees were provided by the Highway of Heroes group – non-profit organization who have undertaken the task of planting 117,000 trees along a corridor of Highway 401 from Trenton to Toronto, Ontario.  Each tree represents a Canadian soldier who has been killed in combat since Canada became a nation in 1867.  Funding for the project is provided y corporate and private donations.

Can you Dig it (2)

“It was wonderful to see so many people come out to volunteer their time and energy in support of this project said SWNA Committee Chairperson, Brian Reid.  “We owe a special thank you to Lloyd’s Landscaping of Enniskillen”, said Reid.  President, Brian Cotter arranged for the firm to provide equipment and an operator to pre-dig the 200 large holes required for the project.  Much of the planting was done in an area of heavy ground cover.  “To have done this all manually would have taken days”, said Reid.

SWNA Can you Dig it (3)

Regional Councillor Willie Woo welcomed and thanked the volunteers on behalf of Mayor Adrian Foster.  Mike Hurley, Manager of Fundraising and Communications for the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute, was on hand to express appreciation from his group.

SWNA Can you Dig it (4)

SWNA Can you Dig it (5)

The Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Advisory Committee would like to thank everyone who contributed to making this worthwhile project such a success.

Thanks for “digging in”!!

SWNA Can you Dig it (6)

Article by Brian Reid

Photos by Leo Blindenbach, Kate Potter and Brian Reid







Samuel Wilmot Tree Planting Tribute

October 11, 2017


Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Annual Fall Clean-up Day

October 10, 2017

Wilmot-Pitch-In 2017 poster


September 18, 2017

By Brian Reid

If you were anywhere near the waterfront along Toronto Street in the Port of Newcastle on Sunday 10th, you would have noticed a LOT of activity. Well over 100 people of all ages joined members of the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Advisory Committee in the catching, tagging and releasing monarch butterflies.


Photo by Leo Blindenbach

The event marked the culmination of a year of activity organized by the Nature Area Committee to implement the Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge.  The Municipality of Clarington signed the pledge last September after being approached by the Committee to join with other municipalities across North America in addressing the serious decline of the monarch butterfly population.  Clarington is one of only seven municipalities in all of Canada to have done so.

To implement the pledge, committee members have held public information sessions, spoken to and worked with various groups and community partners, gathered and disseminated milkweed seeds, and organized extensive plantings of milkweed and pollinator plants.  Tagging of the monarchs has been done in Newcastle in the past on a relatively small scale and some of the butterflies tagged here have been found in Mexico.  It was decided to conduct tagging on a much bigger scale this year and to involve the public as “citizen scientists”.


“We were delighted by the turnout and level of interest”, said Committee Chairperson Brian Reid.  Participants were allowed to sign out nets loaned to the Committee by the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority and Trent University and were given a brief demonstration of how to catch the fast-moving creatures without harming them.  Dr. Tom Hossie, a conservation biologist and sessional lecturer at Trent University, and member of the Nature Area Committee, trained other committee members in the delicate art of affixing the tiny numbered tags to the wings of the butterflies.  Several of his graduate students from Trent and representatives from the Durham Field Naturalists also loaned their tagging expertise to the project.


Dr. Hossie shows a budding naturalist how it’s done

Photos by Leo Blindenbach




Photos by Joan Hukazalie

Some even came dressed for the event!  “The children in particular seemed to really enjoy the whole process”, said Reid.  Judging by the smiles on the faces of many of the adults, they were not alone.

Photo by John McFeeters                                                      Photo by Crystal Kelly

At several points during the four hour event, all 50 nets that were available for sign out were in use.  In addition to the 100 plus persons in attendance along the waterfront, approximately 30 – 35 were working from the Cobbledick side of the Nature Area.  In total, approximately 250 monarchs were tagged and safely released.  Committee members will continue tagging for the next few weeks before the monarchs begin their long journey south to Mexico.









August 15, 2017

by Brian Reid


The Samuel Wilmot Nature Area welcomed a group of 4 high school students and their supervisor to the Nature Area on August 9th and 10th to assist committee volunteers with various maintenance projects .

Five loads of limestone screenings were spread along the trails on the Cobbledick side to fill ruts and build up low areas caused by erosion. A particular focus was the southern gazebo that overlooks the bluffs. Grasses and weeds had begun to take over the seating area. These were scraped away and the area was re-covered with screenings.

Stewardship Rangers (1)

Photo by Leo Blindenbach

Brush and weeds were also removed from the area around the snake hibernaculum just north of the sewage treatment plant off Toronto Street. Lastly, the trail leading to the cobblestone beach was tidied up and a large patch of burdock removed.

Stewardship Rangers (2)

Photo by Leo Blindenbach

Committee members also cleaned and swept all three lookout platforms and scraped away lichens and moss from the railings. Even 3 year old Avery, daughter of SWNA Committee member Meaghan Vandenbrink, pitched in! Below,

Stewardship Rangers (3)

Photo by Meaghan Vandenbrink

The Stewardship Youth Rangers Program is a summer employment program operated by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

“ We were delighted to have the Rangers with us “, said SWNA Management Committee Chair Brian Reid. “ With their help, we were able to enhance our trail system and do much-needed maintenance in a relatively short time-frame. “

Stewardship Rangers (4)


The crew –  From left to right:

SWNA Management Committee Vice-Chair Kate Potter with Keira and Dylan, Committee Member Leo Blindenbach, Rangers Kylee Henson and Daniel Dawber, Supervisor Keegan McKitterick, Rangers Ethan Fisher and Rowena Keyes. Missing from photo: Committee Meaghan Vandenbrink and daughter Avery, Brian Reid Committee Chair

Photo by Brian Reid

Calling all Citizen Scientists

June 26, 2017

Let’s Play Tag!

Monarch Butterfly Tagging Project


Join us for a fascinating morning as we tag monarch butterflies so they can be tracked during their fall migration to Mexico.Monarch Tagging

Led by Conservation Biologist, Dr. Tom Hossie of Trent University.

Volunteers will learn to safely catch butterflies and apply a tag.  Butterfly nets will be provided or you can bring your own.

All ages welcome.

When:     Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 10 a.m.Butterfly Tagging Event

Where:    Samuel Wilmot Nature Area

Meet in the parking lot at the south end of Toronto Street in Newcastle.

Monarch Tagging 2