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June 16, 2017

Proving once again that one is never too young to get involved in a worthwhile project, primary students from two local elementary schools have been doing their part to help monarch butterflies.

Students from the Duke of Cambridge Public School in Bowmanville and Newcastle Public School planted milkweed seeds in their classrooms in late winter. The seeds were provided by the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Management Advisory Committee. Planting soil was also provided. Rekkers Greenhouses donated a quantity of cell trays. In total, 13 classes of students were involved.*

The Committee was delighted when kindergarten lead teacher Kelli Santos of the Duke suggested bringing students to the Nature Area to actually plant what they had grown. A field trip was organized for Wednesday May 31st.

( see story and photos below )

“ This was an incredible educational experience for the children “ said Committee Chair Brian Reid.

The planting complemented a major undertaking by the committee, OPG , local scouts and volunteers who  close to 1000 milkweed and other pollinator plants on May 27th.

Reid singled out Committee Co-Chair Kate Potter who first approached the schools about participation and who liaised with them throughout the project. She also transplanted the seedlings into larger containers to facilitate transportation and the planting process itself.


On May 31st, more than 120 kindergarten students from Duke of Cambridge P. S. in Bowmanville participated in a project to restore the monarch butterfly population in the area. After observing the life cycle of the monarchs in the fall, the students had the opportunity to plant milkweed seeds in their classrooms this spring and were invited to transplant the seedlings at the nearby Samuel Wilmot Nature Area along with the project volunteers. Tagging for the monarchs will occur on September 10th for anyone interested in participating.

Child Planting 6

Child Planting 5Child planting 1

*The classes who participated are listed below.

Newcastle Public School : Ms. Wilson  JK/SK;  Ms. Allen Grade 1

Duke of Cambridge P.S. :   Mme. Robert   Grade 1; Mme. Josee  Grade 1; Mme. Steff  Grade 1; Mme Ballard, Grade 1; Mme. Julie-Anne Grade 1; Mme. Giroux, SK; Mme. McLaren, SK;  Mme. Hosking, SK; Mme. Barnett, SK;, Mme. Vance, SK; Mme. Santos, SK.

Thanks to everyone who assisted in this effort.



June 8, 2017

The Durham Regional Field Naturalists invited SWNA Committee Chairperson Brian Reid to speak at its monthly meeting on May 29th to highlight the various events and activities undertaken at the Nature Area during the past year. Of particular interest was the focus SWNA has placed on implementing the Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge on behalf of the Municipality of Clarington. Reid discussed the kickoff presentation by Dr. Tom Hossie held in April , the involvement of local service clubs, students and volunteers, and the large scale milkweed and pollinator planting event held on May 27th.

“Our two organizations have similar objectives “ said Reid. It is becoming increasingly common for members of both organizations to participate in the events and activities of the other. Both had information booths at the recent Feather Friends Festival held in Oshawa and some DRFN members have already indicated that they plan to assist with SWNA’s Monarch Tagging Project in September.


June 5, 2017

The 4th annual Feathered Friends Festival, organized by the Friends of Second Marsh, took place on Saturday June 3rd at the General Motors Headquarters in Oshawa. Traditionally, the focus of the Festival has been on birds. This year, the organizers decided to include butterflies and invited SWNA to participate because of its involvement in implementing Clarington’s Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge. Representatives from the SWNA Advisory Committee had their own information tent and  distributed handouts on how people can assist monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Visitors to the tent also learned about the many activities the SWNA group has undertaken and has planned to further the objectives of the Mayor’s Pledge. General information about the Nature Area, invasive plants and healthy land stewardship was also given out.

Feathered Friends 1

The family-focussed event attracted hundreds of people. The SWNA Management Advisory Committee would like to thank The Friends of Second Marsh for the invitation to participate in this fine event.

Feathered Friends 2

Article by Brian Reid

Photos by Eve-Ann Reid and Brian Reid



Planting the Seed

May 30, 2017

Seedlings actually …..

An area along the waterfront in the Port of Newcastle, and the western section of the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area, are now home to approximately 900 milkweed and pollinator plants thanks to a combined effort by OPG,  cubs and scouts from Newcastle and Bowmanville, volunteers from the community, local girl guides and the SWNA Management Committee.

Planting the Seed

Readers will recall that the Municipality of Clarington signed the Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge in the fall of 2016. The Pledge is an initiative of the U.S. – based National Wildlife Federation to encourage municipalities to take steps to mitigate the serious decline in the population of monarch butterflies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The number of monarchs has declined by 90% over the past 20 years due to loss of habitat and food sources resulting from the development of farmland and the use of herbicides and pesticides.  Clarington is one of only 7 municipalities in all of Canada to have signed the pledge. The volunteer SWNA Management Committee was asked by the municipality to implement the pledge on its behalf. A  number of events have taken place so far this spring in furtherance of  the objective, including the planting project which took place on Saturday May 27th.

“ This was a major project “ said Brian Reid, chairperson of the SWNA Committee and spokesperson for the project. We were supported by generous donations from the Lion’s Club of Newcastle and the Rotary Club of Bowmanville which allowed us to purchase a large quantity of mature milkweed plants. “ Concurrently with this, Ontario Power Generation approached the municipality and offered to provide a quantity of pollinator plants . Approximately 600 butterfly weed, beebalm, asters etc. were made available and placed in a “ no-mow zone “ along the waterfront adjacent to the Toronto Street entrance to the Nature Area.

Planting the Seed 2

“ The degree of community support and the involvement of so many people in this initiative has been incredible “, said Reid. “ It just shows what can be accomplished when people come together like this.”

The Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Management Committee and the municipality of Clarington would like to express their appreciation to everyone for their support and assistance.

Photos by Leo Blindenbach


May 18, 2017

The Rotary Club of Bowmanville has made a donation to the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Management Committee to assist with the implementation of The Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge, signed by the Municipality of Clarington last fall.  The Committee has been asked by the Municipality  to implement the pledge on its behalf. The donation from the Rotary Club will be used to purchase milkweed seedlings for planting at the Nature Area in a special project scheduled for May 27th.

Below, Rotary Club member Paul Davidson ( left ) presents SWNA Chairperson Brian Reid with a cheque.

Rotary Gift to SWNA 2017

The SWNA Management Committee would like to express it’s appreciation to the Rotary Club for its generous support of this important project.





Milkweed Planting

May 15, 2017

Milkweed Planting - Poster


May 15, 2017

Horticultural Society (1)Representatives of the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Advisory Committee were on hand at the Newcastle Horticultural Society’s annual plant sale on Saturday May 13th . The event is held every year in front of the beautiful town hall building in downtown Newcastle. This was the first year that SWNA has participated.

“ The committee was there because of our role in implementing the Mayor’s Monarch Butterfly Pledge on behalf of the municipality of Clarington “ said committee chairperson Brian Reid. “ We handed out information about monarch butterflies and their dependence on milkweed as a food source and host for eggs . We also gave away packets of milkweed seeds and actual seedlings to gardeners. “

Members of the Junior Gardeners dropped by to hear about what SWNA is doing to help monarchs recover from years of decline.

Horticultural Society (2)

Pictured below are Newcastle Lion’s Club President Greg Forget ( left ) and SWNA Chair Brian Reid. The local Lion’s Club has provided funds to purchase milkweed seedlings which will be planted at the Nature area later in May.