Youth Projects

Youths learn about fish biology at the Youth Outdoors EXPO

 Stewardship Grey Bruce  feels that fostering an appreciation for nature and natural resources amongst our youth is one of the surest ways to solidify the conservation and protection of our natural resources into the future. To demonstrate this, the network is a great supporter of youth opportunities. You’ll find that these projects overlap with the awareness/education type of projects but the difference is that these events are directed exclusively towards our young people.

Grey County Youth Outdoors EXPO

The organizing committee for the Youth Outdoors Expo believe that children have a keen interest in outdoor activities but need opportunities to be introduced to them in a “hands on” manner. To facilitate this introduction to the “Great Outdoors”, the Youth Outdoors EXPO aims to offer children the opportunity to experience first hand several outdoor activities and instil the values of and appreciation for our natural heritage. This is a full day event for youths ages 10-17 to partake in a number of outdoor activities pertaining to hunting, fishing, environmental science, and nature appreciation. 2006 was the first annual Grey County Youth Outdoors day.

The event is held at the Sydenham Sportsmen’s association clubhouse south of Owen Sound on the third Saturday in September from 9-3:30. The day is free for the youths and will include a free BBQ lunch. Although the day is free, pre-registration is required and spaces are limited. For more information or to register, contact us here.

 

 

youth expo

Partners: for Grey County Outdoors EXPO

Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Saugeen Field Naturalists, Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association, Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters Zone H, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, South Grey Anglers and Hunters, Bruce Power, TD Friends of the Environment, Watson’s Tackle House

 

Grey Bruce Children’s Water Festival

Kids using an interactive water model at the Water Festival

This event hosts every grade four student in Grey and Bruce counties over a four day period to instil in them the values of water. They are taught the importance of water to life, to ecosystems, why water conservation is important, how to conserve water, how water is treated for human consumption, why wetlands are important on the landscape, how wetlands work and much more.

High school students are enlisted as volunteers to help teach the grade fours and almost all high schools in Grey and Bruce participate. The high school students claim they get as much out of the experience as the grade fours! All 43 of the activities are ‘hands on’ which leads to great fun filled day of learning for all involved. Check out - waterfestival.ca

Partners:

Bluewater District School Board, Bruce Grey Catholic District School Board, Bruce Resource Stewardship Network, County of Bruce, County of Grey, Georgian Bay Chapter of Professional Engineers of Ontario, Grey Bruce Health Unit, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of the Environment, Municipality of Brockton, Saugeen Conservation, Source Water Protection, Sydenham Conservation Foundation

Ontario Stewardship Rangers

A team of stewardship rangers rehabilitat spawning shoals in Grey County

On an annual basis the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry  brings an Ontario Stewardship Ranger team to Grey & Bruce Counties. This team consists of four 17 year olds who spend the summer working for and learning about the environment. Stewardship Grey Bruce applies to MNRF to use the team to enhance environmental projects as beneficial to the local area.

stewardship ranger in Grey County

The team is on site for a maximum of three days before moving on to another project. If you are a not for profit organization and have an interesting project you could use help with, or if you are a student who will be 17 this summer and have an interest in learning about the environment and how you can help it please contact Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 519-371-8465.

mnr.gov.on.ca

The GCFSN display at Grown in Grey

Partners:

MNR – Youth Services, MNR - Midhurst District, Various Community Environmental Groups, varying from year to year

Grown in Grey

This is an annual event which highlights the agricultural industry in Grey County. Every year the  Stewardship Grey Bruce attendsto help educate children on the value of Grey County Forests and some of the products they might use that are produced from the forests of Grey County. The event runs over a two day period in mid April and is held at the Chatsworth Community Fairgrounds.  growningrey.org

Grey Bruce Regional Envirothon

grey bruce regional envirothon

This annual event allows high school students from Grey and Bruce to spotlight their environmental knowledge on such topics as fish, wildlife, forestry and soils in a competition format. Envirothon competitions are held all over North America, with he winners from each regional competition moving on to a provincial competition.

Local Teens Team Ontario

The team that wins the provincial competition moves onto an international competition. The Grey Bruce area has had several teams win provincials and move onto the international stage. Generally speaking the students don’t have environmental classes in high school which means these kids spend a lot of their own time (along with the hard work of a willing teacher/team leader) preparing for this competition.

ontarioenvirothon.on.ca

Bruce Grey Forest Festival

Partners:

Bruce Resource Stewardship Network, Ontario Forestry Association, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, County of Bruce, Grey Bruce Forest Festival

This program is modeled after our highly successful water festival. As the title suggests it celebrates our forests and forestry heritage and the importance of each. This program targets grade six children and runs for three days in mid to late October. The first annual event was held in the fall of 2010. Like the water festival all the activities are hands on and geared towards grade six learning and in line with the Bluewater School Boards curriculum. The activities are manned by high school volunteers who also get leadership and educational experience. Some of the many topics covered include forest stewardship, bidiversity, proper forest management, and forest ecology.

Youths learn about fish biology at the Youth Outdoors EXPO forestfestival.ca

Partners:

Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Bruce Resource Stewardship Network, County of Grey, County of Bruce, Grey County Woodlot Association, Bruce County Woodlot Association, Bluewater District School Board

Environmental Projects

Environmental Stewardship

This section highlights our current projects that demonstrate good stewardship practices for landowners and may also help land owners achieve their own ‘good stewardship goals’ . These projects are generally ‘on the ground’ projects and may be done on either private or public lands, but have an overall benefit for society.

Tall Grass Prairie Pasture Demonstration site

The goal of this project is to establish a 4 acre Tall Grass Prairie in Grey County for the purposes of pasturing cattle. The site would be used as a demonstration project to showcase an alternative for typical cool season pasture for farmers or tree planting for land owners. Although vast expanses of Tall Grass Prairie Habitat did not historically grow across Grey County, neither did the typical cold season grasses historically used by agriculture, and the benefits of having a mixture of both on a farm are numerous, for farmers and society.

Prairie Pasture is not pastured during the spring and therefore provides important grass and nesting habitats for spring time birds, particularly the sharply declining meadow species such as Bobolinks and Meadow Larks. Prairie Pasture provides lush green pasture for cattle during the hot dry summer months of July and August. Prairie Grasses have a full 2/3rds of the plant living under ground as roots. The roots may grow as long as 16 feet. This makes TGP fantastic as a carbon sink since the roots still hold the carbon, even as the plants are grazed. As well these long roots are an adaptation to surviving through the droughty months, and will help the grasses survive should global climate cause longer dryer summers.

Partners:

Sydenham Conservation Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, MNR Owen Sound –CFWIP, Environmental Farm Plan

Turtle Nest Protection Cages

A snapping turtle laying her eggs on a roadside

The two species of turtle that live in Grey County are the snapping turtle and the eastern painted turtle. These are the only two turtles out of nine Ontario species whose populations are not listed as being at some level of ‘at risk’. However their numbers are rapidly decreasing and every year countless turtles are seen dead on the roads of Grey County. Although these turtles may seem plentiful in our wetlands, because of their habits of digging nests into the suitable habitats on the shoulders of roads many get struck by vehicles every year.

The vast majority of these turtles are females who are making nests so while there may still be good numbers of turtles around the gender ratios are typically way off kilter. As these long lived males begin to die off in the near future we will see drastic declines in turtle numbers. One way to combat this phenomenon is to ensure the highest levels of juvenile recruitment into the population. Once again, roads cause problems because the shoulder habitat is so attractive to nesting turtles and is often the best habitat around turtle nests are concentrated into small areas. Once predators such as raccoons and skunks learn these areas they constantly hunt there, finding the nests by the smell before it has time to dissipate.

A predated turtle nest on a roadside in Grey County

The Grey County Stewardship Network has sought the advice of turtle experts and got the designs for bottomless cages which can be embedded around the nests to protect them from predators. The cages are made of two inch hardware cloth and are about two feet by two feet and about one foot in depth to prevent predators from digging under the cages. While these can be difficult to install on roadsides, the network offers them to landowners free of charge, if you commit to installing and monitoring them. The cages should be removed from the ground the following June, as turtles sometimes wait until the following spring to emerge from the nest.

Although this effort does not help solve the roadside issue directly, it does ensure that nests not on roads receive the best possible protections and therefore the highest possible recruitment into the population.

Please feel free to contact us if you have property where you know turtles are nesting to obtain cages and more specific instructions on installing them.

Shallow Lake Wetland Restoration Project

Shallow Lake is a large wetland area with a rich history in Grey County. Originally a wet grassy meadow the area was mined for marl which resulted over time in a very productive and locally important provincially significant wetland. As well as all the other environmental benefits provided by wetlands such as ground water recharge, water filtering, and water retention, fish and wildlife habitat and a place for human recreation this wetland is also an important staging area for both waterfowl and shore birds. Over time the wetland suffered through ownership disputes and less than suitable land uses causing the wetland to dry and lose its productivity. Along with its partners the Grey County Forest Stewardship Network is working as a partner to restore the Shallow Lake Wetland back to its former glory.

Partners:

Sydenham Conservation Foundation, Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association, Owen Sound Field Naturalists, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Concerned citizens

Protecting Our Headwaters

couch

Grey County is blessed with some of the most numerous and highest quality cold water streams in Ontario. With this comes some of the best stream and fly fishing, as well as many critical spawning areas for the fish of Georgian Bay. Although our streams are generally in good shape, there is much to be done in maintaining and improving that status.

This umbrella project covers any Cold Water Stream Rehabilitation Projects that we have done or have planned for the future. Money received for general cold water stream restoration goes into this account and is then dedicated to the rehabilitation of the cold water streams of Grey County.

brown crop grey bruce

At the advent of this program in 2008 we were able to raise funds to tree over 1000m of Keifer’s Creek which flows directly into Georgian Bay and houses spawning Rainbow Trout and a resident population of Speckled Trout.

Protecting Our Headwaters – Bighead Beaver River Rehabilitation Project

With a substantial grant of 22,000 dollars from Environment Canada’s Eco Actions fund the Grey County Forest Stewardship Network was able to complete four stream rehabilitation projects on stream and tributaries in the Bighead and Beaver River watershed this summer. The work was done on private land and consisted of erosion control measures, livestock exclusion, riparian plantings, and alternative livestock watering. Together these four projects will have a substantial impact on the sediment load moving through this system which will improve the water quality for people, wildlife and fish.

stream with rocks

Partners:

Environment Canada Eco Actions fund, The Ministry of Natural Resources –CFWIP, Grey County Forest Stewardship Network, Various Private Landowners

TD Friends of the Environment/ Tree Canada Planting

For the second year in a row the Grey County Forest Stewardship Network has worked with partners to complete an urban tree plant in the city of Owen Sound. In September 2011, 110 potted seedlings were planted near the city water reservoir. The planters were staff from the local TD bank branch. Species planted were White Pine, Red Maple, Silver Maple, Tamarack, and White Spruce. All species are native to this area.

Partners

TD Friends of the Environment, Tree Canada, Grey County Forest Stewardship, City of Owen Sound

Education/Awareness Projects

While it would be nice to be able to assist every landowner with stewardship projects on their properties and do nothing but field work, it is not a realistic goal given the number of potential projects that exist. Sometimes we have to rely on landowners to implement the proper strategies to move themselves towards sound stewardship of the land. Many landowners like to do the ‘right thing’, but sometimes need a little help with knowing just what the right thing to do is. To this end we offer a number of workshops, conferences or organizations that are designed specifically to increase landowner knowledge levels on various resource issues.

Grey Bruce Woodlot Conference

Annually the Stewardship Grey Bruce and its partners put on a two day conference directed towards woodlot owners in the two counties with a variety of topics of concern to woodlot owners. The first day of the event consists of seminars while the second day provides a tour of some local woodlots to see first hand different management practices. The event is always held on the last weekend in March at the Elmwood Community Centre. Each year a different theme is chosen and the topics generally reflect that theme. Topics are selected from suggestions from the previous year’s crowd and input from local forestry specialists. The topics selected may cover a wide range of woodlot ownership knowledge from water to wildlife or flowers, insects and pests financial incentive programs, harvesting information and financial aspects of woodlot ownership. Pre-registration cost is $20 and it is $25 at the door (includes a hot lunch). For more information please contact us here.

Partners:

 Ministry of Agriculture food and Rural Affairs, County of Grey, County of Bruce, Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Grey County Woodlot Association, Bruce County Woodlot Association, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority

Grey County Woodlot Association

This association originated as a sub-group of the Stewardship Grey Bruce focuses its projects specifically on woodlot owners and on forestry initiatives. The Grey County Forest Stewardship Network offeres its support in terms of allowing its coordinator to sit on its board of directors. Although the Grey County Forest Stewardship Network still frequently partners with this group on projects, it has become its own entity now and is thriving. Many members of the network are also associated with the woodlot owners association and it is an excellent source of information about woodlots and their management for people who own them. If you would like more information on the association or think you would like to become a member, please contact us here

gcwa.ca

Butternut – An Endangered Species Project

The Butternut tree has recently been listed as endangered in Ontario, and is indeed slipping away from us fast. Unlike most endangered species the Butternut is not disappearing due to habitat loss or human over use, but instead is inflicted with a deadly fungal disease known as Butternut Canker. Although landowners with Butternut on their property are often aware that there is a problem with Butternut trees, awareness is lacking around how to identify the canker and how to manage woodlots with it.

The Stewardship Grey Bruce has embarked on a multi-faceted project to help educate landowners with local brochures and a workshop and catalogue and identify trees that are either showing signs of resistance to the disease or are remaining productive in spite of it. If or when we do locate such trees we hope to collect seed from them and propagate seedlings with a greater chance of survival. Although there is hope due to some trees that seem to be showing some signs of resistance in other parts of Ontario where this is already being done it should be noted that resistance or immunity to the disease by Butternuts has never been proven. Because of the Butternuts special situation there have been special exemptions put in place under the endangered species act.

If you think you have Butternut on your property and would like to receive an assessment of your trees, or if you have questions about the Butternuts status under the endangered species act please contact us here.

Visit - fgca.net

PAST PROJECTS

Ontario Nature Grey Bruce Greenway

A crib wall to re-channelize the upper Sydenham River

This project is being spearheaded by Ontario Nature and the Owen Sound Field Naturalists. It is a pilot project which, if successful, will be expanded around the province. The Greenway Initiative is focused on protecting and restoring a connected landscape of key natural areas, or “cores,” linked together through natural passageways, or “corridors.” The greenway does not imply a hands-off approach to nature conservation. Many land uses can occur in the landscape, such as farming, recreation and research. Landowners, farmers, naturalists and others all play a role in the protection of lands and waters for ecological integrity, wildlife conservation, and human health and well-being.

Successfully connecting these natural cores and corridors will:

  • protect and restore large areas of natural heritage;
  • ensure water systems remain clean and intact;
  • provide and protect habitat for wildlife and species-at-risk;
  • connect farmers, conservationists and communities; and, keep natural areas healthy for present and future generations.

 

Partners:

Bruce County Forestry Association, Bruce County Planning Department, Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, Bruce Peninsula Environmental Group, Bruce Peninsula National Park, Bruce Peninsula Trail Club, Bruce Resource Stewardship Network, Bruce Trail Conservancy, Bruce Woodlot Association, Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, Coalition On the Niagara Escarpment, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, Friends of Sauble Beach, Grey Association for Better Planning, Grey County Planning Department, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, Hepworth Anglers Club, Huron Fringe Field Naturalists, National Farmers Union, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Niagara Escarpment Commission, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Ontario Nature, Owen Sound Field Naturalists, Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority, Saugeen Field Naturalists, Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Sunfish Lake Association, Sydenham Sportsmen Club, Wetland Habitat Fund and Wilfred Laurier University.

Headwaters Healthy Wetlands

 

This project is spearheaded by Ducks Unlimited Canada and is phase two of a project formerly done in the Grand River Watershed called ‘Healthy Wetlands for the Upper Grand’. This project helps rural landowners see and understand the benefits of wetlands on the landscape by providing educational materials, workshops and producing a series of on-the-ground demonstration sites. Phase two of the project includes portions of the Upper Saugeen, Upper Grand and Middle Grand Rivers watersheds, including portions in Grey County.

Placing large hay bales to re-channelize the upper Sydenham River

A created wetland in Southern Grey County

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partners:

Ducks Unlimited Canada, Wellington Stewardship Council, Dufferin South Simcoe Stewardship Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Grand River Conservation Authority, Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority.

Protecting our Headwaters -Weaver`s Creek Urban Stream Rehabilitation Project

 

Weaver’s Creek is an urban cold water stream system on the Niagara Escarpment in a heavily used city park and public campground within the city of Owen Sound. Traditionally Weaver’s Cr. boosts a resident brook trout population and is used as a spawning area for rainbows and salmon migrating from Georgian Bay. Throughout the years this stream has seen continued degradation by the city’s efforts to maintain a ‘park like’ setting. The riparian area has been eliminated and banks have been eroded and degraded to the detriment of the fish populations. Due to its urban nature Weaver`s is a perfect demonstration site to promote stream stewardship to the thousands of annual visitors.

The Weavers Creek Project includes the placement of roughly 5 tonnes of rock to create overhanging, and in-stream fish habitat for the resident Brown Trout and Spawning Rainbow trout as well as the planting of 200 five foot cedar trees and the creation of a ‘no mow zone’ to create a riparian buffer strip right through a heavily used city camp ground. The five foot trees were necessary due to the campsite and park visitors who sometimes trim their own sites and may inadvertently cut a smaller tree. The size of rocks placed in, and along the stream is also important to ensure that they are not movable by campers and visitors.

The projects is topped off by shrub plantings in the riparian area along with signage to educate the public on what was done and why.

weaver creek project

Partners:

Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry – Owen Sound, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry – CFWIP, Ontario Stewardship, City of Owen So

und, Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association.

Silver Creek Project Walkerton

Here are before and after pictures looking downstream along Silver Creek located in Centennial Park in Walkerton (near the municipal swimming pool).  This project began with the Bruce Resource Stewardship Network in 2007 following a donation from the Estate of John Melady, a local outdoor educator that had strong interest in the environment.

Before picture improvement completed by the  endowment from Mr. Melady created this wonderful riparian cover along Silver Creek, John Melady Memorial Creek Naturalization Project.  In 2010, additional plantings were completed to honour the 10th Anniversary of the Walkerton Water Tragedy and with funding from Ontario Power Generation.  The project continues to be maintained by the Municipality of Brockton and Stewardship Grey Bruce (formerly Bruce Resources Stewardship Network) in Partnership with Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority.

 2014 Picture of Silver Creek Improvement

 

Stewardship GB and BRSN Plaque dedication for the Bruce Trail Donation

Bruce Trail Plaque Donation

 

The 62-acre Bull Homestead property is located just north of Wiarton.  The landowner is a long-time supporter of the Bruce Trail, having allowed the Trail across his land since the 1960s. Acquisition of the property secures 305 m of Bruce Trail Optimum Route. The property has been named for the original settlers of the land.

The wide open field characertizing much of the property belies its rich ecological and geological diversity. The western portion features karst topography - a landscape of sinkholes and undergrond streams shaped by the dissolution of the soluble dolostone bedrock, common on the Niagara Escarpment. The eastern section features the Escarpment edge that fronts onto Colpoy's Bay. Combined with the dense woods, it is a perfect home for numerous species of gulls including Glaucous and Iceland, as well as Rough-legged and Red-tailed Hawks, Kestrels and Shrikes, to mention a few of our avian visitors.