|Posted by Paul Eagles on March 1, 2016 at 6:00 PM|
St. George Lance, Thursday June 26, 1997
BRANCHTON — A special ceremony was recently held to dedicate a remnant of Carolinian forest to conservation.
Thanks to the foresight of the local community, a nine-acre (three-hectare) site in Branchton now known as Branchton Village Woods, has been preserved. The property was purchased in January by the Branchton Village Land Trust, composed of members of the local community.
The Branchton Village Land Trust is a private charity dedicated to preserving the landscape, ecology and native wildlife in the Branchton area. "Our group realized the importance of protecting and preserving this small remnant of Carolinian forest because of the many varieties and rarity of some species of vegetation and wildlife found within," says James Voll, President of the Trust. "This none-acre forested woodlot is situated in the centre of the village and greatly enhances the beauty of the village. It is our hope that the forest continues to flourish over time and that all residents, young and old, continue to enjoy and learn from it."
The Branchton Village Woods is adjacent to a provincially significant Class 1 wetland and is part of the Branchton Swamp Forest complex, a regionally significant environmentally sensitive area. The woods is an excellent example of an oak-hickory forest with the largest documented stand of Sassafras and the largest individual Sassafras tree in the region of Waterloo. The forest provides habitat for a wide variety of breeding birds including the Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrust, Red¬headed Woodpecker and the Yellow-throated Vireo.
The property was purchased by the land trust thanks to the generous financial contributions made by Jack and Mary-Lou Hessler, the Ontario Heritage Foundation (OHF), Canada Trust's Friends of the Environment Foundation, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the residents of the village of Branchton.
Joanna Bedard, Chair of the OHF says, 'This community successfully took on a very ambitious project. We applaud all of the individuals and groups who stepped forward to protect this significant woodland.
Future generations will continue to benefit from the beauty of the property and foresight of these local stewards."
"Protecting the environment begins in our own backyards and the Friends of the Environment Foundation is delighted to assist in the preservation of this significant piece of Carolinian forest history," says Paul Morris, Cambridge Chapter Secretary for the Friends of the Environment Foundation.
Through the Nature Conservancy of Canada's Community Forest Conservancy Program, funded by the Richard Ivey Foundation, the Conservancy assisted the land trust in the negotiations to purchase the property and provided legal and other advice. An interest-free loan was provided to the Branchton Land Trust by the Conservancy which enabled the land trust to close the deal.
'The Branchton Village Land Trust and the other contributors should be praised for securing this remnant Carolinian forest for the people of Branchton and Ontario," says Elva Kyle, Chair of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. "The protection of this property is significant since one-third of all of Canada's rare, threatened or endangered species are found in the Carolinian zone. The dedication celebrates the protection of this area which present and future generations will be able to enjoy as a place to learn, to teach and to wonder."
Since its formation in 1962, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has worked with individuals, corporations, foundations and governments to protect more than 1.2 million acres (490,000 hectares) of prime wildlife habitat across the country.