Have You Seen This Tree?

Eastern white cedar

I grew up with the Eastern white cedar, with the soothing smell of its lumber and the playful snapping of its waxy leaves when tossed into a campfire. The peeling, almost tissue quality of its bark and the swooping structure of its trunk defined the Ontario swamps I walked through as a young man, and when I moved to the East Coast I felt their absence. So when I saw my first local specimen a few weeks back, after years without, it was like catching up with an old friend.

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The Life and Times of Dillon Lorraine: Decades of Conservation Effort Pays Off in Southwest Nova

Blanding’s Turtle

Dillon Lorraine might never have hatched without the Friends of Keji, a volunteer association which supports Kejimkujik National Park in its day-to-day endeavours, most notably in the conservation of its resident wildlife.

Together these organizations coordinate their efforts on the endangered Blanding’s turtle, occurring within the park and a few neighbouring watersheds. Last I heard from biologist Jeffie McNeil of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI), this population of fleeting reptiles numbered between 400-500 in all, Dillon Lorraine among them, their decline the result of habitat loss, poaching, road collisions and predation over decades.

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Caribou of the Isle

Woodland Caribou

Knowing Prince Edward Island, one doesn’t expect a rich natural history. Surrounding provinces contain regions of surviving wilderness with larger examples of life, while visitors to the Gentle Isle might easily assume it was always an expanse of farmland and pasture with the occasional vacant lot. At least that was my impression, upon my first youthful visit over a decade back – a province of exceptional beauty, but with very few surprises.

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A Quiet Word on Forestry: The Loss of Lumber and its Enterprise

There are no names in this story.

If you’re familiar with the work of Earnest Hemingway you’ll find a piece of his from September 25, 1923 in the Toronto Daily Star beginning with exactly this line, ranking among my personal favourites. As the opener promises, he omits all names from the article, including his own, giving only the professions, genders and approximate ages of everyone he quotes, describing himself only as “the reporter.”

Sometimes us journalists have to write this way, because otherwise there’d be no story. In Hemingway’s case, his interviewees wouldn’t talk unless sheltered by anonymity and that’s the case here, at least in part…but while this literary icon was profiling survivors of a Japanese earthquake, I’m writing about forestry.

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