Our morning started as we gathered at the Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre located in the Hollidge Tract in the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville. This building is something out of the future and is built to the world’s strictest environmental standards. The green features of the building are numerous and all add up to a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum designation – WOW!
After a quick but informative tour of the centre, we were off into the York Region Forest, led by our fearless guide Aileen Barclay. Aileen works with York Region’s Nature’s Classroom Program as their Forest Education Specialist.
You may notice the path is extra wide here – that’s because this section of the trail is fully accessible so everyone can enjoy!
Ever wonder why your oak tree seems to be dropping its tips in the fall? You can thank the squirrels for that! Aileen explains that squirrels bite off the tips of the oak tree branches to make their acorn collection easier and more efficient.
We learned to identify poison ivy in the fall. Looks harmless enough, but do not touch!
Fall colours as far as the eye could see! Soaking in the beauty of the York Region Forest made for a great way to spend a morning.
After much learning and fresh air, our day concluded back at the education centre with lunch and time to socialize. It was lovely to hear from all the Backyard Tree Planting program participants who had received their trees or were anticipating their arrival. A particularly lovely sentiment came from a couple who expressed they felt like expectant parents eagerly awaiting the arrival of their tree!
And really, that was what the day was all about. Not just LEAF showing our appreciation for our dedicated volunteers and program participants, but also so we could reconnect with these individuals and hear about their experiences and why they feel passionate about our urban forests.
You can see more photos from this event on our Facebook page, please feel free to share!
Photographs by Sammy Tangir.
This event was supported by The Regional Municipality of York and Ontario Power Generation.
Erica Hazlett is LEAF’s Education and Outreach Assistant.