| Sep 10, 2014

In an effort to get those with the best knowledge and understanding of the land north of Highway 7 to engage with local landowners and users, members of the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation organized a Community Day in Cloyne, where numerous groups and organizations gathered at the Barrie Hall to present information and answer questions. The event, which took place on September 6, was an informal gathering that included 20 booth displays representing Quinte Conservation, the Mississippi Conservation Authority, Friends of Bon Echo, the Kennebec Lake Association, Friends of the Salmon River, the North Frontenac Dark Skies Preserve, The Land O'Lakes Tourist Association, the Land Conservancy for Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington and more.

Frontenac County Manager of Economic Development, Anne Marie Young, was present highlighting the North Frontenac Township’s Community Improvement Plan, which was recently approved by the county. The topics covered at the Community Day were plentiful and included various local histories, invasive species, land stewardship, local watersheds, water quality, septic systems, local biodiversity, geology, managing crown forest land, Benny's Pond and much more. Jenny Pearce and Matt Ellerbeck had several live snakes and salamanders on display for guests to visit with, and Chad Clifford of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust offered up live recordings of various soundscapes found in the area, which are used by the organization to record and create an inventory of the animal and insect life on their properties.

The Cloyne Museum was open for those interested in the human history of the area, and certified chainsaw trainer Dave Smallwood and Dave Sexsmith of the Ontario Woodlot Association gave a basic talk and demonstration on safe chainsaw practices.

On one table were numerous books on related topics including “Discovering Natural Processes” by Gray Merriam and Jeff Amos, “Wind, Water. Barley and Wine: The Nature of Prince Edward County” and “Lennox and Addington”, both by Orland French. Professional ecologist Gray Merriam, who wears many hats in the stewardship world, as the founding member of the Friends of the Salmon River, as a board member with the Frontenac Stewardship Foundation and a member of the Kennebec Lake Association, said that the primary aim of the event was to engage area landowners in conversation with members of these groups. “Ultimately it is the land owners and users themselves who are going to be the stewards of the land. I believe that we are well past the point where you just call a provincial phone number to have your questions answered. In my opinion the role of volunteer stewardship groups is to talk to landowners and users, find out what their objectives are and then help them to meet those objectives.”

Merriam said that the second aim of the event was to give the various groups a chance to engage with one another. “The networking that has gone on this morning between the members of the groups and organizations has been wonderful and this event provides an opportunity for these like-minded groups and individuals to engage with one another, which does not happen very often.”

Merriam also highlighted the fact that the land north of 7 is some of richest land in Ontario and some of the only land in the province that remains undamaged. “It is the natural capital here that we need to be working with and we want the planners to recognize that the nature of the richness here is not in factories and shopping centers but in the land itself. The natural capital here is irreplaceable and with that in mind we should be planning all future activities here with deference to that natural capital.”

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