Sunday, December 26, 2010

Scoutrees a Forest for Tomorrow

Forest Planted in 2002 visited

In the spring of 2001 and 2002 the Timmins and Porcupine District Scouts planted as part of Scoutrees. A National program that is a fund raiser for the Scouting program.  The first tree plant in the Timmins District, Called Trees for Canada, at the time, was in 1980. My first tree plant with the Scouts was 1997 when we planted in Deloro Township, just south the Timmins Landfill.

That summer crows and ravens came to the plantation and pulled out almost all the seedlings. Any seedling that had  the smallest paper showing was pulled up. Those curious birds! The seedling container of the time was called a 408 PaperPot. There were used for only a few years before it was determined that in some soil conditions the paper would not rot for many many years.

Previous blog entry has chart with years and numbers planted. read the entry now

The last Scoutrees planted in 2003.

Mine Site in the background.

Click Here to see a map of where the trees are planted.

Pictures from the tree plant and the pictures of what it looks like today.  Look Now

Monday, December 20, 2010

International Year of the Forest 2011

International Year 
of the Forest 

"The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests." 
UN Page

The year 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations[1] to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

Forests are home to millions of people and are responsible for the livelihoods of over a billion people.  Most of terrestrial biodiversity is found here.  Join us as we explore forests over the next twelve months. 
Youth and Biodiversity 

Get Your 2011 International Year of Forests Poster

Get your 2011 International Year of Forests poster showcasing the unique artwork of famous children’s book illustrator Wallace Edwards.
Canadian Wildlife Federation

2011 is officially the Year of the Forests and both WWF and Sky will be doing plenty to celebrate.
World Wildlife Fund

International Year of Forests 2011 –
The Role of Europe’s Forests
• 25% of worlds forests are in Europe, forests cover 44% of 
continent’s land area and is increasing
• Provide wide range of environmental, economical and 
social benefits
• Important resource for rural development in local 
• Employment for 4.3 million people in forestry and forest 
based enterprise
Forest Europe

Brainripples Forest Arboreality

I am not the only one who enjoys thoughts about trees.

Came across this blog the other day while looking at information on the up-coming International Year of the Forest.

The author is obviously a much better writer then I am. I am short on words, but rely on links and pictures to keep things interesting.

Take a look at her blog now

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Ontario Wood Works Awards Program

Student from Timmins wins first prize !!

I read this week in the Timmins Times that Carleton University architecture student Steph Bolduc of Timmins Ontario won a first prize.

Carleton architecture student Steph Bolduc has won first prize in the student design category of the 2010 Ontario Wood Works Awards Program sponsored by the Canadian Wood Council. 

Bolduc Design Blog see more pictures

Carleton University Newsroom

Construction Canada


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fisher south of Timmins

My first Fisher in the wild
south of Timmins.

I saw it come out of the bush and walk across the road. At first I thought it was a small bear, but the tail was very long. The fur was thick like a bear, but it was longer and the tail gave it away.

I had never seen a Fisher here, did not know we even had them around here. Talking to my trapper friend he tells me they are somewhat common. He does not trap for them, but has from time to time found one in a martin trap. I was surprised to hear a martin trap was big enough, but he assured me a martin trap would work. If setting for a fisher a bigger trap is used.

My dog wanted to go out and chase it, but I am sure the Fisher would not run. The dog is about the same size, but not nearly as wild as that Fisher looked.

Most interesting is that the Fisher is one of the only animal that will kill and eat a porcupine.

Nature Conservatory Canada


Map of where I saw the Fisher

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Live weather in Timmins - Gillies Lake

Gillies Lake Conservation Area

Live Weather

Here you can get current conditions and high and low temperatures.

Precipitation, dew point, pressure, growing degree days, etc.
You can also see current month and previous month records.

Roads Remove Forests

The Forest is Tenacious

Time will recover all
productive forest ground

When I was giving a tour to a group of students from southern Ontario we had a discussion around what removes forests from the natural life cycle.

Urbanization we decided was the one element that removed productive forest the most.

A side note of the conversation was they described a loss of agricultural land to urbanization. It had not occurred to them that agriculture had removed forests first. They had no idea or concept that all the farms were at one time a vast forest. Fields left long enough will easily revert back to forested land.

There is more non-productive forest in the walmart parking lot then all the crown land around Timmins.

Roads remove the forest from being productive for a very long time. I find it interesting to see the old highway 101 while traveling from Chapleau to Timmins. The hydro lines follow the old road so you see the lines disappearing into the bush and returning at another location.

It will be many years before the forest reclaims the ground a highway has been constructed.

How much area?
Lets say a lane with 4 meters wide. The MoT tells us there are 39000 lane kilometers in the province. 39000000 meters x 4meters = 156000000 meters square.

That is 15600 hectares.

MoT no longer leaves the black top when they move a highway. Only the gravel is left, the forest will be able to regenerate it much faster.

Picture 1 and 2 location
Picture 3 location
Picture 4 location

Provincial Highways Management

  • There are over 16,500 kilometres (39,000 lane km) of provincial highway. Placed end to end, Ontario's highways would span Canada twice.
  • The Ministry of Transportation manages 2,720 bridges and structures, 29 remote airports and either owns and operates or provides funding for nine ferry services.
  • Replacement value of Ontario's highways and bridges is approximately $57 billion.
  • Annually, $1.2 trillion worth of goods are transported in Ontario, $222 billion of which pass over international bridge crossings linked to provincial highways.
  • More than 90 per cent of all Ontarians reside within 10 km of the provincial highways. During the peak periods, about one third of the auto trips in Ontario use provincial highways.
  • Asphalt pavement lasts an average of about 15 years before it needs resurfacing, if it's properly maintained.
  • Bridges need to be thoroughly inspected every two years. Older bridges are generally rehabilitated every 20 to 30 years and completely replaced after 75 years. New bridges are designed to last at least 75 years without major rehabilitation.
  • There are more than 180 COMPASS cameras in the province.
From the Ministry of Transportation webpage

Balsam Fir added to the T.H.R.T.

Balsam Fir added to the
Timmins Honour Roll of Trees

This is big for a balsam fir. I found this tree last year, but only stopped last week to measure, GPS and photograph.

Balsam fir usually do not get all that big, compared to the white and red pines. They simply do not last that long.

It is interesting that half of the trees currently on the Honour Roll are all within 1 kilometer.

Look at the map that has all the trees on it, many are grouped just 25 km down highway 144 south of highway 101.

White Birch added to the T.H.R.T.

White Birch added to the
Timmins Honour Roll of Trees.

I do not think this is the biggest white birch I have seen on the Timmins area, but I figured I would just grab a tree to compare to others.

This tree should not be very hard to displace from the Honour Roll.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

White Pine Past it's Prime.

White Pine stands strong
long after it has stopped
producing Oxygen

Trees produce oxygen for many years over their life span. While they produce oxygen they also store a great amount to carbon.

This tree has a large amount of carbon stored, which it is slowly releasing as it rots. Eventually this tree will fall and over many years return to the earth.

This tree was captured by the google street view camera a couple of summers ago.

I have been watching the contrast of dead branches on the skyline every time we travel the highway. I wonder if I will get a picture of it after it falls, or will it still be standing long after I am not?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moose Grow in the Forest

Bull wonders about me.

Only wonders off when dog arrives.

This "bull of the woods" was not concerned about my pickup, and just walked in front of it.

He moved off the road to feed. While his head was in the water I was able to walk up to within 10 meters. When he lifted his head he just looked at me. It was not until the dog finally came out of the truck that he moved off.

I remember reading a book when I was about 12 years old, the book was called "Bull of the Woods" about a fellow who logged in the days of horse-logging. He was a man bigger than Paul Bunyan and was real!

I will look for the book in the library this weekend.

This is where the moose was standing, right here!

Hiking Day in Timmins

What a great day.

Great turn out too!

Hiking Day at Hersey lake Conservation Area.

The trails offer smooth walking trails and signs to make sure you do not get lost. Distance at each sign means you can plan the distance you want to walk.

Great event, hope you can come out next year.

The Earth Moves

The Earth Moves

Rock Falls for Gravity

In September 2008 I stopped on our way to Sault Ste Marie to show the kids this interesting rock formation along the side of highway 101.

I have alway wondered about the formation of the rock and how such thin rock could stand.

The kids and I crawled all over these rocks to explore the formation.

2 years after the first picture part of the wall would fall. I suspect the vibration of the highway was too much for this part of the shield pushed up to the surface.

I want to go back and try to push over the other pillar still standing. If the big slab could fall maybe the little one will fall too.

It is a little boy thing. I like to smash beaver dams and make a trench across a road that is holding back water. Control water and gravity.

When you go by stop and take a look. Please do not give it a push. Let me try it first!

This map is where to find it.

Maybe one of my geocache friends will make this a cache. Sign in after you give it a push.

This is incredible, here is the google street view of the location.
Here is the map view of the location.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oxygen Grows on Trees the T-Shirt

2 oxygen molecules bound together is oxygen

O-O = oxygen

You can have your own shirt now.

Every time I wear my O2 t-shirt someone wants me to give them the shirt off my back. I went and had a bunch made. This is what I have.

I have 20 ultracotton tees.
5 medium lime, 5 medium royal, 5 large lime and 5 large royal. When they run out I will get some more made. If you want a bunch let me know and we can make it happen.

So now if you really want one send me $20 per shirt and I will send one to you, anywhere in Canada.

Oxygen Grows On Trees

I am working on getting a second shirt together. As it turns out wood also grows on trees. Who wood have guessed.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

White Moose near Foleyet

White Moose near Boulder Lake, Ontario.

Came around the corner and 3 vehicles were parked on the side of the road and just in the ditch not far from on the vehicles a white moose.

As I pulled over one more vehicle came from the west, and the animal started to move off. I quickly took a couple of pictures, but did not get a good one.

I travel that section of road once a week for the past two summers. Caught just a glimpse of a white moose last year.

This is the 5th White Moose I have seen in the Foleyet area, west of Timmins.

The white moose reporting station is not operating anymore and the website has not been updated since 2007. The Timmins Naturalists are always interested in your observations, including the white moose. Look at other observations reported to the Timmins Naturalists.

White Moose web site (last update 2007)

map where I saw the white moose.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Porcupine in the Porcupine

Biggest Porcupine I Have Ever
Seen in the Porcupine

Roll'n just would not come when I called him. This only means one thing - he has found something he wants me to see.

I walked towards the occasional bark. He will not bark very much, so I stand and wait for him to come get me. I follow and away he goes. Had to wait again, since I lost him in the thick vegetation.

When I finally catch up to him, he is walking around a large poplar. Not far up the tree was a big porcupine. Roll'n was convinced I should be able to help with this creature up the tree.

He has encountered one porcupine before, the result was 4 quills in the face. Not bad, I have seen worse!

The forest is home to so many wonderful creatures, Roll'n will have to learn to leave some of them alone.

This porcupine was west of Timmins map

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tamarack in the alder


Can a tree be a wolf? Yes, when it is a wolf tree!

Ontario Extension Note on terms talks about a tree that has a large crown.

I noticed this Tamarack that I have been looking at for a month from a distance. I finally went for the short walk through alder and raspberries to the base of the tree.

What a large, narly tree. It is a wolf tree! It stands by itself, towering over all the shrubs and plants that grow in low wet areas.

The tree is 201.2 cm circumference and 64.0 cm diameter. There is another Tamarack in the list but this tree is bigger. I think we will keep the top 2 of each species as the list grows.

We still require a couple of representatives, keep your eyes open for us.

More pictures of this tree and other can be seen here.

Biggest Balsam Poplar in Timmins Area

Balsam Poplar added to the Timmins Honour Role of Trees.

I have added a large, old Balsam poplar to the website that has all the large trees in the Timmins Area.

This tree is 210.3 cm circumference and 66.9 cm diameter measured at 1.3 meters above the ground (commonly known as breast height).

The Ontario Honour Roll of Trees is up again. Take a look. 2 trees on the Timmins list are bigger then the Ontario giant. I will need to get the height of the trees to see how they stack up points wise.

We are still looking for the biggest White birch, Black spruce, Balsam fir and Red maple. I will find a representative before the end of the summer. If you can help please let me know!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Red Toad, American Toad

Toads can be RED - read about them now.

I first heard about red toads at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, when a young lad asked the biologist "what toad is red?".

A couple of days later I again heard from a person who asked me what toad is red. I did not know, I have never seen one.

Well today in the bush a co-worker says "look how red that toad is, I have never seen one like that!"

It is red, brick red the documentation describes.

It is just a colour phase of a young American Toad.

Frog Watch wants to know what frogs and toads you see. Check out frog watch if you are interested.

Always any unusual species you see near Timmins we want to know about it. You can see what interesting observations have been seen at Observations Naturally.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Varved Clay today on the road

A Glacier was here, and I saw the art that it left behind. map

Varved clay is an accumulation in proglacial lakes of yearly-couplets of lacustrine beds called varves: during the summer, silt (light gray in color) settles and accumulates and in the winter, when the lake is ice bound (frozen over), clay-sized material (dark gray in color) settles and accumulates.

I was first introduced to varved clay when I was kayaking on the Fredrickhouse Lake map.
There is an eroding shoreline that is stripped with different soil layers and colours. When I got home and did some reading I discovered varved clays.

Later I would work for Ontario Parks and find out the location I had been looking at was actually a non-operating Provincial Park. Fredrick House L. Provincial Nature Reserve March 1985. map

Here is a very interesting paper by the National Research Council Canada. December 1954 some
of our tax money produced a paper called "A Laboratory Study of Varved Clay from Steep Rock Lake". I am guessing it is this lake north of Atikokan, Ontario.

You can see information on the Steep Rock Lake Mining and see a picture of the lake with no water in it here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

White Pine Falls in the Forest

My White pine has fallen, my White pine has fallen!!

This White pine was the first tree on the Timmins Honour Roll of Trees, and was the first geocache I had created.

I first met this tree a couple of years ago when we were working in the area. There were a few surprises in the area, like the 400 year old white ceder and the yellow birch stand.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ontario Honour Roll of Trees

Ontario Honour Roll of Trees - Updated!

For the longest time the Ontario Honour Role of trees has been a broken link. The Ontario Forestry Association has updated their site and the honour roll is once again front and center.

Take a look at the Ontario Honour Roll.

Take a look at the Timmins Honour Roll.

The Timmins Honour Roll needs your help to be completed. If you can fill in a blank with a big tree please let me know. Maybe we even have the biggest in Ontario!!

Nighthawks Overhead

The Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) fly overhead while I BBQ.

I was in the back yard cooking supper when I notice a single Nighthawk fly overhead. A little unusual for my neighbourhood.

I watch as another follows then another. I walk out onto the front yard to get a better look at the sky.

I count at least 20 nighthawks flying from north to south. They were all 10 to 20 meters above the ground.

I did not know nighthawks traveled together, I have only ever seen them one or two at a time.

More links and picture of the one I saw last year, click here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Old Rocks and Really Old Rocks in Timmins

I learned a little bit about some rocks near Timmins last week.

Took my son for a tour to look at the interesting formation.

What is the kid looking at?

This is my understanding :

A crack in the billion year old rock, the Canadian Shield, had magma from the mantle of the earth fill that crack.

That crack was filled and the glacier that was more then a kilometer thick here smoothed out the surface. To me it looks like cement has been poured to fill the gap in the rock.

It is young rock, just 100 million years old, between old rock, maybe billion years old.

I do not remember what he called the formation.

I would never have noticed if it was not pointed out to me. I guess I need to look under foot more often. Usually where I am walking the rock is under a rooted mat of material.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Purple Iris

Purple Iris

This was sitting in my draft folder since the summer.

Delete or add, well here it is.

I enjoy seeing the contrast of flower colours in the swamps and forest floor.

Painted Turtle east of the watershed.

A painted turtle came looking for me.

I just love seeing a turtle during my travels

This little creature was crossing the road while I was going by.

Added this sighting to the turtle tally. If you see a turtle you should enter the sighting in the turtle tally.

They want the location, lat long, and a picture is always nice.

If you see the turtle anywhere near Timmins the Timmins Naturalists likes to keep track of those sightings. We add the all sightings to the Observations Naturally webpage. Check it out!

Found in Ontario - Arrowheads

Ontario Arrowheads

I have had these arrowheads for awhile. I finally got around to finding out the story on them.

There is a guy you can email pictures of what you have and he will let you know what you have.

This was his answer to me.

If lettered left to right, a to f, these are:
b - Adena type, Early Woodland period circa 1000 - 300 B.C.
c - Snyders type, Middle Woodland period circa 300 B.C. - 500 A.D.
a, d, e, f - all variants of Late Archaic period types circa 3000 - 1000 B.C.

So it seems that 4 of these arrowheads are 3000 to 5000 years old. That is so neat to know.

My mommy tells me that the arrowheads were found by her father. Somewhere in southern Ontario. Grandfather lived in AYR so it would seem the arrowheads where found around there.

Ask an Archaeologist at the University of Western Ontario

Sunday, June 6, 2010

eBird has come along way

eBird is a interactive site for bird observations.

I have not found an easy way to display a map of Timmins with all the observations, but I am sure I will.

Great information and good site.

June 5, 2010 set as Canada Planters' Day

Missed Canada Planter's Day this year, but it was all about the trees here in Timmins. The 5th was Arbour Day in Timmins.

Wintergreen Fund for Conservation again made white spruce tree seedlings available for a donation to the not for profit organization.

The day is intended to recognize silviculture workers, the work being done and the work needing to done to restore forests across the country. Media field tours, press releases and festivities of varying description are being organized in towns across provinces. The celebration of Canadian silviculture workers and their work is part of broader public awareness campaign soon to be announced by the Forestfacts: Plant More Trees movement.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Timmins Melrose Bird Buddies

Don has a yard that just attacks the big birds, he must feed the squirrels well !!!

Don had an owl in his yard a couple of years ago.

You can read about sightings in Timmins on the Timmins Naturalists Observations Page.

I think this is a Cooper Hawk. wow a Cooper hawk right out of his kitchen window!!

Great Bird Resource Online

Bird Pictures
Bird Sounds

Online pictures and sounds of birds. What a great resource.

If you want to learn the songs and calls you can use this tool. there has been a lot of work put into this site - I suggest you check it out.

Thank Melanie at Timmins MNR for reminding me of the site. I also have the program on my computer so I can carry it with me everywhere. Now if I could just learn more!