Manitoulin Nature Club to highlight Island Notable Trees at free conference this weekend

This tree located at Oakes Cottages on Lake Mindemoya contains a saw stuck 40-50 feet up the tree.

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Nature Club is hosting a two-day Notable Trees of Manitoulin (NTOM) ‘Trees, Trees, Trees’ Conference this Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28 in Mindemoya.

The conference will include presentations and workshops from arborists, foresters and other industry professionals, as well as guided walks to see some of the NTOM.

“The idea behind the conference was to help make people more aware of trees and what a treasure they are,” explained one of the organizers and a member of the Manitoulin Nature Club. “We also want to highlight the many trees that were recognized through NTOM whether they are historical or special to individuals and families. Its important to preserve and recognize the importance and emotional attachment people have to trees.”

The Manitoulin Nature Club started the NTOM initiative last year, reaching out to Islanders to nominate ‘witness trees’ or trees of significance.

Early surveyors documented trees at the imaginary corners and angles of parcels of land to mark boundaries and called them ‘witness trees.’ This distinction is also used to describe trees present at key historical events or events specific to a particular person such as a wedding or engagement.

Notable trees can include notable specimens because of their size, form, shape, beauty, age, colour, rarity or other distinctive features. It can also include living relics that display evidence of cultural modification by aboriginal or non-aboriginal people, including strips of bark or knot-green wood removed, test hole cuts to determine soundness, furrows cut to collect pitch or sap or blazes to mark a trail. As well, prominent community landmark trees, trees associated with local folklore, myths, legends or traditional or specimens associated with a historical person, place or event, qualify for nomination.

The Expositor has been profiling the notable trees in an ongoing series, highlighting nominated trees and interviewing the individuals behind the nominations.

The response has been incredible, and the club has received close to 50 tree nominations.

The conference will get underway on Friday at 9 am at the Mindemoya Community Centre.

Gail Robinson will give opening remarks on behalf of the NTOM committee to kick off the event, followed by a presentation from Agricultural Development Advisor with OMAFRA Brian Bell on soil fertility.

At 9:45 am certified arborist Peter Jones will be presenting on Manitoulin orchards.

After a coffee break and demonstrations from 10:30-10:50 am, certified arborist Mike Laende will be speaking on Manitoulin tree form and structure.

George Stanclik, a retired forester, will be presenting at 11:35 am on managing Crown land.

A complimentary lunch will be served from 12:15 to 1 pm, provided by Domtar.

At 1 pm, keynote speaker Edith George will give her address. Ms. George is a member of the Ontario Urban Forest Council in Toronto and will be speaking on what a heritage tree is and why they are important to protect.

Sault Ste. Marie foresters Laing Bennett and Lesley Phillips will be giving a presentation from 2 to 3 pm on plantation management and dendrology, followed by a coffee break and demonstrations from 3 to 3:20 pm. 

The afternoon will conclude with species at risk coordinator Theodore Flamand and stewardship coordinator Wayne Jack talking about revitalizing forested lands from 3:20 to 4:20 pm.

During the lunch and coffee breaks, there will be demonstrations and exhibits from Lyle Dewar on the history of logging on Manitoulin, a power point on the NTOM, Roger Cook speaking about the trees of Ontario, Brian Bainborough speaking about the story of the maple and Dick Bowerman presenting on unique wooden tables.

Running concurrently on Friday will be a presentation for students downstairs at the community hall. Grade 7 and 8 students from Lakeview School and Grade 3,4, and 5 students from Central Manitoulin Public School will be attending.

The student workshops include: an ‘historical tree’s history’ from Edith George; Derrick Luetchford, a Junior Ranger partnership specialist, speaking about the program; Kate Thompson on ‘tree stories’; Anna Barnett and members leading a fabric tree craft; Gaynor Orford working with students through visual and hands on displays; teacher and writer Pat Williamson telling a tree story at the Williamson Tree in the park; and horticulturalist Gail Robinson discussing the potting up of pine tree seedlings outside.

On Saturday there will be tours of Notable trees of Manitoulin, a visit to an orchard, plantation and sugar bush, walks in the Mindemoya area and Edith George presenting on heritage trees and their importance at Misery Bay Provincial Park, followed by guided walks for their Heritage Day.

“We have so many people on Manitoulin who have a lot of knowledge about different aspects of trees—its great that everyone can come together to share that information with the public,” said Ms. Robinson.

In addition to the great speakers and activities throughout the conference, there will also be many amazing give-a-ways and door prizes thanks to the generosity of Island businesses and organizations.

The two-day event is free and open to anyone who would like to learn more about trees.