Nature Club seeks ‘Notable Trees’

MANITOULIN—The Manitoulin Nature Club has launched its Notable Trees of Manitoulin (NTOM), a new initiative to catalogue significant trees of Manitoulin.

“We are asking people to nominate trees that are important to them or that are unique,” explained Manitoulin Nature Club spokesperson Gail Robinson. “It’s a very emotional thing. We want to hear the stories behind these notable trees of Manitoulin and record them, possibly to be used for a brochure where people could go and visit these trees (with the owner’s consent).”

Nature Club Member Edith Garrette originally proposed the idea to record heritage trees or ‘witness trees,’ a spin off project of her and her late husband Grant’s successful Great Tree Search of Manitoulin in the 90s, which sought Islanders to nominate the largest trees on Manitoulin.

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 its size, form, shape, beauty, age, colour, rarity, genetic constitute 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.

“In review of our commonly held interest and appreciation for trees this project was created with the vision of highlighting the rich heritage of our mature and exotic trees,” explained Ms. Garrette of the rationale behind her idea. “To this end, the committee is putting out a call for the public to nominate a tree/trees which they believe to be of special significance. Submissions will result in a portrait documenting the wide variety of species to be found in the esteem which we hold for our green heritage.”

To celebrate the launch of the NTOM initiative on Earth Day (April 22), the Manitoulin Nature Club gathered last Friday in Mindemoya for a presentation from entomologist Dr. Joseph Shorthouse on Manitoulin trees.

Anyone wishing to nominate a NTOM or for more information can contact notabletreesofmanitoulin@gmail.com or P.O. Box 1006, Little Current, ON, P0P 1K0.

The Expositor will be following this project to fruition, publishing some of the nominations, their stories and keeping the Island community up-to-date on this exciting new project.