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Nature Day at Terra-Cotta Natural Park and Announcement of CN EcoConnexions Funding

With the financial support of the CN EcoConnexions – From the Ground Up program, the first Nature Day was held on May 20, at Terra-Cotta Natural Park. Nearly 200 kindergarten and grade 2 and 4 students from Pointe-Claire elementary school participated in an educational day with three main activities: a workshop on the park’s plants and wildlife, an interactive walk on the trails and tree planting.

The workshop on the park’s plants and wildlife helped the students learn more about a biologist’s roles and duties. The presenter from Nature-Action Québec showed them the various pieces of equipment a biologist needs to take inventory in the field, such as a global positioning system (GPS), binoculars and identification guides, and asked the kids to guess what they are for. Then, the kids were able to observe objects found in the field during inventories, such as feathers from birds of prey, a stick gnawed by a beaver and antlers from a white-tailed deer.

Objects from the presentation © Nature-Action Québec

For the second activity, the kids went on a guided walk through the park to discover the wildlife and plant species that live there. Using sounds and images, the students had to identify the species and their habitat. They were able to learn more about the habitat of the pileated woodpecker, the eastern screech owl, raccoon and the American porcupine, as well as the shagbark hickory, a species of tree with the provincial status of a species likely to become threatened or vulnerable.

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata) © Nature-Action Québec

The last activity consisted of planting trees in order to close off three entrances making up nearly 325 metres of informal trails. With the help of a team of horticulturists, in pairs each student planted a tree in one of the pre-dug holes. The students made sure that their tree was straight before adding composting and earth to cover the roots and the base of the tree. Thanks to the participation of students from Pointe-Claire elementary school, 208 trees of 10 different species were planted that day: the shagbark hickory, red maple, balsam fir, common hackberry, black walnut, tamarack, ironwood, Scotch pine, bur oak and the basswood. Signs will be put up in front of the trees to alert park goers to their presence.

Tree planting by students of Pointe-Claire elementary school © Nature-Action Québec

This event also made it possible to announce the financial contribution of $25,000 from the CN EcoConnexions – From the Ground Up program for the restoration and enhancement of Terra-Cotta Natural Park. With this support, the City of Pointe-Claire and its partner, Nature-Action Québec, can raise the public’s awareness of the park’s conservation issues and combat certain invasive alien species, such as the buckthorn.

Column prepared with the financial support of the CN EcoConnexions – From the Ground Up program