My interest in conservation started when I bought a 24 acre property in Stevensville in 1997. It was old farmland that was slowly returning to its natural state.  Over the past years, I have been planting trees with varying degrees of success. As learned more about the native trees of the Niagara Region, I have been making a determined effort for my property to populated with the rarest trees of the Carolinian Forest.  As I am also trying to maintain a woodlot, I have also been planting high value timber and firewood trees like Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra) and Shagbark Hickory (Carya Ovata).

The first rare tree I planted was a Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus Dioicus) that my friend procured for me through his summer horticultural employment. From that tree's root suckers, I now have 7 more Coffee Trees.  From local greenhouses, I've obtained Cucumber Trees (Magnolia Acuminata), Cherry Birch (Betula Lenta), Wild Cherry (Prunus Serotina), Tulip Trees (Liriodendron), Ironwood (Hop Hornbeam), Eastern White Pine,  Basswood, Honey Locust, Ginko (not a native tree but I like it), and Flowering Dogwood.  This spring, in addition to several thousand black walnut, I planted about 500 Hickory nuts, about 200 Red Oak, plus a handful of Butternut (Juglans Cinerea).  This fall or spring, I will be planting Sugar Maple, Shagbark Hickory, and Black Walnut.

While on a quest for Cherry Birch (the rarest Carolinian tree in Canada) and Cucumber (also very rare) this year, the Niagara Parks Commission referred me to the Niagara Restoration Council.  After a site visit this spring, the NRC was able to provide me 239 trees (and volunteers from Niagara College to help plant them) this fall, for which I am extremely grateful.  We managed to plant about 200 of the following trees on November 24 and I'm going to plant the rest while the weather is still good.

  • Cherry Birch (80)
  • Sugar Maple (50)
  • Kentucky Coffee Tree (30)
  • Basswood (20)
  • Butternut (20)
  • American Elm (15)
  • Red Maple (10)
  • Black Cherry (9)
  • Black Walnut (3)
  • Red Oak (2)

I think it is extremely important to keep our forests healthy.  I will be actively supporting the work of organizations such as the Niagara Restoration Council.