2017: TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE
As Canada turns 150, the Friends of Petrie Island mark their 20th year of volunteer service to the community. In 1997, members of a group formed to maintain the walking trails of Queenswood Heights /Fallingbrook in Orleans saw potential in a nature preserve and park at Petrie Island, acquired in 1983 by the municipality from its private owners. The Friends of Petrie Island also opposed construction of a new interprovincial bridge that would have been destructive to the island environment. They also saw possibilities for an environmental education program. Twenty years later, that program has been a resounding success, and the volunteers and staff of Friends of Petrie Island are proud to serve the community by managing the trail system and picnic area. Many thanks to all who have served, and especially to the elected representatives and municipal officials and staff who supported us along the way. Over the years, Friends have received over $200,000 in support.
2017: VINGT ANS DE SERVICE
Alors que le Canada célèbre son 150e, les Amis de l’île Petrie marquent 20 ans de bénévolat. En 1997, plusieurs membres d’un groupe constitué pour entretenir les sentiers de Queenswood Heights et Fallingbrook à Orléans ont vu le potentiel d’une reserve naturelle, avec un parc, à l’île Petrie, que la municipalité avait acheté en 1983. Les Amis s’opposaient aussi à la construction d’un pont interprovincial à l’île Petrie, projet qui en aurait dégradé l’environnement naturel. Les Amis envisageaient aussi un programme d’éducation. Vingt ans ont passé, et ce dernier est un franc succès, alors que les bénévoles et le personnel des Amis de l’île Petrie sont fiers de servir la communauté en assurant l’entretien du réseau de sentiers et du terrain de pique-nique. Nous remercions tous ceux et celles qui ont fait partie de l’effort, et surtout les représentants élus et le personnel municipal qui nous ont appuyé. Au fil des ans, les Amis on reçu plus de 200 000$ de soutien.
A QUICK LOOK BACK: 2016 HIGHLIGHTS
After a short winter Petrie Island was flooded four times between January and May, with roads closed a total of 43 days. Beavers were very active during the flood, debarking many large cottonwood trees. Volunteers wrapped a dozen large trees to save them. It also became evident that a large number of ash trees were dead or were dying from the ash borer disease. The City came in to remove over 30 large dead ash trees. Friends is working with Forestry to protect trees by wrapping with wire mesh as well as growing and planting replacement trees.
Friends received grants to hire five students through Careers Canada. This allowed us to expand our educational programs, do our displays and initiate development of a tree nursery. We had an increased number of school tours, with over 1,200 students and parents from 15 schools attending 15 tours in May and June and our Junior and Youth naturalist had 36 events attended by 811 people.
We continued our Wednesday adult workdays on a variety of projects to maintain the picnic area, trails and nature centre. Work continued on new trails, benches and completing the new storage facility in the plant nursery area.
The City purchased private property at the head of the Bill Holland trail where one new loop trail was developed with fine river views.
The Membership program was continued with two open houses and tours highlighting features of Petrie Island including edible and medicinal plants, archeology of the area, trees of Petrie island and invasive plants. We also sent out regular dispatches to members.
We continued our monitoring of Turtle basking and nesting started in 2005.
We continued to support Kayaking at Petrie Island with the newly formed Canoe club under Sarah Kennedy. The club ran day camps during the summer using the Friends’ activity tent and storage areas for their program.
We would like to thank members and many others for their support of our programs, all continuing in 2017.
Al Tweddle, Chair – Friends of Petrie Island