Nature’s Place season in Minden
By Laurie Carmount, Special to the Times
Published April 13, 2017
Climate Change is a hot topic heard daily in our media. There is much concern and debate about it. For this reason, the programming at Nature’s Place will feature information about climate change as a main point of education.
The mandate of Nature’s Place in Minden Hills is to educate, inspire and expand our understanding of our place in nature. The core purpose is based on R.D. Lawrence’s philosophy. Nature’s Place is an interpretive centre that offers a number of activities and information about the unique ecology of Haliburton County. This includes local environment groups’ initiatives, background about the geological structure and unique mineral deposits and ongoing environment documentaries. The programming is for all ages and strives to bring forward a number of local topics with opportunities to do some exploration via media centres. It poses problems and offers solutions. It encourages public feedback and observations.
Nature’s Place has information about The Land Between with a short video explaining this term that applies to Haliburton Highlands. A large portion of the space is also dedicated to the immense amount of work the Haliburton County Land Trust organization has done about our species at risk. One can read about, connect information and answer questions with a new interactive activity. The Turtle Module is also a new activity where one can build a turtle tunnel to scale, like the one that is successfully functioning in Gelert. This helps people understand its necessity.
This year, Nature’s Place is all about the bees. Information is provided about the devastating issues bees face, with some species now on the endangered list. Children can join the bee and/or turtle club by learning about each and answering questions. They can also “become a bee” and travel to the flowers, learning about pollination.
Local documentaries about our forests, wetlands and animals help visitors appreciate our landscape. Why do turtles cross the road?
Visitors can also learn what a field journal is and try using it while walking along the connected boardwalk in natural wetlands. Observations will be tabulated by staff to build a picture of the flora and fauna growing in the area.
Nature’s Place also wants visitors to give their observations on environment changes they are seeing at their property and lakes. A county map will be on display on the Challenge Wall where people are encouraged to mark where their observations relate to. Staff will also be compiling for future reference.
A must see is the spectacular mineral display by Michael Bainbridge. An area of Nature’s Place offers information about where one can go for the day to discover mineral deposits.
A new feature, starting this year, is the Eco Docs. Beginning at 2 p.m. until 3 p.m., a series of documentaries will be running at Nature’s Place that cover a wide range of topics; delving into stark realities of climate change to innovative and inspiring people bringing forward solutions to simple topics on nature.
Nature’s Place is growing into a community-connected location, partnering and encouraging likeminded groups to be involved. It plays an interesting role at the centre with the Minden Hills Museum and Heritage Village. As the museum presents life in the past, Nature’s Place presents possible future solutions that, ironically, are similar.
To start the 2017 season, Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day), Nature’s Place welcomes you to a presentation and talk with Peter Hynard titled The Forest History Of Our Area. This is a 45-minute presentation on the four historical forces that shaped our local forests. In it, you will hear how our bedrock was formed during the Precambrian Era and how it was ground into soil during the last ice age. You will see maps of the period of icemelt that explain why the soils of the southern Shield are so shallow today. You will learn who made the decision to move early settlement up onto the Shield and why the results were so disastrous. You will see photos showing how the land was cleared for settlement, how the logging was done using horses and river drives, and how much of our area burned at the time. Inevitably, this will lead to an open discussion of how are forests were changed as a result and what we can expect in the future.
Peter Hynard is a registered professional forester with over 40 years’ experience in timber management on Crown and private forest land.
The presentation is being offered from 7 to 8 p.m. There is no fee to attend. Nature’s Place is located at 176 Bobcaygeon Road, part of the Minden Hills Cultural Centre.
Happy Earth Day!
Laurie Carmount is curator at Minden Hills Cultural Centre.