Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Thankful for the trees and colours

Our 'Giving Thanks For a Rainbow of Colour (and Mushrooms)' workshop, held over Thanksgiving weekend, was a success even though it rained and was overcast during most of Bob's presentation. Our participants wanted the show to go on, so large patio style umbrellas were put up to keep us dry. Jim and Donna, participants of all of Bob's workshops brought them and their act of kindness saved the day.

Bob teaching in the rain

Photo Credit: Clifford Perry

 

Beautiful Umbrellas

Bob shared so much information starting with the importance of trees, especially mother trees, and how they help us with the climate change effects. He gave us 24 reasons why we need to protect these mature trees that are so important to a healthy environment. Just to name a few, trees remove and store carbon dioxide, release oxygen into the air, prevent soil erosion, provide wildlife and us with food and they are home to many species. And for some fun, trees are great for climbing, jumping into a pile of raked leaves, placing bird feeders in between branches, counting the rings on the trunks of fallen trees, a great way to educate children.

He explained the complex chemical processes now occurring in the leaves of deciduous trees. Here is a quote from Bob Bowles for those scientists out there;

"The trees shut down photosynthesis to prepare for their dormant winter season, dropping all their leaves and protecting themselves from drying out in winter. The tiny chloroplast molecules containing chlorophyll which gives the leaves their green colour in summer begin moving out of the leaves since they are not needed for photosynthesis and stored in the tree for next spring. The breakdown and movement of the green chlorophyll in the leaves which has been masking the colour of other leaf pigments now change the colour of the autumn leaves. Carotene pigments give the leaves the orange colours and xanthophylls pigments give leaves their yellow colour. The red colours are from anthocyanins which are specially formed by the tree in late summer to protect their sensitive leaves from bright sunlight during the chemical extraction process."

We also invited Bill Hutchinson a local Township of Ramara resident who has planted over 5,000 trees himself and is responsible for planting nearly 100,000 trees over his 91 years. Bill had made a display board with 44 different tree branches from his own property. We had some fun trying to guess if the branch was a pine, Eastern hemlock, maple, pin cherry, oak, black ash, white ash, walnut, balsam fir, white cedar and 34 others...Thank you, Bill, for your contributions to helping trees and our environment!

After the presentations, a walk in the Provincially Significant Wetland swamps was suggested. You've got to love the outdoors to walk in wetlands while it's raining. Hat goes off to our participants! And to Bob!

Heading into the Provincially Significant Wetlands

Photo Credit: Clifford Perry

Several species of trees and mushrooms were found and Bob talked about how certain species of mushrooms maintain close bonds and share food and nutrients with certain species of trees. Scientists take note:

"There is an amazing network under the ground of tree rootlets and mushroom mycelium that help the different species of trees communicate and help each other with protection against insects and diseases": Bob Bowles

Amazing, there is so much going on under our feet when we walk in the forests. We don't see it, hear it, or feel it but we sure do benefit from trees working together, sharing food and habitat and how mushrooms are so important in maintaining these connections.

Hoping we become more aware of the importance of trees and mushrooms and why we need to protect our wetlands from those that want to cut down the mother trees and fill in the wetlands. We have the means and we have the intelligence, making it our responsibility to protect our natural resources on this beautiful Earth. Thank you trees!  And thank you to our elders who share their stories and teach us so much about connection to nature.

Blog and photos courtesy of June Crinnion. The Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre, founded by June Crinnion and Michael Elmer, is a nature and wellness centre in Ramara, named after Lake Simcoe Living Nature Detective Bob Bowles to honour his role in protecting and caring for the environment. For more information, go to https://www.robertlbowlesnaturecentre.com/

Mushrooms as natural works of art — not food
Tis the season — for mushrooms
 

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