The Lusty Family Tract Campaign

Monday, September 1, 2014

Sarah Hodgkiss, Carolinian Canada Program Manager

The Carolinian Canada Coalition has had its eyes on Elgin County this past year with the Elgin Natural Heritage Inventory.  But we aren’t the only ones.  The Thames Talbot Land Trust, who already own three properties in Elgin County, are in the process of acquiring a fourth – The Lusty Family Tract.

Carolinian Canada and the Thames Talbot Land Trust are just two of the partners who began working on the Elgin Greenway Conservation Action Plan (CAP) in 2010.  This collaborative conservation strategy identified priority conservation targets in Elgin County, and the associated threats to those targets.  The team then decided on objectives and strategies to mitigate the threats, and conserve the ecosystems and species.  The plan specifies what will be done, where and when, and which group will take the lead for the most effective outcomes.

The Elgin Greenway CAP has multiple objectives around restoration, land stewardship, invasive species control, road mortality reduction, and sustainable agriculture.  While Carolinian Canada has taken the lead on the recommended Natural Heritage Inventory, TTLT has taken the lead on the land securement objectives.  The Elgin Greenway map, developed with Ontario Nature at the same time as the CAP, has helped TTLT to identify and prioritize areas where they can focus their land securement efforts.

One of these priority areas is the West Lorne Woods, in the Municipality of West Elgin.  This 600 acres (200 ha) of almost continuous deciduous forest is a blend of swamp forest and upload woods which create habitat for many Carolinian species.  Some of these species include Shagbark Hickory, Tulip-trees, Sassafras and Spicebush.  Much of this area was preserved since it was too wet for agriculture, although much of the area has been harvested for lumber over the years.

The Lusty Family Tract is a 53 acre (21 ha) parcel in the West Lorne Woods.  In addition to its intact woodlands, it also contains a Provincially Significant Wetland.  Several staff and volunteers of Carolinian Canada visited the property last week as part of the Elgin Natural Heritage Inventory.  On our relatively brief site visit, we recorded more than 100 species of plants.

Carolinian Canada is excited about the purchase of the Lusty Family Tract by the Thames Talbot Land Trust.  This not only meets the objectives recommended by the Elgin Greenway Conservation Action Plan, but it also supports our ‘Big Picture Vision’ of conserving and connecting habitat cores and corridors across the Carolinian zone.

I am personally contributing to the Lusty Family Tract campaign to help protect this section of the West Lorne Woods.  I hope you will consider helping them reach their goal of $132,000 for the purchase, management and stewardship of the property.  You can click here to visit TTLT’s website to make a donation – and TTLTs Opportunities Fund will match every dollar you contribute.

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