Larry Cornelis has extraordinary knowledge of the flora and fauna of Lambton County and beyond. He expertly led a group of nearly 90 people through Lorne C. Henderson Conservation Area looking at various tree species, explaining what to look for when identifying trees, and engaging us with many facts about the importance of trees.
A fairly recent popular term that Larry described is Forest Bathing – simply immersing oneself in a forest atmosphere. With as little as 2 hours per week Forest Bathing has been scientifically shown to increase immunity, decrease the risk of cancer and help you to recover from illness faster, decreased risk of heart attack, help with obesity and diabetes, more energy and better sleep, mood- boosting effects, and decreased inflammation.
This two hour walk was enjoyed by all and everyone left understanding the significant role native trees play in providing habitat and food for the incredible biodiversity needed for a healthy ecosystem.
Thank you Larry!
Larry also provided a comprehensive list of books that he recommends for tree identification:
Trees of the Carolinian Forest; Gerry Waldron
The Sibley Guide to Trees; David Allen Sibley
Landscaping With Native Trees; Guy Sternberg & Jim Wilson
The Global Forest; Diana Beresford-Kroeger
Arboretum America; Diana Beresford-Kroeger
Forest Bathing; Dr Qing Li
The Hidden Life of Trees; Peter Wohllenben
Trees in Canada; John Laird Farrar
On a beautiful, sunny Sunday, Justin Nicol led 28 Lambton Wildlife members and guests on an educational stroll through a section of the Rock Glen Conservation Area.
Rock Glen is located in Arkona, Ontario. It is usually known for its natural collection of Brachiopod, Coral and Crinoid stem fossils. This day, however, we were treated to an opportunity to appreciate the area for its collection of Carolinian and Great Lake native trees.
Rock Glen is in a transitional zone of Carolinian, to the south, and Great Lake zone to the north, this results in trees native to both areas growing at this site.
Justin talked about the Kentucky coffeetree, which is a Carolinian tree. It has a very large leaf that is often mistaken for a collection of leaves. The stem is actually just one leaf and each of what appears to be leaves, are actually called leaflets. This tree is one of the last to leaf out in the spring and it looses its leaves early in the fall. Sometimes, because the tree is so late to get leaves in the spring, we may think that the tree has not survived the winter. It produces male and female flowers, usually on separate trees. The seed pod is a dark leathery reddish – brown. The seeds need to be scored before planting to improve germination. Trees, at maturity, are 15-25 meters tall.
The hemlock was another tree species seen.
The hemlock is a type of pine tree and can grow up to 30 meters in height. It likes cool, moist, shady and protected sites.
We saw trembling aspens, Chinquapin aka chinkapin oak and hackberry trees, to name just a few. We even saw some fossils!
Justin spoke to us about the importance of our native trees, to the nature balance and preventing the spread of invasive species. He also said it is not always easy to tell, without a little help, which trees may be invasive. An example he demonstrated was the Norway maple and sugar maple. The Norway maple is widespread. It grows well in urban areas, sometimes too well. The sugar maple would be a much better choice for planting. The sugar maple is better for wildlife and has beautiful fall colours, while the Norway maple is a prolific seeder and has dense foliage that can choke out competing trees and plants. When unsure about identifying the two types of maples, break off a leaf from each tree. The Norway maple will have a white milky substance oozing from the stem.
It was a wonderful and educational stroll through a beautiful native forest! So nice to have people around who could answer the question “ what’s this tree / plant called”?
Want to learn more?
Trees of the Carolinian Forest by Gerry Waldron