The 2013 Prescribed Burn in High Park

We had the amazing opportunity to watch part of this year’s controlled burn here in High Park. The rare Black Oak Savannah habitat found in the Park was once subject to frequent forest fires.  The native plants in the Black Oak Savannah have adapted over thousands of years to survive these regular forest fires. The fires helped to renew the Savannah habitat and encouraged stronger plant growth.  

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Once the area around High Park was settled forest fires were a thing of the past. For over 100 years the Black Oak Savannah in High Park went without the rejuvenating  effects of a forest fire. High Park had become a manicured City Park with lawns and a concrete edge around Grenadier Pond. Over the past few decades naturalization efforts by the Forestry and Natural Environment crews within the City have worked to naturalize certain areas of High Park including Grenadier Pond and the rare Black Oak Savannah.

These efforts include starting a series of controlled burns throughout the Savannah habitat. The areas to be burned rotate each year. Often these areas have a number of invasive plant species that are unable to survive the burn process. The controlled burns are low, controlled fires. Trees supporting local wildlife are given a wide berth and the fire itself isn’t strong enough to damage the larger trees. After a burn the native plants in the area grow stronger and healthier helping to protect this rare habitat for future generations to enjoy! Continue reading “The 2013 Prescribed Burn in High Park”

Spring Greens Information and Recipes!

Over the next few months as things start to wake up and grow here in Southern Ontario we’ll see a few very special, local and truly seasonal spring greens popping up.  They’re tasty, extra healthy and make for a great way to celebrate the upcoming garden season … it’s that first taste of fresh, seasonal, local food!

What are the popular early spring greens found here in Southern Ontario?  Well they’re often considered weeds.  Yes we encourage you to eat your weeds!  Others are true delicacies that are native plants to our area.

Collecting these in the city can be a bit difficult and in many parks and conservation areas they are protected.  It is also important that these plants are properly identified before you pick them.  For this reason we always suggest purchasing these greens from your local farmers’ market.  If you would like to learn more, a quick search of the web will find you a number of courses in proper foraging techniques and plant identification.

Continue reading “Spring Greens Information and Recipes!”