Stewards at Todmorden Mills Wildflower Preserve, 2021
Stewardship on Public Land

Site Stories – Highland Creek Park

Salima Pirani, Lead Steward

The Highland Creek Stewards have their own website with additional photos and information

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August 31, 2022

*Apologies for the wonky formatting — my power is out and I’m typing on my phone*

Hi everyone! 

Last week, Mark (he was still in town!), Sandy were greeted by deer (see attached photo) as we checked on the Japanese Knotweed.

With thorough scouting through to the perimeter, we found several short sprigs that had escaped our eyes and garden shears the week before. We also went across the path and found about seven JKW plants living their best life, pretty much undetected against a forest backdrop and unchecked DSV sprawl. Apparently whomever sprayed missed the edges of the patch and didn’t look across the path. All of these are now cut to contain the spread, and we’ll take one last look later in the season in case anything else slipped by us.

You Suggest!

Several of you haven’t had a chance to make it out to stewarding this season. Send me your ideal timing and we could do either a pop-up event or add another regular time each week (which brings me to…)

2023 Lead Steward Training Update:  I visited a sister site in the west end last week that has an Indigenous lodge and is partnering with them to create a seed bank of native plants. There, I spoke with Anna, who updated me on recruitment. 

Current Stewards may now apply for Training to help Lead existing sites. There may only be a select few new priority sites announced by TNS next year. The strategy is to strengthen our existing sites with a team leading each one. This gives Leads an opportunity to share the work, recruit and work with more volunteers (10 stewards per Lead), offer more than one session per week and collaborate, monitor and evaluate impact more thoroughly. Some of our Site Leads across the City already do this and we’d love to encourage this at Highland Creek Park as it may be the biggest site TNS has!

Want to take the training on invasive species and learn about lead stewarding? Fill in the simple Training Sign-up Form

Tonight’s Plan: Dog Strangling Vine seed pods are exploding right now so we’ll work on eradicating them either at the park entrance or closer to the oak tree. Either way, we’ll be close to the main path within a minute of the park entrance.

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July 27, 2022

Hi everyone,

🎵 Sun is shinin’… weather is sweet🎶

No heat wave tonight! We’ll continue taking down the dog-strangling vine and any other approved invasives along the park path. We’ve got some momentum going just as the seed pods are all popping up so we might prioritize lots of top-chopping. We’ll be less than a minute into the park, so anyone arriving late will not only see us but also our beautiful new TNS BANNER!

Highland Creek stewards and sign

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July 20, 2022

Hi everyone!

Four of us had a fun evening last week, with Mark on a mission to rid the forest of litter, as John, Penny and I took a moment to nibble on some yummy native black raspberries while decimating dog strangling vine (DSV) at the park entrance! We also met a local resident who wants to join us… which reminds me: If you or someone you know can help with outreach and recruiting (contacting local groups, cultural communities, UofT Scarborough, local schools — not just give ideas — please drop me a line!).

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July 13, 2022

I’ve been away on silent retreat for close to a week in nature, with ZERO dog strangling vine or garlic mustard anywhere! I saw loads of milkweed, cattails, pines, cedars, native maple, balsam, black cherry trees and spent time on the trails in pure, lush wilderness. I wasn’t so spoiled — I got in lots of mindfulness practice and dirtied my hands removing weeds from the vegetable garden. Here’s a photo of the little chipmunk (I called him Charlie in my mind) that would visit asking for nuts  I’m keen to get to the invasives in our park now! 

Ready for tomorrow? There is so much to do in this beautiful park. We can really use all hands on deck! I’d like for us to roll up our sleeves and attack more of the dog strangling vine and garlic mustard around the park entrance and along the park path tomorrow. If you have a garden spade, then we can uproot some of the burdock too. 

Bring your clippers if you have them! Anyone arriving late will spot us easily.