Planting the Seed of Transformation

Two people standing in a field of flowers beside a tree sapling.

When Wendy Walgate and Duncan Glaholt took ownership of their 20-hectare (50 acre) property in Erin over 20 years ago, it was mostly agricultural fields managed by a tenant farmer. After 10 years of minimal productivity and growing concerns with the use of herbicides, they took the land out of production and started planting trees. Their goal was to improve the land for their pets, local wildlife and themselves.

Tree Planting Projects

Wendy and Duncan connected with Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) in 2007. Since then, they’ve completed five tree planting projects with us. Support from Forests Ontario and CVC’s Tree Planting Subsidy and Landowner Action Fund expanded their project budget, raising the overall value to almost $40,000.

A field of crops and trees.
Wendy and Duncan’s 20-hectare parcel when they bought the property over 20 years ago.

CVC Develops an Action Plan

To keep their forest healthy as it matures, the couple had a Managed Forest Plan developed for the property. And in 2022, they planted more trees. They also worked with us to develop an Action Plan for the property to identify other areas for stewardship improvements. The property is rapidly growing into a woodland oasis in an otherwise open landscape. And they aren’t finished yet!

The property also features a watercourse that connects to the Credit River Watershed Natural Heritage System. It supports a coldwater fish community and is surrounded by Provincially Significant Wetland. Guided by their Action Plan, Wendy and Duncan planted more trees on the banks of the watercourse. In time, the treed watercourse will become better shaded, colder and will deter infestations of invasive thistles to preserve native plant biodiversity.

Two people standing in a shaded trail.
The property now boasts shaded trails that both the family and wildlife enjoy.

Land Transformation Provides New Wildlife Habitat 

Since they started this journey of transformation, Wendy and Duncan have noted many changes on their land. The soil used to be dry and sandy. Now it’s healthier, full of organic material and holds water better. Their game camera captures an abundance of wildlife, including turkey, deer, coyotes, foxes, porcupines and birds of prey. They enjoy seeing the toads that come up from the wetland area. Most of the trails are shaded now and they enjoy exploring the new habitat with their family and dogs. Their children and grandchildren have grown to love the land too.

Wendy said the transformation of their property changed their lives, “I wish I had 50 more acres. I’d plant all of it!”

To date, they’ve planted 12,500 trees, improved 400 meters of stream and, overall restored over 70 per cent of their property. Starting with one planting project, Wendy and Duncan’s work shows how small actions can make big impacts on lives and landscapes.

If you’re ready to start your own stewardship journey, connect with us today.

By: Nicole Di Cintio, Specialist, Environmental Outreach and Communications

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