Sonnen Hill Brewing serves more than pale ales and lagers to local beer lovers. Located on the 37-acre Hill family farm in the beautiful Caledon countryside, Sonnen Hill is the site of something special. The family transformed over three hectares of land to support local wildlife.
“Improving the homes of wildlife that live on the farm is as important as building our brewery and house,” says Eva Hill.
Their stewardship project involved planting trees and shrubs along the boundary of the property and across the farm’s rolling hills. The boundary planting creates a windbreak for the farm. It also provides shelter and creates safe passages (or corridors) for wildlife to move through the farm.
Once fully grown, the trees and shrubs will attract pollinating insects and birds as they feed on nectar and berries. “If an area of the farm can do more for wildlife,” says Calum Hill, Eva’s son, “we’re open to exploring how to make that happen.”
The Hills also planted an expansive meadow of native grasses and wildflowers. Over time, the meadow will grow rich in blooms of Evening Primrose, Wild Bergamot, New England Aster, Black-eyed Susan and Common Milkweed among wisps of Wild Rye, Little Bluestem and Sand Dropseed.
Swallowtail butterfly on Wild Bergamot. Photo Credit: Shenandoah National Park
“We’re hopeful our project with Credit Valley Conservation will be enjoyed by pollinators, grassland birds and larger wildlife,” says Calum. To help ensure their success, the Hills are currently focusing on properly maintaining the site. “We need to take care of our young trees and grasslands by controlling invasive species,” says Eva.
The Hills recognize they share their property with wildlife. The actions they’ve taken benefit both their farm business and the local environment.
Feeling inspired? CVC offers guidance and financial support to rural farms and residential landowners in the Credit River Watershed interested in stewardship projects on their properties. To learn about opportunities on your property, contact a stewardship coordinator at [email protected] or visit cvc.ca/getstarted.
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Feature Photo Credit: Sonnen Hill Brewing.