Soil Scavenger Hunt part of Bannockburn Fall Hike
A popular fall event, that has been an autumn tradition for more than four decades, is bringing back guided hikes. Organizers of the 2015 Bannockburn Fall Hike say this year’s event also features conservation staff providing activities about soil health. This is fitting, they say, because the 68th United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 as the International Year of Soils. Organizers invite people to pick up their ‘Soil Scavenger Hunt’ sheet before they head out on the trails.
Those who attend the fall hike also have a chance to measure trees as they learn about a new program called ‘Go Global.’ Ausable Bayfield Conservation has started this new program at Bannockburn Conservation Area. Go Global is a network of one-hectare plots to monitor and report changes in forest biodiversity. Members of community groups such as the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) have taken training to measure and collect local tree information.
The FREE, family-friendly Bannockburn Fall Hike takes place on Oct. 4 from 1-3 p.m. at Bannockburn Conservation Area. The three-guided hikes are to leave from the parking lot at 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m.
The Bannockburn Fall Hike is a Healthy Hikes event. Visit healthyhikes.ca to find out about this and other hikes in Ontario and prizes that are available. Bannockburn Conservation Area is located at 76249 Bannockburn Line, 2 KMs north of Huron County Road 3, near Varna, roughly between Bayfield and Brucefield. For information visit abca.on.ca or phone 519 235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. Donations to conservation education programs are always welcome but there is no fee to attend.
“People from the community created a Conservation Strategy asking for awareness and action to improve watersheds for healthier communities and healthier people,” said Denise Iszczuk, conservation educator with Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “The Bannockburn Fall Hike is a great way for people to be healthy by being active. The hike is also a way to create awareness about why it is so important to protect the health of soil, water, and living things.”
The annual hike offers a great chance to experience the change in seasons, said Iszczuk. It is a chance to enjoy the colors of the leaves, wildflowers, and migrating birds.
“People can journey through six distinct natural communities of Bannockburn Conservation Area, on their own or as part of a guided hike,” she said.
Bannockburn Fall Hike offers hikers a chance to speak with conservation staff, learn about new conservation programs and how they can get involved. While in the parking lot observe or take part in active soils demonstrations, people may also enjoy a fresh local apple and some apple cider. Staff invite you to ‘lug a mug’ to reduce waste.
The Go Global tree plots help to monitor what is changing in our local forests and how fast those changes happen. This helps to put climate change in context. People may visit footprintstoforests.com to find out the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created by their home energy use and travel. They can also find out how many trees need to be planted to capture that quantity of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. If they choose, they can then donate to have trees planted locally. This way, they can compensate for the greenhouse gases they produce by having trees absorb that amount of greenhouse gas. People may choose to counterbalance all or part of their personal footprint.