Ecosystem Restoration Updates – February 2023

This month we are proud to share some of our latest ecosystem restoration highlights!

Oak Savanna Restoration at Trout Creek Nature Reserve
The restoration work at Trout Creek Nature Reserve has continued full steam ahead, and we’re excited to share the progress on its transformation from a monoculture plantation to biologically diverse oak savanna! We hit a milestone in December last year when we were able to reduce the amount of woody debris leftover from the pine harvest by having it piled and burned – a crucial step to prepare the area for future low-complexity prescribed burns. Our passionate volunteers have been instrumental in collecting and preparing oak savanna grass and wildflower seeds from nearby sites that will be scattered throughout the restoration area in time for spring.

Oak savanna was once a widespread and important habitat in Southern Ontario, but much of it has been lost. Today, less than 1% of the original oak savanna habitat is believed to remain. Conservation and restoration efforts such as this are crucial in preserving this unique and important fire-dependent ecosystem.

Photo of trees and open meadow area after pine removal
Before and After: An older monoculture pine plantation at Trout Creek Nature Reserve is being restored into a biologically diverse Oak Savanna ecosystem. Volunteers check on the health of oak saplings, identifying numerous moth species!

Native Seed Collection, Processing, and Dispersal 

Since Fall 2022, over 60 local volunteers have helped to collect native plant seeds, clean and process the seeds for storage, and help to disperse or spread the seeds at restoration sites on our nature reserves. We’ve measured at least 5kg of seed so far, and we’re still going!

This work helps us to ensure highly diverse plant communities on our nature reserves, and allows us to ensure we are planting locally-sourced seed that is well adapted for growing here in Norfolk County.

In turn, these plants will support a wide variety of insects and other wildlife – increasing biodiversity on our nature reserves.

Seeds were collected at numerous LPBLT nature reserves, and included a great variety of native species. Here’s a sampling of species collected:

  • Butterfly Milkweed
  • Common Milkweed
  • Carolina Rose
  • Evening Primrose
  • Wild Bergamot
  • Foxglove Beardtongue
  • Virginia Mountain Mint
  • Blackeyed Susan
  • Hoary Vervain
  • Bicknell’s Rock-rose
  • Little Bluestem
  • New Jersey Tea
  • Flowering Spurge
  • Tower-mustard
  • Arrow-Leaved Violet
  • Silverrod

These seeds will be dispersed at numerous LPBLT nature reserves this winter/spring. Watch for new wildflowers and grasses popping up across our nature reserves!

Volunteers standing in woods and fields with bags of collected seeds
People power! Our incredible volunteers helped with collecting loads of native seeds in Fall 2022.


Volunteers collecting and cleaning plant seeds
Volunteers help with collecting, processing and cleaning seeds (Fall and Winter 2022/2023)

This work was supported by the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change, the Government of Ontario, Ontario Land Trust Alliance through the Species at Risk Action Fund, Ontario Trillium Foundation, and The Hodgson Family Foundation.

A special thank you also goes to our dedicated and hardworking volunteers for making these projects possible!  Thank you for all of your support!

Brianne Curry

Outreach & Fund Development Manager