Happy trails in the Happy Valley Forest

Tour participants walk by a mature maple tree on the Goldie Feldman Nature Reserve. (Photo by NCC)

Tour participants walk by a mature maple tree on the Goldie Feldman Nature Reserve. (Photo by NCC)

We heard the eastern wood pewee before we saw it. Just as the name suggests, we could hear it calling “Pee-oo-wee! Pee-oo-wee!” as we walked along the trail in the Happy Valley Forest. We stopped to admire some of the older-growth...

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Flowers of the Happy Valley Forest

One of the most beautiful of Happy Valley blooms is the fringed gentian flower. (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

One of the most beautiful of Happy Valley blooms is the fringed gentian flower. (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

The trees, flowers, ferns, birds and other animals of the Happy Valley Forest have been observed and catalogued over the past 60 years - altogether 200 species of plants have been identified growing on the floor of this forest located on the...

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Liberating the Happy Valley Forest from invaders

Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Miguel Hortiguela)

It was a covert ground-assault by a small group of dedicated resisters, led by Thomas Unrau of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, on an invader to the perhaps not-so-Happy Valley. I'd signed up to participate in a valiant effort to thwart the...

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Giants of the forest: My father's discovery of Ontario's tallest white spruce

White spruce bark (Photo by Rob Duval, Wikimedia Commons)

White spruce bark (Photo by Rob Duval, Wikimedia Commons)

When I was young we lived in Cochrane and Dad worked for the Department of Lands and Forests (now the Ministry of Natural Resources) as a forester. Around 1958 or 1959 he was cruising a lease for Abitibi somewhere in the Hudson’s Bay...

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On discovering Ontario’s tallest tree

Standing with Ontario's tallest pine (Photo by NCC)

Standing with Ontario's tallest pine; L to R: Katilijn Hester MacAfee, William White, local citizen, Steve D’Eon, local citizen (Photo by NCC)

Nature does not thank us for protecting nature reserves. But left to its own devices, it does offer up hidden rewards and ecological gifts for us to discover. We just found one of these natural gems in a Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC)...

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A pilgrimage to the great Thessalon pine

White Pine (Photo by Bernt Solymar)

White Pine (Photo by Bernt Solymar)

When a giant tree falls in the forest, does it make a giant sound? One thing is for sure, when the Giant White Pine of Thessalon collapsed in 1997, it must have scared the heck out of local wildlife. And it would have been really shocking to any...

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The Toronto Carrying Place and the Happy Valley Forest

Four Oaks Corner, Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

A coppice of four Red Oak divisions at a turning point in the main Happy Valley Forest trail. Each one probably 200 hundred or more years old. This coppice marked Four Oaks Corner in family parlance. (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

In my late thirties one day in the halls of the Toronto General Hospital, I was sought out and challenged by the great neurosurgeon Harry Botterell to accept the fact that if I was to be so dedicated and single-minded about neurology and busy in a...

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Le jour où je me suis mis à enlacer des arbres

MAXIMISER L’INTERACTION ENTRE L’HUMAIN ET LA NATURE EN ENLAÇANT UN ARBRE (PHOTO DE DAN KRAUS/CNC)

MAXIMISER L’INTERACTION ENTRE L’HUMAIN ET LA NATURE EN ENLAÇANT UN ARBRE (PHOTO DE DAN KRAUS/CNC)

Je dois dire pour commencer que je suis un scientifique; je ne suis pas un hippie. Je ne fais pas brûler d’encens, n’utilise pas des pierres ou de cristaux pour la guérison et je ne porte pas de patchwork. Je conduis une...

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I hugged a tree, and I liked it

Maximizing the human/tree interface by tree hugging (Photo by Dan Kraus/NCC staff)

Maximizing the human/tree interface by tree hugging (Photo by Dan Kraus/NCC staff)

I need to start out by saying that I'm a scientist. I'm not a hippie. I don't burn incense, own healing crystals or wear tie-dye. I drive a car, eat meat and enjoy reading things like updates to the income tax act. And, I'll openly admit I...

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A tale of two hawks

Red-tailed hawk (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Red-tailed hawk (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Each spring the hills of the Happy Valley Forest become the stage for a spectacular aerial ballet. They have a short run over the woods, but if you are lucky you may see the swooping, diving courtship display of red-shouldered hawks. If you miss...

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