Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day!

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know that there's nothing I like better than getting out for a walk in the woods or exploring other natural areas.  I've been doing a lot of it the past couple of weeks now that spring is here.  Well, I owe my love of nature and my inclination to go exploring to my mom, so this is a tribute to her.

Mom introduced us to the pleasure of going for a walk in the woods when we were very young (we were carried on our first walks), and I don't remember many details.  But she would have loved our walk at Old Baldy the other day, and all the wildflowers we saw.

She also introduced us to the Bruce Peninsula, and Flowerpot Island.  I still remember my first visit there with mom and my aunt; I was about 14 and it was a great adventure!  We arrived on an old fishing tug and had to transfer to the island in a rowboat; I was impressed that my mom and aunt would even do that!

During the same years she introduced me to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists (now Ontario Nature), and their nature reserves at Dorcas Bay and Petrel Point (this picture).  She took me for a nature weekend with a group of expert leaders in 1964 for the first time where I started learning about the mysteries of bird and plant identification.

Those nature reserves are known for their rare plants, including especially the orchids.  These are Calopogon or Grass Pink orchids at Petrel Point.  I've been back many times over the years, and taken students to see these unique habitats.

Both of these nature reserves have some 'fen' wetlands, with Pitcher Plants and Linear-leaved Sundew like these, both insectivorous plants unique to this sort of habitat.  Discovering insectivorous plants that gobbled bugs appealed to a young teenage boy!

A few years later, near Woodstock where we lived, we went to the Trillium Woods, protected as a Provincial Nature Reserve for its carpet of Trillium.  Sorry about the picture quality; these two are scans of a 50 year old slide!  This was the first time I got involved in conservation, when as part of a local campaign I wrote a letter to the government urging them to protect the woods (which they did).

The Trilliums there were noted for their protein deficiency which left their petals with variable green stripes down the centre, an interesting comparison to those at Old Baldy.

And she even introduced us to the valley, bringing us up to learn to ski at Talisman (back in the good old days), when we were 11 and 14 I think.  This is a picture from the top of Old Baldy in 1969 - another scan of a very old slide.
Mom's been gone for over a decade now, but I will always appreciate her own love of nature, and the the effort she put in to developing the same in us.   Compare these two pictures to see the change in the valley over 45+ years!

So Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there, and I urge you to do at least a little 'free range parenting', while remaining safety conscious, but get your own children out there to develop a love of nature that will last their entire lives.


20 comments:

  1. What a wonderful tribute to your mother!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How wonderful that your Mother took the time to hike and enjoy nature with you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Some words from your heart, and a Mum is always there in our hearts, what a wonderful lady to instil all this at your young ages, those never leave, and make us what we are today.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great tribute to your Mom.

    ReplyDelete
  5. such a lovely tribute to your mom.
    so many wonderful memories of nature and more.
    so protein deficiency, very interesting and looks beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful collection of pictures! Happy Mother's day

    ReplyDelete
  7. The trees have continued to spread over the hills in the two pictures, but otherwise it's definitely the same place. Thanks for the Mother's Day wishes! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your mother was a super woman to introduce you to the wonders of nature! Boy! That trillium sure is beautiful even though it has a deficiency!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wonderful photos and lovely tribute to your mom. I also like to walk in the woods.

    ReplyDelete
  10. d'agréables paysages et belle fleur

    ReplyDelete
  11. d'agréables paysages et belle fleur

    ReplyDelete
  12. A truly beautiful tribute to your mother. We need lots more mothers (and fathers) like her so our children can stay connected to our planet.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love that your valley looks "wilder" now than it did 50 years ago (unlike where I live). And hurrah for your mom. she sounds like an adventurous spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  14. what a great history and parenting tribute in this Mother's Day tribute!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I lovely tribute to your mother! My interest in nature comes from my mother as well. We often saw something interesting when we were out walking our dogs. If we didn't know what it was, we looked it up when we got home.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi There, Great tribute to your mother. My mother wasn't a hiker --but she loved her flowers... SO--I got my love of gardening/flowers from HER...

    Just want to say to YOU: Happy Birthday TODAY. Hope you have an incredible day.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Betsy! Nice of you to keep track of such things!

      Delete
  17. All of us who enjoy your blog should be eternally grateful to your mother for instilling a love of nature in the Furry Gnome.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a wonderful heritage your mother instilled in you. I'm glad that our daughter and son-in-law both love nature and hiking and are teaching their little boys to enjoy nature too. I guess my mum helped me appreciate nature's beauty even if we didn't get out to the woods and hike and such. Beautiful photos.

    ReplyDelete