Our favourite picks for spring 2012
A highly selective guide to the picks of the spring season in the Hills of Headwaters.
Must charm worms
One of the stranger events to become an annual fixture in these hills is the Great Canadian Worm Charming Championship. The day-long festivities include music, dancing, kite flying, food, and above all, a competition to entice as many worms as possible from the soil.
Each wormer and their two “gillies” have 45 minutes to charm worms from a three-metre-square plot. Methods may include fiddling, grunting, vibrating, or any other form of worm attraction, as long as no worms are harmed. All the wrigglers are returned to pursue their subterranean activities after the event.
The team that gathers the most worms is awarded the Canadian Worm Charming Championship, and the title of Great Canadian Wormer goes to the charmer who finds the heaviest specimen (the record so far is 7.o4 grams). There’s also a prize for the Most Curious Wormers, the team with the most unusual method or costume.
Charles Darwin calculated there are 53,767 earthworms per acre, aerating and fertilizing the soil as they burrow away. So this competition should be easy, right?
Hosted by the Shelburne Lions, the event takes place Saturday, June 2 in Shelburne’s Fiddle Park. To register a team, go to wormcharming.ca.
Planting a tree is not only good for the planet, it’s also a great way get some fresh air, exercise and meet your neighbours. This spring there are several opportunities to make tree planting a communal celebration.
To launch Earth Week on April 21, Orangeville and Credit Valley Conservation invite volunteers for a morning of tree planting and cleaning up along a tributary of Mill Creek. Meet at 9am at Broadway Pentecostal Church, work hard, then enjoy a free barbecue lunch hosted by the Lions Club (orangeville.ca).
Also on April 21, in Caledon, the Bolton Horticultural Society has teamed up with Toronto and Region Conservation for a similar morning of digging and planting as part of a multi-year naturalization project on the Humber. Meet at 10am at the pumping station on Old King Rd, off King St. E.
Then on May 12, you can do it all again at the Caledon Creek community tree planting, hosted by the Town and Ontario Streams. Meet at 9am at the end of Giles Rd in Caledon Village.
And if you want to add a few trees to your own property, visit the tree and shrub seedling sale in Primrose on April 28, when the Dufferin South Simcoe Land Stewardship Council is offering a wide variety of bare-root seedlings (6-16 inches) for sale at $10 to $12 for a bundle of 10. Bring your own container and be there early for the best choice. The sale starts at 9am on a first-come, first-served basis (dufferinmuseum.com/forest).
If you have a barn, you may need a cat, the most reliable mouse and rat catcher there is – with no poisons involved. And Brampton Animal Services may have just the cat for you. Its innovative “Barn Program” offers neutered, dewormed and vaccinated felines to suitable rural situations at no charge (though a donation is appreciated). The cats are socialized, but otherwise deemed “poor house adoption candidates,” because they’ve previously lived outdoors. Furthermore, if the cat doesn’t work out, you can return it to the shelter. To apply for a cat, complete the questionnaire at brampton.ca/animalservices.
Must switch off
Orangeville is embracing both Earth Hour and Earth Week with a host of activities to celebrate and promote the health of our planet and local environment.
As millions of people world-over prepare to turn out their lights for one hour on March 31, the town will get into the spirit with a free swim at 6:30pm at the Alder Street Recreation Centre, followed at 7pm by various activities, entertainment and a free barbecue at Westside Secondary School. The final countdown begins at 8:29pm, followed by an hour of acoustic music while the lights are dimmed.
The town’s Earth Week festivities, April 21 to 28, include a tree photography contest, an elementary school poster contest, displays, raffles and book exchange. A highlight of the week will be the annual presentation of the town’s Sustainability Awards (nominations close March 30).
Must celebrate 100
It’s been a hundred years since the Lord Dufferin Hospital opened in Orangeville, and as part of the anniversary celebrations, Headwaters Health Care Centre is looking back at a century of medical service with a year-long series of exhibitions of photographs and artifacts. Presented with the assistance of Dufferin County Museum and Archives, the first exhibit, now on display in the hospital lobby, covers 1907 to 1923 and highlights the work of the IODE in founding the hospital and nursing school, along with photos of some of its first staff and physicians. The second display will span the years from 1924 to 1953, with the final from 1954 to the present.
A walk in the woods is grand, but it’s a lot more fun if you know what you’re looking at.
To help you do just that, the Dufferin South Simcoe Land Stewardship Council is hosting two walks and talks at the Little Tract of Dufferin County Forest (938130 Airport Rd, north of Mansfield). The first, on May 26, focuses primarily on wildflowers, and the second, on June 2, on trees. Both start at 9am.
And if you’re inclined to nibble on any of the plants you see, you might also want to attend the council’s presentation on edible and medicinal plants. It’s presented by master herbalist Lisa Yates, at the Mono Community Centre in Mono Centre at 9:30am on June 9. For details and to register for any of the council events, go to dufferinmusum/forest, or call 705-435-1881.
Edible and medicinal plants are also the subject of a presentation hosted by the Upper Credit Field Naturalists with Meaford-based naturalist and tracker Alexis Burnett. It’s on April 24 at 7:30pm at the Seniors’ Centre, 26 Bythia St, Orangeville.