Field Notes for Summer 2022
What to learn, visit and see this summer.
Black joy on the Bruce
One of hiker Zwena Gray’s goals in tackling the entire Bruce Trail from Niagara to Tobermory late April to early June was to publicly showcase what she calls Black joy in nature.
Followers of the Trent University environmental studies and science student’s Instagram account (@just.zee) indeed witnessed much joy – dancing, laughing and encountering new friends – even as the Detroit native faced tough terrain and challenging weather. I caught up with Zwena for a quick telephone chat in May when she was hiking near Headwaters with her hiking partner Sima Fabricant.
Here’s what she shared about her experience:
“For me, nature and being outside provide a sort of liberation and ease of mind. I’m just soaking up every bit of it and spending a lot of time in silence. My hope is for Black people to be engaged on the trail and be visible, but also find ways of liberating ourselves through connecting with nature.
“During my research I discovered there was a connection between the Underground Railroad and the Bruce Trail. I met with a historian in St. Catharines and learned that the city was one of the points where people stopped while escaping slavery in the U.S. I want this trip to be a continuation of these stories and legacies.
“Moving into Headwaters, the Caledon section was a drastic change from what we saw in Niagara. It was a lot less rocky, with beautiful rolling hills and pine trees. The Bruce Trail is unique because you must rely so much on community support as it is not necessarily meant to be a thru-hike. As I’m hiking I’ve been expanding my circle and building community, which is going to be one of my biggest takeaways on this journey.”
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Fields of dreams
This summer you’ll find a range of activities set against a backdrop of the best local flower crops. In Mono, head to Avalon Lavender Farm’s summer yoga series in their Celtic stone circle. In Caledon, Davis Family Farm offers sunflower yoga, as does Campbell’s Cross Farm – the latter also offers floral and painting workshops. In Erin, Stonewell Farm hosts lavender-field yoga and workshops in zentangle, botanical ink drawing and woven arts. Hungry? Escape for the day to Creemore for Purple Hill Lavender Farm’s luxury picnic series.
It’s not too late to book an enriching summer camp experience for your little one or teen. For local camp ideas, dates and website links, visit our Kids’ Camps in the Hills page at inthehills.ca/kids-camps-in-headwaters
Protecting the pollinators
Planting a pollinator garden is a small, but powerful commitment to slow the worldwide decline in insect populations. And it’s a practice many local communities are eager to embrace – filling plots with the asters, black-eyed Susans, milkweed and wild phlox that bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects need to feed on.
The Mono Pollinator Garden at 246366 Hockley Road was established in 2017 with blooms that span spring, summer and fall to support bees and other pollinators throughout their lifespan. The vision here is to provide inspiration, education and encouragement for residents to apply these simple practices to their own gardens. Donations are accepted in a cash box on the premises.
In 2021 Caledon received a designation as a “Butterflyway” community by the David Suzuki Foundation for creating a network of several pollinator gardens at local churches, recreation centres and schools – and inspiring over 100 residents to create their own butterfly- and bee-supporting gardens. Human visitors are welcome too. Find gardens big and small at locations including the Caledon Centre for Recreation and Wellness, Albion Bolton Community Centre and the Bolton and Caledon East fire halls. Visit caledon.ca for a full list.
And check out the new Inglewood Pollinator Garden in front of the Inglewood Community Centre on McLaughlin Road, thanks to the Village of Inglewood Association with help from the local garden club and Credit Valley Conservation. “We wanted to educate our residents, get their hands in the dirt, and then have them continue that supportive pollinator environment in their own yard,” says association member Sabrina Valleau.
Did you know? Worm manure – it’s a thing
Jocelyn Molyneux of Waste Not Farms in Mono has created microbe-rich worm casting manure as an organic alternative to fertilizer. Jocelyn’s Soil Booster is available online at her site and at Alton Greenhouse, Not So Hollow Farm and Rock Garden Farms.
Mark your calendar: Two new Museum of Dufferin exhibits
More than 40 artists from across Ontario bring the theme of “unity in diversity” alive at the Dufferin County Multicultural Art Show running until August 13. A visiting artist to watch for: Toronto’s Hemangi Shroff, who interprets the textiles and weaves of her native India in mixed media.
NOTE Event Cancelled: Following that show, Métis artist Montina Hussey unveils Montina: What Body and Land Remembers on Saturday, August 20. Hussey works in her Toronto studio alongside her toddler son, exploring ancestral healing, dreams and the long-term effects of trauma. She considers her paintings vehicles for capturing subconscious layers of the human condition with the intention of creating a healing experience. The show runs to October 22.