The logo for the Huronia Land Conservancy was created by artist Del Taylor. Del attended the Ontario College of Art and currently works as an interpretive supervisor at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. The logo was commissioned by a local education company and functioned as the business logo for Bluewater Interpreters between the years 1991-2004. Recently it was donated by Paul Rollinson and Tim Tully for the land trust's exclusive use.
The turtle motif and pine tree are a direct representation of the Wendat (Huron) creation story. In Iroquoian culture the earth was created by a woman, Aaetensic, who fell from the sky world and was placed on the back of a large turtle. With the help of the water animals she rubbed a small handful of soil from the sea bottom and created the earth as we know it today. Before she fell she grasped seeds from the One Tree which provided the people of the sky world with all they needed to survive. She planted the seeds, including the sustaining Three Sisters- corn, squash and beans, on her new home and from them all plants have grown.
The water represented in the logo is a reflection of the lakes, streams, rivers and extensive wetlands surrounding the traditional homeland of the Wendat people. The word Wendat translates loosely as island dweller, which reflects both Wendat spiritual beliefs and their historic territories' physical geography, which was nearly completely surrounded by water.
The Wendat referred to their territory as Wendake. Today the region is more widely referred to as Huronia. The term is a derivative of the French word for the Wendat people –Huron. Given the Huronia Land Conservancy's primary goal to protect both natural and archaeological/cultural heritage, the logo embodies the perfect symbol for the group's conservation efforts.
The Huronia Land Conservancy
featured in the
By: Tim Tully
Tiny Township cottagers who love nature and Huronia have a new friend and ally. On February of 2012, Revenue Canada granted charitable status to the Huronia Land Conservancy (HLC), a community based land trust devoted to conserving the rich natural and cultural heritage of north Simcoe. Created by an experienced and enthusiastic group of local volunteers, both cottagers and year round residents, the HLC will work cooperatively with private property owners to receive donations and to protect and manage significant heritage properties in perpetuity.
HLC joins two highly successful neighbouring land trusts. The Georgian Bay Land Trust (GBLT) serves the eastern shore of Georgian Bay to the north while the Couchiching Conservancy works inland to the northeast. Over the last decade, GBLT and Couchiching helped cottagers and farmers protect thousands of acres of heritage lands.
By donating surplus land to a charity, cottagers and others achieved long term protection of nature and their privacy while receiving significant tax benefits. The Huronia Land Conservancy was created to provide the same services and community benefits in north Simcoe.
A land trust is a non-government community centred land conservation organization. While land trusts have existed in Ontario for many years, the number expanded dramatically after the government cutbacks of the 1990's. Communities recognized that in many cases governments would not protect the land features that were important at a local or regional level. In addition, private landowners often preferred to deal with a local non-governmental organization. Free of any legislative authority or responsibility, land trusts depend entirely on cooperation and a friendly flexible approach. Funded by local membership and donations, with support from other charities and programs, land trusts depend heavily on volunteers. Land trusts accept donations or partial donations of suitable conservation lands, then provide for conservation planning and stewardship. Land trusts sometimes hold easements on property and work with landowners to provide protection of heritage features that run with the title beyond the current ownership.
North Simcoe is one of the last areas in southern Ontario to set up a community land trust. The HLC will be active in a large geographic area that stretches from Tiny Township east through the Township of Tay to Matchedash Bay, south to Little Lake in Barrie and west to Wasaga Beach. The Huronia Land Conservancy was created to address lands of particular community importance in north Simcoe, and will work closely with the Nature Conservancy and other conservation organizations in the region.
HLC has a wealth of land trust, natural and cultural heritage and community experience in its leadership. President "Ric" Symmes, whose family has cottaged at Midland Point North for 70 years, brings expertise from his years as Georgian Bay-Huronia Manager for the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Vice President Tim Tully is a natural and cultural heritage consultant and a long time resident of Penetanguishene. Other members of the executive and working groups are resident in north Simcoe and have extensive experience with other land trusts, archaeology, and conservation. All these volunteers share the belief that a land trust can bring great benefits to our community.
Any resident, cottager or visitor to Huronia is immediately impressed by the stunning beauty of the landscape from the awe-inspiring forested Nipissing and Algonquin bluffs that dominate the high ground to the myriad wetlands, streams and river courses that traverse the land and flow to Georgian Bay. A number of sizeable conservation areas and parks already exist including Awenda Provincial Park, Wye and Tiny Marsh, and Matchedash Bay but the vast majority of Huronia's natural heritage exists on private lands. HLC hopes to "connect the dots" in this complex conservation puzzle and create a natural heritage system that adds to existing core habitats and connects these key larger conservation lands by natural corridors. In this way wildlife will be able to physically move throughout the landscape and species diversity and genetic viability will be maintained.
Huronia is part of a larger ecological transition zone that is sandwiched between the Canadian Shield to the north and Carolinian zone to the south. Consequently we find an incredible mix of biological diversity with animals and plants with both northern and southern affinities co-existing throughout Huronia. The area is home to over 800 species of vascular plants, 250+ species of birds, 35 species of reptiles and amphibians and over 40 mammal species. Who would expect to find a Moose in a central Ontario wetland or a Virginia Opossum waddling through your backyard? It happens in this remarkable geography!
Among that plethora of species are some of the rarest in Canada- over 25 Species-at-Risk find habitat here. The endangered Cerulean Warbler is one of the rarest birds in North America with an estimated 500 breeding pairs in Canada. Ceruleans find their home in the area's mature Sugar Maple-American Beech-Red Oak forest.
What adds further to the importance of Huronia is the rich human history that stretches back to the time of the last ice age. Paleo peoples hunted on the shores of post-glacial lakes for pre-historic game 11,500 years ago! The most well known native group to live here were the Wendat Nation, Iroquoian-speaking farmers, who lived in village communities throughout the entire area between 800 A.D. and 1650. French explorers and Jesuit priests visited this group in the early 1600s and in some cases took up residence among them. Samuel de Champlain referred to this tribe as the Huron; hence the geographic place name of today. A key mandate of the Huronia Land Conservancy will be to protect the area's archaeological heritage and preserve what is a vital part of our national history.
The most interesting part of Huronia`s conservation story is that natural and cultural heritage are intimately intertwined by geography and history. The area`s high bluffs and tablelands were often selected as village locations by the Wendat people while today many of these same areas are often the last bastions of natural forest. Wetland and water courses were also favored sites of human activity and remain critical to area wildlife today. The HLC's goal to fuse these overlapping conservation objectives is a natural fit!
The Huronia Land Conservancy represents a practical opportunity to participate directly in heritage protection in our community. By becoming an active member or making a tax-deductible donation you will be affecting positive change at a critical time in Huronia's history. Whether your interests are species and habitat protection, native and cultural history or water conservation, the HLC can make a difference in the future of Huronia. Perhaps you have a suggestion of property that is of local conservation interest? Maybe you would like to share your area of expertise or a fundraising idea? Please learn more about the Huronia Land Conservancy today by consulting our website www.huronialandconservancy.ca or mailing your question or suggestion to email@example.com . Ask us about special events or volunteer opportunities. We look forward to working together to build a conservation legacy!
***First Publication in the Spring 2012 Issue of The Tiny Cottager Newspaper of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations