(ABOVE: Unveiling of the Kemp Woodland plaque. Left to right: Janet Mason (Ottawa Stewardship Council), Glen Carr (Sacred Heart High School), Phil Sweetnam (Stittsville Village Association), Councillor Shad Qadri, Wayne French (Waste Management).
Ecological studies in the Kemp Woodland, including work carried out by Sacred Heart High School students, have discovered several cedar trees over 200 years old, including one that dates back to 1761.
Janet Mason, chair of the Ottawa Stewardship Council (OSC), and Glen Carr, an environmental science teacher at Sacred Heart High School, were on hand for a small ceremony on Friday afternoon to unveil new signage for the forest.
The Council has been working with Sacred Heart students to care for the 8.9-hectare forest adjacent to the school along the Trans Canada Trail.
The project started about two years ago and has become a model that Mason would like to see replicated with other schools in the city.
“There are 100 natural areas across the city to steward,” said Mason. “The City does not have the resources to do it alone.”
The goal of the project is to restore and provide sustainable care for the forest, including studying plants and wildlife and enhancing the existing trails. (You can read more about the project here…)
The program is funded through a $25,000 grant from Waste Management, money that comes from a community development fund that the company paid into as part of the operation of the Carp Road landfill.
Signage unveiled today included a large stone marker and plaque, an interpretive sign about the forest ecology, and a sign explaining the history behind the forest’s new name.
John Kemp was a 19th century Stittsville tavern keeper, railway contractor, and reeve of Goulbourn Township. His family built what’s now known as “Cabotto’s” on Hazeldean Road in 1868. He also supplied the railway with lumber and firewood to fuel the steam locomotives. Some of the wood may have come from this forest.
Mason had a long list of people and organizations to thank for getting the project off the ground, including:
- Sacred Heart High School
- Stittsville Village Association
- Waste Management
- Councillor Shad Qadri
- Various City of Ottawa experts and departments, including forestry, natural heritage system, and parks and recreation.
- The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
- The Macnamara Field Naturalists Club
- Stittsville News editor John Curry and Glen Cairn resident Faith Blacquiere and the Goulbourn Township Historical Society for historical research.