Transcript: Striking Balance - Ep. 1 | Oct 04, 2016

Scott Gillingwater walks in tall grass. He is in his mid-thirties, with a beard and short hair. He wears glasses, a blue cap, a zip jacket, and carries a backpack.

Scott says WE'RE HERE IN THE BIG CREEK
NATIONAL WILDLIFE AREA,
AND WE'RE STANDING IN
A PHRAGMITES STAND.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Scott Gillingwater. Reptile Biologist."

Scott continues THIS IS A EUROPEAN PLANT
THAT IS OVERTAKING THIS AREA.
AND UNFORTUNATELY,
THE DENSITY OF THESE STANDS
IS SO SIGNIFICANT
THAT WILDLIFE
CANNOT SURVIVE.
DEAD ADULT BLANDING'S TURTLE.
WE NEED TO FIND
A LARGE SCALE SOLUTION
TO GET RID OF THIS
INVASIVE PLANT.
WITHOUT A LARGE
SCALE SOLUTION,
I DO FEAR THAT
OUR TURTLE SPECIES,
AND MANY OF OUR OTHER
WILDLIFE SPECIES
THAT USE THE LONG POINT
BIOSPHERE RESERVE,
WILL BE LOST.

(soft music plays)
An aerial view shows a long stretch of land in the sea.

A Male Narrator says ECOLOGISTS BELIEVE
THE VAST WETLANDS
OF LONG POINT IN ONTARIO
HAVE ABOUT FIVE YEARS
BEFORE THEY ARE
COMPLETELY TAKEN OVER
BY THE INVASIVE
PLANT PHRAGMITES.
TO ANYONE WALKING THROUGH
THE PROBLEM SEEMS
ALMOST UNSTOPPABLE.
BUT THE PEOPLE HERE AT
HAVE FACED A SERIES OF
DIRE ENVIRONMENTAL
CHALLENGES IN THE PAST,
AND HAVE SOMEHOW
ALWAYS COME UP WITH
AMBITIOUS LOCAL SOLUTIONS
FOR HOW TO SOLVE THEM.

A black and white picture of a man standing by a large tree trunk appears. Then, a clip shows people building a type of greenhouse.

The Narrator continues THE QUESTION
THIS TIME IS
CAN A SOLUTION
BE FOUND IN TIME
TO STOP ONE OF CANADA'S
MOST IMPORTANT WETLANDS
FROM BEING TRANSFORMED
INTO A DEAD ZONE?

(theme music plays)

The Narrator says BIOSPHERE RESERVES
ARE REGIONS OF
GLOBAL ECOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE
TO THE UNITED NATIONS
TO STRIVE FOR SUSTAINABILITY.
THEY ARE NOT PARKS,
AND THEY HAVE
NO LEGAL AUTHORITY.
THEY ARE PLACES WHERE
PEOPLE ARE INSPIRED
TO FIND WAYS TO LIVE AND WORK
IN HARMONY WITH NATURE.
THIS SERIES EXPLORES
WHAT'S HAPPENING IN CANADA'S
BIOSPHERE RESERVES,
OF PEOPLE DETERMINED TO CREATE
A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
FOR THEIR COMMUNITIES.
COME WITH US ON
A COAST-TO-COAST ADVENTURE
SPANNING THOUSANDS OF YEARS...
YOU THINK ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT
AND OUR PLACE IN IT.

A fast-motion clip shows northern lights, flock of white birds, woods, mountains, a port, people trekking, sailing and working with various animals.

Against a beach, the title of the show reads "Striking Balance. Long Point Biosphere Reserve. Narrated by Jim Cuddy."

The Narrator says REPTILE BIOLOGIST
SCOTT GILLINGWATER
HAS BEEN ASSESSING
TURTLE AND SNAKE POPULATIONS
IN THE WETLANDS OF LONG POINT
FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.

Scott says GOT ONE!
FEMALE BLANDINGS.

Scott walks in a river and picks up a turtle.

He continues Y'KNOW,
I'VE ALWAYS ROOTED
FOR THE UNDERDOG,
AND I THINK TURTLES AND SNAKES
ARE THE ULTIMATE UNDERDOGS.
CARAPACE WIDTH IS 141.
IN 2003,
WHEN I BEGAN DOING,
I GUESS, A LARGER SCALE
MARK-RECAPTURE PROGRAM
FOR TURTLES,
I NOTICED THAT THERE WERE SOME
SMALL PATCHES OF PHRAGMITES,
OR EUROPEAN REED,
IN THIS AREA.
AND NOW, Y'KNOW,
12 YEARS LATER,
AREAS THAT ONLY HAD PATCHES
MAYBE TEN FOOT BY TEN FOOT
ARE NOW OVERTAKING HUNDREDS
OF ACRES OF WETLAND.

The Narrator says PHRAGMITES HAS BEEN
SPREADING ACROSS
THE WETLANDS OF ONTARIO
SINCE THE LATE 1940S,
BUT ITS RECENT EXPANSION
INTO THE LONG POINT
BIOSPHERE RESERVE
IS ESPECIALLY TRAGIC.

Scott says IF YOU LOOK AT THE LANDSCAPE
ACROSS SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO,
WE'VE UNFORTUNATELY REMOVED
A LOT OF NATURAL AREAS.
WE'VE DRAINED WETLANDS,
WE'VE CUT DOWN FOREST,
AND WE'RE LEFT WITH, Y'KNOW,
A LOT OF BARREN LANDSCAPES
WHERE THESE ANIMALS
CAN'T SURVIVE.
BUT HERE IN THE LONG
POINT BIOSPHERE RESERVE,
WE HAVE EXTENSIVE AREAS
OF NATURAL HABITAT.
IT'S A REFUGE FOR ANIMALS
THAT CAN'T EXIST OUTSIDE
OF SOME OF THESE AREAS.

Scott releases the turtle, which swims underwater.

The Narrator says IN MANY WAYS,
THE LONG POINT REGION
IS A NATURAL SANCTUARY
IN AN OTHERWISE HEAVILY
DEVELOPED SOUTHERN ONTARIO,
WHICH LED LONG POINT
TO BE DECLARED AS
CANADA'S THIRD UNESCO
BIOSPHERE RESERVE IN 1986.

An animated map shows Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. A dialog box points to a green area. It reads "Long Point Biosphere Reserve."

The Narrator continues FEW PEOPLE KNOW WHAT
MAKES LONG POINT SPECIAL
BETTER THAN BRIAN CRAIG,
PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL
BIOSPHERE RESERVE FOUNDATION.

Brian Craig sits by a river. He is in his sixties, with a moustache and white hair. He wears blue jeans, a dark red shirt and brown jacket.

Brian says LONG POINT ITSELF IS
THE LARGEST FRESH WATER
SAND SPIT IN THE WORLD.
THE MARSHES OF LONG POINT
ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
FOR STAGING FOR WATERFOWL.
AND JUST AS IMPORTANT,
WE HAVE ABOUT 30 PERCENT
FOREST COVER OF
CAROLINIAN FOREST,
WITH ONE OF THE LARGEST BLOCKS
OF OLD GROWTH FOREST,
SOME PEOPLE SAY
WITHIN A THOUSAND MILES,
DEFINITELY WITHIN CANADA,
THAT BEING BACKUS WOODS.
AND THERE ARE SOME
TREES IN THERE
THAT ARE OVER
500 YEARS OLD.

An aerial view shows patches of green lands crossed by rivers.

The Narrator says SHARING THIS NATURAL
OASIS ARE ABOUT 60,000 PEOPLE,
MOST OF WHOM LIVE ON
THE AGRICULTURAL LAND
SURROUNDING THE POINT.
BUT A SINGLE ROAD,
THE LONG POINT CAUSEWAY,
CONNECTS THE MAINLAND TO
A COTTAGE COMMUNITY
OF ABOUT 500
AT THE BASE OF THE POINT.

Brian says BLESSED WITH NATURE,
OUR COMMUNITY WANTS
TO LOOK AFTER IT,
TO NURTURE IT,
AND AT THE SAME TIME
HAVE A VIBRANT ECONOMY.

Local children carry buckets to do some gardening.

The Narrator says ONE OF THE
MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THE
THE ECONOMY OF LONG POINT
IS BIRD WATCHING.
AND IF YOU'RE A BIRDER,
FEW PLACES ARE MORE FAMOUS
THAN THE TIP OF LONG POINT,
HOME TO NORTH AMERICA'S
FIRST BIRD OBSERVATORY.

The caption changes to "Stuart Mackenzie. Manager, Long Point Bird Observatory." Stuart is in his thirties, clean-shaven and with a shaved head. He wears a green shirt over a T-shirt.

Stuart says WELL, YOU'RE
AT THE TIP OF LONG POINT.
IT'S REALLY THE LAST
TRUE WILDERNESS
LEFT IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO.
THERE'S NO ROADS.
YOU CAN ONLY GET HERE BY BOAT.
AND IT'S SECLUDED,
SO THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT
GOOD FOR THE BIRDS.
AND THE CHECKLIST
STANDS AT
399 SPECIES,
SO THE 400TH COULD BE
RIGHT BEHIND US RIGHT NOW.
THE LONG POINT BIRD OBSERVATORY
WAS FOUNDED ON VOLUNTEERS,
AND IT REALLY DOES DRAW
PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
WE'VE HOSTED INDIVIDUALS
FROM OVER 80 COUNTRIES
HERE ON LONG POINT.

The caption changes to "Richard Dobbins. Volunteer, Long Point Bird Observatory." Richard is in his fifties, with receding gray hair and clean-shaven. He wears a burgundy sweater and carries binoculars.

Richard says A BUSY DAY ON THE TIP.
WE ARE ACTUALLY OPENING NETS
AT 5:30 A.M.
JUST BEFORE DAWN.
WE RUN THE NETS FOR
A STANDARD SIX HOURS.

The caption changes to "Sarah Larocque. Volunteer, Long Point Bird Observatory." Sarah sits in an office. She is in her early thirties with long brown hair in a braid. She wears a dark blue zip jacket.

Sarah says SOMETIMES
ON GOOD DAYS WE'VE BANDED
OVER 500 BIRDS IN ONE DAY.
AND IT WAS JUST
BIRD, BIRD, BIRD.
YOU PICK ONE BIRD
OUT OF THE NET,
YOU LOOK BACK,
THERE'S FIVE OTHERS IN THE NET.
SO IT WAS JUST CONSTANT GOING.
IT WAS VERY EXCITING.
(CHUCKLE)

Sarah drives a container through a hole in one of the laboratory walls, turns it upside down, and a bird inside it flies away.

Richard says AND EITHER
THIS YEAR OR NEXT YEAR,
LONG POINT BIRD
OBSERVATORY ITSELF
WILL BAND ITS
MILLIONTH BIRD.

Pieces of wrapped cloth containing birds hang from the ceiling.

Stuart says WITH OVER 300 SPECIES MONITORED,
EVERY SPECIES TELLS
ITS OWN STORY.
AND PROBABLY
THE MOST NOTABLE EXAMPLE
OF HOW BIRDS CAN TELL US
WHAT'S GOING ON
IN THE ENVIRONMENT
IS THE DDT IN
THE '60S AND '70S,
WHICH DECIMATED POPULATIONS
OF MOST RAPTORS.
BUT THE EFFECTS OF DDT WERE
FELT EVEN IN AMERICAN ROBINS.
SO BIRDS SHOWED US
THE WARNING SIGNS...
THE CANARIES
IN THE COAL MINE...
AND WE WERE ABLE TO
REVERSE THE PROBLEM.

Richard says SO THERE'S A GREAT VALUE IN
DEVELOPING CITIZEN SCIENCE.
AND ALSO YOU'RE BUILDING IT
INTO THE CULTURE, AS WELL,
SO PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE MORE
FOR THEIR ENVIRONMENT,
NOT JUST THEIR BIRDS.

Stuart says LONG POINT'S ONE OF
CANADA'S BEST-KEPT SECRETS.
AND THE BIRDS ARE
ONLY PART OF IT.
LONG POINT ITSELF
HAS A SPECIAL DRAW,
AND IT SUCKS
CERTAIN PEOPLE IN.
AND ONCE IT HOLDS ONTO YOU,
YOU CAN'T LET GO.

(soft music plays)

The Narrator says VISITORS TO LONG POINT TODAY
WOULD LIKELY BE
SURPRISED TO LEARN
THAT IT WASN'T ALWAYS
A NATURAL OASIS.
HARD-WON LESSONS
AND GREAT HUMAN EFFORT
HAVE GONE INTO SAFEGUARDING
THIS LANDSCAPE OF SAND.
FOR 5,000 YEARS,
A WESTERLY WIND
HAS BEEN ERODING
THE SANDY CLIFFS OF LAKE ERIE
TO BUILD THE POINT.
BUT WITHOUT VEGETATION,
THIS FRAGILE TERRAIN
QUITE LITERALLY BLOWS AWAY.

A white tree trunk with pointed branches sits in a dune.

The Narrator continues TOM MELUNDYKE,
A GEOSCIENTIST FROM
THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO,
HAS BEEN USING GROUND
PENETRATING RADAR
TO STUDY HOW THE POINT
WAS FORMED
AND WHAT'S
HOLDING IT TOGETHER.

The caption changes to "Tom Meulendyk. Geoscientist." Tom is in his thirties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears a blue shirt.

Tom says THE DUNES ARE
THE BACKBONE OF LONG POINT SPIT,
SO WE REALLY WANTED
TO FIGURE OUT
HOW THEY WERE BUILDING AND
HOW THEY'D GROWN OVER TIME.
SO THAT'S WHY WE
CAME HERE WITH THE RADAR.
WE'RE FINDING THAT
THE TREES PLAY
A REALLY CRITICAL ROLE
IN HOW THE DUNES GROW.
SO INITIALLY
THESE COTTONWOODS
SEND THEIR SEEDS OUT
IN THE SPRING,
AND THESE BECOME SORT OF
FENCE-LIKE OBSTRUCTIONS
THAT THE SAND COLLECTS AROUND.
WHEREAS A LOT OF TREES
WILL DIE OFF,
THE COTTONWOODS
SORT OF FLOURISH
AS SAND ACCUMULATES
AROUND THEM.
SO OVER TIME,
SAND BUILDS UP,
AND YOU END UP WITH A LONG,
SHORE-PARALLEL DUNE.

Tom sits in a dune looking at a tablet that shows a radar map of the area.

Tom continues WE'VE ALSO SEEN WITHIN
THE RADAR PROFILES
THAT SOME OF THESE DUNES
HAVE LARGE COLLAPSES
WITHIN THEM,
AND THE DUNES SORTA
FALLING IN ON THEMSELVES.
SO LONG POINT IS A VERY
FRAGILE ENVIRONMENT.
I MEAN, THESE DUNES...
ANY TIME,
THEY CAN BE JUST BE
PICKED UP AND BLOWN AWAY,
SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT
YOU HAVE VEGETATION HERE.
THEIR ROOTS HOLD
EVERYTHING TOGETHER.

Tom walks dragging special equipment across the dune.

The Narrator says LONG POINT IS SO FRAGILE
THAT FIVE PEOPLE WALKING
IN ROW ON A SAND DUNE
CAN DAMAGE
THE VEGETATION ENOUGH
TO PERMANENTLY IMPACT
THE POINT.
HOW A 40 KILOMETER BEACH
IN CANADA'S MOST
POPULATED REGION
HAS REMAINED LARGELY INTACT
DESPITE BEING SO FRAGILE
CAN BE TRACED BACK
TO THE 1850S,
WHEN THE VERY EXISTENCE
OF THE POINT WAS IN PERIL.

(excited crowd shouting)
An animation shows a black and white drawing of people gathered by a lighthouse.

The caption changes to "Scott Petrie. Former Executive Director Long Point Waterfowl." Petrie sits by a fireplace. He is in his late forties, with a goatee and blond hair. He wears a black polo shirt.

Petrie says I GUESS IT WAS GEARING UP TO BE
A TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS.
IT WAS OVER-LOGGED,
AND OVERUSED,
AND OVER-HARVESTED.
AND THERE WERE PRIZE FIGHTS,
AND BORDELLOS,
AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS
GOING ON OUT THERE.

The caption changes to "Harry Barrett. Historian." Harry is in his late sixties, with a beard and white hair. He wears a blue shirt under a dark green cardigan.

Harry says THERE WERE BROTHELS
ESTABLISHED.
THE WOMEN WOULD COME IN
FROM BUFFALO, PRIMARILY.
A GOOD MANY AMERICANS
WERE COMING OVER
AND JUST DOING
WHATEVER THEY FELT LIKE.

Petrie says A LOT OF PEOPLE, BACK IN
THE 1800S AND EARLY 1900S,
THEIR EMPLOYMENT WAS HUNTING
FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES.
SO THEY WOULD GO OUT,
AND OBVIOUSLY THEY
WERE TRYING TO HARVEST
AS MANY OF WHATEVER THEY'RE
HARVESTING AS POSSIBLE
BECAUSE THEY'RE TRYING
TO MAKE A PROFIT.
AND THAT'S WHERE THEY HAD,
Y'KNOW, BIG PUNT GUNS,
WHERE THEY WOULD SNEAK IN CLOSE
TO BIG FLOCKS OF WATERFOWL.
SOON AS THEY'D START TO LIFT,
THEY'D SHOOT ANYTHING FROM
NAILS TO GLASS AND
EVERYTHING IN THERE,
TRYING TO MAXIMIZE THE KILL
SO THEY COULD
TAKE THEM TO MARKET.

Harry says AND THE GOVERNMENT HAD
NO WAY OF CONTROLLING IT.
THEY WEREN'T ABOUT TO
TRY AND POLICE IT.

Black and white pictures show men standing next to birds and other animals they hunted.

The Narrator says BECAUSE IT WAS SO
DIFFICULT TO POLICE LONG POINT,
THE GOVERNMENT
PUT IT UP FOR SALE
WITH THE HOPE THAT SOMEBODY
ELSE WOULD LOOK AFTER IT.
BUT IN 1866,
VIRTUALLY THE ENTIRE
POINT WAS SOLD TO
A GROUP OF WEALTHY
RECREATIONAL HUNTERS
KNOWN AS THE LONG
POINT COMPANY,
ARGUABLY CANADA'S
FIRST HUNTING CLUB

Harry says THEY WERE
HARD-HEADED BUSINESSMEN,
AND THEY WANTED IT
JUST FOR THE RECREATION...
DUCK HUNTING,
PRIMARILY.
AND SO THEY SET UP
REGULATIONS.
AND THEY WERE
PRETTY ASTUTE,
BECAUSE THEY HIRED
THE WORSE POACHERS
AS THEIR "KEEPERS,"
PAID THEM TO
KEEP OTHERS OFF.

A series of old photographs show male hunters holding riffles, a newspaper headline that reads "Long Point Company, 31 October 1091" and houses.

Petrie says THE LONG POINT COMPANY
PROTECTED THAT SAND SPIT
FROM DEVELOPMENT.
OTHERWISE IT PROBABLY
WOULD'VE ERODED AWAY
OR WOULD'VE BEEN ALL
COTTAGE DEVELOPMENT
AND IT WOULDN'T BE
WHAT IT IS TODAY.

The Narrator says IN THE 1970S,
THE LONG POINT COMPANY
DONATED 8,000 ACRES
TO THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT
FOR THE CREATION OF ONTARIO'S
LARGEST NATIONAL WILDLIFE AREA,
AND THIS FRAGILE PART OF
THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE
IS NOW OFF-LIMITS TO HUNTERS
AND ALL OTHER MEMBERS
OF THE PUBLIC
WITHOUT SPECIAL PERMISSION
FROM THE CANADIAN
WILDLIFE SERVICE.

The animated map appears. A long stretch highlighted in yellow reads "Long Point Company." The yellow area shrinks and the rest turns green. It reads "National Wildlife Area."

The Narrator continues HUNTING IS ALLOWED
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
PROVINCIAL REGULATIONS
IN SOME OF LONG POINT'S
MARSHES.
TRUE TO LONG POINT'S ROOTS,
HUNTERS CONTINUE TO CONTRIBUTE
TIME AND MONEY
TO CONSERVE AND ENHANCE
THE WETLANDS OF LONG POINT.

A girl shoots a gun, throws an object, and a dog jumps to a river.

Petrie says THE GREAT THING ABOUT THAT
IS THE MONEY THAT
WE AS HUNTERS PUT
INTO WILDLIFE CONSERVATION,
IT BENEFITS A WHOLE SUITE OF
NON-HUNTED SPECIES
BECAUSE WE'RE PROVIDING HABITAT
THAT'S NOT SPECIFIC TO DUCKS.
IT'S SPECIFIC TO
WETLAND-DEPENDENT WILDLIFE.

The Narrator says ONE SPECIES THAT IS NOT HUNTED
BUT BENEFITS FROM THE PROTECTED
HABITAT OF LONG POINT
IS THE TUNDRA SWAN.
EVERY YEAR,
LONG POINT WATERFOWL,
A RESEARCH ORGANIZATION
FUNDED BY HUNTERS,
PARTICIPATES IN A
POPULATION SURVEY OF THE SWANS.

A man looking through binoculars says TWENTY-FIVE
ADULTS.

Katelyn says 'KAY.

The Narrator says KATELYN WEAVER IS A BIOLOGIST
WHO COMPLETED
HER MASTERS DEGREE
STUDYING THE HABITAT USE
OF TUNDRA SWANS
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
LONG POINT WATERFOWL.

The caption changes to "Katelyn Weaver. Junior Scientist. Long Point Waterfowl." She is in her late twenties with long light brown hair. She wears glasses and a dark jacket.

Katelyn says I GREW UP AS, Y'KNOW,
ONE OF THOSE KIDS THAT
JUST ABSOLUTELY
DESPISED HUNTING
AND THOUGHT THAT IT WAS
THIS TERRIBLE THING.
AS I GOT OLDER,
I STARTED KIND OF DOING
A LOT MORE VOLUNTEERING,
AND SEEING
THE DIFFERENT SPECIES,
AND SEEING HOW
HABITAT MANAGEMENT
MIGHT SOMETIMES BE
MUCH MORE ECONOMICAL
BY HAVING HUNTERS
A PART OF IT.
THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK
LONG POINT IS SO GREAT FOR,
BECAUSE WE HAVE
THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE
ALL THE BIRDS
COMING THROUGH HERE,
AND BEING ABLE TO SEE
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
THE HUNTERS AND
THE CONSERVATION HERE.

Katelyn and a man walk across a patch of snow collecting information.

Petrie says AT THE END OF THE DAY,
IF IT WASN'T FOR HUNTING,
YOU MIGHT NOT EVEN HAVE
A BIOSPHERE HERE.
THE WETLANDS WERE PROTECTED
BECAUSE OF HUNTING.
THEY CONTINUE TO BE
PROTECTED BECAUSE OF HUNTING.

The Narrator says JUST AS REMARKABLE
AND FRAGILE
AS THE LONG POINT
SAND SPIT ITSELF
ARE THE CAROLINIAN FORESTS
ON THE ADJACENT MAINLAND.
THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE
IS HOME TO
WHAT'S ARGUABLY
THE HIGHEST NATURAL COVER
IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
AND IS A LAST BASTION FOR
THE DWINDLING CAROLINIAN
ECOZONE IN CANADA.

(relaxing music plays)
The animated map appears. A growing yellow area reads "Carolinian Ecozone."

The Narrator continues THIS ECOLOGICALLY
DIVERSE REGION
MAKES UP LESS THAN ONE PERCENT
OF CANADA'S LAND AREA,
YET SUPPORTS THE HIGHEST
HUMAN DENSITY IN THE COUNTRY...
WHICH IS ALSO WHY IT'S HOME TO
A THIRD OF CANADA'S
SPECIES AT RISK.
ONE INDICATOR OF A HEALTHY
CAROLINIAN FOREST
IS AN ABUNDANCE
OF SALAMANDERS.
AND FOR NEARLY
TWO DECADES,
JIM WILSON
AND HIS SON NICK
HAVE VOLUNTEERED
TO MONITOR
SALAMANDERS
IN BACKUS WOODS,
WHICH IS PERHAPS
THE BEST REMAINING
MATURE CAROLINIAN
FOREST IN CANADA.

Jim and Nick pick up stones in the woods. Jim measures a salamander and Nick takes down notes.

The caption changes to "Nicholas Wilson. Past President Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation." Nick is in his mid-twenties, clean-shaven with short hair. He wears a gray cap and matching shirt.

Nick says IT'S SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF
PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT.
YOU FIND QUITE A VARIETY HERE.

The caption changes to "Jim Wilson. Volunteer. Salamander Monitoring." Jim is in his sixties, with a white beard. He wears a dark cap and a blue polo shirt.

Jim says SALAMANDERS ACTUALLY
BREATHE THROUGH THEIR SKIN,
SO SALAMANDERS ARE
A GOOD INDICATOR
OF THE AMOUNT
OF POLLUTION
IN THE FOREST.

Nick says SO BY MONITORING
THEIR POPULATIONS,
THEY COULD BE
A GOOD INDICATOR
OF ANY STRESSES IN
THE ENVIRONMENT.

Jim says THREE-SIX...

The Narrator says JIM IS A MECHANIC
AND NICK IS A TEACHER,
AND THEY STARTED WORKING
TOGETHER TO MONITOR SALAMANDERS
WHEN NICK PARTICIPATED IN A
BIOSPHERE CAMP HERE AS A CHILD.
OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS,
THEY CREATED ONE OF
THE LARGEST DATA SETS
FOR SALAMANDERS
IN NORTH AMERICA.

Nick says AROUND THE WORLD,
THEY'VE NOTICED DECLINES
IN REPTILE POPULATIONS
AND AMPHIBIAN POPULATIONS.
OUR POPULATIONS HAVE
STAYED FAIRLY STABLE.
BUT IF WE CAN HAVE ANY
EARLY INDICATION
OF CHANGES HAPPENING,
WE WANNA BE ABLE TO PICK UP
ON THAT AS QUICK AS POSSIBLE.
BECAUSE I GREW UP IN THE AREA,
AND IT'S ONE OF MY FAVOURITE
PLACES TO COME BACK TO,
I WANT IT TO BE HERE FOR
MY KIDS AND FUTURE GENERATIONS.
SO SPENDING A LITTLE BIT OF MY
EXTRA TIME HERE IS WORTHWHILE.

The Narrator says JIM AND NICK ARE PART OF
A LONG LINE OF CONSERVATIONISTS
THAT HAVE LEARNED HOW
IMPORTANT IT IS TO LOOK AFTER
THIS RARE AND
FRAGILE LANDSCAPE.
IT'S HARD TO
IMAGINE TODAY,
BUT BACKUS WOODS
WAS ONCE AN ISLAND
IN A HEAVILY-DEGRADED
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.

The caption changes to "Dolf Wynia. Former Nursery Superintendent and Co-Founder Canada’s First Forestry Station Interpretative Center." Dolf is in his mid-sixties, clean-shaven with receding white hair. He wears glasses and an olive green shirt.

Dolf says NORFOLK COUNTY NOW IS CALLED
"ONTARIO'S GARDEN."
WELL, IT WAS ONTARIO'S
DESERT, AT ONE TIME.

The Narrator says THE FORESTS OF THE MAINLAND
HAD GROWN SLOWLY UPON
HUGE SAND DEPOSITS,
JUST LIKE THE POINT.
BUT WHERE THE POINT
WAS PROTECTED BY
THE HUNTING COMMUNITY
BEFORE TOO MUCH DAMAGE
COULD BE DONE,
THE FIRST EUROPEAN SETTLERS
ON THE MAINLAND
WERE ACTUALLY
REQUIRED BY LAW
TO CLEAR TREES
FOR FARMING.

Paintings show male woodcutters and a house sitting in the woods.

Dolf says SO BY HOOK OR BY CROOK,
THEY CUT, THEY BURNED.
THAT WAS THEIR REQUIREMENT
IN ORDER TO GET
OWNERSHIP OF THE LAND.

Harry says ONCE YOU CLEARED TOO BIG
A PIECE OF GROUND,
THEN THE WIND TOOK OVER.
ON A WINDY SPRING DAY,
YOU'D LOSE TOPSOIL.
OF COURSE,
ONCE THE TOPSOIL WAS GONE,
AND IT WASN'T VERY
DEEP ANYWAY,
THE FARM BECAME
BARELY PRODUCTIVE ENOUGH
TO SUPPORT A FAMILY.

Pictures of abandoned houses in sand dunes flash by.

Dolf says PEOPLE HAD TO LEAVE THE LAND.
THEY JUST HAD TO GO.
WHEN YOU SEE THE PICTURES OF
WHAT WAS LEFT OF THEIR FARMS,
IT WAS TERRIBLE.
MANY FAMILIES WERE
BROKEN UP AND LEFT.

The Narrator says AFTER A FEW YEARS OF USE,
MANY SETTLERS COULD NO LONGER
LIVE OFF THE LAND HERE.
AND THE LOSS OF HABITAT
MEANT THAT SOME ANIMAL SPECIES,
LIKE THE WILD TURKEY,
WERE ELIMINATED
FROM THE REGION
BY THE EARLY 1900S.

(desolate wind blows)

The Narrator says IT WAS NOT LONG AFTER
THE TURKEYS DISAPPEARED
THAT WALTER MCCALL,
A LOCAL FURNITURE MAKER,
DECIDED THAT
ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH.
NOT ONLY WAS WALTER HAVING TO
GO FARTHER AND FARTHER AFIELD
TO FIND LUMBER,
THE DESERT WAS
LITERALLY CLOSING IN ON HIM,
WITH ONE OF THE WORST
WASTELAND AREAS
RIGHT ACROSS
THE ROAD FROM HIS MILL.
MCCALL REFUSED
TO BELIEVE THAT
NOTHING COULD BE DONE
ABOUT THE PROBLEM.
AS AN EXPERIMENT,
HE PLANTED A FEW
SAPLINGS NEAR HIS MILL
AND INVITED EDMOND ZAVITZ,
A FORESTRY PROFESSOR WITH A
COTTAGE IN NEARBY TURKEY POINT,
TO COME AND HAVE A LOOK.
INSPIRED BY WHAT HE SAW,
ZAVITZ HELPED MCCALL CONVINCE
THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
TO PURCHASE 100 ACRES
OF WASTELAND NEAR MCCALL'S MILL
AND START THE ST. WILLIAMS
FORESTRY STATION.

Photographs of the actions described flash by.

Dolf says THIS STATION
REALLY WAS THE FIRST REAL
HANDS-ON CONSERVATION MEASURE
THAT WAS EXECUTED IN
THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO.

The Narrator says ZAVITZ PUT A TEAM TOGETHER
AND THEY GOT TO WORK
ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.
USING TREE BRANCHES
AND OLD TREE STUMPS
AS PROTECTION AGAINST
THE BLOWING SAND,
THEY PLANTED 350,000
PINE AND SPRUCE TREE SEEDS,
ALONG WITH SEVERAL THOUSAND
WHITE PINE SEEDLINGS
SHIPPED ALL THE WAY
FROM GERMANY.
WITH A GREAT DEAL OF
CARE AND ATTENTION,
A FIELD OF SEEDLINGS
BEGAN TO GROW OUT OF THE SAND.

Old footage shows male workers planting and collecting pinecones.

The Narrator continues MUCH TO EVERYONE'S SURPRISE,
THE TREES NEVER BLEW AWAY.
AND THE FORESTERS COLLECTED
THEIR PINECONES
AND DEVELOPED A DRYING PROCESS
TO REMOVE THE SEEDS,
WHICH WERE PLANTED AND
GROWN INTO MORE SEEDLINGS.
ZAVITZ HAD NOT ONLY
FIGURED OUT A PROCESS
THAT WORKED TO REFOREST
THE DESERT LANDS,
BUT HE COULD GIVE SEEDLINGS
TO OTHERS WHO WANTED
TO DO THE SAME.
SOON, ARMED WITH
MILLIONS OF SEEDLINGS,
THE STAFF AT
THE FORESTRY STATION
TRIED TO ENTICE LOCAL FARMERS
TO DO JUST THAT.

Harry says FOR YEARS,
THEY GAVE TREES
TO FARMERS
WHO WOULD PLANT
THE SAND PLAINS
AND PLANT WINDBREAKS, AS WELL,
WHICH WERE REALLY IMPORTANT.

The Narrator says THE FORESTRY
STATION DID MORE THAN
JUST PROVIDE FARMERS
WITH FREE TREES.
THEY ALSO SHOWED FARMERS HOW
THEY COULD MAKE A PROFIT
OFF THEIR NEW FORESTS
THROUGH SELECTIVE HARVESTING.

An old leaflet reads "Profitless land. Plant trees on it!"

The Narrator continues THIS PROVED TO BE
A WINNING COMBINATION.

Dolf says WHEN YOU SEE
THE PICTURES ON THE WALL HERE
OF THE GATHERINGS THAT THEY HAD
RIGHT HERE AT THE STATION...
HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE,
ALL DRESSED UP IN
THEIR BEST OUTFITS,
COMING TO THE STATION
TO HEAR A PRESENTATION
ABOUT CONSERVATION...
THAT'S PRETTY IMPRESSIVE.

Harry says OUR FIRST CAR WAS A 27 NASH.
AND ON SUNDAYS AFTER CHURCH,
WE'D BUG DAD TO
GO FOR A DRIVE.
AND WE'D OFTEN GO FOR A PICNIC
AND VERY OFTEN END UP AT
THE RE-FORESTRY STATION.
AND OF COURSE,
IF YOU GET A BUNDLE
OF TREES FREE,
WHY, YOU ARE GOING TO
FIND A PLACE TO PUT THEM.
THROUGH THE RE-FORESTRY FARM,
THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF ACRES
ACTUALLY PLANTED
BY FARMER VOLUNTEERS.
IT HAD A TREMENDOUS EFFECT.

Pictures of farmers working in fields appear.

The Narrator says BY THE 1930S,
THE ST. WILLIAMS
FORESTRY STATION
HAD REFORESTED 4,000 ACRES
OF DEGRADED LAND.
AND BY THE TIME IT WAS
PRIVATIZED IN 1998,
IT HAD SHIPPED OVER
300 MILLION SEEDLINGS.
BUT WHILE THE FORESTRY STATION
PLAYED A CRITICAL ROLE IN
FIXING THE REGION'S
ENVIRONMENTAL WOES,
THERE WAS SOMETHING ELSE
GOING ON AT THE SAME TIME.
LOCAL FARMERS
HAD DISCOVERED
THAT THESE SANDY
SOILS WERE PERFECT
FOR GROWING A PARTICULARLY
HIGH-VALUE CROP...
TOBACCO.

A black and white clip shows a man riding a horse cart to plow a field. Two men sit in the back of the cart.

Harry says TOBACCO IS JUST A WEED.
ALL IT NEEDS IS
SOMETHING TO PROP IT UP,
AND YOU FERTILIZE IT,
AND YOU GET A GREAT
CROP OF TOBACCO.
SO IT WAS AN IDEAL CROP
FOR THE SAND PLAIN.
AND IT BROUGHT IN
MORE MONEY
THAN ANY OTHER
CROP YOU COULD THINK OF.

The Narrator says FARMERS NOW HAD
A GOOD ECONOMIC REASON
TO STAY AND LOOK AFTER
THEIR LANDS.
SO BETWEEN
THE REFORESTATION EFFORTS
AND THE TOBACCO FARMERS,
SOUTHERN ONTARIO'S DESERT
GREW INTO PRODUCTIVE FARMS
SURROUNDED BY
EXPANSIVE FORESTS.
BUT THERE IS
ONE PLACE HERE
IN THE LONG POINT
BIOSPHERE RESERVE
THAT DIDN'T NEED
ANY RESTORATION.
AT BACKUS WOODS,
500 YEAR OLD TREES HAVE STOOD
AS THE SURROUNDING
WOODLANDS HAVE TURNED
FROM FOREST TO DESERT
AND BACK AGAIN...
AND THIS DESPITE THE FACT
THAT THE ORIGINAL OWNERS
OF THIS PROPERTY,
THE BACKUS FAMILY,
WERE MILLERS AND LUMBERMEN.
THE BACKUS FAMILY MOVED TO
THE REGION IN THE LATE 1700S.
BUT INSTEAD OF
CLEAR-CUTTING THEIR LAND,
THEY KEPT THEIR FOREST
HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE
OVER MANY GENERATIONS
BY SELECTIVELY HARVESTING TREES
IN A WAY THAT'S SIMILAR TO
OF TODAY.

The caption changes to "Wanda Backus-Kelly. Backus Family Descendant." Wanda stands in the woods. She is in her mid-thirties with shoulder-length brown hair. She wears a black beret, glasses, patterned scarf and blue and black jacket.

Wanda says I WOULD BE HARD PRESSED
TO IDENTIFY WHERE
IN THE FAMILY LINE
A SENSE OF CONTINUITY,
OR A SENSE OF PRESERVATION,
BEGAN TO DEVELOP.
I BELIEVE THE OVERRIDING
INFLUENCE, PERHAPS,
IS THE FACT THAT
THE FAMILY WERE IN ONE SPOT
FOR OVER 150 YEARS...
THAT THE FAMILY WERE
CONNECTED TO THEIR LAND
AS THEIR SENSE OF INCOME,
WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT
IF YOU TAKE CARE OF THE LAND,
THE LAND WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.
AND ALTHOUGH MY GENERATION
ARE NOT AS CONNECTED
TO OUR LAND,
WE ALL STILL FEEL THAT ROOT.
WE STILL FEEL THAT CONNECTIVITY
THAT PULLS US BACK.

Pictures show a big house and a truck carrying wood.

The Narrator says IT WAS THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF
THE ST. WILLIAMS
FORESTRY STATION
THAT THE REST OF THE REGION
SLOWLY LEARNED
TO TREAT THIS
FRAGILE LANDSCAPE
WITH THE SAME CARE THAT
THE BACKUS FAMILY ALWAYS HAD.
SO, AS THE NATURAL COVER
IN MOST OF SOUTHERN ONTARIO
DISAPPEARED THROUGHOUT
THE 20TH CENTURY,
HERE AT LONG POINT,
IT ACTUALLY INCREASED.

An aerial view shows green vegetation.

The Narrator continues BUT THE PEOPLE OF LONG POINT
DIDN'T STOP WITH REFORESTATION.
AS HABITATS IMPROVED
OVER THE DECADES,
SOME RESIDENTS WONDERED IF THE
REGION'S HISTORIC BIODIVERSITY
COULD ALSO BE RESTORED.

(hunter imitating turkey call)

The caption changes to "Dave Reid. Past Board Member. Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation." Dave sits leaning on a tree. He is in his sixties, with a white moustache and white hair. He wears a cap and a military camouflage uniform.

Dave says MY GRANDFATHER,
MY GREAT GRANDFATHER...
THEY NEVER KNEW OF TURKEYS
BECAUSE THEY WERE ALREADY GONE.
AND WE'VE BROUGHT THEM BACK.

The Narrator says THE MINISTRY
OF NATURAL RESOURCES
WAS COLLABORATING WITH HUNTERS
TO BRING THE WILD TURKEY
BACK TO ONTARIO
IN THE EARLY '80S.
AND THE NEWLY-REFORESTED
LONG POINT REGION
LOOKED LIKE THE PERFECT SPOT
TO START THEIR RE-INTRODUCTION.
THE FIRST TURKEYS WERE
BROUGHT UP FROM
THE UNITED STATES IN 1984
AND RELEASED IN BACKUS WOODS.
DAVE REID WAS A BIOLOGIST WITH
THE ONTARIO MINISTRY OF NATURAL
RESOURCES AT THE TIME.

A clip shows people opening cardboard boxes to release turkeys in a snowy area.

Dave says WE HOPED FOR THE BEST,
AND IT SUCCEEDED BEYOND OUR
WILDEST DREAMS, REALLY.

The Narrator says THE FIRST TURKEYS
RELEASED AT LONG POINT
MULTIPLIED RAPIDLY
AND THEIR OFFSPRING
WERE TRANSPORTED TO
OTHER PARTS OF ONTARIO.
THERE ARE NOW MORE THAN
100,000 BIRDS IN THE PROVINCE,
MAKING ONTARIO'S WILD TURKEY
RE-INTRODUCTION
ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL
WILDLIFE RECOVERIES
IN CANADIAN HISTORY.
IT WAS IN 1986,
AMIDST THE REINTRODUCTION OF
THE WILD TURKEY TO LONG POINT,
THAT THE REGION
WAS DESIGNATED AS
A BIOSPHERE RESERVE
BY UNESCO.
DAVE WAS ONE OF THE EARLY
BIOSPHERE BOARD MEMBERS,
AND HE BELIEVES THAT USING
A REGION'S NATURAL RESOURCES
IS KEY TO ITS SUSTAINABILITY.

Dave says THE WAY THAT I'VE
ALWAYS VIEWED IT IS,
IF YOU USE SOMETHING...
LIKE IF YOU'RE A FISHERMAN
AND YOU USE THE LAKE
TO CATCH YOUR FISH IN,
OR YOU LIKE TO HUNT
AND YOU LIKE TO HUNT TURKEYS...
WELL, YOU WANNA BE ABLE
TO DO THAT FOREVER.
AND YOU'RE GONNA
WANNA CONSERVE IT
AND ENSURE THAT IT'S
THERE FOR YOU
AND FOR FUTURE
GENERATIONS.
SO THAT'S, I THINK,
THE CONCEPT OF THE BIOSPHERE.

Dave and a woman hide behind trees to hunt wild turkeys.

The Narrator says A HUNDRED YEARS
OF CONSERVATION EFFORTS
HAVE MADE THE LONG POINT
BIOSPHERE RESERVE
VERY IMPORTANT TO
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS
LIKE THE NATURE
CONSERVANCY OF CANADA,
ALSO KNOWN AS THE NCC.
TO THE NCC,
PROTECTING LAND IN
THE LONG POINT REGION
IS THE BEST WAY
TO ENSURE THE SURVIVAL
OF CANADA'S TINY
CAROLINIAN ECOZONE.
TO DATE,
THE NATURE
CONSERVANCY OF CANADA
HAS CONSERVED ABOUT
5,000 ACRES HERE,
INCLUDING BACKUS WOODS.

The animated map appears. Green spots read "Nature Conservancy of Canada Properties." Then, a greener portion of the spots reads "Backus Woods."

The caption changes to "Wendy Cridland. Director of Conservation, Ontario Region, Nature Conservancy of Canada." Wendy is in her thirties with long blond hair. She wears a zip jacket.

Wendy says THE LONG POINT AREA
HAS THESE CORE,
NATURAL BUILDING BLOCKS
THAT WE CAN BUILD ON.
AND BY INVESTING HERE,
PROTECTING THOSE CORES,
AND BUILDING ON THEM,
RESTORING HABITAT TO MAKE THEM
LARGER AND MORE CONNECTED,
HAS REALLY BEEN
THE BEST INVESTMENT FOR NCC
IN TERMS OF CONSERVING
CAROLINIAN CANADA.

The Narrator says LAND OWNERS LIKE THE NCC
STILL TURN TO
THE FORESTRY STATION,
NOW A PRIVATE COMPANY CALLED
THE ST. WILLIAMS NURSERY
AND ECOLOGY CENTRE,
FOR HELP WITH
LAND RESTORATION.
BUT A GREAT DEAL
HAS BEEN LEARNED ABOUT
RESTORATION SINCE THE 1920S.

People plant seeds in a greenhouse.

The Narrator continues AT THE TIME,
THE GOAL WAS TO
STABILIZE THE SOIL
BY PLANTING A MONOCULTURE
OF FAST-GROWING TREES,
MANY OF WHICH WERE NOT
NATIVE TO SOUTHERN ONTARIO.

The caption changes to "Allan Arthur. Senior Ecologist and President Saint Williams Nursery." Allan is in his mid-forties, clean-shaven and balding. He wears a blue shirt and a gray jacket.

Allan says IN THE GET-GO,
IT WAS REALLY TO REFOREST LAND
THAT WAS OTHERWISE
TURNING INTO WASTELAND.
AND NOW WE'VE REALLY
EVOLVED IN TRYING TO
RESTORE BIODIVERSITY,
AS OPPOSED TO JUST
A FEW SPECIES OF TREES.

The Narrator says SO INSTEAD OF
JUST PLANTING TREES,
THE ST. WILLIAMS NURSERY
AND ECOLOGY CENTRE
IS NOW HELPING LAND OWNERS
LIKE THE NATURE
CONSERVANCY OF CANADA
RESTORE SOME OF
THE DIVERSE HABITATS
THAT ONCE EXISTED HERE.

Wendy says NCC ACQUIRED THIS
PROPERTY ABOUT FIVE YEARS AGO.
IT WAS FORMERLY A FARM.
THE FIELD THAT'S BEHIND ME
HAS BEEN RESTORED WITH ABOUT
50 TO 80 DIFFERENT SPECIES
OF WILDFLOWERS,
AND PRAIRIE GRASSES,
AND TREE SEEDS,
AND SHRUBS.

The Narrator says ONE OF THE BIG CHANGES
IN RESTORATION PRACTICE
IS THE PLANTING OF NATIVE
PRAIRIE GRASSES FIRST,
BEFORE PLANTING TREES.

The caption changes to "Doctor Brian Oshowski. Restoration Ecologist. Loyola University Chicago." Brian sits on the ground by tall grass. He is in his thirties, with a goatee and brown hair. He wears a blue shirt.

Brian says WHEN WE'RE LOOKING AT
TALL GRASS PRAIRIE SYSTEMS,
WE USUALLY THINK OF
THE GREAT EXPANSES
OF PRAIRIE
THAT'S GOING TO BE
IN THE MIDDLE OF
THE UNITED STATES
AND IN THE SOUTHERN AND
MIDDLE PORTIONS OF CANADA.
BUT PRAIRIE GRASSES ARE
AN INTEGRAL PART
OF THIS LANDSCAPE.
AND IT'S REALLY GOOD TO GET
THESE VERY LARGE GRASSES
TO ESTABLISH
BECAUSE THEY HAVE VERY
LARGE ROOTING SYSTEMS.
THEY CAN REDUCE
THE AMOUNT OF EROSION,
AND THE ENVIRONMENT
CAN STABILIZE,
AND SOILS CAN
BUILD AND DEVELOP.

The Narrator says PART OF THIS PROPERTY
WAS SET ASIDE BY THE NCC
FOR DR. BRIAN
OSHOWSKI'S RESEARCH
ON IMPROVING THE SURVIVAL
OF NATIVE PRAIRIE GRASS
ON SAND BARRENS.
FUNDED BY THE ONTARIO
AGGREGATE INDUSTRY,
BRIAN'S WORK CAN BE APPLIED
NOT ONLY TO THE SANDY SOILS
OF LONG POINT
BUT ALSO TO THE REHABILITATION
OF FORMER SAND QUARRIES.

Brian measures grass and flowers.

Brian says WHEN WE'RE
LOOKING AT A SAND PIT,
WE'RE MISSING ALL OF
THE IMPORTANT ELEMENTS
THAT MAKE SOIL...
SOIL.
SO WE'RE TRYING TO
CHANGE THE SOIL CONDITIONS
TO BE MORE FAVOURABLE
TO GROW THESE NATIVE PLANTS.

The Narrator says BRIAN HAS
EXPERIMENTED WITH SOIL CONDITIONERS
LIKE COMPOST AND BIOCHAR,
A CHARCOAL-LIKE SUBSTANCE
CREATED BY ROASTING
ORGANIC MATERIAL
IN THE ABSENCE OF OXYGEN.

Pictures show Brian unloading dark dirt onto a demarcated piece of land.

Brian says BIO-CHAR IS QUITE INTERESTING
BECAUSE PRAIRIES
ARE REGULARLY BURNED,
AND THE PLANTS THAT ARE HERE
ARE ACTUALLY VERY ADAPTED
TO BEING BURNED PERIODICALLY.
SO WE ARE THINKING THAT
THE ADDITION OF THE BIO-CHAR
IS A NATURAL COMPONENT
TO THIS LANDSCAPE.

The Narrator says ALTHOUGH BRIAN'S
WORK IS ONGOING,
HE BELIEVES THAT A COMBINATION
OF COMPOST AND BIO-CHAR,
MIXED INTO
DEGRADED, SANDY SOILS,
WILL ENHANCE THE GROWTH
OF NATIVE GRASSES.

Brian says IT WILL TAKE A VERY LONG TIME
FOR THE NATIVE PLANT
COMMUNITIES TO RECOVER,
AND WE WOULDN'T
NECESSARILY LOOK AT
THESE HIGHLY-IMPACTED
SAND SYSTEMS AS BEING
NATIVE,
HIGH-BIODIVERSITY,
TALL GRASS PRAIRIE
ECOSYSTEMS.
BUT WE'RE PLACING IT
ON A TRAJECTORY.

The Narrator says MANY BELIEVE
THAT THE FINAL STEP
TO RESTORE LONG POINT'S
ECOSYSTEM
IS TO CONNECT THE DOTS,
TO CREATE NATURAL CORRIDORS
BETWEEN FORESTED AREAS,
ALLOWING WILDLIFE TO MOVE
FREELY THROUGHOUT THE REGION.

The animated map appears. A green ramification reads "Forest Corridors."
(crowd chatter)

Paul says 'KAY, WHO WANTS THESE TREES?

Boys say
ME!

Paul says I'LL PUT IT IN THIS
BUCKET HERE FIRST.

A boy says CAN I GET
EXTRA TREES?

Paul says EXTRA TREES...

A woman says IS IT DEEP ENOUGH? CHECK IT.

The caption changes to "Paul Gagnon. Land and Water Supervisor. Long Point Region Conservation Authority." Paul is in his mid-thirties, clean-shaven with blond hair. He wears a woollen hat and checked gray jacket.

Paul says THIS IS OUR ANNUAL
SCOUT PLANTING DAY.
AND THEY USUALLY PLANT
ANYWHERE BETWEEN, Y'KNOW,
2,000 AND 4,000 TREES.

The Narrator says ONTARIO POWER GENERATION
PROVIDES THE LONG POINT
CONSERVATION AUTHORITY
WITH TREES
AS PART OF THE ONTARIO
POWER GENERATION
FOREST CORRIDOR PROJECT.
MORE THAN ONE MILLION TREES
HAVE BEEN PLANTED SO FAR,
RESTORING OVER 1,000 ACRES
IN A BID TO CONNECT
CAROLINIAN FOREST BLOCKS
IN THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE.

Kids plant trees.

The woman says YOU GOT IT, BUD?

Paul says NCC OWNS THE LAND.
AND WHAT WE DO IS WE TRY TO
ACHIEVE THE SAME GOALS AS NCC.
WE TRY TO BEEF UP
EXISTING FOREST TRACTS.
AS YOU CAN SEE, WE'VE GOT
A WOOD LOT OVER HERE,
AND A WOOD LOT BACK HERE,
AND ONE ACROSS THE ROAD,
SO WE'RE ACTUALLY
FILLING A GAP HERE.
WHAT I ENJOY ABOUT IT IS
THE KIDS NOT ONLY
GET TO PLANT SOME TREES
AND GET TO LEARN
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT
RESTORATION AND
TREE PLANTING,
BUT THEY ALSO
JUST GET OUTSIDE.
SO IT'S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
FOR THEM TO ENJOY NATURE,
AND HOPEFULLY THEY CARRY THAT
THROUGH THEIR LIFE.

The Narrator says SURROUNDED BY
HUNDRED YEAR OLD TREES
PLANTED BY THEIR ANCESTORS
AS PART OF CANADA'S FIRST
MAJOR REFORESTATION EFFORT,
THESE KIDS ARE FOLLOWING IN
SOME PRETTY BIG FOOTSTEPS.
IT'S SOMETHING OF WHICH
PAUL GAGNON,
WHO'S WORKED ON THIS
PROJECT FOR 14 YEARS,
IS KEENLY AWARE.

Paul says IT'S HARD TO COMPETE
WITH WHAT THEY DID.
I'D LIKE TO THINK THAT
WE'RE LEARNING FROM
WHAT THEY'VE LEARNED,
AND WE'RE UTILIZING
THAT INFORMATION,
AND MAYBE ADDING
A LITTLE BIT TO IT.

The Narrator says THE FORESTERS
OF A HUNDRED YEARS AGO
WEREN'T THINKING
OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
BUT TODAY
ECOLOGISTS LIKE PAUL
ARE DESIGNING THEIR
RESTORATION EFFORTS
TO MAXIMIZE THE
AMOUNT OF CARBON
THAT'S CAPTURED OR SEQUESTERED
FROM THE ATMOSPHERE
DURING THE PROCESS.

Paul says THROUGH THE PLANTING OF
PRAIRIE GRASS RIGHT OFF THE BAT,
WHAT HAPPENS IS IT STARTS TO
SEQUESTER CARBON RIGHT AWAY.
WHEREAS TREES MAY
SIT FOR, Y'KNOW,
THE FIRST TWO OR THREE YEARS
AND NOT SEQUESTER MUCH AT ALL.
AND AS THE PRAIRIE KEEPS
SEQUESTERING THE CARBON,
THE TREES START TO COME ON,
AND THEN IT STARTS TO
SHADE OUT THE PRAIRIE.
SO YOU ACTUALLY MAXIMIZE
THAT CARBON SEQUESTRATION
WITH THOSE DIFFERENT SPECIES.

The Narrator says THANKS TO RESTORATION
EFFORTS OLD AND NEW,
LONG POINT CONTINUES
TO CLOSE IN ON
THE THIRTY PERCENT
NATURAL COVER
THAT MANY ECOLOGISTS BELIEVE
IS CRUCIAL FOR MAINTAINING
BOTH BIODIVERSITY
AND ECOLOGICAL
GOODS AND SERVICES
LIKE CLEAN AIR AND WATER.
AND TRUE TO THE SPIRIT
OF A BIOSPHERE RESERVE,
THIS HAS BEEN ACHIEVED
NOT IN SPITE OF HUMAN USE,
BUT BECAUSE OF IT.
ALTHOUGH, AS WITH EVERYTHING
IN THIS LAND OF SAND,
WHAT'S BEEN
ACHIEVED HERE IS FRAGILE.
ONLY A SMALL
PERCENTAGE OF LAND
IS PROTECTED BY GOVERNMENT
AND THE NATURE CONSERVANCY
OF CANADA.
THE REST IS IN
THE HANDS OF FARMERS
WHO LIVE IN A DELICATE BALANCE
WITH THE REGION'S SANDY SOILS.

Wendy says I THINK PEOPLE
IN THIS AREA
ARE OCCASIONALLY
REMINDED OF
THE WASTELANDS
OF THE PAST
AND THE EFFECTS
OF DEFORESTATION.
BUT IT IS FAIRLY
EASY TO FORGET,
WHEN YOU SEE ALL
THE FORESTED LANDS
AND ALL THE WINDBREAKS
THAT ARE NOW ON THE LANDSCAPE.

The Narrator says EARLY REFORESTATION SUCCESS
HINGED ON THE HIGH-
VALUE TOBACCO CROP,
WHICH GAVE FARMERS A REASON
TO STAY ON THE LAND
AND PLANT HEDGEROWS
AND WOODLOTS
TO CONTROL BLOWING SAND.
BUT IN 2009,
THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT DISMANTLED
THE TOBACCO QUOTA SYSTEM.
AND SINCE THEN, SOME FARMERS
HAVE TURNED TO CROPS
THAT REQUIRE MUCH LARGER
ACREAGES TO BE PROFITABLE.

Harry says QUITE FRANKLY,
WITH ALL THE
FARMS GOING FROM
A HUNDRED ACRES
TO A THOUSAND,
I'M CONCERNED
THAT WE'RE GONNA
GO THROUGH
THE WHOLE THING AGAIN.

Dolf says WE'RE GETTING
SUCH BIG MACHINES
IN OUR FIELDS
THAT PEOPLE ARE
STARTING TO TAKE DOWN
THE WIND BREAKS
THAT WERE PLANTED.
AND I THINK THERE'S
GOING TO BE A DAY
THAT WE ARE GOING TO
SEE MORE DAMAGE AGAIN.

Harry says WE NEVER SEEM TO LEARN.

He chuckles.

The Narrator says WHILE SOME FARMERS
MAY BE FORGETTING THE PAST,
OTHERS ARE EMBRACING
ITS LESSONS
AS THEY SHAPE A NEW FUTURE.
STEVE AND ANITA BUEHNER
ARE RE-PURPOSING THEIR
TOBACCO FARM, BONNIEHEATH,
INTO A LAVENDER FARM,
WINERY,
AND AGRI-TOURISM
DESTINATION.

The caption changes to "Anita Buehner. Owner, Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery." Anita is in her fifties with short gray hair. She wears a dark red polo shirt.

Anita says IN 2009,
THE GOVERNMENT PUT US
OUT OF BUSINESS, BASICALLY,
AND TOLD US TO CREATE SOMETHING
NEW WITH OUR LIVES.
LAVENDER GROWS VERY WELL
IN WELL-DRAINING SOIL,
WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT
WAS VERY SIMILAR TO
THE TOBACCO SOIL TYPES.
SO WE KNEW THAT LAVENDER
COULD BE GROWN
SUCCESSFULLY HERE
IN NORFOLK COUNTY.
WE WERE ALSO INVOLVED WITH
A GROUP OF LOCAL GRAPE GROWERS
THAT WERE LOOKING
AT ESTABLISHING
WINERIES IN THE AREA.

A man wearing a cap cuts lavender.

The Narrator says TO HELP TURN THEIR FARM INTO
AN AGRI-TOURISM DESIGNATION,
ANITA AND STEVE HAVE
WORKED CLOSELY WITH
ALTERNATIVE LAND USE SERVICES,
OR ALUS,
WHICH PROVIDES
FUNDING TO FARMERS
WILLING TO TRANSFORM
SOME OF THEIR LAND
INTO NATURAL HABITATS.

The caption changes to "Chris Van Passen. Partnership Advisory Committee Chair, ALUS Norfolk." Chris stands in a park. He is in his late fifties, clean-shaven with white hair. He wears glasses and a blue shirt.

Chris says THIS HAS ALWAYS BEEN
ONE OF MY EXAMPLES OF
THE RESILIENCY OF
THE NORFOLK COUNTY FARMER.
THIS USED TO BE
A BEAUTIFUL TOBACCO FARM,
AND THE BEUHNER FAMILY
TOOK THEIR FARMING OPERATION
INTO A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.
AND THEY GAVE SOME OF THE FARM
BACK TO MOTHER NATURE
THROUGH THE ALUS PROGRAM.

The Narrator says WITH ALUS'S HELP,
THE BEAUHNERS CREATED
A WETLAND
ON A LOW PART
OF THEIR PROPERTY.
AND TO STOP EROSION,
THEY CONVERTED 20 ACRES
OF MARGINAL LAND
INTO TALL GRASS PRAIRIE.
PRAIRIES NEED TO BE BURNED
IN ORDER TO BE MAINTAINED,
AND TALL GRASS ONTARIO,
A CHARITY DEDICATED TO
THE MAINTENANCE OF ONTARIO'S
REMAINING PRAIRIE HABITATS,
HAS COME TO BONNIEHEATH TO
ORCHESTRATE A PRESCRIBED BURN.

The caption changes to "Jack Chapman. Past President, Tall Grass Ontario." Jack stands by a tractor. He is in his fifties and clean-shaven. He wears a cap, a yellow shirt, headsets, and carries a small backpack.

Jack says HERE TODAY,
OUR GOAL IS TO CONSUME
THE BIOMASS THAT'S ON THE SITE,
AND DO IT IN A SAFE MANNER.
THE PRAIRIE IS A NATURAL
FIRE-DEPENDENT ECOSYSTEM.

The caption changes to "Steve Buehner. Owner, Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery." Steve is in his fifties, with a moustache and short hair. He wears gloves, orange shirt and a cap.

Steve says IF YOU LEAVE THESE
PRAIRIES ALONE,
EVENTUALLY THEY'RE GONNA TURN
BACK INTO WOODS, INTO FORESTS.
SO BURNING IT KEEPS
THE YOUNG SAPLINGS
AND THE INVASIVE
SPECIES OUT OF IT,
SO IT KEEPS IT
A HEALTHY PRAIRIE.

An aerial view shows black smoke coming out of a controlled fire.

Anita says WE HAVE NOW WITNESSED
THE IMMEDIATE RESULTS
OF THAT BURN,
IN THAT
OUR PRAIRIE GRASSES ARE
LOOKING MUCH HEALTHIER,
THE WILDFLOWERS ARE
MUCH MORE ABUNDANT.

Chris says IF YOU DIG DOWN IN THERE,
THE WHOLE THING IS MOVING.
IT'S ALIVE WITH
THE NATIVE POLLINATORS
THAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T
EVEN REALIZE EXIST.
WE TRY TO ENHANCE
THAT TYPE OF HABITAT
AND GIVE THE POLLINATORS
A GOOD PLACE TO LIVE
AND A GOOD START IN LIFE.
THEN THEY CAN GO DO
THE WORK FOR US FARMERS
AND POLLINATE THE CROPS.

Anita says TRANSITION IS REALLY TOUGH,
BUT STEVE AND I
ARE THRILLED WITH
THE DIRECTION
OUR FARM HAS GONE.
WE LOVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL
PROJECTS.
THAT WETLAND NOW IS PART OF
A WALKING TOUR THAT
WE'VE ESTABLISHED
IN OUR AGRI-TOURISM BUSINESS.
ALONG WITH THE PRAIRIE GRASSES,
WHICH ADD BEAUTY TO THE FARM,
AS WELL AS PROVIDING
ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS.
THE PROJECTS HAVE
CONTRIBUTED GREATLY
TO OUR BUSINESS HERE.

Bottles of wine and lavender products sit on shelves in a shop.

Chris says WITHIN THE BIOSPHERE RESERVE,
WE HAVE INTENSIVE AGRICULTURE
NEXT DOOR TO SOME OF THE MOST
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRAGILE AREAS
IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY.
AND I THINK AT ALUS
WE RECOGNIZE
YOU STILL HAVE TO EAT.
AND THE FOOD COMES
FROM THE FARMS.
BUT MAYBE WE CAN GIVE THOSE
MARGINAL LITTLE FRINGES
BACK TO MOTHER NATURE
AND WE WILL CONTINUE OUR
INTENSIVE AGRICULTURE
ON THE PRIME STUFF
THAT'S LEFT OVER.

Wendy says THERE'S A PLACE FOR PEOPLE,
AND THERE'S A PLACE FOR NATURE
TO BE PROTECTED, AS WELL.
AND TRYING TO FIND THAT BALANCE
IS AN ONGOING CHALLENGE.

The Narrator says IN THE LONG POINT
BIOSPHERE RESERVE,
NOWHERE IS THE CHALLENGE OF
BALANCING THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE
AND NATURE GREATER
THAN THE LONG POINT CAUSEWAY.
WHILE THE MAJORITY
OF THE POINT
WAS PROTECTED BY
THE LONG POINT COMPANY,
THE BASE OF THE POINT
BECAME A PEOPLE PLACE,
HOME TO A COTTAGE COMMUNITY
AND A PROVINCIAL PARK.
A CAUSEWAY CONNECTS
THE MAINLAND TO THE COMMUNITY,
CUTTING RIGHT THROUGH CRITICAL
WILDLIFE HABITATS.
A 2005 STUDY
IDENTIFIED THIS ROAD
AS ONE OF THE DEADLIEST
IN NORTH AMERICA
FOR AMPHIBIANS
AND REPTILES,
KILLING ALMOST
10,000 ANIMALS EVERY YEAR.
IT'S A PROBLEM OF WHICH
BIOLOGIST SCOTT GILLINGWATER
IS ACUTELY AWARE.

A dead turtle and a snake lie by a road.

Scott says IN ORDER TO
PROTECT AND RECOVER A LOT OF
THESE THREATENED SPECIES,
WE NEED TO RETAIN
THE ADULT POPULATION.
AND WE WERE FINDING
ON SOME DAYS,
MULTIPLE ADULT ANIMALS WERE
BEING LOST ALONG THE CAUSEWAY.
SO THIS IS DEVASTATING NOT
ONLY TO A TURTLE RESEARCHER,
BUT TO THE POPULATION ITSELF.
WITHOUT LARGE NUMBERS
OF ADULT ANIMALS,
YOU'RE GONNA HAVE
A POPULATION CRASH.
SO MYSELF AND PAUL ASHLEY FROM
THE CANADIAN WILDLIFE SERVICE
DECIDED TO GET A GROUP OF LIKE-
MINDED INDIVIDUALS TOGETHER
TO SEE WHAT COULD BE DONE
TO PREVENT TURTLES FROM
GETTING KILLED ALONG THE ROAD

The Narrator says THIS GROUP OF
LIKE-MINDED INDIVIDUALS
INCLUDED LONG-TIME
COTTAGER RICK LEVICK.

Rick Levick sits in a living room. He is in his sixties, clean-shaven with white hair. He wears a pale green shirt.

Rick says IF THEY CAN'T EXIST IN A
WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVE,
BESIDE A NATIONAL
WILDLIFE AREA,
THEY DON'T HAVE
A CHANCE ANYWHERE ELSE.
SO WE FELT THAT,
HEY, THIS IS THE PLACE
WHERE THIS MAY BE
THESE ANIMALS' LAST STAND,
SO LET'S DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

The Narrator says THE FIRST THING THE
CAUSEWAY IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
DID WAS LAUNCH AN
EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
TO LET PEOPLE KNOW
HOW BIG THE PROBLEM WAS,
AND TO ENCOURAGE THEM TO
CAREFULLY HELP TURTLES
CROSS THE ROAD.

A man stops his car by a road and uses a stick to carefully move a turtle to the other side of the road.

The Narrator continues NEXT, THEY INSTALLED
NEARLY FIVE KILOMETRES
OF FENCING ALONG THE ROAD,
WHICH IS NOT AN EASY TASK
IN THE LOW-LYING MARSHES
OF LONG POINT.
BUT THE WORK PAID OFF,
HAVING AN ALMOST IMMEDIATE
IMPACT ON ROAD MORTALITY.

Rick says WITHIN JUST THREE YEARS,
WE REDUCED THE ROAD KILL
BY OVER 50 PERCENT,
AND OVER 60 PERCENT
FOR THE SPECIES AT RISK.

The Narrator says BUT THE FENCING
CREATED ANOTHER PROBLEM.

Rick says BY PUTTING IN THE FENCING
AND KEEPING THEM OFF THE ROAD,
WE'RE PREVENTING THEM
FROM MOVING THROUGH
THE HABITAT THAT'S ON ONE SIDE
OF THE ROAD OR THE OTHER.
SO WE WANTED TO
CORRECT THAT PROBLEM
BY PUTTING PASSAGEWAYS OR
CULVERTS UNDERNEATH THE ROAD.
AND THEN THEY COULD
PASS BACK AND FORTH
AS THEIR LIFE-
CYCLE REQUIRED.

A crane lifts a large square piece of concrete and places it at one side of the road.

The Narrator says HAS RAISED MORE THAN
TWO MILLION DOLLARS
TO INSTALL TEN SPECIALLY-
DESIGNED WILDLIFE CULVERTS.
THE CULVERTS ARE
RE-CONNECTING
TERRESTRIAL AND
AQUATIC HABITATS
THAT HAVE BEEN DISRUPTED FOR
DECADES DUE TO THE CAUSEWAY.
TO SEE IF THE WILDLIFE
CULVERTS ARE WORKING,
RICK HAS ENLISTED THE HELP OF
MCMASTER UNIVERSITY BIOLOGIST
CHANTEL MARKLE.

The caption changes to "Chantel Markel. PhD Candidate, Deparment of Biology, McMaster University." Chantel is in her mid-twenties with blond hair in a braid. She wears a blue windproof jacket.

Chantel says SO WHERE MY PROJECT FITS IN
IS LOOKING AT,
"DO THE TURTLES ACTUALLY
USE THE CULVERTS?"
THE FIRST YEAR WE HAD
30 BLANDING'S TURTLES
THAT WERE A PART
OF THE PROJECT.

Chantel walks in a stream holding a type of antenna.

Chantel says I GOT HIM!
Holding a turtle, she continues THIS BLANDING'S HAS BEEN
A PART OF OUR STUDY
SINCE LAST YEAR.
SO HE HAS TWO TAGS
THAT ARE GLUED ONTO
THE BACK OF HIS SHELL HERE.
THE FIRST IS THE RADIO TAG,
AND THEN THE PIT TAG.
AND THE PIT TAG IS THE TAG
THAT WORKS WITH THE ANTENNAS
THAT ARE SET UP AT THE ENTRANCE
TO THE CULVERTS.
SO WE CAN TELL WHETHER HE'S
USING THE CULVERTS OR NOT.
SO EVERY WEEK,
WE DOWNLOAD THE DATA.
SO IT'S ALWAYS KIND OF
EXCITING TO SEE, LIKE,
WAS THERE ANY
TURTLES USING IT?
SO THE FIRST TURTLE
THAT WE HAD,
THE TAG WAS LOGGED
MULTIPLE TIMES.
SO WE COULD TELL THAT THE
TURTLE WAS ACTUALLY JUST
SITTING IN THE OPENING
OF THE CULVERT,
AS IF, "DO I REALLY
WANT TO GO THROUGH THIS?
THIS IS NEW."
AND THEN HE DID ACTUALLY GO
ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
AND THEN, WHEN HE CAME BACK TO
THE MARSH LATER IN THE YEAR,
HE USED THE SAME CULVERT AGAIN.
IT WAS JUST ONE
DATA POINT WAS LOGGED,
SO WE KNOW THAT HE JUST SWAM
RIGHT THROUGH THE CULVERT.

Chantel looks at a computer screen by a marsh.

She continues WE HAD TWO TURTLES
THAT USED IT
LAST YEAR
OUT OF THE 30,
WHICH DOESN'T
SOUND LIKE A LOT,
BUT IT'S ACTUALLY REALLY
ENCOURAGING RESULTS,
BECAUSE THE OTHER TURTLES
THAT DIDN'T USE THE CULVERT
ACTUALLY WEREN'T SPENDING TIME
VERY CLOSE TO THE ROAD,
AND THEY DIDN'T TRY
TO CROSS THE ROAD.
BUT BECAUSE WE NOW HAVE
THE FENCING AND THE CULVERTS,
THOSE TWO TURTLES THAT WANTED
TO GO IN THAT AREA
WERE ABLE TO DO SO SAFELY.

Rick says FOR ME, WHENEVER
I DRIVE ACROSS THE CAUSEWAY,
MY EYES ARE SCANNING THE ROAD
TO SEE IF THERE'S ANYTHING
BEEN KILLED ON THE ROAD.
AND IF I GET TO THE END
OF THE CAUSEWAY,
AND NOTHING...
I SEE NOTHING ON THE ROAD...
IT'S A REALLY GOOD DAY.

Scott says I AM VERY HAPPY
WITH THE SUCCESS OF
OUR EFFORTS SO FAR
ALONG THE CAUSEWAY.
WE'VE SEEN DRASTIC REDUCTIONS
IN WILDLIFE MORTALITY,
BUT WE'VE ALSO SEEN
MANY IN THE COMMUNITY
COME TOGETHER TO
HELP SUPPORT IT.
HOWEVER, THERE ARE OTHER
FACTORS THAT RESULT IN
THE DECLINE OF REPTILES
AND TURTLES IN PARTICULAR.
AND OVER THE PAST TEN YEARS,
I'VE SEEN MAJOR AREAS OF
THE LONG POINT BIOSPHERE RESERVE
THAT'VE BEEN LOST TO
AN INVASIVE PLANT SPECIES
CALLED PHRAGMITES.

People walk along a road wearing helmets and safety vests. A person disguised as turtle walks with them.

Rick says I THINK ONE OF
THE PROBLEMS WE HAD
WITH ONE OF THE CULVERTS
THAT WE PUT IN,
AND THE ANIMALS NOT USING IT,
IS THAT THERE WAS A HUGE
STAND OF PHRAGMITES
QUITE CLOSE BY,
AND THEY REALLY COULDN'T PASS
THROUGH THAT PHRAGMITES STAND
TO ACCESS THE CULVERT.

The Narrator says STEVE ARMSTRONG AND HIS CREW
HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE
FOR MAINTAINING
THE WILDLIFE FENCES
ALONG THE CAUSEWAY
FOR THE PAST SEVEN YEARS,
AND PHRAGMITES HAS BEEN
MAKING THEIR JOB
INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT.

The caption changes to "Steve Armstrong. Owner, Steve Armstrong Maintenance." Steve is in his mid-fifties, with a long white beard. He wears a black, blue hooded sweater and gray dungarees.

Sitting in a tractor, Steve says IT IS A NIGHTMARE.
TO TELL YOU
THE HONEST TRUTH,
TO TELL YOU WE'VE
FIGURED IT OUT...
WE HAVEN'T
FIGURED IT OUT,
BECAUSE IT'S SO TOUGH.
LIKE, WE'VE TRIED USING
WEED WHOPPERS,
WE'VE TRIED MACHETES,
AND IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO
DEAL WITH THIS STUFF, RIGHT?
EVERY DAY, WE'RE TRYIN' TO
FIGURE OUT HOW TO DEAL WITH IT.

The Narrator says DR. JANICE GILBERT
IS A WETLAND ECOLOGIST
WHO LIVES NEAR LONG POINT
AND WORKS FOR THE NATURE
CONSERVANCY OF CANADA.
SHE HAS BECOME A LEADING
EXPERT ON PHRAGMITES.

The caption changes to "Doctor Janice Gilbert. Wetland Ecologist."

Janice walks in tall grass. She is in her early forties with short curly brown hair. She wears a cap and a blue sweater.

Janice says A BAD DAY IN A WETLAND
IS BETTER THAN
A GOOD DAY
IN AN OFFICE,
EXCEPT WHEN I'M
IN PHRAGMITES.
I CAN'T SEE
WHERE I'M GOING...
IT CUTS YOU,
IT POKES YOU...
IT'S LIKE BEING
IN A SAUNA.
ONCE I GET IN ABOUT TEN METERS,
IT'S LIKE A DEAD ZONE.
THERE'S NO EVIDENCE OF
WILDLIFE WHATSOEVER.
NO SCAT,
NO TRACK,
NO NESTS,
OR NATIVE PLANTS
AT ALL.

The Narrator says AND HOW IT ARRIVED
IN CANADA IS UNCLEAR,
IN NOVA SCOTIA IN 1910.
BY 1948,
IT WAS IN THE WETLANDS OF
ONTARIO AT WALPOLE ISLAND
AND HAS BEEN SPREADING ACROSS
THE PROVINCE EVER SINCE.

The animated map appears. A growing yellow area stretches upwards. A dialog box reads "Walpole Island."

Janice says THE SEED HEADS HAVE MAYBE
2,000 SEEDS ON THEM.
NOT ALL OF THEM ARE VIABLE.
BUT IF YOU HAVE MILLIONS AND
MILLIONS OF SEEDS OUT THERE,
THERE'S A LOT OF VIABLE SEEDS.
I'D ACTUALLY TRACKED THE GROWTH
OF THE PHRAGMITES.
AND WITHIN FOUR DAYS,
YOU HAD ALMOST
A METER OF GROWTH
WITH NEW SHOOTS
COMING UP.
THERE AREN'T ANY
WETLANDS DOWN HERE
THAT DON'T HAVE
PHRAGMITES IN THEM.
IT'S JUST A MATTER
OF THE DEGREE
OF HOW EXTENSIVE
THE PHRAGMITES IS.
WE ESTIMATE RIGHT NOW
THERE'S PROBABLY ABOUT
40 PERCENT OF
DENSE PHRAGMITES.
WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
THOUSANDS OF ACRES.
SO EVEN WHERE IT'S SPARSE,
IF WE WERE NOT TO DO
ANYTHING WITH IT,
THAT WHOLE AREA
WOULD BE GONE
IN ABOUT
HALF A DECADE.

Aerial views show wetlands.

The Narrator says RICK LUSKA IS A COTTAGER
WHOSE PROPERTY IS NEXT TO
ONE OF LONG POINT'S
BIGGEST PHRAGMITES
INFESTATIONS.
HE AND HIS NEIGHBOURS
ARE DETERMINED
TO DO SOMETHING
ABOUT THE PROBLEM.

The caption changes to "Rick Luska. Long Point Cottager." Luska is in his early sixties, with short white hair and white moustache. He wears a white cap, yellow, black and gray sweater under a red sport vest.

Luska says RIGHT NOW,
THIS IS MORE
PERSONAL FOR ME
BECAUSE I'VE BEEN
HERE SINCE 1955,
AND I CAN SEE
WHAT'S GOING ON.
YOU COULD WALK ANYWHERE
ON THESE CHANNELS
WITH A BATHING SUIT ON,
A FISHING POLE.
AND BACK THEN,
I DIDN'T EVEN WEAR SHOES,
OR SOCKS,
OR ANYTHING.
AND YOU COULD WALK
ANYWHERE HERE.
AND YOU TRY
AND DO THAT NOW!
YOU CAN JUST LOOK
DOWN THESE CHANNELS,
AND I DEFY YOU TO GO FISHING
DOWN THESE CHANNELS.
I MEAN, WE JUST CLEANED
THIS WHOLE AREA UP.
I SAW ONE MOUSE...
THAT WAS IT.
THERE USED TO BE
SNAKES EVERYWHERE.
THERE USED TO BE
TURTLES EVERYWHERE.
YOU DON'T SEE THAT ANY MORE.
SO THIS IS A SMALL STEP
THAT WE CAN DO.
BUT WE NEED TO GET
THE PEOPLE TOGETHER,
AND WE NEED TO GET
THE GOVERNMENT ON BOARD.
AND WE'RE GONNA SEE
IF WE CAN GET THIS
BACK TO WHERE
IT SHOULD BE.

Luska uses a lawnmower to clean an area.

The Narrator says RICK KNOWS HIS
EFFORTS ARE LARGELY SYMBOLIC.
CUTTING ALONE WON'T
KILL PHRAGMITES.
ITS LONG ROOTS MEAN THAT THESE
PLANTS WILL REGROW NEXT YEAR.
BUT FOR THE PAST DECADE,
DR. JANICE GILBERT HAS BEEN
WORKING WITH A RETIRED FARMER,
FRANK LETOURNEAU,
ON A METHOD TO ERADICATE
PHRAGMITES.

The caption changes to "Frank Letourneau. Natural Habitat Restoration Specialist. Dove Agricultural Service Inc." Frank stands by a large agricultural machine. He is in his late fifties, clean-shaven with short hair. He wears a hat and a blue overall.

Frank says THIS IS AN
EXTERMINATION PROCESS.
WE SPRAY IT,
WE ROLL IT,
AND THEN WE BURN IT.

The Narrator says TODAY FRANK IS
TAKING THE FIRST STEP
TO RESTORE 90 ACRES
OF A LONG POINT WETLAND
KNOWN AS THE CROWN MARSH.

Frank says WE HAVE THREE MACHINES.
AND YOU NEED THREE MACHINES
TO KEEP TWO GOING.
YOU HAVE TO HAVE TRACKS,
BECAUSE THAT
PHRAG PLANT
WILL GO RIGHT
THROUGH A TIRE.

Janice says WHEN WE'RE DEALING
WITH COASTAL WETLANDS
ON A MASSIVE SCALE
LIKE WE ARE HERE,
WE DON'T HAVE
MECHANICAL METHODS.
WE HAVE TO USE A CHEMICAL.
I'M A WETLAND ECOLOGIST.
I SPEND A LOT OF TIME
IN WETLANDS.
IT TOOK ME A WHILE TO GET
CONVINCED THAT THIS WAS
A PROPER WAY TO DO IT,
AND I AM NOW AT THAT STAGE.

Frank says RIGHT NOW,
IT IS THE ONLY WAY
TO GET RID OF PHRAGMITES.
IT'S ROUNDUP AND
SOYBEAN OIL THAT WE USE.

Frank stands atop a type of tractor. As it moves, he sprays a field.

Janice says THEY ARE LOW-TOXICITY
FOR HUMANS,
FOR WILDLIFE,
EVEN BEES.

Frank says AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THERE
BUT AIR,
AND MOSQUITOS,
AND TICKS.
THERE'S NO WILDLIFE WHATSOEVER.
IT'S VERY SAD TO SEE
THE ANIMALS THAT
I'VE FOUND IN WETLANDS
THAT GOT IN THERE
AND HAVE PERISHED.
I LOVE CLEANING THEM UP
AND RESTORING THEM.

The Narrator says LONG POINT WAS FIRST PROTECTED
BY HUNTERS BACK IN 1866,
SO IT'S NOT SURPRISING
THAT FRANK'S WORK HERE
IS BEING PAID FOR BY A LOCAL
HUNTING ORGANIZATION.

The caption changes to "Jim Malcolm. Past President. Long Point Water fowlers Association." Malcolm is in his early sixties and clean-shaven. He wears a patterned cap, green zip jacket and red T-shirt.

Malcolm says DESPITE THE FACT THAT
THE LONG POINT
WATERFOWLERS ASSOCIATION
IS PERCEIVED TO BE
A BUNCHA DUCK HUNTERS,
WHEN THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
A YEAR AGO WAS HELD,
IT WAS EXPLAINED TO THEM
WHAT AN INCREDIBLY
DELETERIOUS EFFECT
THE PHRAG WAS HAVING ON
OUR BELOVED CROWN MARSH.
AND THEY AGREED THAT
50 PERCENT OF ALL THE MONEY
WE COULD RAISE
SHOULD GO TOWARDS
ERADICATION OF PHRAGMITES.
AND YESTERDAY IT STARTED,
AND IT'S THE VERY FIRST
TIME THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE
TO APPLY A LICENSED CHEMICAL
TO THE PHRAG IN THE CROWN MARSH.

The Narrator says THE 90 ACRES BEING
IS THE LARGEST ATTEMPT YET
TO TACKLE THE PROBLEM.
BUT IT'S A DROP IN THE BUCKET
COMPARED TO
THE THOUSANDS OF ACRES
INFESTED WITH PHRAG.
BUT ERIC CLELAND,
THE ONTARIO MINISTRY OF
NATURAL RESOURCES BIOLOGIST
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MARSH,
HAS HOPE THAT
LONG POINT'S PAST
HAS PREPARED IT TO FACE
THIS DAUNTING CHALLENGE.

The caption changes to "Eric Cleland. Resources Operations Supervisor, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry."

Frank and Eric walk in a marsh. Eric is in his thirties with long brown hair in a ponytail and a goatee. He wears glasses, a gray jacket and orange safety vest.

Eric says THERE'S A LONG-
STANDING TRADITION
OF BATTLING THESE
TYPES OF CHALLENGES
WITH OUR LOCAL
ENVIRONMENT.
OF COURSE, THE NORFOLK
SAND PLAIN WAS
NEARLY A DESERT
100 OR 150 YEARS AGO.
AND A LOT OF TREES WERE PLANTED
TO STABILIZE THE SOILS
AND REBUILD
THE FOREST COVER HERE.
IT'S RESULTED IN
THE HIGHEST FOREST COVER
IN SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO,
AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'RE
VERY PROUD OF HERE LOCALLY.
I SEE THE SAME TYPE OF
CHALLENGE WITH PHRAGMITES.
IT'S REALLY SOMETHING THAT
CERTAINLY WE'RE WILLING TO
RISE TO THE CHALLENGE FOR.

Janice says HAVING A WORLD
BIOSPHERE RESERVE
OVERTAKEN BY PHRAGMITES...
IT'S VERY UPSETTING.
IT'S VERY DISTURBING.
BUT WHAT GIVES ME HOPE
IS THE AMOUNT OF
ENGAGEMENT BY
ALL THE FOLKS DOWN HERE
THAT REALLY WANT TO
DEAL WITH IT.
I SEE LIGHT AT
THE END OF THE TUNNEL.

Frank says WE HAVE TIME AND TIME AGAIN
PROVEN THAT NATURE TAKES OVER,
AND IT COMES BACK
AND REPLENISHES IT
THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE.

Scott says IN SOME WAYS, I'M OPTIMISTIC.
BUT NO SOLUTION IS LONG TERM.
SO IT'S A BIT OF
A MYSTERY RIGHT NOW
OF HOW WE PREVENT THIS PLANT
FROM OVERTAKING THESE SITES.

Luska says WE'RE NOT GONNA GIVE UP.
WE CAN BRING THIS BIOSPHERE
BACK TO WHERE IT SHOULD BE...
BECAUSE YOU SAW HOW BEAUTIFUL
THIS PLACE IS.

Colourful boats cross a wetland.

(music plays)

The end credits roll.

For more on the biosphere reserves of Striking Balance www.striking balance.ca

Director and Editor, Zach Melnick.

Producer and Graphics, Yvonne Drebert.

Executive Producer TVO, Jane Jarkovic.

Copyright 2016, Striking Balance Inc.

Watch: Striking Balance - Ep. 1