THUNDER BAY, ON --- August 15, 2011 -- The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority (LRCA) along with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is proud to unveil the Mission Marsh Learning Trails at Mission Island Marsh Conservation Area on August 24, 2011.
A formal ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiling of the trailhead sign is scheduled to occur at 11:30 a.m. on the morning of August 24, with representatives from the LRCA and OPG present for some short speeches. At 1:00 p.m., employees of OPG along with LRCA staff will be planting 40 shrubs along the route of the first leg of the Learning Trails. The Ontario Junior Rangers planted 20 trees along the route prior to the official unveiling. A plant biologist identified specific species of trees and shrubs that are native to the area. The plants that were chosen all benefit the Provincially Significant Wetland, and provide forage for pollinating insects, songbirds, and small mammals. Some of the trees and shrubs chosen include raspberry, red maple, white pine, and serviceberry.
This program is another of many successful partnerships between Ontario Power Generation and the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority. “Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is pleased to partner with the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority to bring the Mission Marsh Learning Trail to the people of Thunder Bay and visitors to the city,” said Chris Fralick, Plant Manager for OPG’s Northwest Thermal operations. The goal of the program is to continue to provide a beautiful area for people to walk, jog, and enjoy nature, while creating an opportunity to learn more about the surrounding ecosystem. By providing educational information to the public in the form of a self-guided exploration of the Conservation Area, there can be a better understanding of how the ecosystem of a wetland works, why it is important to treat the area with respect, and provide some interesting information about the native species of plants and animals found in the marsh area. This type of self-guided learning experience also helps foster an understanding of the importance of conservation.
The new Learning Trails, and the associated program, is aligned with OPG’s Corporate Environmental Policy in which two of the requirements are to “Advance Environmental Stewardship” and to “Contribute to Our Communities.” It is a program three years in the making, with two out of three phases completed.
“We are grateful for the continued partnership with Ontario Power Generation,” says Bill Bartley, Chairman of the LRCA, “and we look forward to continuing the tradition of providing the community with quality experiences at the Mission Marsh Conservation Area.” Thunder Bay Generating Station employees also enjoy the local wildlife that can be spotted daily anywhere you look on Mission Island.
There will be food available for purchase at the event, which runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., as well as guided nature hikes, a scavenger hunt for children- and kids’ activity kits.