On Sunday, October 5, the Friends of the Sanctuary held a special day to welcome visitors from South Dundas and regions far outside the local area to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary near Ingleside, Ontario.
What many of the visitors found they could not do this year was use the open water board walks along the Blue Heron Trail and the popular Redwing Trail. The serious structural deterioration of those walks has forced the Sanctuary to post them.
Unfortunately, these walks are also the access routes to marshland areas where special educational programs often take place.
Hundreds of people, many of them families with small children, take advantage of opportunities to come out and support the Friends and the work they do to build wildlife education, maintain trails, and ensure that birds and animals in this area have a safe year round sanctuary. On Sunday, there were displays, exhibits, and special shows featuring both birds of prey and mammals. Audiences could see first hand how vital the Sanctuary is to this region.
The Friends of the Sanctuary have launched a programme, the Get On Board Project, to try and raise the funds to rebuild the park’s vital walkways, and to restore them to the use of all visitors to the preserve.
“We want to re-build the board walks, yes, but we also want to construct them with educational platforms so that we will be able to provide educational classes for students,” said Sue Clavet, treasurer for the Friends of the Sanctuary. “We also want to make the new boardwalks wheelchair accessible. This is a huge endeavour to raise enough funds to carry this out. We need volunteers to help us in this project, and to also come up with ideas that will help the project.”
It is estimated that the cost of restoring/replacing and enhancing the boardwalks at the Sanctuary will cost over $400,000.
Some local businesses, including Morrisburg Home Hardware, which donated bird seed for sale October 5, profits to the Project, are already trying to help. The support of the public will be desperately needed to improve the park which draws 60,000 visitors yearly.
Go to friendsofthesanctuary.org to Get On Board and help restore the park trails.