Maintaining our
wooded heritage for
future generations.

6100 Line 12, West Perth, ON
      N 43° 21.598'
      W 81° 17.683'
      Elev. 1064 ft.


Oct. 6th, 2024

The Sawyer Preservation Woodlot Association was established in 1989 and acts as a "trustee and guardian" for a 28.61 acre wooded tract located in rural southwestern Ontario. The mandate is to manage the property so as to maintain Red Trillium the richness and diversity of the species within its boundaries and to encourage and promote stewardship of the declining wooded areas of this country. In so doing, the property is maintained as a demonstration woodlot and conservation area where the public is welcome.

The woodlot often hosts organized visits ranging from school children to the "Back Road Tours". Abundant flora and fauna attracts a broad spectrum of individuals -- conservation specialists -- the serious nature lover -- those simply wishing solitude. Each visit will provide a new experience. Every day is different -- each season presents its own offering. Wildlife abounds. Residents and transients; common and rare. Each encounter provides that tingle of excitement as one takes in what nature has to offer.

Spring Update 2024
April 21, 2024

Bloodroot — click to enlarge
Although Mother Nature made a brief deposit of snow pellets into the woodlot yesterday, the forest vegetation is showing its spring restlessness. The willow trees exhibit tinges of green and the dog-tooth violets are displaying the occasional flower. Not to be outdone, the Wake Robin (red trillium) and Bloodroot are also making their presence known.

click to enlarge
In general, this winter was not kind to the woodlot. Lack of snowfall, unusual warm periods followed by significant rainfalls and damaging winds — all took a toll. On top of that, vandalism (relatively rare in recent years) reared its ugly head. Irresponsible operation of 4-wheelers was highly damaging to both our wet areas and trails. As a result, steps are being taken to discourage off-road vehicles and activities detrimental to the woodlot's well-being. The road to recovery will be time consuming.

click to enlarge
Several high-wind events brought down numerous trees, some of which blocked trails. Most of the casualties were dead, old and/or unhealthy. Unfortunately, collateral damage was significant — taking out promising younger specimens. The debris will be allowed to remain on the forest floor to nourish the future. Keep in mind that the woodlot belongs to Mother Nature and she ultimately directs the future. We must accept and respect that.

    Click to see
      what the
After this difficult winter, much is needed in the form of maintenance activities. Anyone able to offer a few hours toward that goal would be welcomed. Use our Contact Us page to indicate your willingness and we will notify you when work bee's are planned.

One final item — earlier this spring a report of a bear sighting in the woodlot was received. Although not an impossible occurrence, we set about to see if we could catch a glimpse. After exercising great stealth, success. He remains to greet visitors and watch over his domain.

Owl Prowl Dec. 2/23

On a chilly evening in December, about 50 people from the surrounding area gathered in the woodlot for an owl education and (hopefully) view some resident owls.

... more Owl Prowl

Spring Update 2023
April 18, 2023

Preparation for this update involved an early afternoon visit to the woodlot on April 15th... near the tail-end of an unusual 7 day stretch of mid to upper 20C sunny days. Mother Nature was toying with us ... 2 days later, snow was on the ground!

The 2022/23 winter was fairly typical for the area, with few destructive anomalies delivered. Very little evidence was noticed relating to wind/ice/snow damage. There are still many standing dead ash trees throughout and these are gradually finding their way to the ground. Our maintenance crews have been proactive in recent years in removing most threats & obstacles on or near trails.

At the time of our visit, there was a lot of water in the woodlot resulting in most of the lower trail areas being flooded and not serviceable. Should you wish to walk the woodlot perimeter, the trails are in very good shape for this time of year. In a couple of areas, you may have to choose your footing to get through some wet patches. We ask that visitors avoid the soggy areas until water levels recede.

During our visit, we encountered one human visitor from a nearby community, and there was evidence that there had been a group present for lunch earlier in the day.

  Dogtooth Violets ... aka Yellow Trout Lily   Wake Robin ... aka Red Trillium

The spring season has barely begun but vegetation is starting to wake up. Dogtooth violets were quite evident as was bloodroot and leeks. Trilliums were beginning along with many other harbingers of the new season. Bird activity was significant in the swampy section. Numerous animal tracks were visible along the damp trails.

Yes, the Sawyer Woodlot is waking after its winter hiatus. It is beckoning you.

ALERT ... Invasive Species

Such a pretty moth, BUT ... this invasive is a threat to grapes, apple trees, various stonefruits, pines, oaks, walnuts, and poplars. They have been known to feed on many other hardwood tree species.

The Spotted Lanternfly causes serious damage including oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling and dieback in trees, vines, crops and many other types of plants. In addition to plant damage, when spotted lanternflies feed, they excrete a sugary substance, called honeydew, that encourages the growth of black sooty mold. This mold is harmless to people however it causes damage to plants.

The Spotted Lanternfly originated from southeast Asia and arrived in North America around 2012. Although not yet detected in Ontario, it is well established in the northeast USA including Ohio. In 2020, 2 dead specimens were found in shipping materials in Michigan.

Spotted Lanternfly Fact Sheet

Action Needed Now...

Spongy (Gypsy) Moth Eggs
The Spongy Moth (Lymantria dispar) hibernates in egg masses that are covered with tan or buff-coloured hairs, and may be found on tree trunks or bark, outdoor furniture, or the sides of buildings. The egg masses are about the size of a loonie, and may contain from 100 to 1,000 eggs. Uncontrolled, these eggs will hatch in the spring and generate a feeding frenzy in the crowns of nearby trees.

We can help protect our favourite trees by early spring removal of these egg masses. Scrape all you can into a container and then soak in detergent-water for a couple of days.

Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard is an invasive herb (a prohibited noxious weed) that will quickly take over an area and choke out all other plants. If unsure of identification, crush a leaf or two and note the aroma ... garlic.

The plant can grow in a wide range of sunny to fully shaded habitats, including undisturbed forest, forest edges, gardens and roadsides. It can thrive almost anywhere. Garlic mustard does not provide a valuable food source for native wildlife.

Removal should be done in the spring before the seeds set. Simply pull the plant with as much root as possible, and place into a black plastic garbage bag. DO NOT COMPOST. Let bake in the sun for 2-3 weeks.

Photo credit: Greg Dougall

Woodlot NightLife
July 2020
White Furcula Moth
White Furcula moth. Caterpillars eat cherry leaves.
Male Gypsy Moth
A male Gypsy Moth - they will be near any house light in late summer.
Confused Haploa Moth
Confused Haploa moth - wing span 40 mm. Widespread but active at night. Three related species look similar to this.
Female Promethea Moth
Female Promethea moth was the surprise highlight. She lives only for a week and does not eat. Her purpose is to attract a male by releasing pheromone only in late afternoon. Females do not travel so she lived all her life at the woodlot.
Female Promethea Moth
Female Promethea moth ... caterpillars aren't fussy, they eat leaves from just about any deciduous tree species that is in the woodlot. In autumn they attach a cocoon to the stem of a shrub and stay there until early summer.
Cherry Scallop Shell Moth
Cherry Scallop Shell moth (probably). A closely related and identical moth is also found in northern Ontario. Caterpillars feed on willow.
Crocus Geometer Moth
Another uncertain identification. Crocus Geometer and False Crocus Geometer are both possible and they cannot be identified by photos alone. The former feeds on some trees, goldenrod and dogwood. Caterpillars of the latter could be found on basswood, elm, maple, cherry, rose and cranberry.
Northern Bush Katydid
Northern Bush Katydid or a close relative. The most accomplished singer of the bush katydids. The very high pitched song, given only at night, is a series of soft ticks followed by about 5-10 lispy buzzes that are given in quick succession and are usually followed by a series of very loud ticks. The dominant frequency of the buzzes is about 12-15 kHz.
Wavy-lined Emerald Moth
Wavy-lined Emerald. Found around goldenrod and asters. It is a small but beautiful moth, with a wingspan of about 25 mm, and is a nocturnal flier that is attracted to light.
Wolf Spider
Wolf Spider carrying her egg case.

About the photographer...

This collection of photos was taken by Ross Dickson, one of our SPWA members.

He spent 2 evenings in July in the woodlot in order to provide us with this window into the insect nightlife. In most cases, the specimens were captured, photographed and then released.

Our thanks to Ross for sharing these with us.

Elm Spanworm
Elm Spanworm - wing span 40-50 mm. Caterpillar eats elm, maple, birch. Is a serious defoliator of shade and forest trees in the eastern Canada and the United States.

Have you recently visited the Saywer Preservation Woodlot? If so, please let us know about your experiences. A form is provided for that purpose on our Contact page.

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