Sunday, September 22, 2019

RECENT WHIMBREL POINT PLANTINGS



NOTE FROM BARBARA KEAVENEY ....

First, TRCA, Toronto Region Conservation Authority, went in and dug up all the burdock in this area by the roots.  Black tarp was laid down in spring.
   
Plastic mat was removed this week, and a hemp mulch mat was laid over the whole planting area.  This will break down in 3-5 years- enough time to give the new plants a good start.  After plants were put in the ground, a layer of tree mulch was laid on the whole area as well, and the plants were all watered by a couple of very energetic volunteers!

Species planted - Alleghany Blackberry; Flowering Raspberry; Red Osier Dogwood; Pasture Rose; St. John's Wort; 3 Eastern White Pine.

2 samples of each species were measured and statistics recorded.  These sample plants have a green ribbon on them, which should not be removed.  This site will be monitored by TRCA for the next 5 years, and the progress of these individual plants will be recorded for comparison purposes.  

Thank you to Jacob Mokrzynski and the TRCA for organizing this whole project!

Barbara

MARINA SHORELINE PATH MAINTENANCE INFO - STARTS OCTOBER 14TH

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), in partnership with the City of Toronto, is planning to undertake minor maintenance repairs on an existing seawall structure in Colonel Samuel Smith Park in order to protect against the hazards of shoreline erosion and address public safety concerns. The seawall is located along the inner shoreline of the park near the Lakeshore Yacht Club.

Works are tentatively scheduled to commence the week of October 14, 2019 and are anticipated to take three weeks in duration. The maintenance works will address damage to the seawall and adjacent brick platform that was caused by the 2017 and 2019 record high lake level events. Repairs will include the replacement of rock material behind the seawall and the placement of gravel underneath the platform to fill existing voids. This work will strengthen the existing shoreline, help stabilize the park trail, and provide increased protection to park users.

The site will be accessed by Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive from the intersection of Kipling Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West. Trucks will enter the park from the cul-de-sac at the end of Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive and travel to the work area along the park trail. All deliveries will be guided by a Traffic Control Person who will direct trucks down the main trail to the work area while watching for pedestrians and cyclists. The trail within the immediate work area will be closed to park users to ensure public safety. Several "Notice of Construction" and "Trail Closure" signs will be placed along the trails leading to the work area to notify park users of the upcoming construction and available detour routes. Work hours will conform to City bylaws with activities taking place between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm daily. It is estimated that a total of 20-25 truck deliveries will be required to supply project materials. The majority of deliveries will take place in the early stages (first week) of the construction timeline, with a range of 2-4 deliveries per day during this time.


Prior to the commencement of construction activities, TRCA will provide a Notice of Construction letter that can be posted on school bulletin boards to inform students, parents, and staff members. TRCA and its drivers are aware of the multiple school campuses in the vicinity of the access route and student safety will be of utmost importance throughout the duration of the works. A map which highlights all school locations, crosswalks, and trail crossings along the access route will be provided to all delivery drivers to ensure that extra caution is taken while proceeding through these areas (please see attached map). Traffic Control Persons will facilitate the navigation of trucks within the park, further ensuring the safety of all park users and students in the area.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

NEW SAM SMITH PARK MAP WITH LOCATION NAMES

We have finally put together a map of the park with landmarks labelled on it, the purpose being to standardize location postings.  This should improve the accuracy of wildlife sightings, especially for those unfamiliar with the park.

The names are based on personal knowledge and what we understand to be common park usage.  We had to invent some new ones. 

While understanding that it is, essentially, an impossible task to come up with something that satisfies everyone in every detail, hopefully our efforts will, in time, prove useful.

The map can be downloaded here. 

Friday, September 13, 2019

CITY OF TORONTO STUDY OF EXISTING OFF-LEASH AREAS - OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE EXPERIENCES AND SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

It has long been felt that poor conditions at the Sam Smith Park off-leash area are not very attractive to dog owners and, in fact, push owners to walk their dogs in the environmentally sensitive areas of the park, often off leash. The more appealing the dog park becomes, the more people will use it, leading to fewer off-leash dogs in unsanctioned areas.

FOSS has previously written to Councillor Grimes with suggestions for dog park improvements .....


The City of Toronto is currently conducting a formal study of existing off-leash areas. The purpose of the study is to identify necessary/desired improvements.  Here is the link to the study.

There are three ways to take part in the study:
  1. Take the online survey. It's critical to get your thoughts documented.
  2. Attend one of the pop-up consultations at a dog park this fall.
  3. Write imalczewski@swerhun.com  (Ian works for Swerhun Facilitation, and has been hired by Thinc Design (the City's consultants) to be the point person on the project. You could also email dola@toronto.ca, the general inbox for dogs off-leash areas.
The survey is pretty good. Know that if you identify yourself as a dog owner, you'll get the full survey, giving you the chance to express feedback on dog park design and more. If you say you don't have a dog, you'll only get a handful of questions. One question is about negative effects to the environment by off-leash dogs. Please tell it like it is. Please also include any solutions you'd like to suggest, if you wish.


PASSENGER PIGEON TALK BY GLEN COADY - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH


Click here for more information and to book free ticket.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

REMINDER - 2020 FOSS PHOTO CONTEST

We hope all you nature and wildlife photographers out there are filling your camera cards with images from Col. Sam Smith Park for next year's Nature Sanctuary Photo Contest!


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

STILL LOOKING FOR REPORTS OF ANY SIGHTINGS OF DRONES HARASSING WILDLIFE IN THE PARK

FOSS has put out a call for anyone who has witnessed an incident of a drone being used in Sam Smith Park to disturb wildlife.
Please send reports to our email address.

Meanwhile, our feathered friends fight back ......



Thanks to Alastair Scott for these images ....

Friday, July 19, 2019

FLORENCE MERRIAM BAILEY, PIONEERING NATURE ACTIVIST AND ORNITHOLOGIST







Link to an interesting article about Florence Merriam Bailey, who evolved from an activist for bird habitats to an environmentalist who pioneered modern bird-watching techniques.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

NESTING TURTLES

Sam Smith turtles are being seen near the pond and wetland areas of the park scratching out their nests in the adjacent gravel and dirt areas.

Grace Hunter, who led a study of nesting turtles when working at the Wildlife Research Centre in Algonquin Park, wrote an article about her study that appeared in Cottage Life magazine.

Here is a link.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

CALL OUT FOR VIDEO, PHOTOS OR ACCOUNTS OF DRONES HARASSING WILDLIFE IN SAM SMITH

There have been reports of drones in Sam Smith Park being flown close to the grebe nest platforms, the tree swallow boxes and, last winter, the snowy owl on the docks. This and any other kind of disturbance of wildlife is a park bylaw offence and should be reported immediately to the City’s Municipal Enforcement Office.
This can now only be done by calling 311or emailing 311@toronto.ca A response is supposed to happen within 48 hours. Bylaw officers, the few that there are, are no longer assigned to specific parks and cannot be contacted personally. Everything is now handled centrally.
Clearly, this process is sadly lacking!
FOSS is trying to gauge the extent of the problem. If you have observed this kind of behaviour or, better still, if you have photos or video, please contact FOSS at friendsofsamsmithpark@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

JULY 17TH - PASSENGER PIGEON EVENT

Short Story Reading with author Scott Colby  
Wednesday, July 17
6:30pm - 9pm (Talk at 7pm)
G Building, 17 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive
"More Death in Etobicoke: The Silence of the Pigeons"
Join us for a short story reading and discussion with author Scott Colby as he discusses the importance of place and history in fiction writing. More Death in Etobicoke: The Silence of the Pigeons was 100 per cent inspired by living in south Etobicoke, especially during a deep freeze — the coldest month in recorded Toronto history. The story is satire and it pays tribute to two contemporary horror classics — in a hopefully humorous way — and also to some of the history of south Etobicoke. One aspect of that history is the historical and cultural importance of passenger pigeons to the area. Once the most populous bird in the Americas, perhaps the world, it was unthinkably hunted into extinction in a relatively short period of time — until now, that is!
Scott will perform a sure-to-be entertaining reading of his story and discuss why he was inspired to incorporate passenger pigeons into a contemporary story set in south Etobicoke. He will also discuss where the pigeon lives on today, through names and imagery in the area, and how technological advancements allowed for the killing of the pigeon on a massive scale and also led to the rise of modern horror stories.

Event is hosted by the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre, in partnership with the Friends of Sam Smith Park, the Citizens Concerned with the Future of the Etobicoke Waterfront (CCFEW), the Humber Arboretum, the Toronto Ornithological Club, and Quest Nature Tours.
Doors and Partner Booths open at 6:30pm; talk begins at 7pm
Light refreshments will be available
Mobility accessible space

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING - JUNE 24TH, 2019


Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting                                  
June 24th, 2019, 7:40PM, Private Residence, Etobicoke

NAMING COL. SAM’S ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AND NATURAL HERITAGE AREAS: The FOSS Steering Committee has finalized its mapping project assigning names to significant areas of the park (such as the already-designated “Whimbrel Point”) in order to provide consistency when communicating info about Col. Sam. A map will soon be available. For more details, check the blog.

HERITAGE APPLE ORCHARD: FOSS has amassed past research about the apple orchard and is in the process of determining how these venerable trees may receive protection via a heritage designation.

COL. SAM’S IMPORTANCE AS A MIGRATION STOP: Steering Committee member, Terry Smith, is developing a map of the North and South American flyways that ties Col. Sam into the greater context of this annual avian journey.

CANOPY TENT: FOSS has purchased a sturdy “Alumix Canopy Tent” for use during events such as the Spring Bird Festival.

IN THE WAKE OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON: An exhibit held at the Humber College Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre, May 11 through September 25. Next event is scheduled for July 17th. See link below for more details:

CONTINUING PARK CONCERNS:
COL. SAM’S UNLOCKED TRASH BINS: FOSS has contacted the Park Superintendent re: unlocked trash can/trash spillage concerns. The Superintendent has contacted the city’s solid waste management department personnel who are responsible for such matters.

SENIORS IN THE PARK WALKING PROGRAM: Col. Sam’s neighbours from the Friends of Marie Curtis Park have started a walking program for seniors. Interested individuals should check out their website at:

NORTH CREEK POLLINATOR MEADOW: FOSS is working with the City of Toronto to design and plant a pollinator meadow in the park. Students from Sir Sandford Fleming College (supervised by Janette Harvey, City of Toronto) have completed a design for the garden and have offered suggestions as to the nature of the plantings. Work began on May 2. See blog for details.

DRONE PROBLEMS IN COL. SAM: Drone operators have aggressively buzzed both people and wildlife (swallows, owls, grebes) in the park. Harassment of wildlife is against the law. If you observe such harassment, contact the Municipal Standards By-law Enforcement Officer responsible for Col Sam Park—Gary Borges, Cell # 647 460-4270. Office # 416 338-5706 OR call 311, OR e-mail 311@toronto.ca, OR contact Ward 3 Councillor Mark Grimes.  See blog for more detail.

BURDOCK REMOVAL: The TRCA plans to set up a burdock eradication test site on Whimbrel Point.

OWL HARASSMENT: A few thoughtless birders/photographers have been harassing Col. Sam’s owls of late. In addition to disturbing the birds, these individuals tramp down trails and damage vegetation. Caution: it is illegal to harass wildlife.

PARKING LOT TICKETING BLITZ: The city has recently been conducting parking ticket blitzes at Col. Sam. There is a two hour parking limit for the south lot. Please report any parking problems to 311.

FOSS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Check out FOSS on both Instagram and Facebook. No personal Facebook account? You may still view the contents, but you will be unable to post comments. Keep watch for nature photos highlighting your park.

DRUG/GARBAGE PROBLEMS AT COL. SAM: Discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are on-going detriments in the park, particularly in the North Creek area. Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.



Thursday, May 30, 2019

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING - MAY 27TH, 2019



Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting                                         
May 27th, 2019
7:07PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

SPRING BIRD FESTIVAL: In spite of the rainy weather, much was enjoyed and accomplished and the attendee numbers were surprisingly good. Thanks to all the volunteers and the crew from the City of Toronto who made the festival possible.

IN THE WAKE OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON: An exhibit to be held at the Humber College Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre, May 11 through September 25. See link below for more details:

UPDATED FOSS BLOG: FOSS’s blog is in the process of being updated and will soon be capable of allowing a live feed on both Facebook and Instagram. A new slide showing highlighting the natural jewels of the park is also planned.

NAMING PARK ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AND NATURAL HERITAGE AREAS: A June deadline has been set for finalizing the FOSS mapping project assigning names to significant areas of the park (such as the already-designated “Whimbrel Point”) in order to provide consistency when communicating info about Col. Sam. For more details, check the blog.

COL. SAM’S TRASH BIN CONCERNS: FOSS has contacted the Park Superintendent re: unlocked trash can/trash spillage concerns. The Superintendent has contacted the city’s solid waste management department personnel who are responsible for such matters.

GREBE PLATFORMS: Four Red-necked Grebe nesting platforms have now been installed by FOSS President Brian Keaveney and Mr. Joe Calico (originator of the platforms) of the Yacht Club.  All are now occupied.

SENIORS IN THE PARK WALKING PROGRAM: Col. Sam’s neighbours from the Friends of Marie Curtis Park have started a walking program for seniors. Interested individuals should check out their website at:

NORTH CREEK POLLINATOR MEADOW: FOSS is working with the City of Toronto to design and plant a pollinator meadow in the park. Students from Sir Sandford Fleming College (supervised by Janette Harvey, City of Toronto) have completed a design for the garden and have offered suggestions as to the nature of the plantings. Work began on May 2. See blog for details.

DRONE PROBLEMS IN COL. SAM: Drone operators have aggressively buzzed both people and wildlife (swallows, owls, grebes) in the park. Harassment of wildlife is against the law. If you observe such harassment, contact the Municipal Standards By-law Enforcement Officer responsible for Col Sam Park—Gary Borges, Cell # 647 460-4270. Office # 416 338-5706 OR call 311, OR e-mail 311@toronto.ca, OR contact Ward 3 Councillor Mark Grimes.  See blog for more detail.

BURDOCK REMOVAL: The TRCA plans to set up a burdock eradication test site on Whimbrel Point.

OWL HARASSMENT: A few thoughtless birders/photographers have been harassing Col. Sam’s owls of late. In addition to disturbing the birds, these individuals tramp down trails and damage vegetation. Caution: it is illegal to harass wildlife.

PARKING LOT TICKETING BLITZ: The city has recently been conducting parking ticket blitzes at Col. Sam. There is a two hour parking limit for the south lot. Please report any parking problems to 311.

FOSS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Check out FOSS on both Instagram and Facebook. No personal Facebook account? You may still view the contents, but you will be unable to post comments. Keep watch for nature photos highlighting your park.

DRUG/GARBAGE PROBLEMS AT COL. SAM: Discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are on-going detriments in the park, particularly in the North Creek area. Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

LAKESHORE GROUNDS (HUMBER COLLEGE'S INTERPRETIVE CENTRE) UPCOMING EVENTS

To register for Lakeshore Grounds Sam Smith Park walks, click here.
To see their upcoming events, click here.

SUMMARY: MINUTES FOSS STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING - APRIL 29TH, 2019



Summary: FOSS Steering Committee Meeting                                         
APRIL 29th, 2019
7:00PM, LAMP, 185 5th Street, Etobicoke

SPRING BIRD FESTIVAL: 10th Annual festival will be held on May 25th from 10AM-2PM in Col. Sam Park. Children’s activities, guided walk in Swallow Field, FOSS hat, t-shirt and membership sales. Prizes and much more. Volunteers needed. No experience necessary.  See blog for details.

NORTH CREEK POLLINATOR MEADOW: FOSS is working with the City of Toronto to design and plant a pollinator meadow in the park. Students from Sir Sandford Fleming College (supervised by Janette Harvey, City of Toronto) have completed a design for the garden and have offered suggestions as to the nature of the plantings. Work began on May 2. See blog for details.

DRONE PROBLEMS IN COL. SAM: Drone operators have aggressively buzzed both people and wildlife (swallows, owls, grebes) in the park. Harassment of wildlife is against the law. If you observe such harassment, contact the Municipal Standards By-law Enforcement Officer responsible for Col Sam Park—Gary Borges, Cell # 647 460-4270. Office # 416 338-5706 OR call 311, OR e-mail 311@toronto.ca, OR contact Ward 3 Councillor Mark Grimes.  See blog for more detail.

BURDOCK REMOVAL: The TRCA plans to set up a burdock eradication test site on Whimbrel Point.

GREBE PLATFORMS:  FOSS President, Brian Keaveney, has been busy repairing/building/installing platforms with the aid of Mr. Joe Calico (originator of the platforms) of the Yacht Club.

OWL HARASSMENT: A few thoughtless birders/photographers have been harassing Col. Sam’s owls of late. In addition to disturbing the birds, these individuals tramp down trails and damage vegetation. Caution: it is illegal to harass wildlife.

NAMING PARK ENVIRONMENTALLY SENSITIVE AND NATURAL HERITAGE AREAS: A FOSS mapping project to assign names to significant areas of the park (such as the already-designated “Whimbrel Point”) in order to provide consistency when communicating info about Col. Sam. For more details, check the blog. Names are being collected and a map will be published in the blog when completed.

PARKING LOT TICKETING BLITZ: The city has recently been conducting parking ticket blitzes at Col. Sam. There is a two hour parking limit for the south lot. Please report any parking problems to 311.

FOSS SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS: Check out FOSS on both Instagram and Facebook. No personal Facebook account? You may still view the contents, but you will be unable to post comments. Keep watch for nature photos highlighting your park.

DRUG/GARBAGE PROBLEMS AT COL. SAM: Discarded drug paraphernalia and litter are on-going detriments in the park, particularly in the North Creek area. Visitors are asked to notify the police at 416 808-2200 for drug infractions and 311 for trash build-up. Any problems reported to 311 are greatly strengthened when accompanied with a photo.