Live Small Town Magazine (Spring 2019 Issue) Connecting with nature offers a wealth of benefits, not to mention the sheer enjoyment of being surrounded by beauty. So go play outside!
BY TARA CARPENTER
The world of wild edible and medicinal plants is so vast and intimidating to most people. Wild foraging is not something that you can solely learn out of a book. You need to get into the wild to see, smell and taste the plants in order to know them. The real healing takes place when you become intimate with that wild plant. Foraging for food in the wild can be a fun hobby that is a necessary survival skill. Obtaining ancient knowledge of identification and medicinal application of wild edible plants within our local forests is immeasurably valuable. This is a lost art that once was an essential part of our everyday knowledge that we have misplaced through the generations.
While traveling, tell someone that you are a Canadian and what will they say… “Oh… Canadian maple syrup on pancakes!” It’s probably the most Canadian thing ever!
Maple sap was a valuable source of sugar for the Indigenous peoples, and is considered a nutritious wild edible. This time-honoured tradition consisted of making a diagonal cut with the lower bark being removed and a wooden spile inserted. Bark dishes were placed below to collect the dripping sap. Fires were kept burning to boil the water off. Maple syrup is a natural food with significant amounts of antioxidants, zinc, manganese, and riboflavin.
So remember that our Southern Ontario Carolinian zone has the most biodiversity in all of Canada. Be empowered with the healing benefits of the wild plants that are in your own backyard. Get out into our local forests and meadows and have fun while foraging for yourself in Mother Nature. There are many poisonous plants, so always reference identification with multiple field guides and consult an expert in the field of wild edibles.
Try your hand at foraging in one of Haldimand’s natural areas such as:
Taquanyah Conservation Area
The 136-hectare Conservation Area has a network of trails through forests and near wetlands and the coldwater Mill Creek.
Ruthven Park National Historic Site
Conservation initiatives assist by protecting Ruthven Park’s significant natural features and associated plant and wildlife through research and stewardship.
Rock Point Provincial Park
In addition to its hiking trails and sand dunes, Rock Point has a very unique shoreline feature of exposed fossils of a coral reef dating back to over 350 million years. This site is also well known for its significance in the Fall monarch butterfly migration.
Selkirk Provincial Park
A quiet campground this Provincial park includes a trail and boardwalk across marsh wetlands.
Haldimand County Trails
Haldimand County offers kilometres of trails & pathways to explore, whether you’re looking for a short, scenic stroll along a pathway or a multi-kilometre hike on parts of the Trans Canada Trail System. Trails range from urban to rural.
Haldimand Conservation Area
Nestled along the shores of Lake Erie, Haldimand Conservation Area provides campers and day visitors with a quiet place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Camping, swimming, and bird-watching are popular activities.
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