Riverside Woods Field Trip

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Riverside Woods – Headwaters Nature Field Trip: 2023 December 2nd

Ron Jasiuk led a wonderful and wonder-filled field trip. The plan was to wander the trails of the Bruce Trail Conservancy’s recently acquired Riverside Woods Nature Preserve looking for and identifying plants, animals, fungi and anything else that would catch our the interest. The plan was thwarted by snow that completely blanketed the ground and transformed the late fall landscape into a snow covered wonderland. Two hours was not enough time to fully explore the preserve so we definitely need to return again.


  • During the 2h, 5km walk our group of 10 passed through a very mature White Pine plantation, several meadows, a bottom-land hardwood forest, several White Cedar stands and a large hillside dominated by Equisetum (Horsetail).
  • Our group included Headwaters Nature members and members of the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) and of the Mono Nordic Ski Club. There were lots of discussions about how our respective groups could make use of this area and support each other.
  • Seeing the onsite native wildflower seed garden set up by the BTC. Seeds produced in this garden will be used to re-wild sections of the preserve.
  • Learning about the interesting history of this property that was first purchased by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1946 to honour employees of the company that died during WW II.

Gary Hall from the BTC telling us about the acquisition and future plans for the preserve.
Gary is the Land Steward Co-ordinator and one of the Biodiversity leads for the Caledon Hills Club of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. Ron Jasiuk is the Land Stewared for the Caledon Hills Club of the Riverside Woods property.
Photo: Ian Darwin


One of the remnants indicating the presence of the Boy Scouts of Canada that owned the 200 acre property from 1957 to 2023. The property was purchased by the Bruce Trail Conservancy, and renamed Riverside Woods. (Scouts Canada last used this area in 2014.)
Photo: Ian Darwin


Traipsing through the very aesthetically appealing snowy hardwood forest.


Tracing our route through the preserve.
This map is in the parking lot off the 1st Line Mono.


Jane sets a new level of expectation for our field trips — homemade cookies as a reward for getting out there.


The silent woods are calling. What are you waiting for?

How to get there:  map to Riverside Woods


The Golden Spike at Crawford Lake: field trip

On Thursday, November 2nd, Mark Whitcombe will lead a field trip to the Crawford Lake Conservation Area, just south of Campbellville (south of the 401 and west of Milton). As of Tuesday October 31st, we have a dozen members coming, with two car-pools set up.

(Please note that the date for this trip is
still Thursday November 2nd at 10 A.M.,
not the incorrectly reported date of two days later.
See you at Crawford Lake this coming Thursday!)

The Field Trip to the Golden Spike:

We’ll arrive at Crawford Lake Conservation Area (Halton Region CA) for 10 A.M. next Thursday November 02, 2023.  We are arranging how much each car and driver has to pay, and how much each participant has to pay.  (Headwaters Nature is not paying for this field trip. As individuals, we are covering the costs ourselves. We are getting a cheaper rate through a Group Booking. Watch for updates to this page — and keep an eye on email updates.

I would like to specifically visit the lake itself. The meromictic sediments in this special lake show very clearly that we humans have left an irreversible imprint upon Earth’s geology. Data from the sediments at the bottom of the unusual Crawford Lake show a clear footprint of plutonium from the nuclear testing done in the late 1940s and early 1950s — data that also shows in various other locations around the world. This location has been proposed as the ‘Golden Spike’, the location on Earth that clearly shows the beginning of the epoch now being proposed to be called the Anthropocene, “the geologic age when Humanity left an irreversible imprint upon Earth’s rocks”.

  • We’ll meet at Crawford Lake Conservation Area itself, at the parking lot inside the main gate off Guelph Line, a couple of kilometres south of Campbellville and the 401.
    • 3115 Conservation Rd, Milton ON L9T 2X3, Canada
  • Please alert the staff at the gate that you are part of the group coming from Headwaters Nature to look at the Golden Spike. They’ll tell you where to park.
    • We are getting a Group Rate, that they will alert you to at the Gate.
    • Route to Crawford Lake:  approximately 71 km / just over an hour from Orangeville on Guelph Line, a couple of kilometres south of Campbellville, which is directly south of where the Guelph Line crosses the 401.
      • Here’s an openable two-page document that includes the general location of Crawford Lake as well as a trail map:  TrailGuide_CrawfordLake

If you notify me (info@onheadwatersnature.ca) that you’re coming ahead of time, I will attempt to help you set up possible carpooling arrangements.  

  • We will be strolling a slow botanist’s pace around Crawford Lake, about half on a flat boardwalk, with some gentle slopes down to and back up from the Lake. The walk would take approximately an hour if we didn’t stop to observe and chat, so I’m suggesting a two hour ramble.
    • I might even bring a small lunch and something to drink for myself while I enjoy this field trip …
      • There are other options you may wish to consider for yourselves afterwards, apart from this short Headwaters Nature field trip. (I will be coming back home instead of staying at Crawford Lake.)
        • There is an good small gift shop (for books!) and some displays at the main centre of the conservation area near the parking lots.
        • There is a partial re-creation of a Wendat or Attawandaron village dating from C15 that was actually discovered partially based on pollen records from bottom of Crawford Lake just over 50 years ago. Lots to see!
        • There is an excellent but more challenging 4–5 hour hike, the Nassagaweya Canyon Trail, to Rattlesnake Point and back that you can get to directly from the parking lot.

If you are coming (or have further questions),
please let me know so that I can plan this field trip!
Mark Whitcombe, info@onheadwatersnature.ca

The Anthropocene

In July 2023, Crawford Lake was chosen as the “golden spike” by the Anthropocene Working Group as the clear marker for the beginning of the Anthropocene epoch. The unique conditions of the lake preserves layers of sediment similar to tree rings used in dendrochronology — and the presence of plutonium in the layers of lake mud dated to 1950 has been set as the beginning of the new proposed epoch.
Studying everything from atomic bomb fallout to pesticide residues, scientists are close to defining the start of the Anthropocene — the geologic age when Humanity left an irreversible imprint upon Earth’s rocks.
In July 2023, Crawford Lake was proposed as the “golden spike” by the Anthropocene Working Group as the clear marker for the beginning of the Anthropocene epoch. The unique conditions of the lake preserves layers of sediment similar to tree rings used in dendrochronology; the presence of plutonium in the layer of lake mud dated to 1950 has been set as the beginning of the new proposed epoch.
Perhaps the most famous Golden Spike are the telltale signs found in many spots around the world of the meteorite that crashed into Earth 66 million years ago, killing off dinosaurs and starting the Cenozoic Era, or what is conversationally known as the age of mammals. But not quite. While that meteorite started a whole new era, the working group is proposing that humans only started a new epoch, which is a much smaller geologic time period.

* –  * – * – * – * – * – * – *

Ahead of time, you might wish to check this recent video
and excellent explanatory writeup
from Emily Chung, science, climate, environment reporter, (CBC):