by Joanie McGuffin

Sue Meades is a botanial consultant/director of the Northern Ontario Plant Database. Photo: © Gary McGuffin

One of my first exploratory walks through the Francis Hilb Preserve was with expert botanist Sue Meades. Lovingly she identified sundews, pitcher plants, and dozens of others by Latin names characterizing them as insectivorous, sun-loving, and aquatic. It was June, and we were surrounded by a sea of pink flowering rose pogonia and bog rosemary. Birdsong floated on the warm breeze off the bay.

Wetlands are fragile, incredibly important ecosystems that need both protection and more public appreciation.

Bog laurel, Kalimia polifolio is amoung June’s flowring plants in the wetland. Photo: © Gary McGuffin

To achieve both goals, the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy received a provincial Great Lakes Local Action Fund grant. This summer we have been improving the access trail, adding a boardwalk extension to span the wetland to the lakeshore, constructing a raised platform for an expansive view of Goulais Bay, providing resting benches and teaching platforms to encourage small group gatherings. The outcome will be a peaceful place for anyone to enjoy Nature and appreciate the wonders of this Great Lakes wetland.

Joanie McGuffin is the Executive Director of the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy. She is an explorer, public speaker, educator and one of the founders of the conservancy. Joanie is also the author of 8 books with her husband Gary. Their first photographic book, Superior: Journeys on an Inland Sea, chronicled their 3-month 1989 circumnavigation of Lake Superior by canoe.

“Lake Superior is the greatest freshwater lake on Earth.  Its wolf’s head-shape can be recognized from outer space at the heart of Turtle Island (North America). The Conservancy’s mission was set up to embody the whole watershed – not just a piece of it because water knows only nature’s boundaries.  If we can get individuals, communities, businesses, and industries to understand and work together for freshwater protection on Lake Superior, it is hope for the whole planet.”