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Newmarket nature reserve a hive of activity

Newmarket Era,
Adam Martin-Robbins,
August 29 2015

The Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve was a hive of activity today as dozens of area residents buzzed over to the densely forested 108-hectare property for Ontario Nature’s free family “Bee-BQ”.

The event featured a slew of activities — guided nature hikes, crafts and games — aimed at educating people about the importance of preserving natural areas so wildlife can thrive, with a special focus on habitats for pollinator species such as bumble bees and butterflies.

One of the main objectives is to educate people about the important role pollinators play in food production and talk about ways to help bolster bee and butterfly populations, which have been on the decline due to an array of factors, including pesticides and habitat loss, said Tanya Pulfer, a conservation science manager at Ontario Nature.

For example, she said, people can buy and plant pesticide-free native plants, support wildlife conservation areas, advocate for the protection of green space, as well as report bee and butterfly sightings, which helps scientists to better understand causes of population decline.

“There’s issues with all pollinators and we just want to make sure we can understand it,” Pulfer said. “We’re going to be in trouble with our food security if we don’t raise awareness about it.”

The fun event, which included a guided hike and barbecue, Pulfer noted, is also an opportunity to make people aware of the reserve, located on west side of Bathurst Street, just north of Hwy. 9, which is open to the public and can be accessed for free.

“Today, we wanted to show off the nature reserve and show, with the pollinator theme, what a small piece of property in the whole world really can do to help,” she said.

The property was home to the Mulock family for three decades, until 2003 when they donated it to Ontario Nature.

Now it’s home to a vast array of wildlife — such as bobolinks, painted turtles, red foxes, white-tailed deer, and great blue herons — that can be seen from the network of hiking trails winding through the property populated by more than 10,000 pine trees planted by the Mulocks.

There’s also a tranquil pond and a small stream that feeds into the Holland River.

Oak Ridges resident Jane Mei headed came the nature reserve with her husband and their four children after learning about the event through Twitter.

“We’ve been trying to participate in as many outdoor events as we can because we live … in the area and we’re just finding we haven’t learned as much about the area as we’d like to,” she said.

To find out more about the nature reserve or Ontario Nature’s activities, visit

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