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Celebrate the Unnoticed and Unsung

Champlain Park is known for the heritage Burr Oaks (a.k.a. Champlain Oaks) that grace our backyards, streetscape and the park. And for good reason. The biggest of these are remnants of the original Alvar-like forest along this stretch of the Ottawa River, an ecosystem and collection of rare plant genetic resources that goes back to the last ice age. They are magnificent trees, easily identified by looped oak leaves and the corky branches of this small Burr Oak at the entrance to the school parking lot.

But what about the unnoticed and unsung trees of Champlain Park? This next photo, for example, shows an Eastern White Cedar on the edge of Pontiac Avenue. It is old, 100 years or more according to Owen Clarkin, a highly respected tree specialist with the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club. Despite its many broken branches and cut-off top, the tree is still green and kick-ass in my books. Consider this ....

Look at the bird sanctuaries it is harbouring, thanks to the work of the majestic Pileated Woodpecker (the Woody-the-Wood-Pecker, Pecker). It too deserves recognition, and protection from forces that might cut its life short.

What unnoticed and unsung trees have a place in your life as you explore the Champlain Woods, the hill-on-the-river, or the street where you live? Send us a photograph and a few lines about a tree you notice, and say why you notice it. We’ll post these to this blog, with a link to the Champlain Park Community Association website. We’ll also consult with Owen and others in the neighbourhood about little things we could do together – cutting back an invasive neighbour, keeping dog pee off the bark, marking it so it doesn’t get trampled – to celebrate and protect these unsung heroes of Champlain Park.

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