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Digging Trenches, Building Bridges

By November 30, 2020 No Comments

How do you renovate an 1838 house, make it Green for our Climate Change needs, and keep history alive in its walls? That’s what we’re doing at the Glen Elbe property. We’re looking forward to winter, which will be great for hikes, winter fieldwork, and maybe even some snowshoeing. But right now, we’re looking back at all of the hard work that has gone into Glen Elbe since our last update.

Work at the Glen Elbe property has been steady and ongoing despite the onset of wintry weather. We’re lucky to have a dedicated team that has braved cold, rain, and even snow to keep moving the project along. This month, we’ve tackled the grounds of Glen Elbe, getting much of the outdoor work finished. We’ve dug trenches across the residential part of the property – without damaging any of its conservation values – to install an updated hydro service and run water lines. This will allow the barns to be used as both educational and professional spaces for three seasons of the year.

Over the course of the summer, we spent a lot of time tackling European buckthorn on the property, removing well over one hundred individual trees. Last week, we turned those invasive trees into woodchips that will be used for trail surfacing and remediation at Glen Elbe and other TIWLT properties. The nutrients from the woodchips will decompose back into the soil, and the once-harmful buckthorns will provide nutrients for new growth of native plants.

Inside the house, we’ve been hard at work re-establishing the supports in the basement and leveling the ground floor. We’ve jackhammered out portions of the old concrete floor and poured deeper, sturdier pads. We’ll be adding more support beams to the basement very shortly, a major step forward in the structural work on the house. We’ve also updated the insulation throughout the house, increased the height of the chimney, and started on some interior framing.

None of this work would have been possible without the generosity of Jane Topping’s donation and the ongoing support from our incredible members and donors. We’ve made great progress – but still have a long way to go to complete this project and open the Glen Elbe Learning and Experience Centre. Remember – all donations of $100 or more get you a charitable receipt for an equal amount and a tile on TIWLT’s 4ever wall, to be displayed proudly on the property. Be sure to check our News & Events page over the winter to stay updated with the work, winter programming, and all of the other big things we’re up to!

By Calder Schweitzer, Executive Director