You’d never guess from the road just how dramatic this landscape is. Slack Road runs along the sandstone plain a little north of where it drops over a cliff on the land trust property. The cliff has an overhanging ledge that spans a billion years of geological time before you reach a valley floor. The underside of the ledge is two metres of wave-rounded rocks and boulders – an ancient ocean beach where granite stones rolled on a shore of granite, the basement rock of mountains worn down to their roots. The forest’s trees and wildlife are luxuriant.

In the valley below runs Fosters Creek, water from springs and runoff to the north of Charleston Lake, and trickling its way to Fosters Bay. In the creek’s lowlands, nearly at lake level, is a swamp woodland of maples and ash shading meandering pools bordered by grasses, sedges and wetland wildflowers. Through spring and early summer, the choruses of frogs and songbirds is practically deafening. Rare turtles, frogs and birds find refuge here.

Across southern Ontario, some 90% of wetlands are forever lost, and more are vanishing every year. These were the filters, carbon storage and water storage that protected all of us – the mechanisms that buffered us from swings of climate change. The swamp woods at Fosters Creek is small, but plays a large role in the health and well-being of Charleston Lake. Fosters Bay is one of the more intensely developed bays of the lake. This property is the filter of water flowing from the farmlands from the north, the nutrient and chemical loads being absorbed before coming to Fosters Bay. Properties and wetlands as these are the vital defence mechanisms.

Fund needed: $13,300

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