Little River Enhancement Group

30th Anniversary: 16 February, 1991 to 16 February, 2021

Written by Ian Naisbitt

After a 20-month Covid delay, we managed to celebrate our 30th Anniversary on Tuesday, 25 October, 2022 at Weston Park in the Town of Tecumseh. Mother Nature served up the perfect day for planting trees. The weather included: a mix of sun and cloud with a bright blue background. There was a moderate zephyr wafting from the south at 20 km/ h and a high of 21 Celsius. The UV index was 4 or moderate.

First off, we need to give a “Tip of the Cap” to Casey Colthurst, Parks Manager/ Town of Tecumseh and Tania Jobin, Ward 5 Tecumseh Councillor for their support in making this project move forward after such a long delay. As well, a big thank you to the Tecumseh Parks Crew for auguring the holes, delivering the large stock trees to the holes, shovelling and raking the soil/ clay mix back into the hole and around the base of the 21 trees. When added to the 9 trees already planted by the Town, it equals 30 trees for 30 years! Mulch will be applied at a later date and a water scheduling program will be started. Watering is very important at this time since the ground was dreadfully dry. The clay soil was crumbly and powdery, which made for easier planting but presents a challenge for the tree roots to establish themselves.

Our small group of volunteers planted a Kentucky Coffee Tree beside the Weston Park fence along North Talbot Road. That way whenever we visit the park we will know exactly which tree we planted.

Kentucky Coffee Trees are a Species at Risk in the Province of Ontario. Their status: “The Kentucky coffee-tree was already assessed as threatened when the Endangered Species Act took effect in 2008.“Threatened” means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it.

Interesting Quick facts about Kentucky Coffee Trees

  • Part of the Latin name for the Kentucky Coffee-tree (Gymnocladus dioica) means “naked branch”, because this tree spends up to nine months of the year without any leaves
  • The only other species in the genus of Kentucky Coffee-tree is a tree that grows only in China
  • Because no native herbivores consume the toxic Kentucky Coffee-tree seeds – and since elephants devour similar seed pods in great quantities – it has been hypothesized that the now-extinct Mastodon may have consumed Kentucky Coffee-tree pods – in fact, Kentucky Coffee-tree may have evolved its unique seeds, which seem unpalatable to native animals, specifically for Mastodon-assisted dispersal.”

~Source: Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) website

Photograph Credit: Casey Colthurst

Ken Henderson (visiting from Australia), Tom Henderson, Ian Naisbitt, Tania Jobin and Carl Maiolani. Tom, Ian and Carl are members of the ECFNClub

Weston Park has a special place in the hearts of the Lil’ Reg members. In the past we participated in Little River Watershed Tours once a year. Our group would visit the sites where volunteers cleaned up the river or planted trees. We checked how much garbage accumulated over the past year at the cleanup sites and estimated the success rate of the trees we planted at other sites. We also looked for potential sites that could use our help. While at Weston Park we hiked around the drain that flowed through the park and we were pleasantly zoomed by a swarm of dragonflies. It was quite a timely and impressive moment for us. Later when our members were brainstorming names for our group and logos, this special moment came to mind. This was our result.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~Renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead

Get Involved!

From tree plantings and clean ups, to advocacy and education programs, CLICK HERE to find out how you can be involved with protecting and enhancing the Detroit River.