Conservation Projects at Freija

Freija takes active part in several conservation projects in Kinghurst Forest, both on the property and in the Kinghurst Nature Reserve with Ontario Nature. All of these initiatives are entirely self-funded and rely on revenues from stays and experiences at Freija. If you would like to help, please consider booking a stay with us or volunteering with Ontario Nature. 

Pollinator Habitat

Pollinators are a cornerstone of natural ecosystems and Kinghurst Forest is home to a variety of native pollinators, including bees, bats (Hoary bat, Eastern red bat, Silver-haired bat) and hummingbirds (Ruby-throated hummingbird). They are all threatened by habitat loss, pesticide exposure, and climate change. 

We are helping protect them by:

  • Re-introducing the native meadow habitat of over 19 native species (1,000,000+ seeded since 2016)
  • Building and installing bat boxes
  • Protecting quality dead standing and cavity trees
  • Introduction of habitat species and landscape features for native bees
  • Recording observations and sharing data with the scientific community

Turtle Habitat

Snapping Turtle
Baby Painted Turtle
Pond surface

All turtle species in Ontario are at risk and the biggest threats to the turtle survival are habitat loss and roads. Kinghurst Forest and Freija ponds are home to both Painted and Snapping turtles, which can often be found basking in the sun during the warm months.

We are helping protect the turtles by:

  • Re-wilding the ponds habitat
  • Maintaining gravel breeding grounds and protecting nesting sites
  • Monitoring water quality
  • Recording observations and sharing data with the scientific community

Bird Habitat

Forest Nest
Canadian Forest

Kinghurst Forest is home to many resident and migratory bird species such as Blue Jay, Cardinal, Turkey Ovenbird, Scarlet Tanager, Wood Thrush, Pileated Woodpecker, Wood Peewee and others.

We are helping protect the bird species by:

  • Tracking and monitoring species at risk
  • Providing nest boxes to compensate for lack of cavity trees in new growth areas (over 100 installed so far)
  • Establishing nesting sites on the pond for fowl species
  • Surveying and protecting quality nesting sites in cavity trees
  • Restoring native meadow habitats
  • Recording observations and sharing data with the scientific community

Tree Disease Management

Giant Maple
Snowshoeing Adventure

Fungi cause several types of cankers (including Nectria canker, Eutypella canker) on maple and hardwood trees. Extreme weather patterns associated with climate change make hardwoods more susceptible to this fungi and the cankers can spread rapidly through a stand if not controlled, killing younger trees.

Here are some ways we are helping control the spread of cankers in the old growth tree stands:

  • Identifying and marking infected trees in the various stages of disease
  • Removing infected material to control spread

Old Growth Restoration

Maple Forest
Pine Cathedral
Canadian Forest
Forest Rain

Many of the trees in Kinghurst Forest are 250 to 300 years old, tower over 30 meters high, and show the vertical stratification characteristic of a true, old-growth forest. Climate change is putting a lot of pressure on the older specimens and pressures new growth.

We are helping expand the old growth area by:

  • Converting red pine plantation area (5 acres) to native white pine and maple (ongoing)
  • Converting forestry clearings to oak savannah
  • Removing non-native and poor performing species planted in poor soils (Jack Pine, Apple)
  • Protecting existing hardwoods and encouraging a healthy forest by monitoring mass and regular tree marking
  • Putting in place a conservation-focused plan and participating in the provincial MFTIP forest management program

Invasive Species Management

Invasive Species

Kinghurst Forest is home to many provincially-rare and threatened plant and animal species. Unfortunately, some invasive species like Colt’s-Foot, Mouse-eared Hawkweed and others have been introduced by earlier human activity in the area, and aided in spreading by global warming.

We are managing invasive species by:

  • Identifying and managing patches of invasive species
  • Using physical controls to limit the spread
  • Reintroducing native species to the affected areas
  • Recording observations and sharing data with the scientific community

Kinghurst Forest Trails

We help maintain recreational trails in the heart of Kingurst Forest by volunteering our time and equipment to Ontario Nature. Anyone can enjoy these trails by planning a visit to the adjacent Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve.

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