VHS launches lessons for all to enjoy online learning
Virtual High School (VHS) is located on Bayfield’s Main Street and is often referred to as “the school” in town. Now there is a way for the community to explore VHS’s online environment and see what it is like to take a course.
Virtual High School is thrilled to announce the launch of its new initiative, Virtual High School: Weekly Edition (VHS: Weekly Edition), a collaborative project among VHS, Desire2Learn (D2L) and The Globe and Mail.
VHS will produce a free lesson of the week to be promoted by the The Globe and Mail and inspired by current or past articles. These lessons will be written and designed by the VHS team as a way of providing supplemental content for learners who wish to develop an understanding of how the everyday world relates to their various areas of study. These lessons provide access to curriculum-aligned content that is engaging, interesting, and continuously available for free.
It’s a fun and easy way to join the online learning community and learn more about VHS. Interested users are invited to subscribe to VHS: Weekly Edition. By subscribing, they will gain access to additional content and interactive tools that are used to enhance the learning experience. They will also receive an email update each time a new lesson is available. Although the lessons do not contribute to a credit, they are a good reflection of what a typical student sees in a VHS course.
VHS: Weekly Edition’s first three lessons are linked below.
Check www.vhsweekly.com every Tuesday for the latest lesson of the week. VHS staff would love to hear what people think. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet them out using the hashtag #VHSweekly and tag @TheRealVHS. Anyone who has a topic they would like to learn about is invited to send in their ideas. Also please check out The Globe and Mail to see advertisements for VHS: Weekly Edition.
County farm assessments may be on the increase
BY KEN LARONE
A farm tax bonanza in the range of $1.9 million to $2 million a year may be a welcome tax relief for Bluewater tax payers starting in 2017.
New farm assessments in Huron County will be released later this year showing the value of an acre of land has jumped to an estimated $13,840 from $7,350 in 2011.
Every five years The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) makes an assessment of Ontario farmland. In 2011 the 258 farms in Bluewater were assessed at $7,350 an acre. Ryan Parker, of Valco Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants, evaluated land price increases in 11 south-west Ontario counties in February. The increase in Huron County was 89.2 per cent, one of the largest.
“Huron is home to some of Ontario’s most productive land with large livestock and cash-crop sectors,” Parker wrote in the London Free Press late in February.
Higher commodity prices and low interest rates have given farmers their big increases in land value, he explained.
In 2011, Huron had 2,467 farmers with 258 living in Bluewater. The average age of farm operators in 2011 was 52.1 years old.
Murray Wales, a director of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and an Elgin County cash crop farmer told The London Free Press often when farms are sold it’s bigger farmers buying smaller ones.
Five years ago Huron had 458 farms with 400 acres or more. MPAC expects that number will be higher as well as the price per acre.
Ansberth Willert, Bluewater treasurer, expects it will be near the end of this calendar year before she gets MPAC’s final numbers for calculating 2016 farm taxes. She expects them to be significantly higher because MPAC will be showing double digit sales prices on the land sales during the past five years.
photography club to capture images from munro stories
The Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story is excited to be hosting a new joint project between the Huron County Library and the Photography Club of Bayfield (PCoB) that will combine the words of Alice Munro stories with photo images of Huron County.
Huron County Library book clubs will be reading a selection of Alice Munro stories over the next month in order to pull quotes from the stories that are visually descriptive of the places and landscapes of Huron County. The list of quotes will then be circulated to members of the PCoB who will have the opportunity to either shoot new photographs based on the quotes or match them to existing images from their inventory of Huron County photos.
“We have amazing book clubs in our communities throughout the county,” said Jenni Boles, Branch Services Librarian for Huron County Library. “It is exciting that these groups have an opportunity to use their love of books and reading to help creatively celebrate this local, Nobel Prize winning author.”
“Members of the Photography Club of Bayfield are excited about the opportunity to contribute their images to a new creative event in the county,” said Marty Bond, of the PCoB.
A jury of representatives from Huron County Library, PCoB and Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story will select the images that will be framed and exhibited during the 2016 Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story taking place June 2-5. Following the Festival, photos from the “Alice Munro Country” exhibit will be displayed in library branches across Huron County.
The photography exhibit will open on June 3 in Wingham as part of the opening reception of the 2016 Alice Munro Festival of the Short Story. This year’s Festival program will be announced soon and, along with a full line-up of author presentations and writing workshops, will also include a half-day landscape photography workshop on “Photographing Alice Munro Country” with Don Martel.
Fans of Alice Munro’s work and members of the public are invited to participate as well. Anyone interested in being part of this exciting project is asked to submit found quotes to their local library branch by Apr. 1.
Phragmites group take title of Conservationist of the year
The Conservationist of the Year Award was presented to Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group (LSPCG), an enthusiastic, dedicated group of citizens in the Port Franks area. This group was formed in 2011 to address the invasion and spread of Phragmites australis (European Common Reed) in Lambton Shores. The Conservationist of the Year Award prize includes a limited-edition conservation print of the Latornell Tree, by Bonna Rouse, one of 310 made for a special edition by Conservation Ontario. Ausable Bayfield Conservation will also make a donation towards a tree and plaque at a Commemorative Woods site in the watershed. Shown in photo, from l-r: Kate Monk, manager of Stewardship, Land and Education, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA); Michelle Hay; Brian Horner, general manager and secretary-treasurer, ABCA; Ray Horban; Derek Scott; Nette Pachlarz; Paul Petersen; and Nancy Vidler, LSPCG chair. Missing from photo is Bill MacDonald. (Submitted photo)
The winner of the Conservationist of the Year Award is Lambton Shores Phragmites Community Group (LSPCG). Ausable Bayfield Conservation announced the winner and presented the award at the annual conservation awards evening held at Ironwood Golf Club, east of Exeter, on March 17.
Close to 80 people attended the event, including landowners, residents, and community group members; dignitaries; ministry and conservation authority staff; municipal representatives and others.
Guest speaker Janette Anderson, Great Lakes program coordinator, Environment and Climate Change Canada, presented on the topic, “Collaboration Works: Lessons Learned from Global Review of Coastal Management”.
Six members of the LSPCG were present at the event to accept the Conservationist of the Year Award.
“We are really pleased to receive this recognition,” said Nancy Vidler, LSPCG chair.
Cottage associations and community members came together several years ago when they identified invasive Phragmites australis (European Common Reed) on the beach in Port Franks, she said. The group had success managing the plant on the beach but members realized this problem affected a larger area and needed a concerted effort if they were going to keep the invasive plant in check.
“We looked around at the landscape and the big picture and we thought ‘No way, we can’t quit … if we quit it’s going to come back with a vengeance’ and, not only that, it was destroying the rich natural heritage we have in Lambton Shores and the watershed,” said Vidler.
The growth of the community group’s work, much like the plant, “just took off.”
“We feel really proud of the things we have accomplished,” she said, in accepting the award on behalf of the group. “Thank you so much for this recognition,” said Vidler. “It will keep us going.”
Also present at the awards evening was Dr. Janice Gilbert, of the Ontario Phragmites Working Group.
The awards evening program described the community group as formed by “an enthusiastic, dedicated group of citizens in the Port Franks area.” The community group received the award prize of a limited-edition conservation print of the Latornell Tree, by Bonna Rouse, one of 310 made for a special edition by Conservation Ontario. Ausable Bayfield Conservation will also make a donation towards a tree and plaque at a local Commemorative Woods site.
Ausable Bayfield Conservation’s Manager of Stewardship, Land and Education, Kate Monk, made remarks introducing the award winners.
“The group should be very proud of the work they’ve done in just a few short years and we should be very, very appreciative for the work that they’ve done,” Monk said. “They’re very engaged and they’re a very important part of the Ontario Phragmites Working Group and working with agencies and individuals across the province to control Phragmites.”
Agriculture and Agri-food Canada identified invasive Phragmites as this country’s “worst” invasive plant, in 2005, according to the Ontario Invasive Plant Council Ontario Phragmites Working Group website. This tall invasive reed plant has a serious impact on shorelines, coastal wetlands and rivers. It affects water quality, wildlife habitat (including species-at-risk turtle populations), recreation and public safety.
The LSPCG has been successful in greatly reducing the Phragmites population in Port Franks and is making progress in other parts of the municipality, according to Monk. The community group has partnered with other organizations to raise more than $100,000 to fight Phragmites. The group has engaged the community, held public meetings, been interviewed in media and educated people door-to-door. Group members have also been active in monitoring the plant and in active removal using proper practices for its removal and management.
The group started its work on a local basis but its education efforts have gone province-wide. They have worked with the Municipality of Lambton Shores, the Province of Ontario, the Ontario Phragmites Working Group, and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to promote management of this invasive plant.
They have helped other communities start their own Phragmites control programs.
According to the awards evening program, “As a result of the extensive efforts of LSPCG, Phragmites populations have been reduced, native flora and fauna are returning, citizens and the municipality are engaged and collaboration among agencies and organizations has increased.”
The Grand Bend Community Foundation, in 2015, provided the community group with funds to help them address Phragmites upstream of Port Franks and Grand Bend. This partnership effort led to the creation of the first-ever, two-page, fact sheet for controlling Phragmites in agricultural areas. The community group also completed a roadside Phragmites survey in Lambton Shores and North Middlesex. The group also held two information sessions in the summer of 2015 in Thedford and Grand Bend for agricultural and rural landowners. The group is continuing its efforts to monitor and manage Phragmites through follow up and to engage neighbors and other partners.
Gully Creek watershed chosen for stewardship Initiative
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association’s (OSCIA) Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) Priority Sub-watershed Project has selected two sub-watershed areas in Huron County to act as sites to help evaluate the effectiveness of agricultural stewardship in improving soil health and water quality. The areas are the Gully Creek watershed, just north of Bayfield, and the Garvey-Glenn watershed, north of Port Albert. Both sub-watersheds were also priority areas for the Rural Stormwater Management Model Project.
“There are many factors that change from year to year, such as weather conditions and what crops are on the land,” said Mari Veliz, Healthy Watersheds supervisor at Ausable Bayfield Conservation. “It’s important to monitor on an ongoing basis, to collect a data set that helps to explain how well the different agricultural best management practices are working.”
The GLASI Priority Sub-watershed Project began in autumn of 2015 and aims to evaluate the effectiveness of focused stewardship efforts in a sub-watershed by measuring improvements in soil health and water quality. The project will continue until December 2017.
The project plans to implement focused Best Management Practices (BMP) in these defined sub-watersheds. Staff members hope that they can measure reductions in loss of soil and nutrients, in particular, phosphorus. The project team also hopes these practices will benefit the farm operation.
Landowners in these two watersheds are eligible for up to 80 per cent cost-share grants (up to $25,000 per year) and, in some cases, per-acre incentives. These incentives are for specific BMP projects under the following categories: cover crops, soil amendments, erosion control structures, retiring marginal lands, contour and strip cropping, conservation tillage, phosphorus management, crop and field nutrient management plans, windbreaks and strips, buffer strips, drainage water management and other innovative actions.
All landowners applying for grants must enroll in the program, and eligible applications must be sent to OSCIA through the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) or Maitland Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA). Final decisions on the eligibility of projects for grants rest with OSCIA.
This year’s projects must be completed by January 2017 and next year’s projects must be completed by Dec. 15, 2017. For more information on eligible invoice and claim dates, please contact your local conservation authority.
To enroll in the program and apply for a grant or per-acre incentive, please contact Mari Veliz at the ABCA, 1-888-286-2610 or email@example.com or Chris Van Esbroeck at the MVCA, 519 335-3557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
saturday's at the library
The Friends of the Bayfield Library have been hosting their Saturday’s at the Library series this winter and they had one more presentation on their schedule, this coming Saturday’s Elliot’s Quartet, that unfortunately has been postponed until further notice.
Welcome to spring and a new season at the Bayfield Town Hall.
Bayfield Town Hall’s various committees’ are hard at work planning the 2016 Concert Series, Community Luncheon, and Sunset on Summer BBQ – the list goes on!
The 2016 fundraising season was given a kick-start with an amazing cabaret that showcased the incredible talents of people from the community who performed songs from the Oscars, all introduced by very dry witted co-hosts. February’s “Bayfield at the Oscar’s,” was a two-night, sold out show.
From Hollywood glitz one night to set up for Soup’s-On the following morning, tear down and set up between events was quite awe-inspiring. The aroma of delicious homemade soups greeted visitors who were then invited to judge and vote for the best soups from 18 entrants, no easy feat.
Already, two great events to kick-start a busy year of fundraising as we aim to be an integral, vibrant influence for the Bayfield community and to continue to maintain the Town Hall building and grounds to the high standards expected of a heritage property.
Please visit the Town Hall’s website, or visit on Facebook for updated information on all upcoming events. Online posters will be coming at a later date.
Bayfield Town Hall is seeking two new board members. People interested in event planning, the rental business, marketing and/or advertising, may find that the Town Hall committee has everything that they might be looking for in a volunteer position. Or, if anyone just wants to work with a great team of volunteers, the Town Hall is calling out to them.
Anyone who is interested and would like to ask more questions, please feel free to contact Sandy Scotchmer at 519 565-2830.
Mavis’ Trail, located just south of Varna, is one of the region’s hidden gems. It begins in a quiet pine reforestation area with tranquil meadows and then after crossing a 65 foot bridge, walkers will meander through a heavily wooded deciduous forest with towering Maple, Birch and Ash trees. The path eventually leads to a lovely, tranquil lookout over the charming Bayfield River.
Anyone who would like to experience this trail on a guided walk is invited to join the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association (BRVTA) as they host a Family Walk along Mavis’ Trail at 1 p.m. on Apr. 10.
The trail is 2.5 km long, difficulty is level 3 (moderate) and the hike will take approximately one hour. The trail starts at Stanley Recreation Complex, 1.6 km. west of the village of Varna on County Road # 3. Parking is available.
For more information please contact hike leaders, Pat Baker, at 519 955-1456, or Elise Feltrin, at 519 565-5852.
Jennifer Pate, of Windmill Lake Wake and Eco Park, will be the guest speaker at the Bayfield Farmers’ Market Annual General Meeting on Apr. 20 at the Bayfield Town Hall.
The business portion of the meeting will begin at 7:15 p.m. followed by Pate’s talk, “Greening Our Market” a presentation on environmentally friendly packaging options beginning at 8 p.m.
The Bayfield Farmers' Market Board of Directors is now seeking community representatives. This is not an onerous commitment and no experience is necessary. People who have in interest in seeing the market flourish and who are available to attend two or three meetings yearly are being sought Please contact Market Coordinator Mary Brown at email@example.com if interested.
The first market of the season will be held in Clan Gregor Square at the start of the Victoria Day Weekend, Friday, May 20 and conclude on Thanksgiving Weekend, Friday, Oct 7. The market will be held from 3-7 p.m.
A community stall space at the Farmers’ Market is available to charity and non-profit organizations, at no cost, for fund-raising, promotional and educational purposes by applying to Brown by email at firstname.lastname@example.org at least one week in advance.
The Huron County Economic Development Board (HCEDB) is actively recruiting a new member from the business community. People who believe that Huron County has a great story to tell, welcome investment and business development, and embrace our local heritage and quality of life are encouraged to apply.
“This volunteer position offers tremendous professional development opportunities as you work alongside an inspiring group of individuals,” said Jim Lynn, Board chair. “It’s an exciting time to join the Board as we begin to implement the county’s economic development strategic plan.”
Board meetings occur once a month in the evening. Ideal candidates for the position should be passionate about Huron County, want to see it positioned well for the future and support regional collaboration.
Interested applicants should submit a one-page letter explaining why they would like to be on the HCEDB to email@example.com or in person to the Huron County Administration Office at 1 Courthouse Square in Goderich. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, Apr. 1st.
The Harvard Health Publication, the media division of the Harvard Medical School, reports that Tai Chi is one of the five best exercises you can ever do to get into shape and lower your risk for disease. Taoist Tai Chi® arts can improve strength, flexibility, balance, and circulation and can help calm the mind, transforming one into a healthier and more harmonious person.
Beginner classes are being offered in Bayfield starting in April. All are welcome to attend these classes taught by an accredited, volunteer instructor.
An Open House and free class will be held on Apr. 4 from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Bayfield Town Hall. Beginner classes will continue on Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. at the Town Hall. For more information call Doug at 519 565-5187.
Bayfield has many creative people living here both full and part time. Many have studios built into their homes or on their property. But wouldn’t it be great if there was an association, of sorts, where they could share insights, studios, lesson’s learned, materials as well as invite instructors, host workshops, supply or sell materials and help motivate each other?
“If you are among the interested, I am prepared to host a gathering of the like-minded for an exploratory conversation to pursue this idea. I will endeavor to gather us together in early spring, ” said Leslee Squirrell, artist.
Please contact Squirrell by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Huron County Historical Society (HCHS) is hosting a bus tour, “Trek to Guelph – Gateway to the Huron Tract” on May 14.
The trek by bus is being organized by the HCHS and will travel the Huron Road back to Guelph. Bayfield Archivist Ralph Laviolette is putting together a running commentary booklet for the event. He is doing this from research contained in the Bayfield Archives about the Huron Tract and the development of Huron and Perth Counties.
“A group of Guelph volunteer walking-tour guides visited Huron County by bus last year,” said Laviolette. “This trek by bus returns the trip looking at historical cairns and points of interest along the Huron Road through Huron and Perth Counties to Guelph where John Galt set up headquarters when he began the development of the 1-million acres of Canada Company lands that became the Huron Tract. Van Tuyll bought the Bayfield town site from the Canada Company.”
The bus tour costs $69 for adults and $65 for students. The fee includes lunch at the historic Albion. Itinerary highlights include: Author Gil Stetleron on the subject of John Galt, tour of the Guelph Civic Museum, Market Square in Guelph, refreshments and a walking tour of historic downtown, tour of John McCrae House and refreshments beside the Speed River.
Those who wish to attend are asked to pre-book their tour by Apr. 1 by contacting David Armstrong at 519 524-1156 or by email at email@example.com.
The St. Andrew’s United Church congregation will welcome Nancy Moore as guest speaker at their 11 a.m. service on Apr. 10. The topic of her presentation will be “How I Donated a Kidney and Learned to Play the Ukulele.”
Along with sharing her personal story of a life-giving gift, Moore will perform with members of the Bayfield Ukulele Society. This promises to be an uplifting and educational event, that all in the community is welcome to attend.
Anyone looking for a great venue to sell their crafts, promote their business or sell fundraising tickets should look no further than the Bayfield Community Fair.
The Bayfield Fair organizers are looking for vendors for Aug. 19-21. An indoor or outdoor 8x10 space is only $40 ($1 per foot extra, $10 for hydro).
Food vendors are also sought to feed the hungry multitudes that often descend on the fairgrounds.
Please fill out the application that can be found at this link http://bayfieldfallfair.ca/?page_id=886 and forward it to Ted Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call Dunn for more information at 519 565-5316.
friends of hullett
Once again the Albion Hotel will be closing its doors on Sunday, May 1 to host the third annual Friends of Hullett (FOH) fundraising Dinner and Auction.
Local winery Alton Farms Estate from Plympton-Wyoming have kindly donated a wine tasting that will begin at a 4 p.m. reception with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the auction at 7 pm.
For 2016 there will be three “Early Bird” prizes that include a one-night stay at The Albion Hotel for tickets purchased before Apr. 1. The 2015 dinner was sold out well before the event.
Albion Hotel owner Kim Muszynski along with Derek Jefferson, of Bluewater Golf Course, and Tim MacDonald, of Ideal Supply, are the key sponsors of this event. Last year’s event was a huge success and those who attended said that the gourmet meal provided by the Albion was amazing.
Following the gourmet dinner Richard Lobb will auction off the donated items that for the most part relate to the outdoors. Some of the items include local art, shotguns and a diamond necklace. All proceeds will go to FOH to help operate the 5,420 acre Hullett Provincial Wildlife Area in programs such as trail upgrades, pheasant release, research, environmental education and habitat enhancement.
Over $20,000 of profit were raised at the 2014 and 2015 Albion events combined.
This exclusive event has only 60 seats available. Anyone who would like to support the FOH are asked to please contact FOH manager Scott Austin at 519 525-2211 to secure their seats or donate an auction item. Tickets are $100 and include a membership to the Friends of Hullett and a few little surprises at the Albion.
To learn about Hullett Marsh and the “Friends” please visit www.hullettmarsh.com