Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – Black Snakes and 4H Species at Risk – Cornwall Ontario – September 13, 2010

Cornwall ON – I met a beautiful young lady this past week-end at the Spencerville Fair.
Her name is Wally and unbeknownst to many of us she is a Species at Risk.
Wally is a Black Rat Snake, (sometimes referred to as the Grey or Eastern Rat Snake) Ontario’s largest known snake which can reach lengths of  2.5 meters.
This species of snake can live up to 20 years; the female must reach 10 years of maturity before she procreates, usually about every 2 years in our climate.  This can take place yearly in more southerly climates.  The black rat snake’s diet consists of small rodents and some birds.
This beautiful species hangs out in forested areas in the trees away from the water.  The snake does like to soak up some sun on our roadways and therefore due to its long length suffers mortality on our busy roadways as people can easily mistake it for a piece of tire or stick on the road and it’s length far outreaches the width of a car.
This species will sometimes shake its tail in leaves if it is frightened however do take note that it is a non-venomous snake.  A critical measure to insure the continuation of this species is to protect their hibernacula.  This is the place where they hibernate for the winter months.
The following image shows Wally stretching her jaws after having a drink of water.  Please do take note that it is unlawful for anyone to keep an Ontario species of snake as a pet.  A special permit was secured by the Forest Stewardship Council to display a live specimen for the general public to view during the fair.
Do you know someone between the ages of 13 to 21 who is interested about the Environment and would like to learn some new skills?  4H Ontario now has 4-H Species at Risk Clubs whose mandate is to Protect Planet Earth.  How wonderful is that?
The first meeting in this area will take place in Brockville, September 21, 6 pm at the Ontario Government Building at 1809 Oxford Avenue.  This is a great opportunity for interested young men and women to gain public speaking skills, become trained in audio/video productions, learn about species at risk, participate in field trips, hone graphic design and social marketing skills and participate at Species at Risk symposiums.  To register contact 613-342-8528, or or visit the 4-H Species at Risk Club on Facebook.

The Resource Stewardship Council of SD&G will be hosting a Leisurely Bus Tour on Sunday, September 26th from 1- 5 pm.  The highlight of this tour will be the many amazing trees noted in booklet that the Stewardship Council produced last year entitled. “Trees with a Story”.

A modest investment of $5.00 will net you your bus ticket, a personal visit with several of South Glengarry’s magnificent trees featured in the above booklet, yummy tree treats, a tour of the oldest home in Ontario, and the opportunity to avail yourself to the considerable tree knowledge of our Prime Minister’s gardener, Mr. Mark Burleton.
Space is limited and pre-registration is required.  Contact or to reserve your seat today.

Lastly, sometime ago I purposed that Earth Matters readers consider taking their own utensils and containers to take-out food vendors to eliminate the plastic and Styrofoam garbage which is generally part of the take-out experience.  One reader was concerned what the health department’s thought of this suggestion?

The health department is fine with clients containers being filled with food as long as the potential client’s container does not enter the kitchen where the food is being prepared.

Quote of the week:  “We do not have solitary beings.  Every creature is in someway connected to and dependant on the rest.”  ~Lewis Thomas~

1 Comment

  1. I don’t disagree with you, Jacqueline and so I took some time to research the current fate of one of your sisters who has similar feelings. Betty Krawczyk is a 82 year old woman who has repeatedly done her bit to protect the environment. She engaged in sit ins at Eagle Ridge Bluffs in BC. Incredibly the Crown has recently appealed and has instructed the judge to sentence on the basis of Betty being a repeat offender. She now faces life in prison as a repeat offender at a trial on Sept. 22, 2010. So joining a club like 4 H seems like a good idea now but is it a gateway to a prison cell beside Betty Krawczyk? Won’t hers be the same fate as all environmentalists?

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