Russell 2nd Scouting celebrated 100 years of scouting activities on October 23, inviting members of the community out to the J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area. The Scouts set up several demonstrations, including tree identification and water testing, and they had several iterations of past uniforms on display. They also led attendees, which included Mayor Pierre Leroux, in a scout chant.
“We’re pretty cheesy in Scouts,” said Scout leader Bill Goodwin. “The cheesier the better.”
The Scouts also unveiled a 100th anniversary commemorative crest which combines elements of Canadian pride, such as the beaver and hockey sticks, with things that signify the conservation area. The Scout troop was formed only two years before the land donation, and they have a long history of activities taking place there. The land was donated to the South Nation Conservation Authority (SNC) in 1980 by Alex and Mable Little and Jean Hay to preserve the natural beauty of the land for generations to come. Their children grew up exploring the forest and rivers there, and they didn’t want those experiences to be lost to the ravages of time.
The SNC monitors the overall health of the forest. Approximately 600 trees are monitored for prolonged effects from the ice storm of 1998, and some will have to be removed due to an infestation of emerald ash borer. The 2nd Russell Scout troop will help to plant 150 trees within the conservation area to replace those that must be removed.
“These places build a community memory,” said SNC team lead Pat Piitz. “They become a part of the neighborhood.”
Emerald ash borer is a rising problem in eastern Ontario and western Quebec. A non-native species, the beetles infect certain species of ash tree, feeding on the leaves and inner bark of the tree resulting in a disruption of water and nutrients. In addition to the health and safety risks posed by dead trees in high-traffic areas, an area’s ecosystem can be thrown into disarray by even a small infestation of borers. The SNC is monitoring the situation closely.