PEI

P.E.I. watershed group partners with historic site to improve property and shoreline

A P.E.I. watershed group and a local historic site on Tracadie Bay are teaming up to improve the 215 hectare (530 acre) property and the shoreline.

'Any opportunity to have more people come out to the site, it's critically important'

Aggi-Rose Reddin of the Glenaladale Heritage Trust shows students one of the thousands of artifacts in the house. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

A P.E.I. watershed group and a local historic site on Tracadie Bay are teaming up to improve the 215 hectare (530 acre) property and the shoreline and they've recruited students from a nearby school to help. 

Members of the Green Team from Stonepark Intermediate School in Charlottetown were at the Glenaladale Estate Monday for a lesson in local history and environmental stewardship, planting trees and cleaning up the shoreline.

Students from the Stonepark Green Team planted trees at Glenaladale. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"It's wonderful to have the kids out here today, we're really hoping that most of the schools will eventually find that Glenaladale is a good place to bring the kids to," said Aggi-Rose Reddin of the Glenaladale Heritage Trust.

"The chance for them to walk the land, 2,000 feet of shorefront on Tracadie Bay, there's so much that they can learn through the presentations that the watershed does."

Members of the Stonepark Green Team planted trees during their visit to Glenaladale. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

The Glenaladale Heritage Trust purchased the 215 hectare (530 acre) site in 2018 and is now working to restore the estate.

'Practical help'

Reddin said the property is an important part of the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association, so the partnership makes sense.

"They've been a real practical help for things that we need to do on the land here, from clearing some trees to planting others," Reddin said. 

'Helping with the archeological dig, the clearing that needs to be done there too, it's been terrific."

The watershed group also talked about water conservation during the visit at Glenaladale. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

'Enthusiastic partner'

The watershed's co-ordinator said they are always looking for private landowners to do projects with.

"Whenever the community group here bought Glenaladale, their goals for the property were very similar to several of our goals for the watershed as a whole," said Sarah Wheatley, watershed co-ordinator for Winter River-Tracadie Bay.

"We found a very enthusiastic partner."

Members of the Green Team from Stonepark Intermediate School did a beach cleanup as part of their visit to the Glenaladale site. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The watershed group has a variety of projects on the go on the property.

"We're doing some forestry projects and there's agricultural land, we're doing some soil sampling and research to see how the soil health changes over time," Wheatley said.

"We have our shoreline cleanup project that's ongoing, tree planting on the shore, tree planting to expand forests, some hedgerow planting." 

Winter River watershed staff with the buoys they collected on the shoreline close to Glenaladale. From left to right: Shamus Koughan, Evan Cahill, Chayla Exner and Vanessa Jackson. (Sarah Wheatley)

Wheatley says her group brings some important experience to the partnership. 

"The trust has some staff but it's mostly volunteer-run, where we have a whole crew that's good at planting trees, cleaning shores, all sorts of science work," Wheatley said. 

"It doesn't really make sense for them to become experts in that type of stuff too, so we can tackle projects that we're good at and let them tackle the ones that they're better at." 

Piece of Island history

Members of the Stonepark Green Team were impressed by their visit.

"I really like planting trees and going through the house and looking at all the antique stuff," said Dylan Smith, 12, who's in Grade 7 at Stonepark.

Staff from the Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association talk to students about native animals of P.E.I. as part of their visit to Glenaladale. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

"I love history and especially Island history, so having the opportunity to look at all of the old things in the house and do good things for the environment I was really excited," said Becca MacLean, 12. 

Jill Burry, vice principal at Stonepark, is happy her students get to learn about history and the environment, all in one field trip. 

"They really haven't seen much history in their lives so it's a real eye-opener for a lot of them thinking, you know, there's no electricity, somebody died in this house," Burry said.

"They're very excited about the history and they want to come back or they want more time so parents can bring them out."

The Glenaladale Heritage Trust purchased the site in 2018 and is now working to restore the estate. (Nancy Russell/CBC)

That's yet another positive spinoff for Reddin and the Glenaladale Heritage Trust.

"We're still amazed at how many people, Islanders don't even know that this place exists," Reddin said.

"Any opportunity that we have to have more people come out to the site, it's critically important."

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About the Author

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.ca

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