Woods is the last remnant of old-growth white pines on the north shore
of Lake Ontario. Once reserved for masts of sailing ships of the British
Royal Navy, the towering pines provide a vital resting place for countless
migrating songbirds each spring and fall.
Galvanized into action when the pines were threatened with logging in
1983, a handful of naturalists formed a nonprofit corporation and purchased
the woods. Donations from hundreds of caring people, from as far away
as England and Japan, raised $150,000 to pay off the mortgage. Thickson's
Woods became the first natural area to be listed in the Ontario Nature
Trust Alliance registry.
In 2001 we took on another challenge: protecting this tiny natural jewel
from encroaching development, by purchasing an 8 _ acre meadow just north
of the woods—for more than half a million dollars. Again, caring
people responded, giving so generously that the five-year mortgage was
paid off nine months early. Today, what two decades ago was a cow pasture
is regenerating into valuable habitat that buffers this precious woodland
from the fumes and noise of trucks and industry.