Plant Stewardship

“Take a moment to yourself, close your eyes and give thanks to the land before we enter and start our work.” – Ron Sans

Reflecting on Plant Stewardship and Land Healing   

Friends of Second Marsh’s stewardship intentions are focussed on Oshawa Second Marsh and McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve.  These unique natural areas are a biodiverse web of plants, animals and land features.  It is our intention that our stewardship actions will maintain, restore and improve the natural habitats that support this biodiversity and heal the land so the wildlife habitats there can become the best natural areas they can be.

Plant stewardship is one way to achieve our stewardship intentions.  This can include managing plant species that affect biodiversity and the value of natural habitats to all forms of life.  Friends of Second Marsh plant stewardship actions:

  • minimize and reduce dominant introduced plant spread,
  • increase and restore habitats for biodiverse preferred plant species and,
  • above all, respect nature by acting with thoughtful intent using methods that cause the least disruption to the natural environment. 

To have the most impact, plant stewardship management actions of dominant introduced plants are prioritized where their presence is sparse, in small colonies and within or near valuable sensitive habitats – the intent to give nature a helping hand to push back dominant introduced species in high quality habitats.   To minimize disruption, habitat restoration considers replanting or reseeding only if the existing seed bank is depleted or lacking preferred plant species – the intent, that given time under our watchful eye, nature will heal the space we have left behind.

With our stewardship intentions at top of mind, each time Friends of Second Marsh sets out to work on the trails we remind ourselves …

  • Our actions will be thoughtful, minimize harm and minimize disturbance to nature while we aim to improve the habitats we visit. 
  • We do only what we need to do. 
  • We take only what we need to take.
  • We step only where we need to step. Every action and every minute in nature counts.

Caution!   Many plant species have irritating or toxic properties.  Always avoid touching plants you are not familiar with.  In particular, Woodland Angelica, Wild Parsnip and Cow Parsnip have toxic sap.  It can cause phytophotodermatitis – a burn-like rash after skin is exposed to plant juices and then skin is exposed to sunlight. 

Dominant Introduced Plant Watch List

Dog Strangling Vine (Vincetoxicum rossicum)

European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)

Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus)

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)

Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)

Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)

Mock Strawberry (Potentilla indica)

Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)

Phragmites (Phragmites australis sub-species australis)

Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)

Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Wood Avens (Geum urbanum)

Woodland Angelica (Angelica sylvestris)

Yellow Iris (Iris pesidacoruss)

Preferred Plant List

Coming in 2024! 

Do you love Goldenrod, Purple Asters, Sugar Maples, Jewelweed, Cattails and others?  Contribute to the knowledge bank. Let us know your favourites and why by emailing us

What Are We Doing About Dominant Introduced Plant Species?

FSM staff and Lead Stewards are finding resources (human and financial capital), working with land owners, researching, prioritizing, and leading management actions including field work activities with volunteers and hired services. 

Volunteer Stewards are enjoying the cameraderie of learning, training and completing field work – like mapping and manual pulling, clipping, spading – to manage plants under the direction of FSM staff and Lead Stewards.

Professional Contractors are providing services to FSM staff.  Contractors are engaged to complete management actions over large areas or with techniques like mechanical mowing that are not suitable for manual field work by volunteers.

How to Ensure this Important Work Continues?

  • Contribute your hands or resources to the cause.  Volunteer, Donate, Advocate!

Become a FSM Volunteer Steward or organize an outing for your group to learn about plant identification, manual plant management techniques and land healing. Education, training, and supplies provided.

Before and After Management Action

Photos Coming in 2024!