Our ace in the hole: Skunk’s Misery

“Skunk’s Misery” consists of forest, grassland, wetland and watercourses.  It straddles three counties and links to the Thames River. The woodlands play a significant role in protecting the air, soil and water. Skunk’s Misery is one of the few places in Canada where you can find a mix of Carolinian trees, such as Chestnut, Sassafras, Tulip Tree and Flowering Dogwood, typical of more southern climates.  In the woodland and along the roadsides, is one of the country’s most diverse butterfly populations.   The site has Canada’s largest colony of endangered Acadian Flycatcher along with many other rare species such as Black Rat Snakes and Cerulean Warblers. [1]  The stories about Orville Shaw, the hermit of Skunk’s Misery, need to be written down.

Excerpt from Nov 28th Inventory

 


[1] News release from Middlesex County and Carolinian Canada, Re: Unveiling of Skunk’s Misery Plaque.  July 5, 2005.

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Your Wardsville annual meeting

Thankyou everyone for coming.  It has been 38 months since we began the revitalization efforts for Wardsville.  It is rewarding to see our newcomers step into leadership roles for the little village, feeling welcomed and appreciated.

Highlights of the year:

Wardsville and area is proud to have kicked off the Commemoration of the War of 1812 – 1814 two years ahead of schedule. While re-enactors, heritage groups and tourism agencies get their plans and programs in place for the commemoration in 2012, Wardsville is looking back at their bicentennial celebrated two years prior.

Wardsville’s founders, Mr. and Mrs. George Ward had barely established their wayside inn at the request of the British army when war broke out in 1812.

Wardsville’s 200-year celebration goals were to build community pride and put Wardsville back on the map. Volunteers invested 2500 hours in various projects.

The 30-block George Ward Commemorative Quilt won second prize at the International Plowing Match in St. Thomas. Volunteers then painted the same thirty 8’ x 8’ Barn Quilt blocks and mounted them on barns and important buildings throughout Wardsville area

On Father’s Day weekend, June 18 – 20, 2010, Wardsville hosted a re-enactment about George Ward and pioneer life in 1810 by Shaymus (Doug Ferguson) and friends. The re-enactors set up a camp featuring trading post, farm, potting studio, and military encampment of Royal Scots and local militia.

That same weekend, the first ever reunion of the Twin Valleys Community & School (1972-1984) was attended by 80 alumni and their family and friends. George and Margaret Ward descendants and the Lutchin family also gathered.

Dave’s Cafe held a Free Open Air Jam Session featuring many acts, Dave’s hamburgers, and Bicentennial Funnel Cakes. TCCU Wardsville community credit union dressed heritage style and were open for business. Wardsville Museum with Curator, Ken Willis, and Wardsville interpreters took visitors for a stroll down heritage lane. Wardsville firefighters displayed the new Rosenbauer 2010 tanker.

David Chidley and Larry Merrin photographed over 50 groups in a special studio over an 8-hour period. John Kendall photographed the Wardsville Bicentennial celebrations from start to finish. Cara Spooner and Simon Rabyniuk produced a 10-minute video “Walking Wardsville”.

In early October, an evening premiere featured the artistic endeavours thru fabric, film, paint, and pen.

Your Wardsville is proud of attracting creative artists and artisans to live in the community. For example, Crocodile Productions, a husband and wife film production team, acquired an important heritage building, the Old Wardsville Community Hall (1931), and are preserving it, living in it, and using the hall for what it was attended: hosting community social functions and showing film. The purchase date was June 19, 2010, the day of the Wardsville Bicentennial celebration.

Richard Sommer of Made On Earth Art Gallery purchased the old No. 3 school house on Longwoods Road because he observed a community attempting rejuvenation.

Mary Simpson, outgoing secretary

Your Wardsville Annual Report 2010

Wardsville Bicentennial: 1810 – 2010.  Honouring the settlers who suffered during the War of 1812 – 1814

thru fabric, film, paint and pen

January 19, 2011

Volunteer Tally – approximate

Number of hours tracked  = ~2500
Number of quilters = 20
Total artisans who painted barn quilt blocks = 146
Glencoe District High School artisans = 15
Mosa Central School artisans = 30
Heritage Spedialists = 33
Musicians = 38
Artists = 11
Organizers and Local Partners = 86
Barn quilt sponsors = 12
Total volunteers approximately 325.  (See Attachment A for detailed tally.

Outcomes

Wardsville’s 200-year celebration goal was to build community pride and put Wardsville back on the map.  Another goal was to kick off the Commemoration of the War of 1812 -1814 (which does not officially begin until 2012).  Wardsville celebrated its past, its present, and the future. It was a thrill to have a government sponsor who demanded that we involve our local artists and artisans in our community and it was the perfect time to commemorate local history and heritage.

Mr. and Mrs. George Ward established their homestead at the request of the British government in 1810.  War was imminent.  The eventual conflict was a terrible disruption to settlers’ lives. Wardsville’s Bicentennial honoured the role that the citizenry played in the War.

Volunteers invested 2500 hours into various projects this year. See attachment A for a table showing the number of volunteers, artists, sponsors, and groups who engaged with the project.   Volunteers:
·       stitched the 30-block George Ward Commemorative Quilt which won second prize at the International Plowing Match in St. Thomas.
·       painted thirty 8’ x 8’ replica Barn Quilt blocks
·       produced a video, Barn Quilt Tour by Crocodile Productions
mounted the 30 quilt blocks on barns and important buildings throughout Wardsville area
·       attracted “kith and Kin” to the village for a rich musical and historical experience on Father’s Day weekend, June 18 – 20, 2010
·       hosted a re-enactment about George Ward and pioneer life in 1810 by Shaymus (Doug Ferguson) and friends.  The re-enactors set up a camp featuring trading post, farm, potting studio, and military encampment of Royal Scots and local militia.
·       hosted the first ever reunion of the Twin Valleys Community & School (1972-1984) which was attended by 80 alumni and their family and friends.  See testimonies below.
·       held a Free Open Air Jam Session at Dave’s Cafe featuring many acts, Dave’s hamburgers, and Bicentennial Funnel Cakes
·       other downtown activities:
TCCU Wardsville community credit union dressed to the nines and in serious business mode.
o      Wardsville Museum with Curator, Ken Willis, and Wardsville interpreters.
o      Wardsville firefighters displaying the brand new Rosenbauer 2010 tanker.
o      Crossroads Bistro serving pizza, subs, fresh cut fries, and burgers.
·       photographed the Photo Legacy project:
o      two professional photograhers, David Chidley and Larry Merrin photographed over 50 groups in a special studio over an 8-hour period
o      John Kendall documented the Wardsville Bicentennial celebrations start to finish on Father’s Day weekend
·       sponsored the 10-minute video “Walking Wardsville” directed by Cara Spooner and Rabyniuk
·       hosted reunions for the Ward descendants and the Lutchin family
·       held a volunteer appreciation event at the Made on Earth Art Gallery in August.
·       presented plaques to all the super volunteers who worked on the barn quilt project
·       held an evening premiere at the Wardsville United Church in early October when the various artistic endeavours thru fabric, film, paint, and pen were shown

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Your Wardsville looking for Directors

Your Wardsville community association needs you.

Nominations Are Being Accepted To the Board of Directors of the Your Wardsville Community Association

These volunteer positions are for a two year period starting after the Annual General Meeting on January 19th 2011.

People who wish to be nominated may contact Todd Trojand at 693 0329 or email toddtrojand@yourwardsville.com

Nominations will be presented to the membership at the Annual General Meeting on January 19 2011 for the Association’s approval.

George Ward mural installed

‘The Spirit of George Ward’ by local artist, Rick Sommer, depicts a quiet scene with Ward sitting in a boat on the Thames River. Forty people attended the unveiling.  The mural is located at the north corner of Longwoods and Hagerty on the slope up to the ball park.

Rick and Lee Ann Sommer with daughters Bo and Kathleen

Installation of George Ward mural

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic

An appreciation picnic was held August 15 for the people who made Wardsville’s 200th anniversary celebration possible.

“It was a major success for Wardsville. We are creating a destination point for people in Southwest Middlesex,” said Denise Corneil, Your Wardsville treasurer.

Rick Sommer escorts tour through his outdoor art gallery

Wardsville celebrated 200 years June 18-20. One of the major attractions during that weekend was 30 8×8 foot painted murals, called barn quilts, which depicted the life of the town’s founder, George Ward. The August 15 picnic included those who painted the barn quilts, event sponsors, volunteers and other guests. They all gathered at the Made on Earth Art Gallery on Talbot Line, which is the home of Rick Sommer.

Sommer, as an artist, also provided tips to those who made the barn quilt murals.

“It was a good experience, teaching the citizens, so they could take pride turning their community into a destination point,” said Sommer.

Article ID# 2730581

The Chronicle community newspaper