Thickson’s 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.