obtained from the West Elgin Nature Club, and compiled by Future
Stewards Program with the Elgin Stewardship Council.
Bush is located in Aldborough Township in Elgin County. You can
find it by going north from Highway #3 onto Furnival Road. Turn
left from Furnival Road onto Silver Clay Line and look for signs
for Joe's Bush. It is on the south side of Silver Clay Line. The
911 number is 21597.
The lot is publicly owned. There is a small parking lot on site
and three different trails that you can take to explore the property.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
Mr. Joseph E. Schmid bought 50 acres of land that is known today
as Joe's Bush.
Joe cleaned the land, planted and pruned thousands of trees.
Mr. Schmid donated the land to the village of Rodney. It was decided
that the land would be developed into a nature preserve for the
enjoyment of the whole community.
The village of Rodney and the Aldborough Township Council decided
to create a memorial public forest. It was the first step toward
the conservation of the local Carolinian forest.
West Elgin Nature Club youth members, Mike Reive and Janet Prieksaitis,
developed an interpretive trail for the forest. It was intended
to promote public use of the area.
trails in Joe's Bush include;
JOE'S BUSH INTERPRETIVE TRAIL SYSTEM
common tree guide
trails were designed to promote public awareness of the area and
to increase an appreciation for nature.
The property is dominated by the vast Carolinian forest habitat.
The site offers you a choice of three different, well-marked trails.
Each trail has marked the various Carolinian forest species that
you can find at Joe's Bush. There is a picnic area with tables available
for day-use. There are no washroom facilities available on site.
WELCOME TO THE FOREST HABITAT
Bush is fifty acres of forested land. The front part of the forest
is an excellent example of a Carolinian forest. It comprises approximately
40 percent of the total forested area. About 60 percent of Joe's
Bush is plantation and is found toward the back of the forest.
Woodland areas are important habitat for a variety of species including
birds, reptiles, insects, amphibians and mammals. A habitat is where
all plants and animals live; it is their home area.
Animal homes in the forest can be large old hollow trees known
as den trees, or standing dead trees called snag trees. These trees
are very important within the forest ecosystem because animals
like raccoons and flying squirrels make their nests in den trees,
while birds like woodpeckers nest in snag trees.
nut producing trees (mast trees) such as oak, beech and hickory
supply food for the woodland creatures. Without these trees in the
forest the animals would either starve or move to another forest
that contained these trees.
trees or "evergreens" are important because they are used
as shelter and cover from the snow, wind and rain by many forest
dead trees have a place in the forest since all of the dead logs
and leaves on the forest floor provide habitat for insects and amphibians,
which in turn are food for other animals.
Joe's Bush there are both coniferous (has cones) and deciduous
trees. There are a variety of native and non-native coniferous
species found mainly in the plantation. In the plantation under
story there are some deciduous trees and bushes. Many of the
deciduous trees are found at the front of the site in the Carolinian
CAROLINIAN FOREST LIFEZONE:
Canada is one of Canada's most significant landscapes. Often known
as the "banana belt", this area supports an amazing diversity
of wildlife and natural habitats. The area has a relatively warm
climate, providing suitable habitat for many species that are not
found anywhere else in Canada. The area has the warmest average
temperatures and the longest frost-free seasons in Ontario. This
results in relatively mild winters compared to the rest of Ontario.
The Carolinian forest reaches its northern most limit in Southern
of Ontario's rare and endangered species can be found nestled away
in the last remaining acres of the Carolinian Forest. Species that
can be seen here include trees such as Sassafras, the Tulip Tree,
Blue Ash, Flowering Dogwood, Chestnut, Hop Tree, Paw Paw, Black
Gum, Cucumber Tree and the Kentucky Coffee Tree. The Green Dragon,
the Creeping Fragile Fern, Swamp Rose Mallow, Lizard's Tail, Yellow
Mandarin, Virginia Bluebells and Oswego Tea are a few of Canada's
rare plants existing now only within the Carolinian Zone. Bird species,
such as, the Acadian Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Carolina Wren and
the Prothonotary Warbler can be found here. Some mammals are restricted
to this area, these include the Badger, Eastern Mole, the Southern
Flying Squirrel and the Opossum.
this life zone is one of the most threatened landscapes in Ontario,
covering less than 1% of Canada, but yet it is home to more rare
plants and animals than any other region in the country. This is
mainly because the species found here are at the northern most point
of their habitat. As well, these species live in developed and settled
landscapes, resulting in a minimum amount of habitat remaining.
It is found within an extremely busy corridor between Windsor and
Toronto. Urbanization, agriculture and industry have destroyed a
large portion of this beautiful forest. Because of this the Canadian
Carolinian Forest has been a focus for conservation and stewardship.
you would like to learn more about the Carolinian Life Zone, or
have any questions please do not hesitate to contact:
LIFE IN A FOREST
are some wildlife species you might see
in the forest habitat in Joe's Bush:
Fox " Raccoon
AND OTHER WILDLIFE
OF A REMARKABLE MAN'S ACHIEVEMENT
Schmid was born in Bavaria, Germany in August of 1904. He emigrated
to Canada with $1.50 in his wallet, the clothes on his back and
a dream to settle in an expansive land where he could enjoy natural
beauty. Joe was sponsored by his uncle Mr. E. J Schmid, a Rodney
jeweler. Joe, a trained jeweler himself, eventually took over his
uncle's shop and operated a business in the Village of Rodney from
1926 to 1968. Joe was a highly skilled jeweler and a successful
businessman. His store rivaled any in London and numbered among
his customers many clients from Detroit and a large area surrounding
Rodney. He often worked with his older brother Louis, also a jeweler,
in Thamesville. Joe married Jean Wiley, a West Lorne teacher, in
1936. Joe and Jean have one son, Ted, who resides in the family
home in Rodney.
quiet, gentle man collected and restored old wall clocks and was
a keen gardener in his younger years. But most of all, Joe had a
passion for land and conservation. Like many Western Europeans,
Joe recalled the value of land and the difficulty citizens had in
attaining ownership of it. In the early 1940's, Joe purchased several
parcels ranging from 50 to 100 acres. They were located in Aldborough
Township on Lot 3, Concession 12; Lot 21, Concession 11; Lot 11,
Concession 9; and Lot 13 Concession 8. He reforested three of these
parcels at a time when forests were logged and cleared for agricultural
in the mid 1940's Joe made two trips a year to the provincial tree
nursery in St. Williams. In an aging vehicle Joe would return to
Rodney weighted down with 7,000 to 8,000 seedling trees. As soon
as the trees were secured, a crew of local workers hired by Joe,
cleared by hand the area, prepared the rows and planted the trees.
acquired the first 50 acre property in 1944. This parcel became
his favourite. It has since been named "Joe's Bush". Located
on Lot 3, Concession 12, Aldborough Township, this gently rolling
50 acre parcel was partially forested and traversed by a small creek.
While Joe had a love of coniferous forests reminiscent of the Black
Forest Region of his homeland, he preserved the native Carolinian
species including, Tulip, Black Cherry, Sassafras, Black Walnut,
Eastern Flowering Dogwood, and Yellow Birch.
the next two decades Joe proceeded to reforest the open area with
Red Pine, White Pine, Norway Spruce, White Spruce and European Larch.
Hemlock, Balsam Fir, Red Oak, White Ash, Red Maple, and Silver Maple
were added to the forest as these species became available at the
nursery. Joe nurtured this forest with his trademark meticulous
attention to detail. He spent countless hours replanting, thinning
and pruning the trees. Later as his forest began growing Joe groomed
trails throughout for his own pleasure and that of his guests. Joe
was a Charter member of the Rodney Horticultural Society, West Elgin
Nature Club and Rodney Kiwanis Club. Many community residents enjoyed
summer meetings, excursions, picnics and other outings in this pristine
wooded area. "All my spare time, I spent maintaining the lane
to make sure other people come here and walk."
he sold the jewelry business in 1968, these forests were a hobby.
Retirement permitted Joe to dedicate all his time to making his
dream come alive in the three reforested parcels he owned. "I
would come out here when I had worries or things on my mine. It's
hard to explain how relaxing it is."
1985, Joe approached Mr. Charles I Black, Reeve of Rodney and expressed
a desire to transfer the property on Lot 3, Concession 12 to the
Village of Rodney for use as a public park. What made this proposal
interesting, is the fact that the property was situated well outside
the boundaries of the Village. His prime wish was to "have
the property remain in its natural state for passive recreational
purposes." "Coming from crowded Europe to Canada with
wide open country, I want to show my appreciation for all that Canada
has done for me." With these words, Joe donated this parcel
of land that Mr. Black subsequently set up under "a perpetual
undertaking clause" which ensured that the forest would remain
intact in perpetuity.
A NATURAL AREA
You want to enjoy your nature experience
screen and bug spray
RESPECT THE AREA
Many species make this area their home don't litter
you observe something place it back where you found it
STAY ON TRAILS
You could trample wildlife and plants don't damage vegetation
disturb dead wood, it is decaying
away from leaflets three, it is poison ivy
human impact on the area
4. ENJOY YOUR VISIT!
Your natural area is important to you the quieter you are,
the more you will see
everything in its natural setting
back and visit again
Elgin Nature Club
West Lorne ON