Have you ever imagined walking along a beach and discovering a message in a bottle? I have, and that is exactly what happened to me and my Ontario Nature colleague Erin earlier this month at Quarry Bay Nature Reserve on Manitoulin Island.
As a member of the nature reserves field crew, I am collecting species data on a number of Ontario Nature’s properties from spring to early fall. I felt like I was in a different world when I arrived at Quarry Bay. The exposed limestone bedrock (typical of an uncommon landform called “alvar”) and extreme climate gave me a first impression of a harsh and barren environment. With further exploration, I began to appreciate the great number of specialist species that call this unique ecosystem their home.
While we were walking along the beach, we spotted a bottle. When we got closer, we noticed that it contained some paper. We had found a message in a bottle! With The Police song playing in our heads, we excitedly uncorked the bottle and retrieved the paper.
A man named Kevin had written a note on this paper, describing his sailing adventures on nearby Great Duck Island during summer 2014. He wrote about the stormy weather he experienced and the seclusion of the island. He included his email address and promised to share more stories of his wild adventures. We rolled up the note and recorked the bottle before sending it back on its way for another lucky person to find. It’s fun to imagine what other treasures – natural and human-made – can be found on the reserve. With the field season just beginning, I’m sure there will be many.
Sepi Ghafouri was Ontario Nature’s nature reserve conservation intern. She graduated with a BSc in ecology and environmental science from the University of Toronto, and completed a post-graduate diploma in environmental management at Niagara College. Sepi enjoys travelling and the outdoors, and is always looking for opportunities to combine the two.