Of ticks, trees, and pesticides

by Chandler Swain

On Monday evening Diana Beresford-Kroeger,  a world recognized author, medical biochemist and botanist,  presented her film Call of The Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees at the Almonte Old Town Hall.

After the film a few important issues were discussed in a Q&A. Most importantly for us here in Lanark, Diana talked about how we all have to write to our county council to demand they stop the planned spraying of our roadsides with a cancer-causing herbicide this spring. She and the moderator of the Q&A, Ed Lawrence, both highly admired horticultural experts, made a compelling case for rejecting the spraying of toxic herbicides to eliminate invasive Wild Parsnip as these poisons will also kill so much important native plant life. They emphasized that mowing will work well. There can be no disputing their advice on this topic.

After seeing Diana’s beautiful film on the fundamental importance of caring for all the plant life that makes it possible for us to breathe on the planet, you realize each one of us needs to change our attitude toward the natural world at this critical time of rampant climate change. We simply have to stand up to the herbicide companies and demand our leaders promote life-enhancing solutions instead of really dangerous quick-fixes that diminish our health and the health of our fragile planet. We all need to take a stand…for the sake of our grandchildren. NOW.

Further conversation was about the dangers of ticks and Lyme disease when we are out enjoying nature.

Diana made the point that ticks are less numerous in areas with diverse woodlands. But in the meantime, until we all plant as many native species of trees as we can everywhere there is room, we need to face the facts of the local spreading tick invasion.

I mentioned that I had found a natural product that we have been using on our dog and ourselves for a couple of years instead of any cancer-causing pesticide.  Many people have since asked me more about the product.

Since we dog-walk on woodland trails every day I needed an effective solution (to go with checking for ticks after walks). And please note, even friends I know whose dogs are treated with vet prescribed pesticides to prevent tick bites, STILL find ticks on their dogs!).  We found and ordered a product online that has been effective. It is from a company in Texas that uses the proceeds of this product to run a horse rescue operation. Bonus! The product is called Tickshield by Cedarcide ( www.cedarcide.com).

Without any harmful chemicals, you and your dog will smell like a cedar closet. We even used it to prevent bites from swarming deer flies in Algonquin Park quite successfully even though it needs to be reapplied fairly frequently. It’s totally safe for kids too.

Please make a point of seeing Diana’s film. Order it here: Call of The Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees calloftheforest.ca/

It will change or deepen the way you relate to our natural world and have you planting some trees! I really thank the Arbour Week Team for bringing Diana and her film to Almonte. It was an amazing evening.