On Wednesday 18 July, some of the GeoREACH Lab team members took a trip into the field (literally) to visit Bill and Elizabeth Glen’s land in the Bonshaw area of Lot 30, Prince Edward Island. Bill and Elizabeth are well known in PEI genealogical and historical circles, and Bill was formerly a forester with the PEI Provincial Government. He now serves as a forest and woodland consultant, and he co-authored a chapter with Josh MacFadyen in the University of Calgary Press collection on Historical GIS Research in Canada. The Glens have been on their property since the early 1980s, and they were able to provide some real insight into how the land has changed over the last forty years, including how they managed the forest, fields, and hedgerows!
The team has studied Lot 30 extensively using aerial photos and historical maps on GIS. We were excited to explore the real area that we have been examining from above for the last several months. It reminded us that our research is much bigger than just a computer screen! We could see the changes that have occurred in the land since the aerial photos that we are currently studying were taken in 1968, before the implementation of the Comprehensive Development Plan (for more on that see this post). Some of these changes include hedgerow planting, the appearance of new homes, and a new nut orchard on the property.
While on this excursion, we learned about hedgerow and woodlot composition, as well as the importance of biodiversity and climate change adaptability in wooded areas. White spruce (what we use to plant most of our hedgerows) is incredibly vulnerable to slight shifts in climate! Bill also showed us a hydraulic pump that dates back to 1890, which he still uses to pump water to the tank for his nut orchard. The GeoREACH team would like to thank Bill and Elizabeth Glen for having us to their home and sharing their knowledge of land-use change on Prince Edward Island.