By Adam Brazeau
LANCASTER, Ontario – Cooper Marsh will be shedding its title as the area’s best-kept secret, if the amount of interest shown at their latest event is any indication.
Over 100 people crowded the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area and Visitor’s Centre to enjoy nature in upscale fashion at the annual Cooper Marsh Harvest Wine & Cheese fundraiser.
“The wine and cheese is a fundraiser that we’ve had for ten years. It helps the Cooper Marsh Conservators pay for their operating expenses, and the reconstruction of the boardwalks and the new viewing platforms,” said Jacques Legault, Cooper Marsh Conservators chair.
The event raised a few thousand dollars.
Legault said there is still approximately $20K that needs to be raised for the first phase of the ‘Boardwalk Restoration Fund’ project, which costs $300,000.
The project’s second phase involves digging out several ponds and channels to open up the wetlands for wildlife. It costs nearly $85,000 and currently $14K has been raised.
“The project’s been going very well,” said Legault. “We’d really like to have more people come out and participate in our projects. If you could come and support us, we’d appreciate that very much.”
A highlight of the event was provided by local independent filmmaker Vincent Pilon. His new short documentary 'Discovering Cooper Marsh' gave a candid view into the legacy of the wetlands.
"A lot of people in the area have a personal connection with the marsh," said Pilon.
The short film connected with its director in a few ways: He recalled going there as early as nine days old, since his father formerly worked for the Raisin Region Conservation Authority. As a teenager he also shot one of his first videos there.
Nancy Halberg, from Long Sault, has been coming to Cooper Marsh with her family for 15 years. Taking kids on nature walks and feeding birds right from her hand were a few of the fondest memories.
"This is a great place to get youngsters outdoors. When you're walking it's quiet. Hopefully, they'll leave their technology in the car," she said.
Kevin Cooper spent a lot of years as a local elementary principal and many outings under his leadership would be at the marsh.
"I think the preservation of the lands in this area is a remarkable achievement," he said.
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