From ash to nature totem tree

By Roderick Benns

In the summer of 2020, it became obvious to Carole May that the two ash trees bordering the lakeside playground at the Dalton Community Centre had succumbed to the ash borer.

May, who is on the Dalton Volunteer Management Board, said one of the trees was small but the other “had such a grand and comforting presence for the park.”

“I could not imagine it gone,” she says. Her dream was to create an uplifting project in the community and create something “inspiring, educational, and wonderfully unique.”

A friend recommended Andrew Munro, the local carving expert, to help fulfill the dream. Several of the animals that frequent the park ended up being represented in Munro’s “nature totem tree.”

May says it honours the local wildlife and brings longevity to what she calls “the comforting presence of the long-standing ash.” 

In fall of 2020, the ash tree was trimmed to a height of just under six metres (19 feet) in preparation for its transformation. This past summer Munro arrived with his chainsaws, paint and stain. 

“Before long the carvings blossomed to be even more than imagined,” says May, with a total of 14 exquisite animals. 

May, who says the City of Kawartha Lakes wouldn’t fund the project because it didn’t meet their interpretation of beautification for city funding, says the project could not have happened “without our rural community coming together in support” and doing all their own fundraising for the project.

Below are a few photos of the project in both summer and winter.

1 Comment

  1. Christine Wilson says:

    What a wonderful addition to the park. Thank you to to Carole May and Andrew Munro, and all others involved, for their hard work on this lovely project.

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