Want to See Thousands of Orchid Blooms? Spend A Day At Purdon
Visiting the Purdon Conservation Area (near Ottawa) is a great way to improve your mental and physical health: take your kids on self-guided hikes through an uplands (hardwood) forest and see a real Canadian beaver pond. Enjoy “extreme” birding along the boardwalk of a rare Fen wetland and see endangered species regenerating, like the tree-kissing Woodpecker and butternut trees.
For three weeks in June, you’ll even get to see Joe Purdon’s legacy, and an inspiring example of fostering growth on your land: the famous fen of Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchids. Mr. Purdon discovered a small cluster of native orchids in the 1930’s and grew the colony to over 16 000 blooms. His generous deed teaches the importance of nourishing the land to improve life for residents who arrive after you.
From the end of Spring to the beginning of Fall, the Purdon Conservation Area (Ontario) is open Dawn till Dusk, Monday through Sunday.
- Free parking.
- Admission by donation.
- Fully accessible boardwalk, washroom, parking and picnic area.
- Check out the complete list of amenities or get an overview of Purdon’s terrain and trails with this printable Purdon Conservation Area Trail Map.
Printable Brochures for Self Guided Tours
Orchid Colony Management
MVCA manages the colony based on recommendations outlined in the Purdon Conservation Area management plan most recently updated in 2006, A New Management Plan for the Showy Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Ted Mosquin, Liz Brown 2006).
The active management of the site consists of some tree clearing to allow more light into the fen, water level management through beaver pond also known as Purdon Lake, and hand pollination. These orchids don’t attract insects like other flowers; hand pollination helps ensure the seeds are propagated.
It can take up to 15 years for new plants to bloom so measuring of progress can be a slow process. This summer a group of orchid specialists will undertake a full census of the fen to record the number of blooms this season. This is done once every five years to track bloom success on the site.
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Well below average spring flows could lead to lower than normal summer water levels throughout the watershed
APRIL 23, 2015 MISSISSIPPI VALLEY WATERSHED—Water levels across the watershed have peaked and are on the decline. This is the 3rd lowest spring peak flow recorded at the Appleton stream gauge since records began being maintained in 1918. With very little precipitation in the forecast over the next couple of weeks, water levels could be significantly lower than normal leading into the summer months, typically defined as the long weekend in May.
The majority of the snow pack that did exist across the Mississippi watershed disappeared through sublimation (going from a solid to a vapour) rather than melting which produces runoff to refill the lakes. As such, most of the upper lakes that are drawn down in the fall to store the spring runoff are significantly lower than normal at this time. MVCA will continue to operate the dams with the objective of reaching the normal target water levels by the end of May but will require substantial rainfall for those targets to be reached.
Historically, a low spring peak can be followed by a second peak in late May or June when rains occur. Although this cannot be determined at this time, residents should be aware that MVCA will be endeavouring to reach normal summer target levels and this could cause flooding to any docks installed prior to reaching those levels. Boaters should also be aware that there may be additional hazards on the lakes due to the lower water levels. Parents are reminded to advise their children about the dangers of playing near the rivers and creeks. Water temperatures are still cold and while flows are below normal, they are still high compared to summer conditions.
This Watershed Conditions Statement is valid through May 18, 2015. Additional statements will be issued when or if conditions are expected to change significantly from this outlook.
Daily water levels and flows are available on the MVCA website at www.mvc.on.ca.
The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority flood forecasting and warning program monitors weather conditions, snowpack water content, estimates expected river flows and water levels and issues flood advisories or warnings as required. MVCA provides early warning and continuous monitoring to municipal and provincial emergency response personnel through a flood event.
Contact: Gord Mountenay, C.E.T.
Water Management Supervisor
613-253-0006 ext. 233