Going Up to Jackson’s Source

GDJ_Sheilds_02Through friends of friends I found the source of Jackson Creek.

Over in Emily Township, in the pasture of Mark and Dawn Shields, there’s a pond that runs out across their land toward Peterborough.

It’s the spot, or at least one of the spots, where the waters that run through our city originates.

GDJ_Sheilds_01Here are Tara Williamson, her soon to be born baby, and Dawn Shields having a sip of the cold, clear, rejuvenating water. (Something you wouldn’t even dare to do downtown.)

It was a great adventure to get out there. Special thanks to Tara and Janice Maloney for hooking me up.

GDJ_Sheilds_pigMark and Dawn Shields were lovely and welcoming, in spite of the fact that we all just kind of landed in their driveway with a crazy request for them to take us to the creek and stand in it in their boots.

Their property is beautiful and lush and their pigs are remarkably friendly. (They have cows and horses, too.)

GDJ_Sheilds_03So now I can say I’ve truly been from one end of the creek to the other.

Thanks, everyone, for an amazing afternoon.


    1. I understand. And yes, I think it’s what the humans do with the cattle that sully the creeks. Intensive agriculture, whether it’s livestock or plant crops, do a lot of damage to ground water.

      This family has one cow, two pigs and four horses on 200 acres. The shit produced by these animals isn’t enough to poison the creek.

    2. Esther Vincent Esther Vincent Hey Esther it’s funny how occasionally a fb post sticks in my head. This one perhaps because 20 years ago I worked out a lot of lifes ups and downs by walking that creek, sometimes way back into the fields. And then currently in my own watershed, we are dealing with mysterious algae blooms in our lake the last two springs. It is a beautiful lake – a drinking water source (with no central tx facility) and swimming attraction. There are two farms up stream and many houses who have septic fields in varying degrees of age. What we have learned is that the cause of the bloom is likely not one source but the result of collective action. there is no big agribusiness here. The farms keep their – anywhere from 8 to 12 cattle, sheep pigs chickens horses – fenced out of the creek. But there is still the potential for run off, and the many households are urged to keep their septics in good repair. But through testing we have learned that there are many contributing factors that collectively have overwhelmed the lakes equilibrium. I think the key in our watershed is for every person to deal with their own shit or their livestock shit in a more conscientious way. The up side of this is that we see the power in collective action and inaction.

    3. You are right to bring up these points. The watershed and our effects on it are very important. Thanks for sharing your experience and understanding. I’m happy to hear that the community is working together to find a solution to the algae bloom problem.

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