People often say that many hands make the work light, and this edict was followed by members of the Rotary Club of Cambridge North (RCN) when then came out in force on Saturday, October 30, 2021 to clean up the shoreline along Chilligo Creek, the historical plaque area, and adjacent trails.

This cleaning was needed because nefarious weeds had overgrown the plaque area and trail, garbage was afoot, planted trees required pruning, and it was not feasible to see the water at this 14-acre site. So, RCN members flexed their muscles, fired up their equipment, and filled multiple trailers with weeds, branches, and garbage. This current effort was truly a repeat of historical efforts from back in the early 2000s, when RCN members played an instrumental role to facilitate the removal of the 1830s mill pond on the creek, plant trees, and establish a viewing area of the natural areas. This pond initially supported a sawmill and mill, where they made flour, animal feed, and other necessities, until 1985.

When the dam failed in 2000, it led to the formation of a group to plan the future uses of the area, and this was when RCN former President Stephen Witteveen and other members became extensively involved. This involvement took many forms, from sitting on the steering committee to fund raising. The goal was to raise sufficient funding to facilitate the excavation of the old mill pond, as a means to enhance the bridge, trails, create a new pond, clean up the creek and improve wildlife habitat. These funds came from varied sources, with the largest donations from two families associated with Schiedel Construction and GreenHorizons Group of Companies. As a tribute for the volunteer time contributed by RCN Rotarian Fred Schiedel along with his family’s donated funds, the newly engineered pond was renamed Schiedel Pond. Other funding contributors included the Hiff family, Stantec, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, City of Cambridge, the three Rotary Clubs of Cambridge, Loblaws, Ducks Unlimited, Environment Canada, and the Grand River Conservation Foundation.

With this long history, members of RCN were keen to enhance the existing area around Chilligo Creek, Schiedel Pond, the trails, and the commemorative plaques. These enhancements included pulling nefarious weeds, pruning planted and natural trees, picking garbage, cutting grass along the trails, and starting the process to replace the plaques. We now provide a pictorial overview of RCN Rotarians in action, completing this community service activity.

View of the team of CNR Rotarians and friends involved in the clean up

Photograph 1: View of the team of CNR Rotarians and friends involved in the clean up.

Chilligo Creek Before
Chilligo Creek After

Photographs 2 & 3: View of the plaque area before and after the clean up.

Rotarian Jeff Matyas

Photograph 4: Rotarian Jeff Matyas

CNR President Ken Denholm

Photograph 5: CNR President Ken Denholm

Rotarian Mike Jennings
Rotarian Mike Jennings

Photographs 6 & 7: Rotarian Mike Jennings working the weed snipper and power blower.

Chilligo Creek Group

Photograph 8: Rotarians (from left) Jeff Matyas, Dave Thomas, Mike Jennings, Sean Carragher, Fred Schiedel, Ken Denholm, and Charlotte.

Chilligo Creek Group

Photograph 9: Rotarians (from left) Dave Thomas, Ken Denholm and Fred Schiedel.

Chilligo Creek

Photograph 10: View of one old plaque area that will be replaced during a future RCN project.