During COVID-19 shutdowns, many Highlanders ventured out to the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust’s two public nature preserves, the Dahl Forest and Barnum Creek.

Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Trust is equipped with a revamped website and a new video to introduce the public to these ecologicallyrich natural areas.

At a virtual event March 3, HHLT chairperson Shelley Hunt explained how the grant helped the organization “rebuild, recover from and adapt to the impacts of COVID-19.”

A new website makes navigating HHLT content more streamlined.

For example, there is a new section detailing the Trust’s efforts to protect the “Highlands Corridor” of sensitive wetland habitats.

Hunt said the site is “vastly improved” and will enhance the HHLT’s community outreach.

On the new website is a video, produced with Ontario Trillium Foundation funds.

Conservation in Action is a seven-minute production crafted by videographer Brad Brown. It showcases the two areas and includes interviews with HHLT members, trail users, Dysart mayor Andrea Roberts and more.

MPP Laurie Scott attended the virtual event and said “community engagement and education is so important to the mission of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust and I’m glad this funding can help support local initiatives community members are passionate about in Haliburton County.”

The Trust also debuted Wonder in the Woods, a video in which Hunt delves into Haliburton’s forest ecology.

“Like any good story, nature is messy and complicated,” Hunt said in one scene. Produced by Sticks and Stones Productions, it takes viewers below the forest floor to explore fungi, ancient plants that dot local meadows and even the unusual food storage habits of birds.

She said both videos will act as an introduction to HHLT.

“It’s something that will live on our website and a way to connect with us if they’re not getting to an in-person event,” Hunt said of the video.

Both videos are live on the HHLT’s new website: haliburtonlandtrust.ca