Hugh Metcalfe of Naturaide. Courtesy Photo

Naturaide combines sustainability with natural solutions

WINCHESTER – The balance between agribusiness and nature, wildlife and farming has never been an easy one to maintain.

Hugh Metcalfe of Naturaide is hoping to bring the different agricultural realities together in a natural way.

Naturaide started up in January of 2020.

One of Metcalfe’s main focuses was nutrient management strategies for farmers.

“The work I do is supporting the other agricultural industries.

If someone is building a new barn with manure storage, they will hire a consultant to draw up whatever plans they might need and then those plans are submitted to Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.

Everything that Naturaide does is to help the environment, whether it is nutrient management strategies or calculating setbacks from wells and other waterways that go by a barn or surface water,” he said.

When not promoting best practices for farms or nutrient management strategies, Metcalfe works on various other aspects of the environment.

Naturaide offers designs as well as consulting services for those wanting to get the most out of their garden or other areas around their home where birds and pollinators thrive.

Metcalfe is prepared to give advice on how to make your home lawn environment a great place for biodiversity to take hold.

When it comes to nutrient management Metcalfe said, “The farmer wants to be able to get the maximum nutrient benefit from the manure that is being spread.” Consequently, his help with any nutrient management plan is intended to help a farmer get the most out  of their nutrient management plan.

“I am working with farmers to encourage those kinds of best practices on their farms.”

“I also do soil sampling and minimum distance separation work, which is to do with odours. More people are moving out to the country from urban centres and sometimes they are surprised by the sights, sounds and smells produced by a farm.”

Metcalfe also mentioned that Naturaide tries to stay as independent as possible in order to maintain an unbiased attitude about the projects he is working on.

“For me it is nice to step back and see everything and get a different approach to what is happening.”

Since last fall, he has tried to concentrate more on native plants.

“My background has always been environmentally based. I am a wildlife technician.”

He has always been interested in nature and wildlife.

“I have always had an environmentally based approach.”

Metcalfe sees ways to be environmentally aware on the farm.

“It could be as simple as putting up nest boxes up along a field edge or taking some marginal land on a farm and putting more trees on it.”

Recently, Naturaide has been involved in helping people convert their lawns from an empty expanse of grass to an area more welcome to local wildlife and native plants.

“Instead of having all of this area of lawn you convert it into native plants that are naturally found in this area,” he said.

He likes to introduce native plants back into an area where they once flourished.

“I planted about an acre of wildflowers behind Lactalis on the North end of their property, just north of the water tower there.

I have a few more products lined up for them this spring.

Butterflies and moths have evolved with these plants for hundreds of thousands of years,” he said.

The challenge from an environmental standpoint is to show newcomers to a rural area that there are nice ways to protect the natural environment by not introducing plants that traditionally had no place here.

“People build houses then clear out all the trees and create large lawns. The idea is to try and keep invasive plants away from the natural vegetation.”

Metcalfe works with clients to design gardens that revolve around native plants.

“I can use my agricultural background to look at soil conditions and chose my plants to suit that particular type of soil and conditions. I put in species that will thrive,” he said.

Naturaide also offers avian point count services for organizations or individuals.

The company also offers apple tree pruning from late January through to March.

For more information about Naturaide please connect with Hugh Metcalfe, fish and wildlife technician, certified nutrient management consultant, certified NASM plan developer.

11343A Van Camp Road, Winchester, Ontario K0C 2K0. You can call 613-794-0190 or email: hughnaturaide@gmail.com.

If you would like to have a light shined on your business, please contact us at: editor@etceterapublications.ca or call us at 613-448-2321.

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