flora and fauna

Written by Denise Deby.

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If you’re concerned about:

you might want to have a say on the City of Ottawa’s Urban Forest Management Plan.

The city is creating a comprehensive plan to enhance and protect Ottawa’s tree canopy. That includes trees on public as well as private property–in parks, yards, on streets and on commercial property, for example–as well as tree habitat.

Launched in September, the process continues with public consultations on Tuesday, November 24, 2015.

The full timetable and more information can be found here.

Thanks to Cristina Scaini for the information. Posted by Denise Deby.


Happy Anniversary, CPAWS-Ottawa Valley!

For 45 years now, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)’s Ottawa Valley chapter has been working to protect biodiversity and land in our region.

They’ve sent in this information on their upcoming celebration:


Don’t miss this opportunity to hear two terrific conservation biologists share their insights into the importance of the Ottawa Valley for North America’s boreal songbirds.

Come and get inspired by these big-thinking speakers, see old friends and meet new ones!

This event will be followed by a free reception celebrating 45 years of conservation by CPAWS’ Ottawa-Valley chapter, including nibblies, cash bar and door prizes.

Location: Tabaret Hall, University of Ottawa, 550 Cumberland St, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5

Paid parking, easy access by OC Transpo (Laurier Station)

Time: Doors open: 6:30 PM; Lecture: 7 PM

Tickets: $15  Seating is limited.”

The speakers are Michael Runtz, a naturalist, nature photographer, natural history author and “superteacher,” and Dr. Jeff Wells, bird expert, conservation biologist and science and policy director for the Boreal Songbird Initiative.

You can find more information and purchase tickets here.




Written by Denise Deby.

Rideau River - Strathcona Park - D. Deby photo

Here are a few things I’m thankful for these days:

Advocacy: I’m grateful to all the wonderful people around who are speaking up about what needs to be changed, finding creative solutionsorganizing opportunities for others to make a difference, and inspiring the rest of us to think, live and act more mindfully.

Art: Ottawa has many impressive people who through their art, music, films, stories and other creative pursuits are not just spreading the work about environmental and social issues, but helping us see that different ways of thinking and acting are possible. (Don’t miss the Walking With Our Sisters memorial, a powerful tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women, at Carleton University’s Art Gallery until Oct. 16, 2015.)

Being a part of nature: Getting outdoors is calming, rejuvenating and a reminder of our connection with other things. Right now the air is crisp, the colours magnificent and local forests, parks and recreational paths plentiful. (Gatineau Park and Greenbelt trails can be crowded this time of year, but they’re splendid, as is the South March Highlands. Going for a bike ride, or a walk through a park or neighbourhood, are other things that make me happy.)

Biodiversity: Although we’re losing ground on biodiversity, it’s what keeps us resilient. Fortunately, there are organizations and individuals helping us rebuild biodiversity in our food system, and protect species and habitats. (Try USC Canada’s 10-minute game to get family or friends talking about biodiversity and why it matters, or read up about it.)

Food: This is of course the time of year to celebrate the harvest. (A visit to a farmers’ market or pumpkin patch is a great autumn activity.)

Water: I’m thankful for water and its life-giving properties. I’m worried about threats to it, and grateful to groups working to protect water sources locally and farther afield. (Check out these suggestions of water issues to raise with your federal candidates.)

Other things I’m thankful for: family, friends and community; health; time (including time to be thankful!); and oh, so much more.

You’re welcome to share some of the things you’re thankful for, in the comments—I’ll be grateful. : )

Guest post written by Tree Fest Ottawa.

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Respect trees. And respect them again; they are partners in life.” Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Join Tree Fest Ottawa and Forests Without Borders at Trees for Life, an evening with world-recognized tree expert Diana Beresford-Kroeger and short documentary films about people changing the world one tree at a time.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger, Canadian botanist, medical biochemist, and self-described renegade scientist, is on a mission to educate people around the world about the life-giving properties of trees, and the difference we can make by helping to replant the global forest.

Her “renegade science” draws from the traditions of Western medicine and botany, aboriginal healing, and the ancient world to promote a visionary bioplan with a profound call to action: for us to reconnect with the majesty of nature, to learn about the heritage and diverse properties of trees, and to reforest our habitats with old-growth species.

Diana’s talk, Banking on Trees, will describe the science and magic of trees locally and globally, how they hold answers to some of the most pressing human problems, her activism to promote and protect trees for life, and how we can get involved. Come to this free public event to meet and learn from the engaging and inspiring Diana Beresford-Kroeger.

Trees for Life

When: Oct 6, 6:30-9:30 pm

Where: Horticulture building, Lansdowne Park

Cost: Free! Reserve your seat(s) at treefestottawa@gmail.com

Trees for Life is part of Tree Fest Ottawa’s PhotoSynthesis outdoor photography exhibit. Visit Tree Fest Ottawa’s website to learn more about the photography exhibit and its free public events.

Founded in 2015, Tree Fest Ottawa connects people with trees, inspires dialogue and learning, and transforms how we see, engage with, and act in the world around us. We use the power of photographs and stories to capture public attention and encourage people to take action to protect the trees in our environment – and plant new native trees. For more info, visit: treefestottawa.org.

Written by Denise Deby.


Hear interesting people and be inspired at these upcoming films and talks:

The Price We Pay film and panel discussion will shed light on the extent to which offshore finance and tax avoidance deprive societies of revenues, hampering governments’ ability to provide services and contributing to inequality. Organized by Inter Pares as part of its Film Night series, in collaboration with Canadians for Tax Fairness, Publish What You Pay, MiningWatch Canada, Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability and Oxfam Canada. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, 6:30 p.m. at the Mayfair Theatre.

How to influence the outcome of the 2015 federal election and the environmental and social issues we care about? The West End Well hosts a discussion on what political parties are saying about the environment, affordable housing and more. Brock Carlton (Federation of Canadian Municipalities), David Chernushenko (city councillor), Michael Bulthuis (Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness) and Dick Stewart (social and community advocate) will be on hand. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, 7-9 p.m.

Author and activist Naomi Klein and filmmaker Avi Lewis will be in town Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 for the Ottawa premiere of the film This Changes Everything, based on Naomi Klein’s bestselling book about capitalism and climate change. The documentary is “an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change” and a call to use climate change as an opportunity to change our economic system. The Oct. 4 screening, including a Q&A and book signing, starts at 6:30 p.m. (The film also runs Oct. 9 and 10.)

From Oct. 4-10, the Mayfair is also showing How to Change the World, a film about the founding of Greenpeace.

Tree expert Diana Beresford-Kroeger and other tree advocates will be at Trees for Life, organized by Tree Fest Ottawa and Forests Without Borders, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park. Includes award-winning films Forest Man, The Man Who Planted Trees and Moving Forest. It’s also an opportunity to see PhotoSynthesis, a photography exhibit on trees (the exhibit runs until Oct. 12). Check out Tree Fest Ottawa’s other upcoming events.

* * *

From the This Changes Everything film synopsis:

The extraordinary detail and richness of the cinematography in This Changes Everything provides an epic canvas for this exploration of the greatest challenge of our time. Unlike many works about the climate crisis, this is not a film that tries to scare the audience into action: it aims to empower. Provocative, compelling, and accessible to even the most climate-fatigued viewers, This Changes Everything will leave you refreshed and inspired, reflecting on the ties between us, the kind of lives we really want, and why the climate crisis is at the centre of it all.

Will this film change everything? Absolutely not. But you could, by answering its call to action.”

Written by Denise Deby.


Trees are one of our city’s most important—and overlooked—assets. Trees give us shade, coolness and oxygen. Trees provide habitat, remove pollution from the air, reduce runoff, mitigate against climate change and provide other health, economic and aesthetic benefits.

Trees are also at risk—from development and infill, threats such as the emerald ash borer, and challenging growing conditions.

Local groups and individuals are working in various ways to draw attention to the importance of trees and encourage protection and sustainable management of the urban canopy. They include Tree OttawaHidden Harvest OttawaChamplain OaksBig Trees of Kitchissippi, South March Highlands and others.

A new group, Tree Fest Ottawa, is using images and stories to inspire people to protect trees. Their first exhibition, PhotoSynthesis, launches on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 at a Tree Day event at Lansdowne Park.

The free outdoor exhibit presents the work of local photographers and profiles local tree specialists, including a botanist, a forester, foragers and a violin maker. It runs until Oct. 12.

Tree Fest Ottawa will also be hosting:

  • a Glebe Tree Walk with tree educator Owen Clarkin on Oct. 2;
  • a concert by the Cadanza String Duo (cello and violin) on Oct. 4;
  • an evening of short films and talks, Trees for Life, on Tuesday, Oct. 6, co-hosted with Forests Without Borders, in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park, from 6:30-9 p.m. The evening features botanist and author Diana Beresford-Kroeger, as well as the films Forest Man, The Man Who Planted Trees and Moving Forest.

Be sure to check out Tree Fest Ottawa’s website for more information on the interesting things they’re doing.

Also on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015National Tree Day—the City of Ottawa is hosting Urban Trees: Putting Down Roots for the Future. It’s a discussion about trees and a launch of the city’s initiative to develop a comprehensive Urban Forest Management Plan. The event is 6-8 p.m. at the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Speakers include Philip van Wassenaer, arborist and urban forestry consultant. Details and registration here. It’s an opportunity to learn more about the city’s plans, and to meet some of the groups involved in protecting and celebrating Ottawa’s tree canopy.



Written by Denise Deby.

Murphy's Point - D Deby

One of the benefits of living in Ottawa is the proximity of provincial, recreational and conservation parks. Gatineau Park, Fitzroy and Rideau River Provincial Parks, and other nearby conservation areas and parks make for great day or weekend outings (or longer). Many offer hiking, swimming, canoeing/kayaking, interpretive programs, camping and more, as well as the chance to appreciate the diversity of ecosystems in this region.

Although any time is a good time to spend time in a park, the July 17-19, 2015 weekend has lots to offer.

Ontario Parks is holding Healthy Parks Healthy People on Friday, July 17, to draw attention to the health benefits of nature. Day use admission to provincial parks is free, and many parks have activities planned. (Check the website under “Event Listing.”)

Saturday, July 18 is Canada’s Parks Day, and admission to many national and provincial parks and historic sites is free. Some are offering special programming for the day, too. You can see some of the activities on the Got Parks website.

(Parks Day and Got Parks are courtesy of the Canadian Parks Council, a little-known but important network through which provincial, territorial and national parks connect and address issues of common interest.)

If you don’t have access to a vehicle, don’t worry. Parkbus still offers a service to Algonquin Park from Ottawa. Check the schedule here. (The next trip is the August long weekend.)


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