flora and fauna

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.)


Guest post written by Katherine Forster, Native Flora Program Coordinator, Friends of Petrie Island.

Garden Days English 2015

Want to get inspired about more natural landscaping?  Wondering what native plants you can introduce to support wildlife?  Curious about whether wildflowers would look good in an ornamental garden?  Then check out a new free event in Ottawa that is a collaboration between four local native plant gardens on the weekend of June 19th to 21st!

Ottawa’s Native Plant Garden Days offers opportunities to visit the four gardens over the three days, starting on Friday June 19th.  Two gardens: the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s landscaped gardens in Manotick and Friends of Petrie Island’s wildflower garden in Orleans will be staffed that day so that visitors can ask questions and learn more about natural landscaping and gardening for wildlife.  On Saturday, the public is encouraged to visit the gardens for self-guided tours.  At each site there will be different resources such as pamphlets, display boards or signed garden beds and/or plants.  (Petrie Island will have limited access on the Saturday due to the Carivibe event so there will be no Native Plant Garden Days events held in Orleans on that day.) Many of these resources will be available in French and English.  On Sunday, three of the gardens will be staffed: Fletcher Wildlife Garden, the Canadian Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Friendly Demonstration Garden and the Friends of Petrie Island’s wildflower garden.

These four Ottawa gardens provide examples of native plants in different settings, from lovely backyard flower gardens and larger landscaped yards to a more naturalized setting where you will find flowers popping up in fields, smaller natural beds and along walking trails.  This is a great opportunity for people to either visit the garden that is closest to their home or to tour all four locations in one day, so that they can enjoy the variety of these Ottawa native plant gardens. And in case someone misses this June event, all four gardens are open during the warmer seasons for the public to visit at any time.

For more details on the Native Plant Garden Days event including times and locations, please consult the website: www.nativegardensottawa.ca.


“Maplelawn Gardens” photo by Jeremicus rex – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maplelawn_Gardens.jpg#/media/File:Maplelawn_Gardens.jpg

Written by Denise Deby.

There’s no shortage of things to do this weekend, June 6-7, 2015.

Doors Open Ottawa opens the doors to more than 120 Ottawa landmarks and interesting places. If you’ve ever wanted to see inside an embassy, an architecturally significant building, an artist’s studio, a greenhouse or a historic site, check the list (and schedule).

Giveaway Weekend happens June 6-7. You put household items you no longer want on your curb, mark them “free,” and people can take them away. (There are some restrictions—for example no cribs or car seats–so check the website for guidelines.) Lots of garage sales happen this weekend, too, so you might find something that you need (and keep it out of the landfill). Check OttawaStart or Used Ottawa for locations.

Saturday is also the Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium, where people set up lemonade stands in neighbourhoods all over the city. The event supports the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Ottawa Veg Fest is a celebration of all things vegan and vegetarian.  Organized by the National Capital Vegetarian Association, the event includes talks on health and sustainability topics, exhibits, food samples and cooking demonstrations. Admission is by donation.

Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s Annual Native Plant Sale is on Saturday, June 6. It’s the place to find native wildflowers and find out which plants are best for your yard or garden.

Velo Vogue’s Fashion Show is on Saturday, June 6. Get inspired to ride your bike, and check out local clothing and accessories, food and drinks. Proceeds support RightBike.

Random Hacks of Kindness might be your thing if you’re interested in brainstorming with others about environmental and social challenges. Participants will be designing apps for the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, Ottawa Riverkeeper, VoteSavvy and other organizations from Friday, June 5-Sunday, June 7.

Part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival June 4-13, The Global Savages (June 8-13) is described as an 18,000 year old story that presents the world view of Indigenous people, told by the Debajehmujig Storytellers, in outdoor performances that evolve as the storytellers engage with people and places. The Global Savages are also inviting people to join them early on Saturday, June 6 from 4:45 a.m.-8:00 a.m. for a Sunrise Walk on the Sentier des Voyageurs Trail from Gatineau to Ottawa.

Written by Denise Deby.

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), Petrie Island - D. Gordon E. Robertson on Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solitary_Sandpiper,_Petrie_Island.jpg the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria), Petrie Island – D. Gordon E. Robertson on Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Solitary_Sandpiper,_Petrie_Island.jpg Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Discover Petrie Island! This wonderful spot on the Ottawa River offers walking trails, an interpretive centre, a wildflower garden, a beach, a picnic area and nature galore—including more than 130 bird species, several turtle species and 29 rare plant species.

The Friends of Petrie Island maintains part of the area on behalf of the City of Ottawa. The volunteer-run group also offers nature programs (including children’s programs) and events.

This Saturday, May 30, 2015, there’s an Island Spring Clean Up and BBQ with Ecology Ottawa. More details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/885730521489011/

On Sunday, May 31, 2015, there’ll be a Nature Walk focused on Wild Edibles with Peggi Calder. Details and registration here.

Check the Friends’ event page for upcoming events in June and beyond: http://www.petrieisland.org/events (Check out their volunteer opportunities, too.)

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