Written by guest blogger Denise Deby, who writes on local and global social and environmental issues.
This weekend, June 4 and 5, 2011, you’ll find lots of activities with an environmental twist taking place in Ottawa.
For family-friendly activities, you can’t beat the Ottawa International Children’s Festival. It always offers a variety of amazing live performances but this year it includes an initiative to help children envision ways to address climate change. The Climate Change Project: Children’s Forests of the Future allows visitors to experience drama and music performances, create their own art, and see creations by Ottawa students in collaboration with professional artists and climate change scientists. The Festival takes place June 1-5 at Lebreton Flats Park on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum.
If you’re gardening, or hankering to, then the Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s Annual Plant Sale is for you. You can learn which native plants will attract birds and butterflies to your yard while eliminating the need for sprinklers, fertilizers and pesticides. The sale is Saturday June 4 from 9:30 am-12:30 pm at Fletcher Wildlife Garden on the east side of Prince of Wales Drive south of the Arboretum (take a stroll around the Garden while you’re there).
If you prefer to do spring cleaning, you can participate in Ottawa’s Give Away Weekend on Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5. Check the City’s website for suggestions on what kinds of household items to set out at the curb for people to take away for free. Or, donate your stuff to the South March Highlands-Carp River Conservation Inc. group which is taking part in the Island Park Drive Yard Sale on Saturday; contact Andrea Prazmowski at firstname.lastname@example.org to donate items. If you haven’t had your fill of garage sales following last week’s Great Glebe Garage Sale, you can find other opportunities to reuse and recycle stuff by checking Ottawa Start’s garage sale postings at http://twitter.com/#!/ott_garage_sale or other recycling suggestions at http://ottawastart.com/used.php.
If you’re hooked on cycling after Bike to Work month in May, you can keep up the momentum with the first ever Capital Velofest. Established by Capital Vélo Fest Inc., a non-profit corporation that hopes to inspire people to ride their bikes more, the Velofest will include a “bicycle rodeo” at Ottawa City Hall on Saturday June 4 from 11 am-4 pm offering a bike display and demonstrations, bicycle polo, bike parts jewellery making, seminars on bike safety and maintenance, and more. The Velofest includes a Tour la Nuit from 7-11 pm.
Last but not least, this weekend’s Doors Open Ottawa offers a chance to visit private and public buildings that are not normally open to the public. It includes several sites that are environmentally noteworthy, like the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre (800 Green Creek Dr.) that treats Ottawa’s wastewater, or the green-roofed CD Howe Building at 235 Queen St. New to Doors Open Ottawa this year is the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation’s Beaver Barracks at 464 Metcalfe St., billed as “the greenest rental building in Ottawa” with “the largest residential geothermal exchange system in Canada” as well as low-flow fixtures, a green roof and secure bike parking. You can also visit several LEED-certified buildings including the Huron Early Learning Centre at 24 Capilano Dr., Ottawa’s first LEED-certified child care centre, the new OC Transpo Industrial Garage at 745 Industrial Ave., and the Ottawa Paramedic Service Headquarters at 2465 Don Reid Dr.
Let us know if you have any other suggestions for the weekend!