Jane’s Walk Ottawa 2019

Jane’s Walk Ottawa poster “Explore, share stories about your community, and connect with neighbours” courtesy of Jane’s Walk Ottawa

Jane’s Walk Ottawa is happening on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday May 5, 2019.

This wonderful annual series of urban and neighbourhood walking tours is a celebration of the built and natural environments and how residents shape those environments through their daily lives.

This year Jane’s Walk seems particularly poignant, as communities in Ottawa-Gatineau pull together to address flooding, both shaping and being shaped by the rivers, urban and rural landscapes and infrastructure, and weather.

If you can, check out some of the impressive walks this weekend—the Jane’s Walk Ottawa schedule includes more than 50. Walks are led by knowledgeable local residents, are held in English and/or French, and are free.

Here are some examples:

There’s also a celebration to mark what would have been the 103rd birthday of Jane Jacobs, with a reading from Walking in the City with Jane by author Susan Hughes, colouring with Ottawa in Colour, games and cake, on Saturday, May 4, 4-7 p.m.; and a Jane’s Walk Wrap Party on Sunday, May 5.

Jane’s Walks celebrate, challenge and enlighten our perspectives on the city and the choices we make that influence it. Do check it out!

Consult the schedule of walks and interactive map on the Jane’s Walk Ottawa website.

Thoughts are with everyone continuing to deal with the flooding.

Image of Canadian Museum of History with Jane Jacobs quote “Designing a dream city is easy – rebuilding a living one takes imagination” courtesy of Jane’s Walk Ottawa
Advertisements

Faith Communities and Creating Green Cities

Trinity Presbyterian Youth Wildlife Garden – photo courtesy Katherine Forster, Faith & the Common Good

Guest post written by Katherine Forster, Faith & the Common Good.

Faith Communities as Allies in Creating Ecologically Green Cities

Whether it is an expansive turf lawn that can be changed into an urban meadow, or a flat roof on a community hall that can support a new living ground cover to soak up rain, or whether it is a new grouping of native shrubs that provide food & shelter for migrating birds, faith communities can help add beneficial green to a city, starting with their own landscape.

Many times faith communities are a prominent part of a neighbourhood’s “main street” or are in a central location of a local community. They become community hubs, improving the quality of life for local residents through offering services, seeking community partnerships and by providing meeting space for various programs for all age ranges, from scouting groups, to addiction support groups to gardening clubs for example. Community gatherings in these beautiful spaces provide that extra green benefit. Neighbours meet each other at local community gardens or in serene courtyards where music concerts are held or at special community events such as labyrinth walks or historic cemetery strolls. Many place of worship gardens are open to the public, offering a safe space, quiet reflection and a welcoming message to all. These green spaces are integral to community life and contribute to the wider neighbourhood as a sustainable and ecological example allowing biodiversity to flourish within cities.

Sustainable and Ecological Gardening Support for Places of Worship

Faith & the Common Good, a national environmental non-profit with a local active Ottawa Chapter, has been working to address this need in our city by offering support to Ottawa faith & spiritual communities that want to envision their properties in this new way.

In the past two years, the Ottawa Chapter has provided an Outdoor Greening program offering education, inspiration and funding support to local faith & spiritual communities that are interested in ecological and sustainable gardening. Resources and support include:

  • Ten Outdoor Greening fact sheets (how to on various subjects including drought resistant native plants, wildlife gardening and sustainable garden tips);
  • Ten Local Case Studies (showcasing local gardens including Sacred Medicine gardens, Labyrinth gardens and Community gardens);
  • Sustainable Garden Audits (which included plus a written Audit Reports that includes next steps);
  • Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network (providing updates about local initiatives, garden events and tips for beautiful and environmental gardens).

Along with the above resources and support five faith communities received free native pollinator wildflower plants from Wild Pollinator Partners (a new initiative in the Eastern Ontario region).

Winter Garden Presentations to Inspire Spring Gardening

As a follow-up to the outdoor audits and free native plant donations, this winter the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & the Common Good is providing educational gardening presentations & sharing their resources to other keen gardeners in preparation for the upcoming spring gardening season. It’s a pleasant way to spend a cold winter evening, talking about beautiful native blooms, lovely scenic landscapes and potential garden visitors like butterflies and birds! And it is also a wonderful opportunity for people of faith to learn how to “Care for Creation” in a very direct and tangible way.

Our new local network hopes that as this green garden movement grows (pardon the pun!) it will increase local habitat, provide more healthy green linkages and it start changing the ecological fabric of the city for the benefit of all.

Contact Faith & the Common Good if your faith or spiritual community would like to be the next ecological green space for the city! Contact Katherine Forster to learn more about how you can transform your property.

Local & National Environmental Foundations Fund These Important Programs!

Faith & the Common Good’s 2018-2019 Outdoor Greening Program in Ottawa is funded by TD Friends of the Environment, Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa’s CEPGP program who have made possible the opportunity to visit 15 faith communities, support 2 new gardens and educate over ten new communities on the benefits of a sustainable and ecological garden. Many thanks to these granters for the generous support to our program!

Peaceful Community Garden Open to All – photo courtesy Katherine Forster, Faith & the Common Good

Indigenous People’s Rights Before Pipelines

Image of Gidimt’en Checkpoint sign – from International Day of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Facebook event page

It’s 2019—time to be the change we want to see in the world.

Today, there’s an opportunity to stand with Indigenous peoples who are asserting their rights to their traditional, unceded lands.

The International Day of Action in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en takes place in Ottawa and other communities on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at noon on Parliament Hill.

The gathering is in support of members of the Wet’suwet’en People who are peacefully protecting their territories from construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada.

Yesterday, RCMP moved in and arrested 14 people, on the grounds that the RCMP were enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to clear the way for construction of the pipeline.

The land protectors say this is a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and of Wet’suwet’en law.

It signifies that Canada and Canadians are putting corporate profits and environmental degradation before Indigenous rights and any hope of a better relationship with sovereign Indigenous nations.

The Ottawa action will start at noon at the Parliament Hill front gate.

#timeisnow #Wetsuwetenstrong

 

 

Vote for a Sustainable Ottawa on October 22 2018

What’s the most important thing you can do for the environment on Monday, October 22? Vote.

Our municipal government is responsible for many of the systems that affect our ecological footprint as citizens and determine the city’s environmental health.

The people we elect need to lead the creation of sustainable, equitable and safe systems in many areas: planning and management of our built urban and rural environment (including development, infill, and affordable housing); action on climate change (including renewable energy); protection of our environment (including greenspace, trees, flora and fauna, water sources and quality); transportation (prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users); a strong local food system; and waste and recycling. They need to prioritize these in funding decisions. They need to value and support community engagement, local action, and accountability to residents as essential dimensions of our city’s governance. They need to work toward a different and better relationship with the Indigenous peoples on whose land we have built this city.

Some of the candidates for mayor and councillor have clear platforms on these issues (some may have even written the book on them). Others have positions or track records that indicate that these are not among their priorities.

If you need more information on the candidates for mayor, city councillors and school trustees before you vote:

  • Ecology Ottawa has done a survey of all candidates about their positions on local environmental issues.
  • The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has posted the results of a survey of municipal candidates on environmental issues.
  • The Ottawa Food Policy Council’s survey of candidates covers food issues.
  • OttawaStart has published a list of links to municipal candidate Q&As and debates.
  • The City of Ottawa website has lists of all candidates, including their websites, as well as information for voters about how and where to vote.

See you at the polls on Monday, October 22.

 

Forest Wellness Walks with Forest Therapy Ottawa

Friends of the Carp Hills photo via Forest Therapy Ottawa

What a great time of year for a rejuvenating forest walk! Andrea Prazmowski at Forest Therapy Ottawa leads Forest Wellness Walks in and around Ottawa-Gatineau. These gentle walks provide an opportunity to slow down, take time to experience nature and be mindful of the wonder and life around us.

The guided walks are also a wonderful way to experience some lesser-known but notable natural areas around the city, judging by the list of upcoming public walks this month:

  • Thanksgiving Forest Walk at Morris Island Conservation Area, on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018 from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday Wellness Walks at Stony Swamp, on Wednesday Oct. 10, 17 or 24, 9:30 a.m.-noon.
  • Crazy Horse Trail in the Carp Hills on Saturday, Oct. 13, 1-3:30 p.m.
  • See.Breathe.Be Forest Walks at Gaia Wellness Retreat, Gatineau Hills, on Sunday, Oct. 14 and Sunday, Oct. 21, 3-5:30 p.m.
  • Old-Growth Pines, Gillies Grove National Historic Site (home of the tallest living tree in Ontario!) in Arnprior, on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9:30 a.m.-noon.

Some walks are on accessible trails, have flexible pricing and/or support local environmental groups. Check the Forest Therapy Ottawa website for further details and registration links.

Spending time in nature can reduce stress, improve physical and mental wellness, promote energy and attention capacity, and enhance happiness and creativity. Among the many good reasons to go on a forest walk very soon.

*  *  *

For more forest time in fall colours, visit one of the many trails in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, for example in Gatineau Park or the Greenbelt, where the NCC’s Fall Rhapsody is on from Sept. 29 to Oct. 21, 2018, or in natural areas managed by the City of Ottawa.

Trees

The storm last Friday was a grim reminder of the precariousness of Ottawa’s built and natural environments—including the area’s tree canopy.

A coalition of community groups has organized a series of local events to mark National Tree Week, September 23-29, 2018, and to draw attention to the importance of trees and their habitats. Those events are ongoing, and perhaps all the more significant now.

One of the purposes of the week’s activities is to connect tree protection to Ottawa’s election. Ottawa’s trees are threatened not only by extreme weather, exacerbated by climate change, but by infill and urban development, disease and other factors. The intention is to convey the message to municipal officials and administrations that they need to lead the preservation and promotion of local trees and the green spaces and infrastructure that enable trees to flourish.

Everyone is invited to participate in the week’s activities, which started with Tree Fest Ottawa’s Fall Tree Festival last weekend. Upcoming events include tree planting by students on National Tree Day, Wednesday Sept. 26, and the Canadian premiere of India’s Healing Forests film on Thursday, Sept. 27.

The campaign invites citizens and community groups to host discussions or events, and engage municipal candidates, during National Tree Week. Suggested types of activities include tree-planting, storytelling, tree walks, or meetings with ward candidates. See Ecology Ottawa’s page or Tree Action Now’s site for further information.

Fall Tree Festival 2018

Image courtesy Tree Fest Ottawa

Guest post contributed by Christine Earnshaw, Tree Fest Ottawa.

On Saturday and Sunday, September 22nd and 23rd, 2018, from 9:30am – 4:30pm, Tree Fest Ottawa presents its fall tree festival at the south end of Brewer Park near Brewer Pond. This outdoor festival combines learning + nature + art + play.  Connect with trees and your community in this little oasis of nature in the city. Free admission through the support of the City of Ottawa.

Main activities include:

  • Guided walks by a master tree identifier, an Indigenous Walk led by a knowledgeable Indigenous spot talker; and a guided bird walk
  • Get involved! Putting trees on the municipal election agenda with Tree Action Now! and talk by David Chernushenko
  • Immersive and exploratory forest therapy and edible foraging sessions
  • Learn about trees with Ask an Arborist and a Carleton historian discussing Ottawa’s urban forest
  • Get your hip waders on and explore the pond with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
  • Musical performances by Just Voices, Christine Graves, and a singalong with radio host Chris White
  • Art murals, photography exhibit, storytelling, interactive games, scavenger hunt, yoga, food and drink, and more…

Visit Tree Fest Ottawa’s website for the Festival Program.