flora and fauna


Written by Denise Deby.

Healthy Trees--Healthy City: A Celebration of National Tree Day image courtesy City of Ottawa

Healthy Trees–Healthy City: A Celebration of National Tree Day image courtesy City of Ottawa

Ottawa is celebrating trees this month.

The Ottawa Fall Tree Festival continues until Oct. 15. Every Saturday, Tree Fest Ottawa is hosting a photography exhibit, walks and other activities that celebrate the people and groups working to protect and promote trees in our city. The Festival happens in Brewer Park; see the website for details.

The Healthy Trees—Healthy City event, hosted by the City of Ottawa in collaboration with Ottawa Public Health and Tree Fest Ottawa, is happening on National Tree Day, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. A Healthy Communities Expo with community organizations starts at 6 p.m.; at 7 p.m. there’s a talk by University of Chicago professor Marc Berman, who led a multi-country study on the health effects of increasing the urban tree canopy. Tree Fest Ottawa’s new photography exhibit, PhotoSynthesis 2, launches the same evening. Find more information on the City’s website.

The Champlain Oaks Project is a great example of what community members can do to support trees and tree habitat. Residents and the community association have reached an agreement with the NCC to restore the natural forest in their urban neighbourhood. Check out their latest post.

 

Written by Denise Deby.

There are some great eco-events happening in our city right now.

Our Moment to Lead

As part of its efforts to encourage Ontario to adopt an effective environmental bill of rights, Blue Dot Ottawa is hosting Our Moment to Lead on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. Learn what you can do to support Ontario as a leader on environmental rights. It’s at Claudette Cain Park, 660 River Rd. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Whether or not you attend, you can have a say in Ontario’s public consultation on an environmental bill of rights. The Blue Dot movement is a David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice initiative; they provide a template for input here. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has some useful information here.

Ottawa Fall Tree Festival

Tree Fest Ottawa celebrates people and trees in our city. This year, they’ve organized the Ottawa Fall Tree Festival, featuring an impressive array of activities all about trees and the people and groups who protect and promote them. The Festival runs every Saturday from Sept. 10-Oct. 15 (10 a.m-5 p.m.) in Brewer Park by Brewer Pond, and includes photography and art exhibits, guided walks, food and drink, ecosystem talks and much more. Check out the schedule here.

Green Energy Doors Open

Green Energy Doors Open, an initiative of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association, showcases sustainable energy systems and technologies. The public is welcome to tour homes, see green properties by bike, and visit the energy showcase. It’s from Friday, Sept. 9-Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 at various sites around the city.

Also this weekend: Bug DaySavour Fall613flea and Capital Pop-Up. Let us know in the comment section what you check out.

Posted by Denise Deby.

Image via Facebook/Ecology Ottawa

Image via Facebook/Ecology Ottawa

Last month’s spill of oil from a Husky Energy pipeline into the North Saskatchewan River contaminated drinking water systems in communities and cities along the river, killed fish, birds and other species, and polluted soil and vegetation.

It’s a scenario that people opposing the Energy East pipeline want to avoid. Energy East would carry tar sands bitumen from Alberta to New Brunswick, with risks to ecosystems and waterways along the way.

Participants in the March to Save Our Rivers, organized by STOP Oléoduc Outaouais, are travelling this week from Saint-André d’Argenteuil near Montreal to Ottawa, along the Ottawa River and the proposed Energy East route.

Ecology Ottawa is encouraging people to come out to welcome the marchers to Gatineau and Ottawa, and join them for the final leg from Major’s Hill Park to Parliament Hill. They’re expected to arrive in Major’s Hill Park on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. For details and to RSVP, see http://www.ecologyottawa.org/welcoming_the_march_to_save_our_rivers or https://www.facebook.com/events/1030299940358766/.

From Ecology Ottawa’s invitation:

The March to Save our Rivers highlights the pipeline’s risks while underscoring the resolve of groups in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere who are committed to preserving our shared natural environment…. Let’s all come out and show the city and the country that Ottawans do NOT want their climate, land and water threatened by this pipeline, and that we stand in solidarity with all opposition in the country.”

Guest post from Frances Fyfe, Friends of the Earth Canada.

Bumblebee photo by Mireille Gauthier (used with permission)

Bumblebee photo by Mireille Gauthier (with permission)

Summer is upon us and that means plenty of exciting events in and around the capital. With that buzz of activity comes another type of buzz: one from bumble bees. Summer is peak activity time for bumble bees all across Canada, including in Ottawa. However, in recent years, bumble bee populations have taken a nosedive. The Rusty-patched bumblebee, once abundant in Southern Ontario, is now almost extinct and officially designated as endangered. Six more native bees are critically at risk, with scientists advising the Federal Minister of Environment to take steps to protect them. This news is alarming, since bumble bees are essential pollinators to many of the crops we grow, and without them, our food supply is critically threatened.

Friends of the Earth Canada, an environmental advocacy group headquartered in Ottawa, has launched an exciting new campaign that blends public participation with scientific research. The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count kicked off on June 1 and will continue until August 15, 2016. It’s a cross-country citizen science campaign that asks people to take pictures of bumble bees when they see them in their yards or in public spaces. People are then asked to upload them to an online database (www.bumblebeewatch.org) and identify what type of species they are (no identification skills required- the photos will be verified by a team of experts.) This way, scientists will be better able to track the number and distribution of bumble bees over time. It’s an easy and fun way to do your part to protect the bees!

Need inspiration for where to begin? Head down to your local park, or turn The Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count into a family trip to the Mer Bleue bog or the gardens around the Museum of Nature. Alternatively, you can hone your bee watching skills in your front lawn or on the back patio. Bumble bees love sunflower, echinacea, lavender, and of course, bee balm. Other initiatives from the Friends of the Earth Bee Cause include the Let it Bee campaign, which asks gardeners to make their gardens friendlier to bees by using different planting and maintenance techniques, like planting native flowers and providing stems and sticks as nesting sites.

You can learn more about the campaigns at one of Friends of the Earth’s lunchtime workshops, which includes the showing of a new documentary film (A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee) and more information on how to participate in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count (July 7, 14 and 19 from 12:00 – 1:00 at 251 Bank Street). Another workshop will take place at Fletcher Wildlife Garden on July 13 at 7:00 PM and July 17 at 9:00 AM, the latter time with an opportunity to go look for bumble bees afterwards. All events are free and more information on how to register can be found at the Friends of the Earth’s and Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s respective websites.

It’s all part of the many ways you can help protect bumble bees this summer, and they’ll be thanking you for it.

* * *

View the trailer for “A Ghost in the Making: Searching for the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee” below. More on Clay Bolt and “Beautiful Bees” here.

Written by Denise Deby.

Porch View Dances 2015

Porch View Dances 2015 – D. Deby photo

Some fun things coming up this weekend:

Doors Open Ottawa

For a look inside some of the city’s interesting places, including some not normally not open to the public, check out Doors Open Ottawa on Saturday, Jun. 4-Sunday, Jun. 5, 2016.

You’ll get to see buildings of architectural, historical, scientific and other significance—and those that are just plain intriguing: the Central Experimental Farm (including the Saunders building with “a complete collection of all plants found in Canada”), Maplelawn Historical Garden, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind National Training Centre, Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre, Parkdale Food Centre, the Hydro Ottawa generating station on Amelia Island (“believed to be the oldest operating hydroelectric generator in Canada”), Suntech Greenhouses, Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health (with “awe-inspiring architecture by Douglas Cardinal”), numerous embassies and more.

There’s a free shuttle bus that goes to 50 of the 120 participating Doors Open sites; or you can see 5 sites on a bicycle tour with Escape Tours (it’s a fundraiser for Trips for Kids Ottawa).

Check the Doors Open Ottawa website and guide for opening hours of buildings, and other information.

Canada Dance Festival

See part of the Canada Dance Festival—outdoors. Kaeja d’Dance presents Porch View Dances in Westboro on Saturday, Jun. 4 and Sunday, Jun. 5, 2016 at 4 p.m. The audience moves through the neighbourhood to watch local families perform dances created by professional choreographers—extremely fun. (For more outdoor dance, check out Aeriosa’s aerial performances and La Grande Fente’s pop-up dances in the Byward Market on Thursday, Jun. 9, 2016.)

Westfest

The wonderful Westfest happens Friday, Jun. 3-Sunday, Jun. 5, 2016 in its new location, Laroche Park (52 Bayview Rd.). The free festival includes live music, art programming, an Indigenous pavilion, an artisan area and local food trucks, performance artists, spoken word artists, kids’ activities and more. See the website for the full lineup.

Prose in the Park

Another fun (and free!) outdoor event is Prose in the Park, happening on Friday, Jun. 3 (at Origin Studio) and Saturday, Jun. 4, 2016 at Parkdale Park. There’s a great line-up of authors, so check it out.

Great Lemonade Standemonium

On Saturday, Jun. 4, 2016, look for the Great Lemonade Standemonium, where kids around town will be running lemonade stands in their neighbourhoods, to raise funds for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. There’s more information and a map on the website.

 

Written by Denise Deby.

Ottawa tulips - D. Deby

There are plenty of reasons to get outdoors this weekend:

The Canadian Tulip Festival (May 12-23, 2016) has gorgeous floral displays as well as plenty of art, music and other activities;

The Ottawa Children’s Festival (May 10-15) offers fun live performances, theatre, music and activities–including a 100 Watt Earth Stage–for all ages;

Nature Canada’s Bird Day Ottawa (May 14) at Brewer Park hosts guided bird walks, birds-of-prey demonstrations, and information about International Migratory Bird Day;

The MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz (May 13-14) has a program of nature walks and activities;

MEC’s Bikefest (May 14) hosts bike workshops, group rides, a gear swap and more;

apt613’s #Grow613 Day (May 15) brings you together with local farmers, makers and brewers to discover and celebrate local food;

The 100% renewable energy paddle with Greenpeace volunteers (May 15) invites you to bring your canoe or kayak out to Dow’s Lake;

Sunday Bikedays (starting May 15) open up more than 50 km of car-free parkways every Sunday morning;

Many Farmers’ Markets are open.

Don’t forget May is also the 30×30 Nature Challenge and Bike to Work Month–two more good reasons to get outside.

While you’re out this weekend, consider snapping a few photos for EnviroCentre’s Spirit of Sustainability photo contest. The contest closes Sunday, May 15, 2016.

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Carol Burnup, EnviroCentre for the information.

EnviroCentre is holding its first photo contest on the Spirit of Sustainability in Ottawa.

You’re invited to submit photos that celebrate how people in Ottawa are making the city more sustainable.

From EnviroCentre, here are the categories for entries:

Healthy, efficient homes

Show us how you improve everyday energy use in your home!

It can be something like changing to LED lighting, using Energy Star appliances, or making grand scale green renovations.

Connected, environmentally-aware businesses

Does your business have a green team? Are you turning computers off at night to save energy? Or providing incentives to staff to take transit or bike to work? Show us what you’ve done or are doing!

Engaged, sustainable communities

What are you, your family, friends or community members doing to make your neighbourhood a better place to live? Are you using your bike to get around or building a community garden? Show us your sustainable community or what you’re doing to create one!

Entries are due May 15, 2016.

Find out more at http://www.envirocentre.ca/photocontest.

 

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