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.

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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.

Ottawa Election 2018

The municipal election is still a couple of months away (Oct. 22), but it’s time to be hearing from candidates about their plans for a greener Ottawa.

Ecology Ottawa has a useful tool to help understand candidates’ positions on environmental issues. They’re doing a survey of mayoral and councillor candidates about their plans for climate change action and an active and green city, and are posting the answers.

So far more than 50 candidates have answered the questionnaire, but more than 60 have yet to reply. You can help by contacting the candidates to ask them to make their views known by Friday Aug. 10.

There are additional questions that candidates need to be asked—about plans for cleaner rivers, and for restoring Chaudiere Falls and the islands, for example—but the survey covers a wide range of important issues.

“For example, in the last budget round, the city committed only $500,000 in new money for Energy Evolution while committing over 80 times that amount – $43 million – on new road building and expansion. …Environmental leadership is needed at City Hall. Ottawa needs a greener city council and the 2018 election on Oct. 22 is an important opportunity to make it happen.” – Robb Barnes, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa in the Ottawa Citizen

See more about Ecology Ottawa’s municipal election campaign on their website.

Welcoming Ottawa Week 2018

African Caribbean Canadian Multiculturalism Day Festival in Strathcona Park, WOW 2017 – D. Deby photo

Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) is an annual festival of arts, cultural, sports and other activities that celebrate the city’s diversity and the contributions of the many newcomers who have made Ottawa home.

This year’s WOW includes more than 75 free activities across the city from Monday, Jun. 18-Saturday, Jun. 30, 2018. They include photo exhibits, soccer and basketball tournaments, a community picnic, a barbecue and bike fest, the design of a community mural, “myth-busting” events about immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and several multicultural celebrations. The Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival and the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival are also participating.

Other events of note:

Check out the WOW calendar for more events.

With one in four Ottawa residents having been born outside Canada, it’s more important than ever to embrace our diversity and get to know each other.

WOW is organized by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership in collaboration with 50+ partners across the city.

#100in1Day Ottawa 2018

Image courtesy 100in1Day Ottawa/Synapcity

This weekend is packed with amazing things to do in Ottawa. For starters, there’s #100in1Day.

#100in1DayOTT consists of more than 100 creative and fun activities, all citizen-led, happening around the city on Saturday, Jun. 2, 2018.

The 100+ “interventions” are designed to illustrate the kind of sustainable, inclusive and accessible city we could have. Read more in Synapcity’s guest post and on the #100in1DayOTT website.

Here are just a few examples:

There’s so much more—check out the #100in1DayOTT website and interactive map.

More Upcoming Events in Ottawa

 

Here are more upcoming events you won’t want to miss:

Emergency Rally: Separate Oil and State #StopKM

This rally is taking place to convey to the federal government that Canadians don’t want it to subsidize the Kinder Morgan pipeline with public funds. Join in on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 from 5-6 p.m. on Parliament Hill. Speakers include Elder Verna McGregor, Algonquin Community of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg; Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs live from BC, Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh(Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh(Tsleil-waututh) territory; Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP; Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party; Maude Barlow, Honorary Chairperson, Council of Canadians. See details and updates on the event page. There’s also a petition to sign on the Council of Canadians website.

Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale

This great community event hosted by Ecology Ottawa happens on Saturday, May 26. Check out our earlier post for details and volunteer opportunities.

Ottawa Race Weekend

The Ottawa Race Weekend happens Saturday, May 26-Sunday, May 27. Take part, cheer on your friends and/or donate to good causes.

Pub Night: Nuclear Waste Issues 101

Here’s a chance to discuss nuclear waste proposals that will affect the Ottawa River. The event takes place on Monday, May 28, 2018, 6:30-9 p.m. at Downtown Royal Oak (188 Bank St.).

Planting for Pollinators: Saving our Bees

The Hintonburg Community Association is hosting this event on how to create a pollinator-friendly garden. Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton will share information on what to plant in order to attract bees and other pollinators. It’s on Sunday, Jun. 3, 2018, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. See the event page for details.

Stay tuned for #100in1Day Ottawa, Doors Open Ottawa, Ottawa Veg Fest and more happening the weekend of June 2-3, 2018.

Eel Walk for Biodiversity in Ottawa

Eel Walk image via Free the Falls (Facebook)

An upcoming Eel Walk is intended to raise awareness about the importance of a key and remarkable species in the Ottawa River—the American Eel—and to promote biodiversity and respect for Indigenous environmental knowledge.

Coinciding with the International Day for Biological Diversity, the family-friendly event includes art—participants can decorate windsock eels and meet a 27-foot long puppet eel—as well as walks between Victoria Island and Parliament Hill, ceremony and a feast.

Leading the walk is Algonquin knowledge keeper Larry McDermott, founder of Plenty Canada and co-author of The Recovery Strategy of the American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) in Ontario (2013) produced for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, a report still awaiting official action.

The American Eel, which at one time comprised half of the fish biomass within the Ottawa River and provided 70% of the nutrition for Indigenous people living along the river, is endangered. The American Eel population has declined since the 1980s to less than 1% of its former abundance, due to human activity and habitat destruction.

Find out more about the problem and what needs to be done from the 2013 study and the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s campaign.

The Eel Walk, organized by Plenty Canada and Free the Falls, takes place from 8:30-1 p.m. on Monday, May 21, 2018; see the Facebook event page for the schedule and location details.