A name, a Facebook page, an Earth Day event – slowly, but with great enthusiasm, our neighbourhood environment group is taking shape.
For Earth Day, Erin worked with Parents for the Planet to provide posters for us to colour, tape in our windows, then later send to elected officials reminding them that we have another crisis – climate change – to deal with (see Colour for Climate).
One of us, Stephanie, applied to the David Suzuki Foundation and became our local Butterflyaway Ranger. Like everything else, this project has been slowed by the pandemic, but we’re hoping Stephanie will provide guidance to increase butterfly habitat in our parks – and our backyards!
We’ve also applied for a city environment grant to buy trees and shrubs for the Brewer Pond area. Although the pandemic has left all this in question, we have enthusiastic support from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and Tree Fest. Even without the grant, we’ll be creating a butterfly meadow and a sedge meadow later this summer. Next year, Windsor and Brighton parks!
In a Zoom meeting, Holly and Ingrid talked about ideas for a series of talks on environment issues. Their short list includes: plastic reduction and zero waste in a post-COVID world, local experience installing solar panels (costs, benefits, options), buying an electric car (costs, savings, and info on home charging stations), choosing and installing a heat pump, and how to be a super-recycler (what goes where).
Other ideas included planting a pollinator garden, increasing energy efficiency in older homes, winter cycling, and vegetable gardening. Your input is very welcome. Obviously a speaker series is not possible right now, but we are looking at alternatives.
In April, I participated in the City Nature Challenge, an annual event, in which cities all over the world compete to be the most biodiverse. This was the first year Ottawa entered, and we are at a distinct disadvantage, especially with this year’s late spring slowing growth. But 193 observers uploaded 2837 observations to iNaturalist, representing 679 species of plants and animals in the city – a great start. Old Ottawa South is a recognized “place” in iNaturalist, so check it out and add your own observations.
We are also in regular contact with OSCA, and once their much-needed work on COVID-19 related issues is over, we’ll be applying to become a committee of the community association.
As always, we welcome your input. What environment issues are you interested in? Can you help? Even if you can’t join the “crew,” you can still influence our work and the projects we take on. It’s our neighbourhood. Together we can make it a model of sustainability, biodiversity, and good practices.