Indigenous youth from across Ontario received hands-on experience in Indigenous water knowledge, water science, solutions, grant writing, and project management at a conference hosted by Youth for Water, 6-10 November in Peterborough, ON.
“It’s great to see so many youth are interested in being water leaders,” says Alix Taylor, Green Communities Canada Manager, Water Programs.
A highlight of the event was a water ceremony led by Liz Osawamick at Kinomaage-Waapkong “The Rocks That Teach” (Petroglyphs Provincial Park). Guest speakers included:
Dan Longboat, Trent University Indigenous Environmental Program
Autumn Peltier, nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize
Edward E. George, Water Protector
Stephanie Allen, Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation
Mike Jacobs, Cambium Aboriginal
Deborah McGregor, Associate Professor & CRC Indigenous Environmental Justice
Reno King, Toronto Green Community RAINscapeTO landscaper
Youth for Water is a program of Green Communities Canada. Organizations supporting the conference included Sacred Water Circle, GCC member organization GreenUP, Camp Kawartha Environment Centre, and Turtle Island Conservation. Youth for Water is also extremely grateful for the support of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.
The conference was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Depave Paradise, a project of Green Communities Canada, is applying to the Aviva Community Fund to depave six sites across Canada.
Aviva funds projects based on votes received. It only takes a minute. Please give us your support.
Depaving engages volunteers in tearing up unused pavement by hand and replacing it with green space. Depaves increase community resilience by getting rid of unwanted hard surfaces and creating permeable areas for water to soak into the ground.
Depaves are great opportunities to educate volunteers, decision-makers, and the public about treating rain as a resource and managing it close to where it falls.
Since 2012, our partners have hosted 26 events, with three more to come this fall. The numbers to date are impressive:
- 4168 m2 of asphalt removed
- 4405 m3 of stormwater and 718 kg of pollution kept out of local waterbodies
- 109 trees and 3,535 plants and shrubs plants
- more than 1,500 volunteers engaged
Depaving creates welcoming community spaces, reduces the urban heat island effect, creates habitat for pollinators, increases carbon sequestration, increases property values, and promotes walkability.
GCC is looking to expand this successful program, and is applying for funds to depave at least 47 more sites over the next three years. We have a list of candidate depave sites and organizations eager to host events. Interested in hosting a depave? Get in touch.
Vote here to fund Depave Paradise. Voting is open until 19 October.
Green Communities Canada is bringing together stakeholders to create a collective action plan to address urban flood risk in Ontario. We are currently conducting interviews to identify priorities issues and actions. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Clara Blakelock at email@example.com.
See our website for more information, including a paper outlining the urban flooding issue, impacts, contributing factors, and responses to date. Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for supporting this initiative.
The updated and redesigned Soak It Up! Toolkit includes a new feature: a Stormwater Scorecard to help communities assess progress to date and identify priorities for further action. GCC developed the scorecard in partnership with the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and the Our Living Waters Network, supported by a grant from Tides Canada and Mountain Equipment Coop.
The toolkit outlines 16 actions municipalities can take to reduce runoff and runoff pollution, provides examples of what communities are doing, and offers insights from practitioners about what works and what doesn’t.
At our June AGM, Green Communities Canada recognized the many champions who work and volunteer with us and our member organizations.
Green Community of the Year: GreenUP, Peterborough, ON. GreenUP was recognized for its “immersive and impactful programming,” and support for long-term environmental sustainability.
Lifetime Achievement: Mary Jane Patterson. Mary Jane is Executive Director, REEP Green Solutions, Kitchener, ON. She was recognized for her leadership in residential energy evaluations and low-income retrofits, resulting in annual reductions of over 30,000 tonnes of CO2 in the Waterloo region.
Innovation: REEP Green Solutions’ Coach Service. REEP’s coaches help homeowners reduce their environmental impact and adopt sustainable practices by providing one-on-one guidance and support to people interested in adopting more sustainable practices.
Outstanding Staff Person Award: Beth McKechnie. Beth is a sustainable transportation champion who assists workplaces improve their commuting options. She works with Green Action Centre, Winnipeg, MB
Youth Engagement: Alix Taylor. GCC’s Manager of Water Programs developed and implemented the Youth for Water Program. Alix trained and mentored Indigenous youth, helping them develop the skills to become environmental leaders in their communities.
Outstanding Board Person went to three recipients:
- Lee-Anne Bigwood, Ecosource, Mississauga, ON has been involved in a wide-range of activities, from strategic planning to stakeholder relations, event planning, and financial management.
- Tania Del Matto, REEP Green Solutions, Kitchener, ON was recognized for her commitment to the health and good management of the organization and the sustainability of her community.
- Helen Doyle, Windfall Ecology Centre, Aurora, ON has played a leading role in guiding the strategic direction of the organization.
Award winners receive a certificate and bragging rights. Congratulations all.
An alliance comprising Canada Bikes, the National Active & Safe Routes to School Working Group, and Green Communities Canada has launched a website urging support for a Canadian active transportation strategy to address factors that influence everyday active transportation, including infrastructure, community design, and road safety.
The Active Transportation Alliance website summarizes the scope and need for a strategy, the amazing breadth of support it has (more than 160 signatories), and the benefits of active transportation. There’s also a “take action” page to join the call for a strategy, get connected, and reach out to decision-makers.
Discussions are ongoing with Environment and Climate Change Canada and other federal government ministries regarding funding.