YOUTH FOR Water, a pilot project of Green Communities Canada and The Sacred Water Circle, has entered the final phase as participants head to their communities to host water-themed workshops and implement action projects.
Crystal Cowie and Amber Pitawanakwat are hosting a workshop for children in Hiawatha First Nation on shoreline health and turtle nesting. In addition, Amber is partnering with the elementary school in her home community of Whitefish Lake First Nation to create a rain garden in the fall. Crystal is creating an information video about the Youth for Water program which will be available on Facebook upon completion.
Nat Cummings and Kristin Muskratt will host a series of workshops at Curve Lake First Nation School on rain gardens and traditional medicinal plants. The workshops will be followed by two planting events that will result in the creation of a rain garden and medicine garden at the school.
Program Coordinator Hattie Edwards is returning to her home community of Akwesasne in the spring to coordinate a local Youth for Water program with support from GCC and local groups.
Youth for Water is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Youth Opportunities Fund. A proposed second phase project is awaiting approval.
THE FIRST draft of Green Community Canada’s report Urban Flooding in Ontario: Toward Collective Impact Solutions is ready for review, and we want your input and suggestions. Our aim is to make this a consensus statement about urban flooding as the basis for collaborative action to reduce urban flooding, which has enormous economic, health, and environmental impacts. To receive a copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN COLLABORATION with Smart Prosperity, Green Communities Canada recently presented five cross-Canada workshops on tools for communities to transform the way rain is managed on the urban landscape.
Events in Red Deer, AB, Saskatoon, SK, Charlottetown, PEI, Halifax, NS, and Kelowna, BC consisted of a presentation on stormwater user fees followed by a discussion of strategies for community-wide implementation of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). Participants were guided in identifying barriers to GSI, and provided with suggestions on how to further collaboration and consideration of GSI practices.
The workshops engaged approximately 150 municipal officials, policy makers, engineers, community groups, environmental organizations, and interested citizens.
YOUTH FOR Water participants are gaining valuable experience by developing and
implementing their own community projects. They were asked to share their plans at the October launch in Peterborough of Maude Barlow’s new book, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis.
Crystal Cowie’s project involves shoreline naturalization and turtle habitat restoration at the western beach of Serpent Mounds Park. Crystal aims to plant non-invasive plants to help prevent runoff pollution in Rice Lake. She also wants to transform the sandy area of the site into a turtle nesting beach.
Kristen Muskrat and Nat Cummings described the rain gardens they are building in their home community, Curve Lake First Nation. Kristin’s rain garden will be a teaching tool for the local school. Nat’s garden will be used to teach youth about traditional medicines and wild edibles. Both gardens will focus on native plants in an effort to reintroduce traditional plants into the community.
“Hearing Maude Barlow talk about the water crisis was inspiring,” said Kristen. “Being able to speak at the same event as her was an incredible experience.”
Youth for Water is a joint project of GCC and The Sacred Water Circle designed to give indigenous youth in the Kawartha region an opportunity to learn about water issues and become involved in water protection and conservation. It is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
GCC’s BOARD of Directors met at the end of September, welcoming four new members appointed at the 2016 AGM.
Joining the Board are
- Tracy Hucul, Executive Director of the Green Action Centre (Winnipeg)
- Alec Ross, Executive Director of Red Squirrel Conservation Services (Kingston)
- Kate Taylor, Director of Projects, Aki Energy (Winnipeg)
- Lucy Cummings, Executive Director, Faith and the Common Good (Toronto)
The new members bring a wide range of skills and expertise to the Board:
- Tracy Hucul has 16 years of management experience in the public and non-profit sectors. Prior to joining Winnipeg’s Green Action Centre, she was General Manager of Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre, and a Program Manager with the Department of Canadian Heritage.
- Alec Ross is an award winning writer with more than 25 years’ experience in journalism, consulting, and academic and non-profit corporate communications and management.
- Kate Taylor worked as GCC’s Affordable Energy coordinator prior to joining Aki Energy Inc., an Aboriginal social enterprise working with First Nations to build community-owned and locally installed renewable energy systems in Manitoba. She has a Masters Certification in Project Management from the Schulich School of Business.
- Lucy Cummings works with diverse faith communities to build greener, healthier, more sustainable and resilient neighbourhoods. She speaks Mandarin Chinese and was a professor of global politics at the University of Hong Kong.
Also serving on GCC’s Board of Directors are: Chris Birchall (Chair); Dave Blake (Treasurer); Paul-Antoine Troxler (Secretary); and Directors Ellen Mortfield, David MacIsaac, Stephanie Crocker, and Kevin Behan.
RAIN COMMUNITY Solutions is offering a two-day workshop on how to design and build a rain garden, 27-28 October, in Peterborough, ON.
This interactive workshop includes both an instructional component and hands-on activities. Participants will work in small groups to design their own rain gardens and share ideas.
The workshop is led by New York-based landscape architect and ecologist Rusty Schmidt, who has 20 years experience designing and building more than 1,000 rain gardens. Rusty will cover the following topics:
- the problems with urban runoff and green infrastructure solutions
- how rain gardens work
- how to design a build your own rain garden
- soil type and plant selection
- monitoring and maintenance
For more information, and to register, click here.