Youth for Water present at Barlow book launch

YOUTH FOR Water participants are gaining valuable experience by developing and

Youth for Water participants shared details of their work at Maude Barlow's recent book launch in Peterborough, ON.

Youth for Water participants shared details of their work at Maude Barlow’s recent book launch in Peterborough, ON.

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.

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GCC Board of Directors welcomes new members

gcc-logo-high-resolutionGCC’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.

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Design and build your own rain garden

RAIN COMMUNITY Solutions offers a two-day workshop on how to design and build a rain garden, 27-28 October.

RAIN COMMUNITY Solutions offers a two-day workshop on how to design and build a rain garden, 27-28 October.

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.

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Groundbreakers aims to keep basements dry

MPP Sophie Kiwala & Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson planted together at the project launch.

MPP Sophie Kiwala and Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson planted together at the project launch.

GREEN COMMUNITIES Canada’s RAIN Community Solutions program is working with three of our member organizations and their municipal partners to reduce or eliminate basement flooding in vulnerable neighbourhoods by planting rain gardens, and implementing measures such as rain barrels and downspout extensions and redirection.

RAIN Garden Groundbreakers projects are being undertaken by GCC member organizations Red Squirrel Conservation Services (Kingston, ON), GreenUP (Peterborough, ON), and EcoSuperior (Thunder Bay, ON) in neighbourhoods that have experienced repeated basement flooding.

Red Squirrel launched its project in July in the Kingscourt neighbourhood, an area with shallow soil and bedrock close to the surface that prevents water from sinking into the ground.

Along with partners Kingscourt Community Association and the City of Kingston, and local residents, Red Squirrel plans to build six rain gardens on private property, educate homeowners on ways to reduce basement flooding, and implement green infrastructure measures on city property.

The RAIN Garden Groundbreakers Project is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

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Roll out the red carpet – 2016 GC Awards

Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley is the 2016 GC of the Year. The Institute was recognized as a trendsetter in transformational programming, partnerships, marketing, and community engagement.

Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley is the 2016 GC of the Year. The Institute was recognized as a trendsetter in transformational programming, partnerships, marketing, and community engagement.

The 2016 GC Awards were announced at Green Communities Canada’s (GCC) Annual General Meeting, 23 June. The awards recognize the many champions who work and volunteer with GCC and its member organizations.

Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley took home two awards – for Green Community of the Year and Youth Engagement. The Institute was recognized as a trendsetter in transformational programming, partnerships, marketing, and community engagement; and for its many programs that provide opportunities for youth to engage in active hands-on learning to better understand environmental stewardship.

The Environmental Lifetime Achievement Award went to Director of Canada Walks Jacky Kennedy, who retired at the end of June. Jacky has been a champion of active school transportation and a driving force behind Canada’s walking movement for the past 20 years. She piloted the Safe Routes to School program in Canada, introduced school travel planning, and developed the Canada Walks program to improve walking conditions across the country.

The Innovation Awards was shared by three Green Communities – all members of the Sustainability CoLab network – that have launched target-based sustainability programs for business, with a focus on reducing carbon emissions.

Windfall Ecology Centre was recognized for The ClimateWise Business Network which supports a group of York Region businesses setting and achieving sustainability goals.

reThink Green won for Green Economy North, Greater Sudbury and Northeastern Ontario’s first target based sustainability program.

Durham Sustain Ability was lauded for its work as the delivery agent/lead for Durham Partners in Project Green, which helps local companies improve their environmental and financial performance.

The Outstanding Staff Person award went to two outstanding individuals. Deirdre Connell of Green Venture was recognized for her work managing several projects and writing and overseeing more funding applications than anyone else in the organization. Claudia Foung, Information Manager, Water Programs, GCC, won for her tireless work behind the scenes making sure GCC’s RAIN Community Solutions staff have the tools to do their jobs and that they know how to use them.

reThink Green received a resilience award in recognition of its 10th year anniversary.

Winners receive a certificate and bragging rights for the year. Congratulations all!

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Internship Opportunity

Internship graphic

Youth for Water Program (4 positions)
6+ Month Term, beginning September 2016
Application deadline: 22 July, 4:30 p.m.

The Sacred Water Circle (SWC) and Green Communities Canada (GCC) are looking for Indigenous youth who are interested in learning how to protect, conserve and improve the health of water within the Kawartha Region. Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation- this initiative will provide you with an opportunity to learn about water issues, and become involved in water protection and conservation.

This intern opportunity is geared towards Indigenous youth between the ages of 18-29, who will be provided with the information they need to bring traditional Indigenous knowledge and science together to help our communities protect and restore our water quality and quantity.

With the support of the SWC and GCC, interns will be provided with the necessary skills, training and tools required to become environmental leaders in their communities. Youth will create and coordinate a project geared towards water conservation, including water infrastructure installations that will help harvest rain water and/or create infiltration landscapes to reduce peak storm water volume and repeated flooding. This will work to provide youth with hands-on learning in water protection and be an opportunity to build networks with the local environmental community (Indigenous and non-Indigenous). This experience will also expose the interns to the opportunities for careers working with water, and provide them with hands-on experience to help them move forward in their career.

Project Description

Throughout the project interns will be supported by the Project Coordinator, RAIN Community Solutions Project Manager and the SWC Planning Committee, providing training and mentorship to enable the work on chosen community projects for water protection and conservation in local or urban communities. Specific training, activities and events include:

    • A multi-day workshop on local water issues and solutions to these water issues
    • Consultation with local First Nations communities and groups to identify water projects that are of interest to the local community
    • Training in methods of restoring the natural water cycle in urban and rural areas to protect water quality and quantity. Training could include (depending on interns identified needs and interests):
      • Rainwater harvesting
      • Common contaminants and best practices for pollution prevention
      • Building and designing permeable landscapes (rain gardens, infiltration galleries, permeable paving)
      •  Removing impermeable surfaces (asphalt) and replacing with green space
      • Protecting homes from property- level flood damage
      • Proper well and septic care
    •  Workshops and hands-on experience in project development, proposal writing, project coordination, fundraising, implementation and results tracking
    •  Hands-on experience in event coordination and promotion

Benefits to the Intern

  • An opportunity to work on innovative water protection projects that will benefit the local community
  • Career mentoring and experience that looks great on a resume!
  • Peer to peer networking
  • The skills needed to develop, implement and manage a project that has measurable environmental benefits
  • Knowledge of climate change adaptation, flood risk reduction, pollution prevention, water protection through traditional Indigenous water knowledge and science
  •  Build relationships with local environmental professionals, community groups, organisations and knowledge holders

Additional opportunities:

  • Local environmental organisations have indicated that they may have opportunities for interns to gain on the job experience by shadowing and/or assisting environmental professionals. More details will be identified in the coming months.


The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • A passion for water protection
  • An interest in working in the environmental field
  • A demonstrated commitment to the environment as demonstrated through volunteer experience, education and/or work
  • An ability to commit to the project for 8 months beginning in September
  • Reside within the Kawartha region and be able to regularly commute to downtown Peterborough (please contact us to discuss support for transportation into the city, if this is a limiting factor)
  • High school diploma preferred- but candidates that can demonstrate equivalent skills will be considered
  • Youth must be between the ages of 18- 29 to participate, and of Indigenous heritage

Financial Support

The internship is a part-time position working three days a week, with some flexibility to time commitment for weekdays. Interns will be given a $6,000 stipend for a six month placement with possibility of 2 months extension with community project funding (Please note: this amount is minimum and we hope to increase the stipend with confirmed funding).

If you have any questions or are interested in the water internship please contact:

Youth Coordinator, Hattie Edwards at 705-745-323 X.159 or

To Apply:                                                                                                                                                                            Please submit a cover letter outlining your interest in the internship, your résumé and three references to Green Communities Canada by email to by July 22, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. 

Use ‘Coordinator, Youth for Water Internship Program’ as the email subject headline.

To learn more about the Sacred Water Circle’s work with water engagement and protection please visit

To learn more about Green Communities Canada’s work on stormwater management and water protection, please visit

For resume and cover letter writing training or assistance please visit your local Employment Resource Centre:

Curve Lake Employment Resource Centre: 705-657-9455

Hiawatha First Nation Employment & Training Services: 705-295-4421

Alderville Learning Centre: 905-352-2793

Peterborough-Niijkiwendidaa: 705-741-0900

Please Share and Distribute Widely Amongst Your Networks.

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