The Daniel Avenue turkey (A.K.A. the Patricia Avenue turkey) has delighted our front and back yard vistas all summer long, another sign of native biodiversity coming back to life in Champlain Park. Last summer a deer spent a month or so grazing the same area, rabbits abound everywhere, and we have enjoyed glimpses of foxes here and there. The ground hogs are not as much fun, or the occasional skunk, but overall relatively harmless creatures if left alone.
More widely appreciated are the trees and gardens along the de-paved section of Pontiac Avenue, and in various fragments of the NCC forest (A.K.A. the Champlain Woodlands). To celebrate these spaces, the Environment Committee has installed a sign at the ball diamond. The piece of wood is from the same Grandmother oak tree removed in 2011 from Northwestern Avenue that also graces the outside wall of the Field House (the dated cookie). The tree was a sapling in 1857, a decade before Canada became a country.
Sebastian Hadjiantoniou from Daniel Avenue created the sign while Mark Hartley of Clearview Avenue built the stand (and the earlier installation on the Field House). Our stalwart captain of engineering works, Kris Phillips of Northwestern Avenue dug the hole and poured the cement base. Daniel Buckles (Daniel on Daniel) launched the project, donated the wood and stickhandled the various bureaucracies to get it done.
Heartfelt thanks to the Champlain Park Community Association for important financial and administrative support, and to the office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, where a solution to the permissions puzzle was found. The City of Ottawa provided funding for tree planting on the various terraces, as did the the Ottawa family of Peter Sims (1980-2021), a committed climate activist.
We hope you are enjoying the trees and gardens this summer, along with the flowering and edible planters. The sign is intended to give local residents and the many people that pass through our community a bit of the story behind restoring native biodiversity in Champlain Park.
The Champlain Park Community Association is pleased to welcome one and all to our neighbourhood’s public Pollinator Garden. Come enjoy the flowers and try to spot the Monarch Butterflies. Access can be gained on the side of the garden facing Pontiac St. Please remain on the pathways when visiting; feel free to bring some water for the plants.
While in the area you can also visit the new Rain Garden, Planters, and our nascent mini-forests along Pontiac St. So much to see-and it will only get even better with time.
Many thanks to our Committee green thumbs for all their hard work in curating, planting and caring for these wonderful additions to our neighbourhood-special thanks to Kris, John, Catherine, Daniel, Joscelyn and all of our Planter Caretakers!
Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2022 18:00:42 -0500
From: DANIEL BUCKLES <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Greening the Neighbourhood
David Paré of Ottawa South has produced a delightful podcast series on “Decarbonizing Ottawa,” that highlights the actions people in our city are taking to do their part to overcome the climate crisis: https://anchor.fm/david-pare
A recent episode (Greening the Neighbourhood) features Champlain Park, starting with the de-paving of a section of Pontiac Avenue and continuing with our wonderful pollinator garden and “tiny forests.” Have listen to this, or other podcats on topics ranging from the National Healing Forests Initiative to Going Electric (pros and cons).
Champlain Park has been recognized by The Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL) as a 2021 Greener Greenspace award winner. The evaluation committee “particularly appreciated that your project makes the most out of the opportunity to turn a paved street into regenerative gardens and model forests that not only benefit local wildlife and the urban forest but provide opportunities to engage the public.”
Yahoo! And thanks to the volunteers that made it happen (Daniel Buckles, Kris Philipps, Catherine Shearer, John Arnason, Adrian Bradley, Joscelyn Coolihan), and to the Champlain Park Community Association for moral and financial support.
Mark Twain’s brilliant story about the Adventures of Tom Sawyer shows that “to make someone covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” Tom Sawyer, when his friend asked why he was not distressed about having to paint his Aunt Polly’s fence, simply said, “I don’t see why I would be, you don’t get to do this everyday.” Within a few hours, every one of his friends was vying for the opportunity to paint the fence, even paying him in kind (apples and precious pieces of string) for the privilege.
Well, we have some difficult things to challenge you that are also important enough for you to want to take on the challenge.
What are we talking about? Keeping 180 trees and a pollinator garden alive and thriving during a dry spring and summer is both difficult to attain and important to beautifying our neighbourhood. We are also trying to recover the abandoned former parking lot at Pontiac and the Park as a future tree planting site. Your contribution can make a difference, by taking on responsibility for a few hours in our watering schedule or by doing other tree or earth moving care. We have a pretty good system in place, but need more helping hands.
If this amazing opportunity to bring biodiversity into the neighbourhood is something you want to be part of, contact Daniel Buckles (email@example.com) for a brief orientation and access to the online schedule. The project is an initiative of the Champlain Park Community Association.
Are you a struggling student artist? Work with a pro and help your neighbourhood too by documenting the amazing green transformation going on right here in Champlain Park.
If you have been down to the river you will have seen the pollinator garden at the end of Carleton, and the “Tiny Forest” that has popped up along Pontiac.
There are other delights in the woods too that are the fruit of local volunteers with the Champlain Park Community Association.
We would like your help (photographers, painters, sculptors, etc.) to showcase the plant biodiversity and volunteer spirit we are bringing into the neighbourhood.
Don Monet, painter and owner of Ottawa’s CUBE Gallery, lives here too and would be happy to mentor or otherwise support you in a local art project focused on the green transformation. If interested, contact Daniel Buckles (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a virtual introduction to Don.
Yesterday was World Bee Day, raising awareness about the contributions of bees to pollination of plants (including food crops). The Champlain Park Community Association volunteers have been busy planting the pollinator garden at the end of Carleton Avenue, and planting a mini-forest in the empty space east along Pontiac Avenue to Northwestern. Some 170 trees have gone in there. Beginning Saturday, we will be breaking up the gravel shoulder to the former Pontiac roadway, along the north edge of the woods, in preparation for fall planting of shrubs, trees and butterfly plants currently in backyard tree nurseries. Each of our 7 planters are being cared for by volunteer gardeners.
All activities are designed to beautify the connection between our community and the “Kitchi Sibi” (“Great River” in Algonquin), and are permitted by the NCC and the City.
Are you able to help? We need help watering plants, weeding in some locations, building chicken wire cages to protect saplings, etc. so please contact CPCATrees@gmail.com for details. Donations to the Association are also welcome as they help buy what volunteers can’t make (e-transfer to FinancesCPCA@gmail.com). Everyone can pitch in by bringing water to fill the rain barrels set up on a direct “bee line” to the beach.
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2020 17:46:11 -0400
From: Daniel Buckles <email@example.com>
Thanks! Many neighbours brought leaves to the new pollinator garden, which now has all we need there. The leaves will protect the soil from the coming rains, harbour diverse insects and perhaps some field mice over winter and enrich the soil when more flowering Native plants are added next spring (contact Catherine Shearer and John Arnason, our resident plant specialists, if you have native species to offer: firstname.lastname@example.org).
More Clean leaves are welcome at our other sites, the Pontiac entrance to the woods across from the school yard and the entrance to the woods on Patricia near Clearview. Leave bags there.
Thanks too to those that brought large stones to the site, which are used to shore up the earth mounds. Thanks to Kris Phillips especially for his initiative and hard work. More stones are still welcome.
The garden will be magnificent.
Daniel Buckles, co-chair
Environment committee, CPCA
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2020 16:30:30 -0400
From: DANIEL BUCKLES <email@example.com>
Have leaves, will help
You may have noticed the pollinator garden emerging at Pontiac and the entrance to the river. We want to keep the soil in place and continue to improve it with leaves. Lots of leaves. Please bring bags of “clean” leaves (no roots and bits of plants other than tree leaves) to the area (the Planters at Pontiac) over the next week. We also need them at two other entrances to the Champlain Woods, across from the school on Pontiac and the entrance on Patricia near Clearview, where tree planting this year has continued.
Want to help build up a stone boundary for the pollinator garden? When out in the woods consider bringing stones to the Pontiac location, and add them to the pile in front. They will be used to mark the mound edges and help keep the soil in place.
Date: Sat, 03 Oct 2020 18:32:01 -0400
From: DANIEL BUCKLES <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Progress with forest revitalization
Work on three sites in the Champlain Woods (NCC forest) is near completion, with the last section at the Pontiac closure wrapping up soon. Here, some old chain fence buried in shrubs is being removed, along with buckthorn (a non-native invasive plant that dominates much of the forest) and suckers from dead ash trees (unfortunately, ash saplings succumb to the Emerald Ash Borer once they develop thicker bark; the Ash may well never come back in North America). The wood from these will be laid in the cleared space and mounded with earth to create an environment for a butterfly garden while leaving the space open towards the river view (let us know if you want to help with the garden next spring!).
Do you have a truck, and are you willing to haul away the old chain fence to the dump or recycling? Please call Catherine Shearer by email: email@example.com.
Champlain Park Community Association Environment Committee