Tom Sawyer’s Life Lesson
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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 (email@example.com) 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.
Pollinator Garden Area before (top) and after (bottom) Garden Created.
Date: Sat, 24 Oct 2020 17:46:11 -0400
From: Daniel Buckles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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: email@example.com).
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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.
From your neighbourhood Environment Committee
Date: Sat, 03 Oct 2020 18:32:01 -0400
From: DANIEL BUCKLES <email@example.com>
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Champlain Park Community Association Environment Committee
One of our neighbours, Daniel Buckles, has had an op-ed article published in this Saturday’s Ottawa Citizen. It points to our Pontiac street depaving and suggests something similar for downtown. You can read it online at https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/buckles-how-closing-ottawa-bus-lanes-can-open-a-green-corridor
Envirocentre (https://www.envirocentre.ca/) has put together this slide show video about the Pontiac Street depaving day, complementing our photos of the Pontiac Park Expansion.
A timeline of the park expansion is at https://champlainpark.org/park/pontiac-depaving-and-park-expansion/
Community Effort to Remove Pavement on Pontiac Street and Reclaim Paradise!!
Last Saturday, a family-friendly event was led by Councillor Jeff Leiper to de-pave one block of Pontiac Street and to re-connect the green space of Champlain Park directly to NCC lands accessing the Ottawa river.
The Councillor received sponsorship from the City with funds from cash-in-lieu of parkland money and a small grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Energetic community volunteers showed up to dig up sections of pavement and transfer them to City dumpsters. The volunteers were organized by Enviro Centre and Champlain Park Community Association, with coffee from Bridgehead and bagels from the Ottawa Bagel Shop.
In the near future, the City workers will finish digging the gravel base, adding soil, and seeding the area. The NCC will remove the fence and gravel on their side. Volunteers plan to landscape the NCC land with native species of ground cover, shrubs and trees. As Joni Mitchell sang in her song “Big Yellow Taxi”, “you don’t know what you’ve got, ’till it’s gone”. It’s not often a parking lot gets turned into parkland!
Enviro Centre team with Champlain Park Community Association volunteer, Debra Huron, set up coffee (Bridgehead) and bagels (Ottawa Bagel Shop) as well as supplying tools and safety gear for volunteers. Photo by John Arnason.
Here’s a quick photo essay of the core work cycle at the depaving ceremony this morning. There were other things happening too, like a kids amusement spot with pumpkins and paint (they helped out near the end, moving small road fragments), an outfitting area and sponsored snacks. Hopefully we’ll have time to write a longer story later and give credit to the people and groups who helped with the depaving event.
The pick-axe crew at work, digging up the slabs.
Loading slabs onto the wheelbarrows. Councillor Jeff Leiper (in white) lends a hand.
Back and forth the wheelbarrow convoy goes.
Lining up to drop off asphalt squares. The front end loader lifts batches of them up into the dumpster.