Thursday, May 30, 2013

Urban River (Calgary)

Read about this interesting project the other day:

River park design firm Recreation Engineering & Planning received "an Award of Excellence (first place) in the categories of Community Development and Water Resources & Energy Production for Calgary’s Bow River Weir Project. This project was one of only two to double-medal at this event. REP played a key role in the project by completing its original feasibility design and planning, as well as the design and inspection of the park’s whitewater features. According to the judges, the development “demonstrates a highly technical project that enhances the community and environment, providing new and enhanced recreation opportunities for the public while enhancing the river ecosystems and fish habitats.” Says another, “The Calgary Bow River Weir project is an excellent example of how engineering ingenuity can revitalize a critically important natural resource, creating safe and sustainable opportunities that enhance and enrich the whole community.”

“All these parks re-connect the communities to their local rivers and help revitalize local economies,” says REP president Gary Lacy. “Plus, in many cases, they also convert liabilities into recreational amenities.”

Text from

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Vertical Forest (Milan)

This is so exciting!  Green skyscrapers are becoming a reality:

Bosco Verticale (in Milan, Italy) is a vertical forest design that will be open later this year.  It will include 900 trees, oaks and amelanchiers, 500 shrubs, and 11,000 ground plants—the equivalent of 2.5-acres of forest. If each residential unit had been constructed as individual stand-alone units, more than 50,000 square meters of land and 10,000 square meters of woodland would have been required.

Each balcony houses a mini-forest complete with a rainwater watering system and construction costs of Bosco Verticale are only 5% more than those required for the usual skyscraper, which will promote replication in other cities.  It will be the first of its kind - providing vital ecological and energy benefits within the confines of an urban area.

All information/images are from Great Ecology.

P.S.  Check out my latest "urban wild" nature blog: Wild. Here. (2016 update)

Friday, May 17, 2013

protecting the bobolink

Taken from a newspaper article (dated March 2012) from the Kawartha Lakes Region regarding the new species at risk legislation that is coming into effect.

"Anne Bell of the conservation organization Ontario Nature said it’s important to realize there are many different stakeholders at the round table, not just agriculture and conservation groups. She said the primary aim of the round table discussions is to find a solution that works for agriculture.

“The great thing about the Endangered Species Act is that it has a fair bit of flexibility,” she said.

“The focus for us (Ontario Nature) is research and best practices, such as are there ways to manage hay fields...but, the key to the round table is that whatever the solution, it has to work - for the farmers and the birds.”

(D & C Editor has heard that in the U.S. some farmers are compensated monetarily for the early crops that they cannot harvest in order to let Bobolinks nest safely and raise fledglings until they can leave the nest.)

Farmers vs Boblinks or Farmers AND Bobolinks?

Legislation will come into full force in 2014.

Image from Flickr Creative Commons: Amy McAndrews

Can We Have Urban Bobolink Habitat?
Manor Park (Ottawa) Wildlife Sightings 
The Quest to Find an Urban Bobolink

Monday, May 6, 2013

Periwinkle in Montfort Woods (Ottawa)

Copied from: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Newsletter, May 2012
Author: C. Hanrahan
Image from: S.E. Amesse 2010 ©

"Walking through Montfort Woods earlier in the month was an interesting experience. I've not
been back to this spot since about 1996, before it was exchanged for Moffatt Farm in a land
swap with the National Capital Commission (which now manages and patrols the woods).
At this time of year, you can see the remnants of what was once a magnificent forest, which
would have covered an extensive area. There are still small patches of some interesting native
plants, such as Cutleaf and Broadleaf Toothwort (Cardamine laciniata and C. diphylla), both
White and Red Trilliums (Trillium grandiflora and T. erectum), very small stands of Hepatica, a
few tiny stands of Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), which should be abundant
there, big swathes of Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum), and so on.

BUT, the sad thing is that the really huge swathes are Periwinkle (Vinca sp.) and Deadnettle
(Lamium sp.). Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is not abundant, but it will be. I found one
Barberry (Berberis sp.), and Norway Maples (Acer platanoides) are beginning to intrude.
The area where the Periwinkle, Deadnettle and also Day Lilies were found is adjacent to what
used to be CFB Rockcliffe, and it looks very much like garden waste was dumped over the fence
with the resulting invasion! If anyone needed to be reminded why these plants should be kept
out of natural areas, this provides a good lesson. Sad. In the photo, that huge swathe of green
is all Periwinkle. I actually like Deadnettle and Periwinkle as fast spreaders in a garden setting,
BUT. . .not out here."