Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Saving Ontario Salamanders

An East York woman is saving the salamanders of cottage country, rescuing them from local trails and raising them in her backyard.

Carolyn Forbes, 28, says she has collected about 350 yellow and blue-spotted salamander egg sacs, each with the possibility of hatching between 20 and 50 babies, from ditches and dips in local roads near her Highlands cottage near Bancroft.

However, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources does not allow amphibians to be taken from or released into the wild. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Way of Nature (UK nature events)

Found this great program to provide opportunities for urbanites to reconnect with nature and destress!

From the website:

"Wilderness Spa – A Day-Long Retreat 
Wilderness Spa is a one day retreat to help you relax and recharge in a wonderful, natural way. Taking place in Epping Forest, a short trip from central London, the day consists of a series of restorative activities helped along by the magic of Nature. The highlight of the day is time alone in nature – a practice of letting nature help you recharge your batteries. Hosted with care, knowledge and fun in equal measures, Wilderness Spa is sure to leave you delighted and inspired. 
What to expect
  • A beautiful restorative experience outdoors
  • Activities to awaken the senses, relax and energise body and make time to stop while learning how nature helps us heal and recover from busy lives
  • A wander into Epping Forest
  • A silent walk exploring senses and arrival
  • Awakening the body and energy with Qi Gong 
  • A talk about Nature’s surprising healing properties
  • A total body relaxation
  • Lunch in the outdoors
  • A Solo experience – a ninety minute experience alone with nature
  • A last session about keeping Wildness in everyday life finishing at 4:30pm
Who’s it for?  Wilderness Spa is a great experience for people feeling a need to rest or recharge. With the busyness of everyday life, it’s easy to forget how amazing time outdoors is for us. More so, that we have forgotten the art of relaxation and of being in the moment. This experience is about reminding and practicing how to do all of this."

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Slow Spread Sink (Sonoma Valley)

Best land management practices for storm water runoff.

The idea is to slow water runoff down - permeable surfaces work better and this can be applied not only to the ground but also roofs (that have impermeable surfaces).  Spread it around via rain barrels, french drains and other methods such as vegetated slopes and various gardens.  You don't want water to immediately be directed to pipes and culverts off your property.  Finally: let it sink!  Water can erode if there is not enough greenscaping - bare ground can be an issue just like pavement.  Use gravity, include swales and rain gardens and provide some xeriscaping on higher grounds.

This guide by Sonoma Valley on beneficial stormwater management is very comprehensive and provides lots of tips to homeowners and landowners.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Two Depave Projects right here in Ottawa!

I first blogged about a Depaving project in California and the organization in Portland in 2012 - finally Ottawa is implementing its own "depave" projects!

Lansdowne Park is a large scale project (replacing 11,000 square metres of pavement for grass) where they are "putting the park back into Lansdowne Park".

From CTV News:
"The new park includes plenty of pathways and seating areas, places for events, a farmer’s market and other vendors, and plans for features like a children’s play area, a water plaza, skateboard park and outdoor rink. 
Workers have planted over 850 new trees and thousands of shrubs. There’s even an apple orchard in the north-east corner of the park where some trees are already producing fruit. “There’s seven or eight different varieties of apple trees that will be open to the public for picking and there’s a pathway system and a picnic table area in there,” says Doug Clunie of D&G Landscaping – the Ottawa company in charge of building Lansdowne’s urban park. 
Lansdowne’s urban park is slated to open August 15th."

The other Depave project is one by the Depave Paradise organization - working through Ecology Ottawa.  It is being done at Kitchissippi United Church: The Alcove Garden Project (630 Island Park Drive).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Purple/Pink Aquatic - Wetland Flowers

Joe Pie Weed (note red stem, opposite leaves, pointy lobe, several branches of small clustered flowers)
Image from: Iowa State University

Swamp Milk Weed (Note flatter leaver, opposite leaves, untoothed, lance shaped, (larger) petal flowers) Image from: Minnesota Seasons - Nature Tourism

Flowering Rush (Invasive) (Note all flowers come off stem, no leaves along stem all at bottom)
Image from: Toronto Wildlife

Purple Loosestrife (Invasive) (Note spire of small five-petaled flowers, alternate/whorled leaves)
Image from: Minnesota Department of Agriculture

Steeplebush - Hardhack (Note has light wooly hairs on bottom-side of leaf. Part of the Rose family as is Meadowsweet - a white version)

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