Petrie Island Tree Inventory
Working in partnership with Friends of Petrie Island and the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club, we conducted year 1 of a tree inventory of Petrie Island, recording species, location, and health information for 443 trees. The Friends of Petrie Island (FOPI) have posted the 2019 Tree Inventory Report on their web site.
EcoTrekr: Harnessing App Power for Conservation Education
OSC is working with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and Friends of the Carp River to support development of a wetland education program at the Carp River restoration site in Kanata. The Carp River Living Classroom will have many education elements, but one will be a mobile app called EcoTrekr, which is aimed at families and children in elementary/middle school.
Developed for MVCA by a group of volunteer programmers and GIS specialists, EcoTrekr will help visitors understand and engage with what they see as they walk the paved trail encircling the site near the Canadian Tire Centre. The app features GIS-triggered pop-ups describing site features, an “encyclopedia” of entries on plants, wildlife, geographical features, and historical notes, and interactive quizzes at two challenge levels. In July, the EcoTrekr development team ran a focus test on an early version of the app to gather feedback from users that will be used to improve the user experience. After its launch, EcoTrekr will be available for free download from the Google Play and Apple App Stores for use on tablets and mobile phones. MVCA will be posting more information about the Living Classroom and EcoTrekr as development of the site’s education elements progress.
Ottawa Pollinators Network
OSC is an active member of the new and growing consortium of community organizations and individuals working to improve the urban landscape and expand pollinator friendly habitat. This initiative is seeking to expand community understanding and strengthen stewardship of urban greenspaces that are pollinator species friendly. This will include promoting the planting and care of native flowering plants, seeking community and City support for harvesting native wild plant seeds for replanting and expansion of both public and private greenspace initiatives in the City.
Morgan’s Grant Greenspace Revitalization
2019 was an exciting and busy year for the ‘Morgan’s Grant Community Greenspace Revitilization project. The Briarbrook and Morgan’s Grant Community Association held two workshops (Spring and Fall) with the support of the OSC that provided opportunity for neighbours to learn about the work and to discuss the issues that were important to them. Councillor Jenna Sudds and Terry Tysick from Hydro One also offered advice and input at the Fall workshop.
This past Summer also marked the first time when a full-time Summer student was hired to work for the community association along the corridor project area. His duties included managing three test plots that were designed with advice and oversight from the OSC to assess the handling of Wild Parsnip in areas that had been previously seeded with native flowering plants. The purpose was to assess the impact of varied levels of weed suppression on the expansion and success of the native wild flowers on the corridor. The student also monitored and listed common species of birds, insects and plants along the corridor and created a Morgan’s Grant iNaturalists site for the community.
OSC donated three bat boxes to the community association, who will install them at strategic points along the hydro corridor in spring 2020. This is part of a key citywide OSC initiative to assist the return of Little Brown Bats to the City since their decimation from White nose fungus.
Hydro Corridor Stewardship
OSC continues to explore avenues of cooperation with Hydro One to effect greater community input and stewardship during and following routine maintenance along its approximately 275 kms of hydro corridors in the City of Ottawa. Hydro One has actively sought the advice of OSC over the past 3 years on how to develop effective community stewardship initiatives based prominently on the successes being seen on Morgan’s Grant. OSC and Hydro One want to develop a model approach that will effectively draw in community interest, support and stewardship in the greening of its Ottawa corridor complex as key to its maintenance regime and consistent with the City of Ottawa’s new Official Plan and Urban Forest Management Plan.
Carleton University Projects
In our fourth year of working with Carleton University, we sponsored two projects for the third year Environmental Science Group Project course.
In cooperation with Biodiversity Conservation International coordinated with Carleton university environmental sciences to develop a series of student projects to study the Pinhey Sand dunes in the fall. Students recorded insect diversity on this unique site and make recommendations for public engagement.
For the Carp River Restoration Site project, students used iNaturalist to record native and invasive plants, and made recommendations for citizen science and public engagement. Plans to develop another set of projects for the 2020 fall session are already being discussed.
Working with Kanata Lakes volunteers, we planted 20 Butternut trees near the Beaver Pond in areas cleared of dead Ash trees.
Biodiversity Conservation International
OSC and BCI have worked together for the past 2 years in developing a series of initiatives in support of the long-term BCI led conservation and restoration program on the Pinhey Sand Dunes. OSC coordinated the discussions that led to an environmentally effective cleaning of the hydro corridor adjacent to the sand dunes resulting in a significant step forward for the restoration program. OSC also arranged this summer with Hydro One to install a new ‘Wild Bee Hotel’ on site and will also be siting and installing three bat boxes with the assistance of the BCI in spring 2020.