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Canal Park opening connects urban Dundas with natural world

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Representatives from all three levels of government joined the Foundation and HCA in unveiling the park and celebrating the EcoPark Campaign.

The site of the former Ben Veldhuis Ltd greenhouses was officially christened Canal Park on a hot Saturday morning during the Dundas Cactus Festival. The unveiling has been a long-time coming for the Dundas property. After years of demolition, cleanup, grading and planting, the property is now officially open to the public.

The event was also a celebration of the larger EcoPark Campaign to protect sensitive and diverse natural lands at the Hamilton end of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. Over 100 acres have been protected through the campaign with help from the Royal Botanical Gardens. Donors to both the land acquisition and Canal Park projects were recognized on a plaque unveiled at the event.

While the park is now open to visitors, the site is still a work in progress in need of donations. Recently planted trees and shrubs are expected to grow and add to the park’s scenic beauty. A planned viewing shelter is also expected to begin construction next year to connect park visitors with the Desjardins Canal.

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Community planting and hike to focus on Karst Feeder Lands

fotek planting

A 2015 volunteer event helped transform the Feeder Lands which will get extra attention once again this year.

A planting and guided hike planned for Saturday, October 1st at 10 am will showcase the diverse features of the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area and its newly protected Feeder Lands. Last fall, volunteers from the Friends of Eramosa Karst planted hundreds of trees on the edge of the Feeder Lands along Rymal Road. The plantings provide a buffer between the busy arterial road and protected meadow habitat. This year’s planting will help to strengthen that buffer.

The Feeder Lands, which form the headwaters of the streams in the Conservation Area, were originally slated for residential development before community pressure led to a long-term lease for the Hamilton Conservation Authority from the Ontario Realty Corporation. The guided hike will help to tell the story of the unique karst features and the diverse species which call the Conservation Area home.

Future plantings along the Feeder Lands are planned by the Friends of the Eramosa Karst which will host a community fundraising dinner on Saturday, February 25, 2017. Details will be posted on the Friends of the Eramosa Krast website as the event approaches.

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Equestrian community continues tradition of generous support for Dundas Valley

horse

Dozens of horses and equestrians camped out in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area in mid-August to raise funds for the area’s Trail Fund. Despite hot and sticky weather punctuated by a number of violent downpours, the event drew enthusiastic attendees from Sarnia to Belleville. The Valley’s trail system is known in the equestrian community to have some of the most scenic horse-friendly trails in Ontario. 

Funds raised at the event help pay for new horse-friendly bridges and an extensive trail maintenance program which helps keep the 40 kilometre trail network accessible to equestrians, cyclists, joggers and hikers year-round through all kinds of challenges. The volunteer-driven event has been going since the early 1990s and has raised over $100,000 for the Dundas Valley Trails Fund through the years.

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Nature Crawl: Planting & Guided Hike


When: Saturday, October 1st, 2016 – 10:00 am (rain or shine)

Where: Eramosa Karst Conservaiton Area Feeder Lands

Park at Rymal Road Community Church, 1967 Rymal Road

 Photo of tree planters digging holes with forested background

  • Help us plant trees and shrubs on the Feeder Lands along Rymal Road
  • Join us on guided hikes with cave tours
  • Learn more about the karst features that make the area unique
  • See plans for a new East Escarpment Conservation Area
  • Enjoy a free family pizza lunch

Join us Saturday, October 1st at the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area Feeder Lands. We’ll be planting trees to build up the hedgerow along Rymal Road. Even if planting isn’t your thing, we’d love it if you could join us! We’ll have a guided hike so that you can learn more about the Conservation Area’s unique karst features. We’ll also be showing off plans to put donations to work building a new East Escarpment Conservation Area along Stoney and Battlefield Creeks. Registration is free and all are welcome!

This event is made possible by donations from the City of Hamilton, Friends of the Eramosa Karst, Heritage Green Community Trust, RBC Royal Bank and Stantec Consulting.

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Applications open for 2016 Student Award for Environmental Leadership

Are you a high school student in Hamilton about to start College or University in an environmental field? If you want to make a difference for Hamilton’s environment, you could win $1,000 to help with your education. All you have to do is fill out our application form, send us your resume, a quick little letter telling us how much you love the natural world and anything else that would help us understand why you’re the best candidate!

The award will be presented at the 37th annual Environmentalist of the Year Awards at a dinner at Michelangelo Banquet Centre in June. You can find out more details about the dinner at http://conserversociety.ca/projects/environmentalist-of-the-year-awards-dinner/.

Applications are due by Friday, April 29, 2016. You can submit yours by emailing foundation@conservationhamilton.ca or mailing it to:

Student Award for Environmental Leadership
c/o Hamilton Conservation Foundation
P.O. Box 81067
838 Mineral Springs Road
Ancaster, ON L9G 4X1

 

If you have any questions or need any help filling out the application please don’t hesitate to call Toby Tresidder at 905-525-2181 ext. 129 or email foundation@conservationhamilton.ca.

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Naming contest for new East Escarpment Conservation Area to be launched at area schools

Donations to the Foundation’s Land Securement Fund have helped secure the footprint for a new conservation area.

Representatives cut a ribbon in a field to open a new conservation area.

Representatives from project funding partners, Heritage Green Community Trust, City of Hamilton and Hamilton Conservation Authority unveil the recently secured conservation lands this past October.

178 acres in size, the new area has a lot of exciting natural features, including woodlands, agricultural lands, meadows and significant karst features including small caves and sinkholes. Karsts are geological features that are caused by water dissolving rock, found in limestone formations like the Niagara Escarpment.

The area also joins up with the Dofasco 2000 Trail and the Devil’s Punchbowl Conservation Area.

Donations to the Foundation’s Land Securement Fund have already provided $50,000 to the conservation area project with a further $200,000 pledged over the next 4 years.

All schools in the City of Hamilton’s Wards 9 and 11 will be invited to suggest a name that represents the things that make the neighbourhood and conservation area special. The winning name will be selected by the Hamilton Conservation Authority before the end of the 2015-16 school year.

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Foundation Vice-Chair Anne Tennier nominated at YWCA Women of Distinction Awards

Foundation Vice-Chair Anne Tennier's head shot.b

The YWCA’s Women of Distinction Awards, now in their 40th year, celebrate local women whose leadership have contributed to the Hamilton community’s wellbeing. The 2016 event will celebrate 43 women in 8 categories and will be held March 10th at the Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen’s. Tickets for the event are available through the YWCA website.

Nominated in both the Lifetime Acheivement and Science, Technology or Trades categories, Anne has over 30 years of experience as a chemist and professional chemical engineer and recently left a leadership position at Maple Leaf Foods to launch her own consulting business. Anne brings a wealth of business knowledge to the Foundation board as well as plenty of non-profit leadership experience. Anne has volunteered with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, United Way of Burlington and Greater Hamilton as well as the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction. Anne has also been a candidate in two Federal Elections.

 

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Braden’s Hot Chocolate Festival celebrates 5 years by hitting $75,000 mark‎ for Dundas Valley

Braden

Volunteer fundraiser extraordinaire and festival founder, Braden Marshall, enjoys a cup of hot chocolate at the event. (photo courtesy Greening Marketing)

Now in its fifth year, Braden’s Hot Chocolate Festival continues to combine family fun with the great outdoors in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area for a great cause. Hundreds of families enjoyed hot chocolate, concerts, crafts, story-time and hikes on the conservation area’s 40km trail system.

Proceeds from the Family Day event support the Foundation’s Dundas Valley Conservation Fund. The Fund helps the Hamilton Conservation Authority remove invasive species, plant native trees and shrubs and even acquire new lands to grow the Conservation Area. Last year, the funding helped restore sensitive prairie habitat and remove both japanese knotweed and dog-strangling vine.

With over $75,000 contributed to the Fund, it looks like the Valley will continue to hold an important place in the hearts of generations to come.

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Applications open for 2015 Student Award for Environmental Leadership

Are you a high school student in Hamilton about to start College or University in an environmental field? If you want to make a difference for Hamilton’s environment, you could win $1,000 to help with your education. All you have to do is fill out our application form, send us your resume, a quick little letter telling us how much you love the natural world and anything else that would help us understand why you’re the best candidate!

The award will be presented at the 36th annual Environmentalist of the Year Awards at a dinner at Michelangelo Banquet Centre on Wednesday June 10, 2015. You can find out more details about the dinner at http://conserversociety.ca/projects/environmentalist-of-the-year-awards-dinner/.

Applications are due by Thursday, April 30th. You can submit yours by emailing foundation@conservationhamilton.ca or mailing it to:

Student Award for Environmental Leadership
c/o Hamilton Conservation Foundation
P.O. Box 81067
838 Mineral Springs Road
Ancaster, ON L9G 4X1

If you have any questions or need any help filling out the application please don’t hesitate to call Toby Tresidder at 905-525-2181 ext. 129 or email foundation@conservationhamilton.ca.

 

 

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Want to volunteer at Braden’s Hot Chocolate Festival?

Volunteers are needed to help greet visitors to the Dundas Valley Conservation Area at Braden’s Hot Chocolate Festival on Family Day, Monday, February 16th!

Volunteers will work at the Governor’s Road entrance to the Conservation Area greeting event visitors, directing them into the parking lot or toward the overflow parking once the lot is full. A warming station and washroom facilities will be available to volunteers throughout the event.

Volunteers are needed for two shifts: 10am to 12:30pm and 12:30pm to 3:00pm.

To volunteer, please email toby.tresidder@conservationhamilton.ca today!

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Fall Colour Hike


When: Saturday, October 17th, 2015 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm (rain or shine)

Where: Christie Lake Conservation Area, 1000 Hwy 5 W, Dundas

Picture of fall colours over Christie Lake

Over the last year, we’ve had the privilege of investing $40,000 in donations from the General Conservation Fund into dramatically improving the ecological function of the Christie Lake CA. As our way of saying thank you to the amazing supporters who made this happen, we’d like to invite you to join us Saturday, October 17th for a guided fall colour hike. This is your chance to learn more about how donations are put to work for the benefit of our watershed and future generations.

  • Explore restored stream channels with Conservation Authority experts!
  • Enjoy the fall colours!
  • Children’s games and crafts!
  • Free barbecue, snacks and door prizes!

 This event is free for all donors, volunteers, pass-holders and their guests who register in advance.

Registration is closed.

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Pitching in for parkland

At her parents’ home in Dundas for a month-long break from her studies, it didn’t take Jasmine Baetz long to change the valley town for the better!

The accomplished potter, inspired by her parents’ (Brian and Rashne Baetz) involvement with the EcoPark Campaign, has donated over 140 hand-crafted cups to support the EcoPark Campaign. Jasmine is quick to offer some insight into her motivation: “I grew up listening to my parents talk about this very special land – the future [Cootes to Escarpment] EcoPark [System] – and how important it is to protect it. I’m so happy to see the extent of the EcoPark Campaign and wanted to make a contribution to the effort.”

jbaetz

Each cup is hand-decorated with a tree on the side and the words “Dundas” and “EcoPark” stamped underneath. The cups are available while quantities last at Cafe Domestique at 12 Miller’s Lane in Dundas. They can be purchased for $10 with all proceeds going to the EcoPark Campaign.

Jasmine’s work can be seen at jasminebaetz.com.

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Stream restoration at Christie Lake turning heads.

The first phase of the massive habitat restoration project is complete thanks to a grant from the Federal Government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans!

In an effort to improve the ecological function of the Christie Lake Conservation Area, the first of six former fishing ponds along Spencer Creek’s tributaries has been decommissioned. As a result, cold-water stream habitat has been restored. While fishing remains popular at Christie Lake in the main reservoir, the restored natural stream channels leading into the reservoir will provide increased habitat for native fish and amphibians. It will also increase water quality through decreased stream velocity, erosion and sedimentation.

before and after vert-001

The remaining five fishing ponds will be taken off-line in the coming years as funding becomes available. While the long-term project is a long way away from completion, the immediate results are astounding! Complimentary wetland plantings are planned for the fall and spring and will continue to improve the already impressive ecological diversity of the Conservation Area.

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California cactus connection boosts Desjardins Canal Parklands

An unusual donation from across the continent has helped bring the parkland vision to fruition.

For the second year running the Foundation has had the pleasure of selling hundreds of donated cacti to raise funds and awareness for the Desjardins Canal Parklands project. Despite some chilly and rainy weather, over $2,200 was raised and all of the cacti found happy homes!

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The cacti were donated through Sorensen Greenhouses in California whose proprietor, Cleone Sorensen, grew up in Dundas. Cleone’s father, the late Ben Veldhuis, operated the wildly successful cactus greenhouses that occupied the Parklands site for over half a century and gave the Cactus Festival its name.

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TD Community Tree Planting Day


Saturday, September 20, 2014 9:30am to 12:30pm (rain date September 27)

Desjardins Canal Parklands, Access through Centennial Park, Cootes Drive, Dundas

Td Tree Address fixed

Help us celebrate the transformation of the former Veldhuis greenhouses into a beautiful nature park by planting trees! There is no need to apply or RSVP. Simply show up at Centennial Park on Cootes Drive at 9:30 a.m., September 20, 2014 and join us!

The event is, of course, free and snacks will be provided! Bring sturdy boots, shovels and gloves if you can!

Rain date September 27. In the event of cancellation please check this page!

Please note that an event shuttle will run from McMaster University and King Street West in Westdale. Shuttle details will be posted in the days leading up to the event.

This event is made possible by TD Bank and is presented in partnership with Earth Day Hamilton-Burlington.

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Maple syrup tradition connects a new generation to early Canadian heritage

The Friends of Westfield volunteer fundraising group helped raise over $17,000 in 2013 which has been invested in much needed equipment upgrades and accessibility improvements!

Donations raised by the Friends of Westfield through their annual Chinese Dinner, membership drive and letter-writing campaigns helped secure funding for a new maple syrup evaporator among other projects. This new piece of equipment will allow Westfield to continue operating its beloved March maple syrup programming for a new generation.

 maple sap
Donations from the Friends of Westfield Heritage Village helped purchase a new maple syrup evaporator to ensure the March tradition can bring early Canadian heritage to life for a whole new generation of visitors!
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9,000 children experience the natural splendor of the Dundas Valley

Increasingly sedentary lifestyles, seemingly endless screen time and an increasingly urbanized region make it more important than ever to get Hamilton’s children learning outdoors.

Thanks to your support, over 9,000 Hamilton area children learned about the environment in the 2,900 acre Dundas Valley Conservation Area this past school year.

junior conservationists

It won’t be news to most of our supporters that the sensory experience of being outdoors is massively important to a child’s health and development or that children who experience nature are more likely to protect it.

The fact that we were able to connect 9,000 children with this incredible, immersive experience, however, is definitely something to celebrate! We are blessed to live in a community that donates $55,000 every year to continue connecting children with nature. We surpassed that goal once again in 2013 and cannot help but smile about the future that our donors are helping to create for Hamilton.

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Bridge connects new community, sports park to Felker’s Falls and regional trails

Funding from the John Deere Foundation of Canada and Heritage Green Community Trust has funded a much-needed trail crossing over Davis Creek at the Felker’s Falls Conservation Area. The bridge leads to a trail that will connect the East Mountain Trail Loop with the Heritage Green Sports Park and a new subdivision in upper Stoney Creek. The wheelchair-accessible bridge was installed at the beginning of April with full trail completion expected before the end of the summer.

hgct bridge
A new trail link at Felker’s Falls will link the Heritage Green Sports Park with the East Mountain Trail Loop and other regional trails!
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Donations complete vital EcoPark land purchase

Purchase of York Road Acreage a major win for the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System and Hamilton as a whole.

A flurry of donations over the winter have helped to clear the final funding hurdle for the first major purchase of land in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System by the Hamilton Conservation Authority. Thanks to the generosity of The Young Fund and the Frank Charles Miller Fund, both at the Hamilton Community Foundation, along with a pledge from the Echo Foundation and hundreds of smaller donations, 52 acres of land on York Road will remain natural in the face of ever-increasing development pressure.

monarch caterpillar
The York Road Acreage is important, not just as a wildlife corridor, but also as meadow habitat for pollinators such as this Monarch caterpillar!

The purchase was declared “a huge win for biodiversity here in Hamilton,” by Dr. David Galbraith, Head of Science at Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) and Chair of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System Management Committee who explained that the nearby RBG lands are home to the greatest plant diversity in all of Canada, a treasure whose importance to Hamilton’s long-term success cannot be overstated.

Fundraising efforts for the Foundation’s EcoPark Campaign will now shift to raising funds to acquire two adjacent properties, an effort boosted by a further $200,000 contribution from the City of Hamilton’s Natural Heritage Fund. The municipal contribution is the start of what is expected to be a renewed campaign with the help of the partners in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System.

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Making a difference every month of the year

Monthly giving offered Joan MacDonald a sustainable and hassle-free way of making a huge difference for the natural world.

A longtime advocate for Hamilton’s natural areas and Foundation board member, Joan had the motivation to donate but didn’t have the financial resources to make a large donation. By signing up for the Foundation’s monthly giving program, however, Joan was able to have a small donation come out of her account automatically on the first of each month.

Joan MacDonald LI

“It all adds up,” says Joan. “I had no idea I could make such a big impact by setting aside a small amount each month. I barely notice a difference and then all of a sudden I’m making milestone donations!”

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