Foundation to launch EcoPark Campaign at Cactus Festival and Greenbelt Harvest Picnic
Come and see how your support will help to rehabilitate lands along the historic Desjardins Canal and acquire new lands to create Hamilton’s newest urban park, the Dundas Eco-park. We’ll be on hand at a Foundation booth to answer your questions about our $5 million capital campaign and unveil plans for the natural restoration of the former Ben Veldhuis Greenhouses property.
The Foundation is excited about working with the community to raise $5 million; $3 million for natural landscape restoration and trail development, and $2 million for acquisition of ecologically-significant lands.
With the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Desjardins Canal happening this Thursday, the Foundation thought that Cactus Festival Weekend would be perfect for the launch. “We know that Hamiltonians, especially Dundas residents, are keen to learn more about what will be Hamilton’s own Central Park and see the Desjardins Canal lands restored from a derelict site to a natural oasis and recreation hub.” said David McInnis, the Foundation’s Chairman who, with board members, will help staff the booth this weekend.
Stretching from the Niagara Escarpment to Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour, from the Dundas town centre to Highway 6, this new urban eco-park, part of the Cootes to Escarpment Park System, will encompass 1,346 hectares (3,325 acres) of land, 75% of which is already in public ownership. The Foundation and Hamilton Conservation Authority are working with other partners to acquire key pieces of privately-owned lands in the Dundas EcoPark to secure and expand wildlife corridors and natural habitat for over 1500 species of birds, trees, plants and wildlife while providing public trails, outdoor education and passive recreation opportunities.
If you cherish natural lands and value an active, outdoor lifestyle, then help us protect the Dundas EcoPark, It’s your nature – your legacy. Visit us at the upcoming Cactus Festival August 17-19 and the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic at Christie Lake CA Saturday, September 1.
Family remembers “Cannonball Granny” in Dundas Valley
Vera Campbell, known affectionately as Mumsy to her family and friends, passed away on December 2, 2011. The Dundas Valley Conservation Area was always close to Mumsy’s heart, and several donations were made in her honour by friends and family members. She and her daughter, Shelley loved to explore the Valley’s scenic beauty, visiting the area with regularity and developing close friendships with park staff. It was only fitting then for Shelley and her sisters to honour their mother’s memory with a bench at her favourite spot near the park’s main parking lot.
Shelley and her mother had developed a strong friendship with Dundas Valley staffers Pat and Karen, checking in with them during each visit to the Valley. Pat and Karen were saddened to hear of Mumsy’s passing, and knew just what the Valley had meant to her. It was no surprise to them then, when they learned of Shelley and her sisters’ plans to honour their mother’s memory at her favourite spot.
In late July, Shelley, along with her sisters Cherie and Shawn, celebrated their mother’s birthday with a visit to the bench they had placed in her honour. They reminisced about their mother, shared stories and a picnic and capped off their afternoon by singing their mother’s favourite song “Charlie Went Down in the Bucket” at full volume. It was a fitting tribute to a woman whose love of the natural world is now recognized with the following inscription on a bench in the Dundas Valley:
Dedicated to Cannonball Granny
Thank you Mumsy
Local high school students Narissa Weston (pictured) and Rachel Goodland have each received $500 bursaries to pursue their interest in the environment at the post-secondary level. Both candidates boasted impressive resumés complete with high academic achievement and extensive volunteer experience.
The Foundation was proud to present both Narissa and Rachel with their bursaries and celebrate their accomplishments at the Hamilton Environmentalists of the Year Dinner at Michelangelo’s Banquet Centre on June 6th.
Narissa, a graduate of Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School has been accepted to the University of Guelph to study Zoology. A dedicated volunteer throughout her school years, Narissa worked closely with the Hamilton Community Foundation to develop a schoolyard greening project at Roxborough Elementary School.
Rachel, who graduated from Bishop Tonnos Catholic Secondary School this summer, will be attending McMaster University’s Environmental and Earth Sciences Program. She recently led the charge to provide more sustainable hydration centres in her school and worked tirelessly to reduce the use of bottled water.
Both students were eager participants in the local Envirothon competition in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area with Conservation Authority Education Manager Beth Stormont. “I was beyond pleased to hear that Narissa and Rachel had been selected as bursary recipients,” said Beth. “The bursaries are a great way of recognizing the hard work and dedication of Hamilton’s high school students.”
The 3,000-acre Dundas Valley Conservation Area, located between Dundas and Ancaster is a spectacular destination and protected natural environment in the UNESCO designated Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve. The Dundas Valley’s Carolinian forests, meadows, cold-water streams and rolling landscape are home to an array of rare plants, birds, butterflies, amphibians and wildlife.
The Dundas Valley’s 40-kilometre multi-use trail system, waterfalls, spectacular fall colours, trail centre and access to Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail make these conservation lands a popular destination for hikers, dog-walkers, cyclists and equestrians.
Find out more about what the Dundas Valley has to offer.
One of our longstanding family traditions is drawing names for Christmas presents. This past year, I wanted to get a non-traditional gift for my brother-in-law and I knew he would appreciate something that connected with the local community, something that others could share in. As a lifelong Dundas resident, my gift of a donation in his name to the EcoPark Campaign proved to be the perfect idea. Connecting with our community in this way is something close to us. The Foundation followed up this donation with a letter of acknowledgment and advised the donation was being directed to the gateway work. His gift letter arrived just before Christmas and was proudly posted. Needless to say he was proud knowing he was helping out his local community. My sincere appreciation to staff and volunteers of the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Foundation for the professional manner in which my personal request was handled and for the fine work they do for the citizens of Hamilton.
Terry O’Sullivan, February 2012
Through bursary funding provided by the Hamilton Conservation Foundation, we were privileged to have attended the 18th Annual A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium. We found ourselves uniquely positioned as the only student attendees from HCA and the fact the Foundation made it possible for us to attend demonstrates their contribution to awareness and capacity for conservation programs. Participating in the symposium created new connections, led to learning opportunities and provided the forum for us to participate in dialogue with like-minded environmental leaders. It has validated our work as well as future career aspirations; delivering inspirational ideas and reinforcing our passion. The desire to contribute further in helping to improve the natural environment has certainly been strengthened. So much more needs to be done and we are now better equipped to help educate and guide others to make positive environmental change in our daily lives.
Nicholas Schwetz, Maegen Wardell & Juliana Lopez – November 2011
The access we have to outdoor space and natural lands is one of the most amazing things about Hamilton. We often forget how close we are to trail systems, parks and unique sites. Hiking has become an important family activity for us; on a weekly basis we explore trails, visit parks and make the most of our natural surroundings. Being a Nature Rewards pass holder for the past seven years, we have found it to be an ideal way to support conservation lands and receive tremendous value. In raising awareness, providing venues for education and protecting these resources for young people and future generations, the Nature’s Rewards pass has given us a ticket to explore our great city. Our active lifestyle is well suited to the trails, conservation areas and parks that are so brilliantly linked throughout the community. As a pass holder it helps build greater access for everyone in the community.
Dr. Carolyn Rogers, December 2011
My husband Derek, and I, began volunteering at Westfield Heritage Village in Summer 1994 helping in several areas but mainly on the Train Station and in the Dry Goods store, collectively amassing more than 12,000 volunteer hours since 2000.
History has always been an important part of our lives and Westfield provides an opportunity to share our love of Hamilton and the surrounding area’s interesting past.
Regularly meeting people from across Canada, the United States and around the world is a special ingredient in our volunteer experience. The friendship and camaraderie among staff and volunteers is an important part of being a Westfield volunteer, and passing on our enthusiasm for the Village is an enriching experience. Derek passed away in August 2010, leaving a bequest for a commemorative bench to be made and installed on the Train Station. Donations, in his memory, will be put towards the restoration of the Westbrook House. Life is forever a learning experience and introducing many generations to our cultural heritage is an important component of education for everyone. I continue to support Westfield as an active volunteer and as Past President of the Friends of Westfield Board of Directors.
Margaret Firth, September 2011
The notion of conservation replicates the ideals that I believe in today and have believed in for most of my life. My family always believed stewardship of the land was something that was engrained in you, something you did because it was what had to be done. My passion for natural lands spans more than 60 years and continues today with active involvement in maintaining conservation lands surrounding our farm and with the Dundas Tree Keepers.
Natural evolution of the land must still be supported by careful thought, planning and love. Our natural landscape is a finite precious resource and each of us has a responsibility to protect it. The Bruce Trail Conservancy has been granted permission to cross our property in perpetuity with the agreement to maintain the trail. We have donated lands through the Foundation in hopes of ensuring others who come after us will have the same opportunity to appreciate, utilize and celebrate our natural environment.
Mr. Bill Kennedy, August 2011
For more than 40 years my family lived on a 25 acre parcel of land in the heart of the Dundas Valley. Living here always took us away, providing the feeling that we were 1000 miles away from any urban city.
It’s very rare to have the gem that Hamilton enjoys with the Valley, we’re not making any more land and the priceless resource that is our natural space must be protected. Future generations rely on the efforts of volunteers and expert staff to maintain and improve the natural landscape.
Each of us has a responsibility to leave the land better than when we found it. My family and I contribute to the well being of conservation lands as part of my belief in giving back. We’ve aided in the planting of several thousand trees on the property in hopes that our legacy will be one of stewardship. We’ve been fortunate to spend much of our lives getting pleasure from the natural environment that has surrounded us and now we give to share the Valley with others.
Mr. Bill Filer, August 2011