Monthly Archives: July 2014

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!”

An urban nature sanctuary rises on the banks of the Desjardins Canal

Progress is being made at the site of the former Veldhuis greenhouses where a soil cap has literally raised the site to cap contaminants in anticipation of native species plantings later this year.

A soil cap has been placed throughout the property to help contain the remaining soil contaminants from the original site. Plantings will begin in the coming months and over time the vegetation will filter the contaminants naturally. The site is home to the last remains of the Veldhuis greenhouses: the chimney which has been preserved and reinforced to protect habitat for chimney swifts.

Pilings for the boardwalk can be seen in the image below but the most innovative feature is the addition of floating islands of vegetation designed to flourish by gobbling up the surplus nutrients and may reduce the algae along with all the problems algal blooms can cause to the canal’s ecosystem.

veldhuis islands
Workers inspect floating wildlife islands which will feed on excess nutrients in the Desjardins Canal and provide a much needed boost for the canal’s water quality.