Building on a long history of connecting children with nature

Generations of students have learned about nature on Hamilton’s beautiful and diverse conservation lands.

From 1970 to 1996, over 300,000 students visited HCA education classes with funding from the provincial government. The program was cut in the late 1990s and re-established with grant funding and donations in spring of 2002. Today it is operated out of the Dundas Valley and hosts an average of 9,000 students per year.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Community Foundation grant ensures less fortunate schools aren’t left behind

With an initial grant of $10,000, the Edith H Turner Foundation Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation helped cover transportation costs for a few Hamilton schools in low-income neighbourhoods. Those schools, which once represented just a small percentage of program attendees, account for over half of this year’s classes so far.

While $5 for a school bus trip may not seem like much to most of our readers, for many Hamilton families, there just isn’t room in the budget. This simple problem meant many of Hamilton’s public schools simply couldn’t afford the cost of a school bus to get to the Hamilton Conservation Authority’s Education programs. While schools have their environmental field trip costs covered by the school board’s budget and donations to the Foundation, just getting enough money to book a school bus was a huge barrier.

In order to help solve this problem, the Foundation put a proposal together for the Edith H. Turner Foundation Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation. The Community Foundation was immediately receptive and provided an initial grant of $10,000 for the Foundation to reimburse schools with financial barriers for their transportation costs.

Five years later, the reimbursement program continues to receive funding from the Edith. H. Turner Foundation Fund. To date it has helped to connect over 10,000 students who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend a day in the Dundas Valley. For many of these students, this is their first real taste of the great outdoors.

Teachers clearly see the value in the reimbursement program too. Our 2017 program budget had already been spent by September. Donations are being put to work to bridge the gap and ensure every class who wants to visit the Dundas Valley gets a chance to do so.
The program is now such a success that so far this year, over 50% of kids taking part came from schools participating in the reimbursement program.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Friends of Eramosa Karst continue planting new Conservation lands

Over 70 volunteers helped to plant 150 native trees and shrubs at the end of September.

Volunteers from the Friends of the Eramosa Karst, Alectra Utilities and ArcelorMittal Dofasco donated their time on a chilly Saturday morning. This latest planting, focused along Second Road helped to naturalize the Eramosa Karst Feeder Lands.

The Friends of the Eramosa Karst volunteer group has now raised more than $25,000 for the Foundation’s Eramosa Karst CA Fund and contributed countless volunteer hours in order to protect and promote awareness of the Karst’s unique geographic features.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

New East Escarpment property unveiled as Saltfleet Conservation Area

An enthusiastic group of donors and community members attended an October 14th celebration revealing the name.

The core of the Saltfleet Conservation Area, located south of the Dofasco 2000 Trail on the east side of First Road East in Stoney Creek is a 99 hectare parcel of land. Unlike most of HCA’s conservation areas, this area does not yet feature trails, pavilions and recreational amenities.

The area was formed in the early stages of what is a decade-long $10 million project which will see engineered wetlands and stream restoration projects along Battlefield and Upper Stoney Creeks upstream from the Niagara Escarpment.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Your donations are helping kids connect with nature

When government funding for Outdoor Environmental Education ended in the late 1990s, many thought the Dundas Valley Conservation Area had hosted its final classes. Two decades later, the program is stronger and more vital than ever thanks to the generosity of people like you.

To cope with increased demand for time spent in nature, our education program has partnered once again with the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board to dramatically increase the number of school trips available to Hamilton’s public schools.

These programs are supported by the school board’s budget and donations to the Foundation’s Outdoor Environmental Education Fund. This increased demand means that we are putting more donor dollars to work than ever before. Our fundraising target for the 2018 Outdoor Environmental Education program will rise to $125,000 from its 2010-2017 level of $55,000.

With increased screen time, poor physical activity levels and changing lifestyles, time spent outdoors is more important to healthy child development than ever before.

We are extraordinarily fortunate to have donors who care about this program. Your support is more important and more impactful than ever before.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn
Community members planting trees on a sunny day

More Trees for Hamilton Please!

More Trees for Hamilton Please!

We submitted our tree planting project to the AVIVA Community Fund for consideration. Now it’s your turn to vote in order to get our project funded! Register for an account and vote for our project before the end of the day on Thursday, October 19th and you’ll help us get trees in the ground. All in the click of a button!

Click here to vote now!

We’ve put together a little FAQ below in case you want to know more:

What is your project?

It’s called More Trees for Hamilton Please! It’s a $30,000 effort to plant approximately 1,500 trees throughout the Hamilton Habour watershed on lands managed by the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

We’ve lost a lot of trees in Hamilton due to disease (emerald ash borer), weather damage and other detrimental impacts. We’ve picked out areas where we can replace the trees we’ve lost with health native trees. We’ve even identified a few plantings which we can accomplish with volunteer groups who are always eager to get involved.

How many trees will you plant with $30,000?

We’re looking to plant 1,500 trees with this funding. That means an average cost of $20 per tree.

Why does it cost so much to plant a tree?

We could plant thousands more seedlings for $30,000 but they wouldn’t have the best chance at survival. Trees in 1 and 2 gallon pots have had the best survival rates on most of our lands. The cost of $20/tree also includes the labour to plant them (when volunteers aren’t feasible), the cost of having them watered afterwards, the cost of having sites prepared for planting, the cost of guards or wraps if the trees need protection from deer or rodents and the cost of equipment and labour to prepare the planting sites ahead of time. Each tree planting site is different and requires a special plan to give the trees the best chance at survival. The $20 figure is an average based on the successful plantings we’ve had.

Where are we going to put these trees?

All over the Hamilton watershed! Right now we really need trees in Valens Lake CA and Christie Lake CA where we’re transitioning pine plantations from the 1970s into diverse, Carolinian forests. We also have a number of sites at Fifty Point CA and Eramosa Karst CA with new sites being identified regularly!

When will these trees be planted?

We’re aiming to use this funding in the Spring and Fall 2018 planting seasons. If we don’t get everything into the ground in 2018, we’ll use it in Spring, 2019 as well!

Who will plant these trees?

Wherever possible we’ll put volunteer groups to work planting these trees. We have a huge group of volunteers eager to help plant trees. At the same time, some of our tree planting sites aren’t good fits for volunteer groups for safety and accessibility reasons. For those sites we’ll use Conservation Authority staff.

How can I help?

Vote today using the link above! If you really want to be a superstar, share this page on your Facebook or Twitter account and encourage your friends and family to get involved too!

When does voting end?

We have until the end of Thursday, October 19th to vote.

 

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Fifty Point Trail Loop and Bridge Unveiled

(L-R as pictured) Ine Wauben – Foundation Chair, Llewellyn Smith – Chairman – Helderleigh Foundation, Santina Moccio – HCA Chair, Tony Valeri – VP Corporate Affairs – ArcelorMittal Dofasco, Bob Bratina – MP Hamilton East – Stoney Creek.

A 3.5km trail and bridge were officially unveiled at Fifty Point Conservation Area on August 10. The project has been made possible by donations to the Hamilton Conservation Foundation from ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Fund, and the Helderleigh Foundation. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Rothsay support for Outdoor Environmental Education helps program reach new children

(L-R) Grace Correia, Foundation Executive Director, Greg Cooper, Dundas Plant Manager, Rothsay, Anne Tennier, Foundation Past Chair

Lead corporate donors Rothsay have once again stepped up to provide $15,000 to help children learn about the environment outdoors during the 2017-18 school year.

This year’s gift was timely given the growing need to connect children with nature. A grant from the Edith H Turner Foundation Fund at the Hamilton Community Foundation has covered transportation costs for high-needs schools in Hamilton which were the biggest barrier keeping several Hamilton schools from taking advantage of Outdoor Environmental Education programming offered in the Dundas Valley CA. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Donations help Dundas Valley trails bounce back from spring washouts.


Top: Carissa Bishop, Dundas Valley Superintendent (left) presents a cheque on behalf of event participants to Ine Wauben, Foundation Chair (left) and Scott Peck, HCA Deputy CAO (centre).
Bottom: The Sulphur Springs Trail Race’s 200km run gets underway in the Dundas Valley CA organized by the Burlington Runners Club.

With the continued support of the equestrian and running communities a significant set of repairs has been completed on the 40km Dundas Valley trail system. Sections of the John White and Spring Creek Trails were washed out during an April 20th storm that saw over 70mm of rain overnight. Work to repair the trails was completed in August along with work to replace seven aging and weather-battered trail bridges in the Conservation Area.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Help us name our new conservation area!

Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) has a new conservation area in the upper Stoney Creek mountain area and is asking the local Stoney Creek community to help name the property located on Green Mountain Road East, between 1st and 2nd Roads East.

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.

The most exciting thing for HCA is that besides providing a beautiful new area for people to walk through and enjoy, this conservation area also protects sections of Battlefield Creek. 831 metres of Battlefield Creek run through the property, with smaller creeks branching off it.
Protecting and restoring these creeks and wetlands will slow the flow of water through that area and down the escarpment. Why is that important? If water runs through the creeks and drainage systems too quickly, it can cause flooding in the neighbourhoods below.

So now you know a little bit about this new area, help us think of a name that fits! Think of your neighbourhood and the things that make this new conservation area special and suggest a name.

The winning name will be announced at an event this fall and will featured on on-site signage and the HCA’s website for years to come!

Click here to access our submission package..

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Deadline extended for $1,000 Student Award for Environmental Leadership to April 30

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 38th 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/.

Click here to access the printable application form.

Applications are due by midnight on Sunday April 30, 2017. 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.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Ancaster resident Lisa Burnside named HCA’s new CAO

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Lisa Burnside has been named HCA’s new chief administrative officer.  Lisa was the Director of Human Resources with the HCA before accepting the new position.

Lisa Burnside held the first Human Resources position with the Hamilton Conservation Authority, starting with the HCA in July 2002.  She was designated as an alternate acting CAO, holding the position during vacation periods over the past several years.  Lisa has also worked closely with past CAOs, who have inspired and challenged her with leadership projects and roles to develop her skills for this position.

Lisa holds an Honours BA in Labour Studies from McMaster University and the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) professional designation from the Human Resources Association.  Her previous experience includes working for Tempel Steel (formerly SIEMENS) with the process engineering department on safety initiatives, transitioning to manage the human resources department and working with internal departments for ISO 9000 training and audits.

Lisa Burnside was born and raised in Hamilton and now resides with her family in Ancaster.  She has a passion for natural areas and grew up enjoying outdoor recreation in conservation areas including hiking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, fishing and exploring the outdoors.

She began her new position at the HCA on Friday, February 3.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

New Membership Structure for AGM

After modernizing the Foundation’s by-laws in 2016 to comply with upcoming legislation, the Foundation’s Board of Directors have approved a new membership structure. Individuals donating $500 or more in our most recently completed fiscal year (Dec 2015 to Nov 2016) are now members of the Hamilton Conservation Foundation and are eligible to vote at our Annual General Meeting in May. Members will receive a Save the Date notice in the mail shortly.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this new change. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 905-525-2181 ext 129 or by emailing foundation@conservationhamilton.ca.

Please note that Foundation membership allows individual donors to play an oversight role in the Foundation’s governance and is not to be confused with an HCA Nature’s Rewards Pass which provides purchasers with access to HCA Conservation Areas.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Three fundraising successes to celebrate!

Top: The Burlington Runners’ Club supports the Dundas Valley Trails Fund
Middle: Heritage Green Community Trust renews their support for a new conservation area
Bottom: Friends of the Eramosa Karst support new plantings

Three groups warmed our hearts this winter season with their extraordinary generosity. Their donations will be put to work at the Dundas Valley CA, the newly planned East Escarpment CA and at the Eramosa Karst CA. The Foundation is lucky to enjoy the friendship and generosity of these community groups which help us do far more than we ever could on our own.

The Burlington Runners’ Club renewed their support for the Dundas Valley Trails Fund once again this winter with a donation of $12,000. The funds represent the proceeds of the Club’s annual Sulphur Springs Trail Run and help keep the sprawling 40km Dundas Valley Trail System in great shape year-round.

The Heritage Green Community Trust renewed their support for the new planned East Escarpment conservation area. The donation is part of a three-year pledge of $2 million to support HCA’s efforts to control flooding in Stoney Creek and establish a new conservation area.

The Friends of the Eramosa Karst presented the Foundation with the proceeds of their fundraising efforts in 2016. The Friends group is currently fundraising to establish new native species plantings along Second Road in the Eramosa Karst CA Feeder Lands.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Applications open for 2017 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 38th 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/.

Click here to access the printable application form.

Applications are due by Friday, March 31, 2017. 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.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Another Successful RBC Blue Water Day


Over 30 staff from two RBC branches came together back in the summer on June 2nd to plant 170 large native trees and shrubs on a farm property in the Logies Creek Subwatershed within the Spencer Creek Watershed. The residents of the property had contacted the Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program in 2015 as they had decided to retire a portion of their leased agricultural lands and allow for an accelerated regeneration and naturalization of 1.5 acres with a robust diversity of native plant species.

The RBC staff’s time spent volunteering was invaluable to seeing this project through. Thank you to RBC not only for their staff time but also for their donation.  The native plants that were purchased and planted will help to recreate a natural landscape that will provide wildlife habitat for years to come.

It was a great day, and on the day, the Hamilton Watershed Stewardship Program and the Dundas Valley 50 Year Vision teamed up to coordinate this volunteer event.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Conservation Awards celebrate some of our most passionate supporters


Maria Topalovic (left) and Scott Peck (right) present Mark Tamminga (centre) and Joany Verschuuren (not pictured) with their award.

Two of the Foundation’s most generous supporters were honoured at the HCA Conservation Awards on December 8, 2016. Mark Tamminga and Joany Verschuuren are long-time supporters of the Foundation and strong advocates for the conservation cause in Dundas and across the watershed.

Mark and Joany’s support is much greater than their financial contributions. Their passion for conservation is infectious and has inspired gifts from enough of their friends to build a whole new community of supporters. Without that community, projects such as the Maplewood naturalization in the Dundas Valley CA, the Canal Park project and the Hermitage restoration simply would not have been successful.

For their leadership and support, we cannot thank Mark and Joany enough.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Happy Holidays from the Hamilton Conservation Foundation!


As we reach the end of 2016 everyone at the Hamilton Conservation Foundation would like to thank you for your role in making this a great year for our watershed. Plans came together for two new Conservation Areas, at Westfield Heritage Village and on the East Escarpment. Over 8,000 students explored the Dundas Valley CA with their classmates and a new trail system is nearing completion at the Fifty Point CA.

None of this would have been possible without your generosity.

Future generations don’t know yet, but you’ve given them a great gift this holiday season. More of our watershed’s natural areas are protected than ever before.

Thank you!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

Canal Park opening connects urban Dundas with natural world

DSC00762

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.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

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.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn