Monday, February 20, 2017

Transforming Business Campuses into Habitat!

When I was at the ICLEI conference in Montreal in 2011 there was this young woman who presented her master's thesis about creating new habitat for wildlife in business campuses.

All that space, green lawn, large property and typically it's a dead zone or they plant exotics like hostas - so she was proposing to bring back native habitat including ponds and streams and develop these spaces as greenspace corridors.

Such a brilliant idea!  And now I have found The Wildlife Habitat Council which promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education!  Exactly what she was envisioning!

Check them out - they have a white paper for download and on-demand webinars (free of charge).

From their website:
The opportunity exists to re-examine the way corporate campus lands are managed. New and existing corporate campuses can incorporate nature in their designs, realizing the cost savings of native landscaping, the human benefits of a more natural setting, and the opportunity to restore productive habitat and reconnect a fragmented suburban landscape.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Landscape Renewal of the Garden of the Provinces and Territories

From the NCC website:
Inspired by the design principles of the New Perennial Movement, the Garden of the Provinces and Territories will receive over 10,000 plants representative of species found across Canada’s provinces and territories. More than ever, it will be a national garden. In keeping with the movement’s principles, the design entails a mixture of long-flowering and strong-stemmed perennials, as well as ornamental grasses. The work taking place this spring will allow for two years of plant growth, resulting in a significant floral display that will mature just in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.
The design will take shape in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories according to the following themes:
  • Prairie Garden (1,000 square metres)
  • Tundra/Rock Garden (275 square metres)
  • Woodland Garden under existing mature trees (450 square metres)
  • Canadian Horticultural Pioneers Garden, showcasing early cultivars and hybrids, bred specifically for the harsh Canadian climate by horticulturalists across Canada (190 square metres)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

More Green Space in Chicago!

Photo by Justin Breen The Field Museum

Chicago continues to inspire!!

First I found out about their bird friendly skyscraper design and then next it was Milwaukee Avenue Green Development Corridor.  After that I read about all these other green nature initiatives that had been happening:

 - City Hall's Rooftop Garden
- the Green Roof Grant Program
- Nature and Wildlife Plan
- Green Alley Program
- Urban Forest Agenda
- 606 (green line)
- Chicago Botanical Garden's "Horticultural Therapy Program"
Burnham Wildlife Corridor

and now it's Northerly Island!

They are rejuvenating the island with 400 trees and 12000 shrubs by 2017, which will add a more diverse habitat and resting spot for birds.

From DNA info "Northerly Island Is Now A Bird Paradise With 250 Species And Counting" by Justin Breen:
Stotz said that Northerly Island's new look has saved the lives of countless birds. The island used to feature only dry grassland, which kept birds from landing there. Instead, they would fly from Lake Michigan into the city and often crash into McCormick Place. 
"Northerly Island has become an important habitat for preventing birds from hitting McCormick Place," he said. "There used to be no place to stop, and now there is."

Read more about it at DNA Info article and "Northerly Island Reopens" by The Field Museum, Joshua Engel.

Another great organization in Chicago is Open Lands which "has helped protect more than 55,000 acres of land for public parks and forest preserves, wildlife refuges, land and water greenway corridors, urban farms, and community gardens."  Currently they are working on a green vision for some empty industrial sites along Lake Calumet.

Very inspiring!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Boblink Habitat in Hamilton

Interesting project in Hamilton - so great that they are creating Bobolink habitat!  From the webpage:

Hamilton’s Bobolink community is getting the boot from their current home in Greensville and being re-located to a former dump. 
The city is hoping that the “threatened” bird species, will feel right at home at the old Upper Ottawa Street dump. 
Bobolinks had been living behind Greensville Public School but their habitat has been taken away by the construction of a new Johnson Tew park and arboretum. 
“The likelihood is that they will continue to be there until the trees start to grow up, then the Bobolink don’t like that habitat as much.” said Cynthia Graham. 
The city is hoping to entice the Bobolinks to move here, to the old Upper Ottawa Street dump, but the Bobolink is a very picky tenant, and the city will have to cut down some trees and plant prairie grasses in order for the birds to feel more at home. And the Bobolinks don’t like visitors. 
“It already is grassland, so there is the potential to establish the habitat they like which is mostly grasses. It’s restricted to public access and bobolinks are birds that don’t like a lot of disturbance.” 
They are an elusive bird, and are considered “at risk.” 
“Certainly the Bobolink are suffering because of habitat loss across their range, so whatever we can do to create habitat suitable for them is within our mandate to do so”
When they are in town, the nesting birds prefer staying on the ground in tall grass or crops. 
“The reason we chose that is because it has potential to be Bobolink habitat, but they’re not currently using it to full extent, so there’s an opportunity for enhancement.”
The move is estimated to cost $120 000 and another $200,000 is being requested from the city’s park project budget next year, to cover consultation with bird experts, and ongoing monitoring of the success of the project over the next 20 years.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Green Roof in Ottawa

Image from Google Earth

From Metro News:

Ontario Completes Ottawa Courthouse Green Roof (2012)
"A new green roof at the Ottawa Courthouse will reduce energy costs, improve air quality and help Ontario meet its long-term energy conservation goals.  (The roof's green space is bigger than four hockey rinks put together, or one football field.) 
The Ottawa Courthouse's green roof is a living landscape that supports 60 varieties of plants and protects the building's structure from the elements. There are 26 separate green roofs spanning multiple elevations, for a total of 70,000 square feet of green space that will help keep Ottawa's air clean. 
While a conventional roof lasts only 20 to 25 years, green roofs last at least twice as long. The new green roof will save $23,000 a year in energy costs by reducing summer cooling and winter heat loss by 26 per cent."

I found this after reading about Ottawa investing in solar energy on their municipal buildings:

Ottawa gets green with solar energy project (Metro News, September 2016)

"Eight municipal buildings now equipped with solar panels."