Monthly Archives: May 2014

Busy times for the Friends of Walkers Creek

Busy times for the “Friends of Walkers Creek” … the calendar is full and we sure would like to have you join in …

Thursday, May 29th, 10:00 AM, meet on Parnell and wander Walkers Creek North and Cindy Drive Parks with Della Trojan, Vice Chairperson of “The Friends” and all-knowing leader of what is happening in the Parks, enjoy what unique species there are to see, she welcomes questions and has answers. This “Walk in the Parks”, a Carolinian Forest experience, is special with the Darby Historical Plaque identifying early settler times, the Creek and its many features … maybe even some of the spawning fish. And see the existing and the ongoing devastation of the many Ash trees due to the invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer … almost a ‘See the Ash trees before they are gone!!’ Children and happy dogs are welcome participants. 

Saturday June 7th, 8:00 AM to NoonPlant Sale at 88 Cherie Drive for the “Friends of Walkers Creek”. 

This annual Plant Sale offers donated potted plants that have been growing in neighbourhood gardens, which speaks well for their adaptation to YOUR HOME garden. A good selection of various sized plants may just contain that one species you have been yearning to add to your home. Come, see and go home happy with something new!! 

And we do welcome donated plants for the Plant Sale. If you are reducing or dividing something in your garden, think of potting it up and dropping it of at 88 Cherie Road on Friday June 6th. Your donation becomes part of our only fund raising event that supports the efforts of “The Friends of Walkers Creek” … every penny earned goes right back into the Parks… special trees, Creek side bushes, Butterfly Garden development, Park benches … have been purchased in the past  and there are more projects waiting for the volunteer efforts supported by the Plant Sale proceeds. 

Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31st, “The Friends of Walkers Creek”, in cooperation with the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authourity, (NPCA), will host delegates to a National Conference of Municipal Staff and Officials as the visitors experience the effective cooperation of volunteers, City and NPCA staff in managing water  courses, fostering natural conditions and all this in the middle of a heavily populated residential area. “The Friends of Walkers Creek” are very pleased (and proud) to have been chosen for this experience and with the cooperation of City Staff, NPCA staff and our volunteers, the parks have been made ready for this event. In order to allow adequate opportunities for the visitors to ask questions, be informed and have explanations given, smaller groups on three separate “Walks” have been arranged. 

A most enjoyable and productive time was recently spent with Mr. Steele’s Grades four and five students from Prince Philip School in the Parks. Introducing youth to the pleasure of and wonder of nature, the discovery of wonderful surprises in how nature cares for itself, learning how human behaviour can negatively impact on the environment, thus happy group of enthusiastic young folks also managed to rid the Parks of more than eleven bags of litter … a very exact example of why we need to care for the natural habit available to us. Future experiences with young people, including Cubs and Scouts, will introduce them to planting, to native plants and how to protect and encourage them, with energy and muscle power, experience why mulch is a protection for trees and special areas. “The Friends of Walkers Creek” are presently working to develop a planning group that will encourage more schools to use the Parks, to add true nature to their learning experiences, to help them see  what pleasure, fun and learning is waiting there for them. Imagine if only one of these students becomes a scientist … or hobbyist … who helps save our natural habitat … what a gift is developed through these pleasurable, fun and educational adventures. 

Visit the Parks often , enjoy the calm, search for the GPS Geocaching surprises, check out the tree tags for the English and Latin names of trees, look for the impact of heavy rain storms on the Creek, be annoyed with the too many plastic water bottles flushed down the Creek, keep an eye peeled for the large Snapping Turtle … yes and hopefully see the wee ducklings enjoying their swim lessons with Momma Duck … bring a book, enjoy a Park Bench, pat a passing dog, hear the silence … and watch for and listen to the many varieties of birds making their summer homes in the Parks … and yes, fly a kite too!! 

Springtime in the Creek

Last Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. We watched 5 trout come in from the lake in Walkers Creek.  What a great viewing spot on the pedestrian bridge in Cherie Rd Park.  In the deep area they were jumping out of the water and flapping their tales, then one turned on its side and wiggled up the shallow pebbly area and went under the bridge.  Now that’s worth coming out early for!  By late afternoon they had made their way almost to Cindy Drive.  On Thursday they were seen in the middle of Cindy Park hanging out with other smaller fish that included the red sucker fish.  Ther is so much  going on at this time of the year.  I hope you take some time out of your busy life to watch nature at its best!

First Leisure Walk for 2014

Put on your walking shoes and join me!  You are invited to take a leisurely stroll through Walkers Creek Park South.  We will have some time to talk about the creek which is part of the Niagara Escarpment watershed and the restoration completed a couple of years ago.  We might be lucky and see a trout making its way upstream to spawn or the red sucker fish that hangs out by the pedestrian bridge.  The creek banks are bursting with native flowers and shrubs.  We will have a close up view of the rare Carolinean Cucumber Tree which might still be in bloom!  There are many more native trees that have been “tagged” with both their common and Latin names.  Meet me at Walkers Creek on Parnell Road (between Vine Street and Niagara Street).  This walk is “weather permitting”.  Hope to see you tomorrow, Thursday, May 15th at 10 a.m.

You must read this …

You must read this to stay connected and to take advantage of your “Friends of Walkers Creek … WCNA” membership benefits.

May 6th … Rice Road Nurseries ‘Discount Day’ for 2014 Members of the “Friends of Walkers Creek … WCNA”!! Showing your current membership card makes your membership a valuable asset … save and plant glorious additions to your home gardens. Match your fancy with great prices.  Better than Air Miles, Sobey’s points, VISA points … this discount returns more that your Membership fee of $10 and gives you great choice of quality plantings!!
Thanks Rice Road Nurseries for helping make St. C. a more attractive City through the efforts of the Members of “The Friends”!!

Change of address notice: 
   For years the WCNA and now “The Friends of Walkers Creek … WCNA’ have had a Post office box as our mailing address. As these costs increased substanially over the years, the decision was made to use a less expensive way for mail to come to us … so we have changed our mailing address to:

                                       The Friends of Walkers Creek … WCNA
                                                c/o 5511 – 413 Linwell Road
                                                   St. Catharines, ON
                                                          L2M 7Y2

The phone number to our City Hall answering service remains teh same as does our website address and check us out on Facebook too!!

Report of the Annual Meeting

Reporting on the Annual Meeting is a pleasure!! Beyond the required quroum, Members joined in making some significant changes while being informed of successful accomplishments and new initiatives.

“THE FRIENDS OF WALKERS CREEK … WCNA”  now becomes the official name of a venerable, respected and much appreciated “Walkers Creek Neighbourhood Association”. Eleven years into its existence, from a  beginning that managed to resolve concerns, that created the Parks as they now exist, that has been a stalwart in helping the local Community be well informed and involved in issues, the name change adds the ‘welcoming’ to all City folks making the City of St. Catharines our Neighbourhood. 

       As more and more people become aware of and familiar with the Walkers Creek meandering course from Grantham Avenue to the bluffs overlooking the Lake, as “Walks in the Parks” in Spring and Autumn encourages more usage of the pathways, open spaces and natural settings, the choice to enjoy has spread well beyond the immediate neighbourhood. And as the Parks take on more than a recreational benefit, with increasing educational examples of the existence of a Carolinian Forest, as local settlement history becomes more identified, this gem becomes even more of a treasure to be enjoyed. 

    Reporting on the very positive, cooperative, respected and much appreciated involvement of the City’s Recreation and Community Services (RCS) expertise, the important  assistance  of the Community Development department of RCS, the ever ready help from the City’s Public Works staff, the significant help and advice offered by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) , working hand-in-hand with the volunteers and  leadership of “The Friends of Walkers Creek …WCNA” and with the ongoing support of Grantham Ward City Councillors, a formidable impact has been achieved. With a generous grant from the TD Bank “Friends of the Environment” Foundation, coordinated by the NPCA , volunteers have added 425 new trees and bushes, all of native species, to the Parks. Recently, “The Friends of Walkers Creek…WCNA”, received a grant for $1500 from the Niagara Community Foundation that will allow for the re-development of  a demonstration ‘buffer-zone’ plot, with examples of appropriate native species plantings that will also resolve erosion issues on the creek-side. Cooperative efforts of City Staff, NPCA advisors and the volunteers of “The Friends” will see this project get underway in May, 2014. 

   At the end of May, “The Friends of Walkers Creek…WCNA” , is honoured to be asked to provide three ‘walk-abouts’ for delegates to a significant Conference of Municipal Officers and Staff gathering in Niagara Falls from across the country, . The Walkers Creek water shed and natural settings is an ideal example of environmentally sensitive  parkland nestled in residential development, of effective cooperation between many levels of Government and the volunteer monitoring and development of parklands.  

     Gavin Pally, the City of St. Catharines aroborist, was the guest speaker at the AGM. Gavin’s presentation gave all attendees pause as he described in detail the challenge our tree shaded streets and parklands face due to the invasion of foreign insects that will denude so much of our existing tree inventory. “The Crisis to the Canopy”  is a result of the Emerald Ash Borer, a small intrusive pest which will eradicate most of the Ash trees that presently exist. While efforts are being made to inoculate some Ash trees against this blight, the prognosis is that Ash trees will almost all disappear in the immediate future. The arrival of the Long Horned Beetle threatens the many Norway Maples that line our streets providing that delightful shade in the summer’s heat. Some streets have already suffered the necessity of having trees removed due to dangerous conditions resulting from  an infestation and more of this destruction will certainly be soon visible. The choice of replacement stock does not include many species that are native to our area, Gavin reported. It is hard to imagine, yet properly so for those of us who witnessed the Dutch Elm Disease of years ago, how the City will look as this serious denuding takes place. 

     As parents and grandparents, the Directors are often parties to conversations regarding the need for younger children to be able to play, to become more familiar with nature and to enjoy the pleasure of knowing how to make their mark positively on the environment while discovering the many interests that can be sparked as plants, trees, wee animals, amphibians and aquatic life become familiar.  Discussion at the AGM brought forward some expressed interest by Members to join with the Directors to plan a  ranging effort to encourage efforts towards these expressed objectives.  Happily, Grades four and five from Prince Philip school have acted on this interest and have made an initial foray into the Parks with their teacher and leadership from The  Friends of Walkers Creek. 

   AGM’s often concentrate of what has been accomplished but The Friends of Walkers Creek … WCNA also looks forward to the busy seasons ahead. 

Early May     City Staff, Ward Councillors and The Friends’ Directors will take the annual Spring Stroll, reviewing the Parks and noting items need attention.
Early May     Preparation work will begin on the Buffer Zone project at Strathcona/Gosten entrance, supported by the Niagara Community Foundation grant.
May 6th    Rice Road Nurseries discount day … 25% off regular prices … for 2014 Members of “The Friends of Walkers Creek … WCNA” … a definite ‘must do’ for all Members.
May 15th    The Spring “Walks in the Parks” begin in Walkers Creek Park
May 29 – June 2nd   The Federation of Municipalities Conference, which involves delegates from across Canada, occurs at the Niagara Falls Scotia Convention Centre. 
Friday and Saturday May 29 & 30th will provide Walks to delegates of the Conference, beginning on Cindy Drive. 
Saturday June 7th   The Annual Friends of Walkers Creek  … WCNA PLANT SALE  happening at 88 Cherie Road
Saturday September 6th      Star Gazing Night in Cindy Drive Park, wearther permitting. 
Thursday September 11th    The Autumn Stroll of City Staff, Ward Councillors and Directors of The Friends of Walkers Creek …WCNA  is scheduled.