Late last spring, The Friends of Walker’s Creek were contacted by Rob Tyndall who had recently moved into his Strathcona Bv residence which backs onto Walker’s Creek. He was concerned about the area owned by the city situated between his property and the creek that had been mowed for several years. He would prefer not to continue with this practice and was looking for another way with less maintenance, but also pleasing to the eye. The Friends arranged for a meeting with city staff, who owns the property in question, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, who manages the watershed area of the creek, Councillor Bill Phillips and Rob Tyndall. As a result of the meeting, The City of St. Catharines prepped the area (removed two dead trees), the NPCA provided funding for planting material, a project leader and staff member for planting with The Friends assisting with planting and last but not least, Rob agreed to maintain the area in the future. This would require removing invasive weeds and minor pruning of shrubs. The goal of this project was to establish a riparian buffer using native species that will protect the creek from runoff, helping to filter sediment and nutrients, while increasing habitat and biodiversity. As a result of this project there will be an increase in wildlife such as insects, amphibians, songbirds and small animals. At this year’s NPCA Awards Night, Rob was recognized with an Achievement Award in the Watershed Program. The Friends of Walker’s Creek congratulate Rob and look forward to watching this new “naturalized” riparian buffer mature under Rob’s supervision !
Thursday February 24, 2016, The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) again recognized the efforts, cooperation and creative actions of many groups including “The Friends Of Walkers Creek”.
Proudly, The Friends of Walkers Creek shared recognition with the Port Dalhousie Beautification and Works Committee, Friends of One Mile Creek and others as partners with the NPCA in “Restoration Projects”.
Engaging students from local schools in creating new gardens, in teaching youth the skills and joys of participation while understanding the value of the work done, is an ongoing aspect of much work by The Friends. A buffer zone garden which is now “The Classroom In The Park” is an excellent example of this cooperation … City, NPCA, The Friends and Prince Philip School. Planting, maintaining, sharing this one venture limits the flow of water and materials into the Creek. A ‘Pollinating Garden’, funded and planned by the Niagara Restoration Council assisted by The Friends again with students involved is a direct response to the decline in number of bees and pollinating insects. Specifically plants that attract the wee insects were planted, the area mulched and the what limited maintenance was required became another success for The Friends.
A special pleasure for The Friends is meeting some of the students who return with their parents to see what he or she and classmates had accomplished. Knowing plant names, understanding different planting techniques for flowers, bushes and trees is a gained knowledge that can blossom further as these youngsters become adults, home owners and volunteers with groups that interest them. Plus, the joy of playing freely in the parks, being aware of the place of nature in providing interest and enjoyment, are ideas firmly planted, along with the satisfaction of successful gardening. Some call it a “Sense of Responsibility” as the students do take ownership of the work in which they have participated coupled with a caring for the Parks.
In 2015, The Friends of Walkers Creek group was awarded the NPCA Award of Merit for its development and enhancement of the Parks. This year’s Award recognizes the efforts to improve and support quality water resources with, quietly, a hope that these endeavours may encourage the spawning fish seen downstream, to travel further into the Parks as they did in years past.
An overflow crowd of participants and staff filled the large program room at Ball’s Falls. As individuals and groups were identified and received their awards, one could only be seriously impressed with the variety and diversity of programs and projects fostered by the NPCA, supported by a vast collection of interested and dedicated individuals. From wetland conservators, beach erosion activities, the planting of trees, the development of programs for adults and children, interpretive heritage programs, artisans who share their skill in demonstrations, bird monitoring … and the list could go on.
For The Friends of Walkers Creek, one person is responsible for the creative projects, the motivation to achieve a plan, the engagement of school students, seriously monitoring the Parks and securing the cooperation of City and NPCA staff and skills. Della Trojan is that person, leading interpretive and explanatory walks for the public, holding the annual Friends’ Plant Sale in June at her home, overseeing the arrangements for the September Star Gazing Night and always having something of unusual interest to enhance the experience of the young students who so willing respond, with their teachers, to her offers of projects.
Supporting the efforts of The Friends of Walkers Creek through the membership association is encouraged as these funds are what allows The Friends to accomplish the many projects they undertake. The $10 annual membership fee per family, for which a City Income tax receipt is provided, is an investment that has benefit directly for the member and for the community as a whole. (Elsewhere on this website, information on obtaining a membership is provided.)
We are sorry that the website has been offline off and on since the fall of 2015.
The place that hosts the website had some internal malware issues that caused us to have to restore form old backups. Unfortunately, the malicious code was laying dormant in many old backups. After trying several backups, we found one that seemed salvageable from around February 2015.
We have tried to find/restore/recreate the missing articles from 2015, but so far, have been unsuccessful.
So, the site is here in this format for now.
We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Thinking and Planning over the cold months, now yields to actions. Yes… Pitch In Week saw the Parks swept with the assistance of students from Prince Philip school, grade seven … a fine group of youngsters saw what litter can do to the natural beauty, saw how using the waste barrels is the ‘right thing to do’, looked at the Buffer Zone garden planted last year by fellow students … and collected many bags of litter and recyclable materials. Active, energetic and now much more aware of the gem that the Walkers Creek Parks really are.
The Annual “Spring Stroll” is also history as last week Senior City Staff, with Della Trojan of the “Friends” as their guide, roamed the Parks from Melody Lane to Linwell Road. Jeff Silcox-Childs, newly appointed Manger of Parks, Cemeteries, Horticulture and Forestry was most impressed as the Parks were introduced to him. With Mauro Becchetti and Toni Delio, Senior Foemen of Parks and TES, Gavin Pally, City Arborist, Diana Lecinski, Staff person with the Accessible Committee, Kristen Sullivan, staff person with the Green Committee … a crowd that thoroughly viewed the Parks as they are, identified items that need attention and shared potential and plans to make the great Parks even better. Sharing the insights of the professionals is always a most beneficial event for the “Friends” as they see what can be, encourage us to take action and plan for efforts that will bring the Parks ever forward.
Of immediate interest is the blooming Cucumber tree in the park between the Bump Bridge and Linwell Road. More blossoms that seen in recent years, this unique tree, a member of the Magnolia family, is a native specie to this area. As an endangered species, records of the location of such trees are kept by the Ministry of Natural Resources. This tree was bought by and planted in its excellent location by the then “Walkers Creek Neighbourhood Association”. It is well worth a look-see. And check-out the interesting posting via Google … “Cucumber Tree (Species at risk) Ont.ca”
The new bridge over the Creek that will reconnect the Beau Valley area with the parks, proceeds … later than hoped but now with a July completion date. With a stronger, widermore accessibly useful bridge, we appreciate the patience of those who have waited for this renewal and we thank City Staff, and our Ward Councillors, for seeing to the progress and completion that is now more probable.
New signage for the Walkers Creek Parks is getting serious consideration. A large entry sign as well as smaller explanatory and identification signs are currently under design review which will be followed by costing and installation responsibilities. These signs are brought to the Parks courtesy of the funds raised by the Annual Plant Sale. This year the “Friends” Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, June 6th from 8:00 AM to noon at 88 Cherie Road. Plants for this sale most commonly are donated by Friends and Neighbours, and come from their home gardens. If you are looking particularly for native species, varieties of Hostas and pollinating plants, this sale, with its moderate prices, is the place to be.
The “Friends of Walkers Creek” is a voluntary membership organization and we welcome new members any time of the year. The $10 membership fee enables us to add to the Parks … benches, trees, bushes, signage … and also provides members with an opportunity to have their visions considered and implemented. We are pleased with the many Members who have already renewed their membership for 2015 and we look forward to hearing from more stalwart Friends. Income tax receipts are issued to all paid up Members in time for the dreaded Tax filing time.
Plans under active work and consideration include: the Annual General meeting; mulching efforts to protect trees and plantings; additions to the two Butterfly gardens; Spring and Autumn “Walks in the Parks’ with expert leadership (schedule in the “City Leisure Activities” booklet); planning for a more active youth program … “A Classroom In The Parks” to encourage younger folks to learn about, appreciate and be involved in activities and free play; a “Town Hall Meeting in the Parks” in August; the annual Star Gazing night” in September and we are seeking musicians who would like to wander the trails in the evenings playing their instruments … Pipers, Sax players, Trumpet … making joyful sounds that surprise and please folks in the parks and nearby neighbours. Contact us by phone, by email or in person!!
And do check us out on Facebook!!