At the City of St. Catharines Annual Volunteer Recognition Night, Kate Hou was awarded the “Margaret MacLennon Youth Volunteer of the Year” Award. Kate began volunteering in September 2014 as she entered Grade 9. Kate spends her volunteer hours along the trails of Walker’s Creek and also with the Friends of Malcomson Eco Park. She arrives early on Saturday mornings, when many of her friends choose to sleep in, ready to tackle any task requested. Kate has become a expert in the proper procedure of tree mulching and last Earth Day took a leadership role instructing youngsters and their parents in this technique. Weather is not a determining factor of volunteering for Kate. She is ready to volunteer in the cold rainy days of spring, the hot sunny days of June and late Fall when the snow decides to fly. Although Kate spends time wheelbarrowing mulch from tree to tree, sweeping and tidying the potting shed and greenhouses, her favourite time is planting native shrubs and wildflowers throughout the parks, finding the perfect spot for each one….in the forest, prairie grassland or the edge of the pond. Kate is a joy to work alongside, always smiling, no job too easy, too hard, to messy….always ready, always willing! Kate is 15 years of age and resides in Thorold with her parents. She is a grade 10 student at Sir Winston High School and enjoys participating in the Book Club. She is considering a career in Business and in a couple of years hopes to follow in her older brother and sister footsteps to university.
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.