“The Friends of Walkers Creek” receives the NPCA”Award of Merit”

     On Thursday, November 26th, “The Friends of Walkers Creek” was the recipient of the “Award of Merit” from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)  at a recognition event for the many volunteer groups that  brings NPCA services to communities. The event, held at Balls Falls, saw over one hundred and twenty-five individuals representing groups from within the jurisdiction of the NPCA recognized with appreciation by Senior NPCA staff and Board Members. 

    “The Friends of Walkers Creek” was the only community group that received  the “Award of Merit”, a truly significant designation reflecting the years of quiet, consistent, caring  attention given to the Walkers Creek watercourse, Parks and community. On receiving the Award, “The Friends” received a standing ovation from  the many attendees who know what efforts are involved and what differences volunteers can make in supporting positive actions to enhance, restore and preserve the natural habitat and the watercourses. 

    The latest venture by “The Friends” saw the completion of a rejuvenated and restored buffer zone at the Gosten Street entrance to the Parks. Of significance to this project, funded by the Niagara Community Foundation, was the healthy involvement of school students and teachers from Prince Philip School, as the initial effort by “The Friends” to encourage awareness of nature, appreciation of volunteerism and acquisition of planting skills by the young people. With assistance from City staff, NPCA staff and volunteers of “The Friends”, the students prepared the plot, were instructed in the different planting methods for trees, shrubs and flowering plants while also acquiring the names of native plant species with which the plot is now populated. Involving youth in the appreciation of nature and its many experiences and lessons, is now an ongoing program by “The Friends”. The Parks as a classroom takes on more relevance educationally while also encouraging respect for the Parks, increased play opportunities within the Parks and a sense of satisfaction in being able to point out how their efforts make a difference. 

    Specimen trees, large planting efforts of native species, additional park benches added at pleasing locations, identification by tagging of trees, increased signage, cooperative joint efforts with the City, the NPCA, a number of other community groups are all a part of the NPCA Award recognition. When the Conference of Municipalities senior staff and elected officials held its convention in Niagara falls, over one hundred and fifty delegates enjoyed a tour of some of the parks, hearing how volunteers and City administration can be such successful partners is assuring the longevity and add pertinence to such spaces, places and facilities, explained by leadership from “The Friends”.  The many questions posed by the delegates indicated a high level of interest in such ventures, which for many, seemed a new concept with much promise for their home communities. 

     The Directors of “The Friends of Walkers Creek” received the Award in the name of the many Members and Friends, past and present, the small core of ever-ready volunteers and with recognition of the fine support received from our Ward Councillors, City and NPCA staff. Within the Directors, a special sense of gratitude was shared as Della Trojan, Vice Chair of “The Friends” is the one person who has provided the leadership, energy, spark and enthusiasm that has seen many of these projects advance to completion.