Adventures in Planting

A week ago, I was surprised by an e-mail. It was serendipity – the kind of serendipity that has kindness, dedication, and vigilance behind it.

The e-mail was from TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation) who manage Altona Forest. During the ‘planting event’ time I’d asked if they had any leftover plants from other projects, if they could please think of Altona Forest. There were no plans to do any maintenance or improvements in Altona Forest this year – there was just no budget for it from our municipality.

There were a few plants that they could get for the forest – and they would be delivered to my home in the next two days. I’d requested a few key species that are ‘perfect’ for Altona Forest. Plants that naturally remediate the areas they are in and have the capability to make a lasting difference to forest health and biodiversity long years from now. The next morning TRCA delivered the plants: 3 healthy tamarack trees, 3 beautiful elderberry shrub/trees, and 10 blue flag iris.

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I added the wraps to protect the elderberry from being grazed by deer or rabbits

I had volunteered myself and my husband as planning/labour for this project since the target area for these plants is the wet, problematic, and transitioning north-west corner of the forest. This would not be a volunteer-friendly planting experience. An added challenge was the time frame: November is late for planting based on ground-freezing cold snaps.

Luckily we’d had no freezing weather yet and the rain was going to hold off until Sunday – so that left Friday/Saturday for the planting.

10 Blue Flag Iris

Blue flag iris was high on my ‘wish list’ for the north-west corner because they are native to this area, beautiful, semi-aquatic and do well in wet saturated soil, and can proliferate in the sunny conditions offered in that area. Additionally, blue flag iris might be extirpated from Altona Forest due to development of the area – so reintroduction of this local species would be a boon for biodiversity. Finally and most importantly, blue flag iris excels at cleaning the water it grows beside. The north-west corner has over-abundant nutrients flowing into it from the nearby tree nursery and this hard-working plant will help filter this water. Over rich water affects the algae and weed growth in the wetland restoration pond every summer.

I planted 3 iris at a tiny pond where the water enters the forest – and the others along the wetland ‘stream’ that brings that same water to the restoration pond. For forest visitors, I made sure to plant one visible from the viewing deck at the pond edge where it can be spotted and talked about at hikes. Each plant has the capacity to not only seed and fill into the area, but to build large clumps using their spreading root system.

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3 Tamaracks

Tamaracks exist in Altona Forest – but not in large numbers. They are more abundant in the boreal forest further north – in wet boggy areas, thin rocky soil and short growing seasons. They are great to stabilize an area and hold the earth – later dropping cones to fill in an area. They are also so beautiful in fall with golden and orange needles that Algonquin Park advertises their ‘golden encore’ of fall colour.

In spring 2016 we planted 3 tamaracks in the very wet area by the fence that is littered with deadfall – on the west side of the boardwalk. Not only did they survive, but they tripled in height in their 2 summers. The new 3 tamaracks were planted just to the north of the existing 3 – with the hopes that they will have similiar success and create a small grove over time. This is very tricky for planting – it’s waterlogged, there are branches and dead trees everywhere, and you have to watch your footing as rotten wood suddenly gives way. I went in only a few feet from the boardwalk, but the spouse went much further to get these planted properly. Given the lateness of the season, I didn’t loosen the root ball as I usually do with potted plants – and I also asked the spouse to plant them so that one inch of crown was above the muddy earth to allow better oxygen uptake in the surface roots (a challenge in wet soils).

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The crown just above the muddy earth, this is a humble start among the wildflowers for this tamarack

3 Elderberry

Beside the north pond (aka amphibian pond) there is a wet meadow with dead trees – all ash that were decimated by the emerald ash borer. Without the shade of leaves, this area is now sunny and grasses, wildflowers and shrubs can thrive. A biologist report for Altona Forest suggested varied species should be added here to replace the dying ashes. One species mentioned was elderberry – and I was thrilled to get these three healthy shrubs to plant into the area.

Elderberry offers multiple stems, a wide branching pattern, white clusters of flowers for native pollinators in spring and ample berries for birds and wildlife in fall. They are not only beautiful, native to the area (I’ve seen some wild in Rouge Park), and able to grow in wet areas, but they sustain wildlife who have lost habitat and food sources through this area. The section east of the boardwalk at Post 30 was wetter than anticipated but will offer a good home for these young shrubs.

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View from the boardwalk – you’ll be able to see this one, but the other two are further back

And so ends my adventure in remediation planting. Scratched and scraped, cold, muddy, and a little sore from carrying the plants along the trails, we were that happy-satisfied-tired you get from doing something truly worthwhile.

 

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

The second best time is now

 

 

Adventures in Planting ~ © 2017 Natasha G

 

 

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Wild Apples of the Forest

Whether it’s apple picking, home-made apple pie, or the tempting baskets along country roads, fall is not fall without apples. What I didn’t know until relatively recently is that apples like the types we buy and devour are not native to North America. They were brought here and began their Ontario cultivation with the settlers.

Apple trees are hardy and long-lived. Not only did many farmers plant them along the edges of their fields to increase their edible yield, but apples offered cider production and long lasting cellar fruits. You can still find gnarled old trees dropping their fruit along local country roads.

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This old forest-edge apple tree pushes a few branches into a neighbour’s back yard

Have you seen the apples in Altona Forest? There are at least two dozen struggling trees scattered through the forest. Most have likely been ‘planted’ by the creatures who ate the fruit or carried them into the forest from nearby homesteads many years ago. But it’s amazing that they have battled the thin rocky soil, fierce competition for nutrients and sunlight, and still bloom every year.

Some might have been human-planted: there is a suspiciously straight line of old apple trees that follows one of the settler rock walls near the Summer Park entrance to the forest. About 4 old trees remain and flower every year – though one fell victim to the City of Pickering saws since it cascaded over the fence. I can imagine that there were about 5 more trees – equally spaced in that line – that didn’t survive the ravages of time and the building of this neighbourhood.

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Apple blossom on a tree along the north boardwalk of the forest

The easiest time to spot the apple trees is in spring when they flower along the trails. Some are tall and spindly and have a few flowers only at the tops of their highest branches – this is from lack of sufficient sunlight. But whether you manage to see the blossoms or not, you can’t miss the white ‘confetti’ along the forest’s trails when the flowers are spent. When you see confetti, it’s a dead giveaway that you’ve found one of Altona’s hidden apples.

If you are curious what type of apples they are, they are ‘common apples’. I have that from a good source – and know that the term refers to the basic apples grown before many of the fancy modern varieties were developed. You will sometimes see the small hard green fruit on the forest floor… half eaten. They rarely last until they are fully ripe; they are delicious and in demand.

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How ’bout dem apples – in the late July sun

I have been wanting to add wildlife-supporting trees to my small space – and crab-apple would be the perfect native choice. I’ve learned from my failed attempt at tomatoes and sweet potato vine that anything edible is devoured by foraging wildlife before it reaches ripeness.

Crab-apple trees are small in stature and slow growing: they are well suited to small garden spaces like mine. They are a favourite with gardeners for their ease of growth, their textured bark, beautiful blooms and sweet scent, and their colourful edible fruit.  They are definitely a multi-season performer. Their blooms support native bees, honey bees, and butterflies, and their fruit draws birds like cedar waxwings and mammals such as deer, possums and raccoons. They can be work however, if you have to pick up all the fruit and dispose of it.

Ontario has only one native crab apple – Malus coronaria. And I’ve planted a small one after a great deal of trouble sourcing it (thank you NANPS sale for getting me one!). The wild rabbits took about 1/3 of it during it’s first winter – I didn’t wrap it high enough for the snows. My fingers are firmly crossed.

I’m hoping that this native apple will add to the local food sources for birds and other wildlife. And perhaps when this 4ft baby becomes old, gnarled and fruit-laden, its seeds will be planted by wildlife in the forest’s sunny corners and create a new generation of truly wild apples.

 

Resources ~ Begin Your Reading Here

Choosing Crabapples for Your Garden

About Malus Coronaria – ‘Garland Crab’

Evergreen Plant Database – Malus coronaria

Malus Coronaria – photos and identifying features (ref – MNR Ontario Species List)

About Malus coronaria – and range map

Lady Bird Johnson Plant Profile – Malus coronaria (U of Texas,Austin)

USDA Map of Native Origin – Malus coronaria

Plant Profile: Malus coronaria

Cider – The history that brought apples here

Apple Production in Canada – growth of the industry

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This profusely blooming Altona Forest ‘common’ apple tree was old, gnarled, and half-dead. It hung over the fence in Summer Park near the entrance to Altona Forest. The severe cutting it received unfortunately killed it – it didn’t come back this year.

Wild Apples of the Forest ~ © 2017 Natasha G

 

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Wildflowers’ Golden Encore

Do you think that once Labour Day passes and the summer holidays are over that wildflower season is over?

You’d be wrong because in natural areas all over Ontario the golden encore of wildflowers is just ramping up. Early to mid-fall is a great time to venture along the trails of Altona Forest and explore wildflowers. Some will last well into October for hikers to enjoy.

We use the term ‘wildflower’ so easily – but it doesn’t have a clear meaning. It can be used for any blooming plant that grows without being planted or sown. But that means that many wildflowers are not native – not original to these woods and open areas. Favourites such as queen anne’s lace (aka wild carrot) or chicory are common, naturalized, but not native. Some are aggressive and invasive but colourful – like knapweed or purple loosestrife.

Watch for these three native wildflowers as you wander fall trails:

GOLDENROD: The term ‘golden encore’ can almost be solely credited to the profuse occurrence of goldenrod. In some areas, the profuse blooms can cover an entire hillside. It begins blooming in late August and continues through September. Long before the trees blush into yellows and reds, the forest edges are already painted with big swaths of gold.

Goldenrod is a pollinator favourite for pollen and nectar but it’s not allergy inducing (it just blooms at the same time as the culprit ragweed). It’s pollen is heavy and falls to the ground. It’s pollinated by insects – not wind, and spreads by seeds as well as underground rhizomes.

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ASTERS: Asters are not just one plant but a wide group of sun to part-shade, tiny to tall, white to deep purple blooming plants. There are many varieties in the woods and parklands in our area including calico, arrow-leafed and New England asters. Pollinators depend on asters for late season food and you can often find both bees and butterflies sharing the bounty. Asters support pollinators with food, but are also used by some as larvae feeding plants.

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SUNFLOWERS:  Another group or category of flower, the sunflowers we picture are the giant varieties. But sunflowers come in a variety of heights. Most sunflower varieties are North American natives. Sunflowers are typically tall – reaching for the sun and need long sunlight hours each day to survive. Sunflower turn to face and grow towards the sun every day until they bloom. Some of our local varieties include the woodland sunflower, Jerusalem artichoke, and giant sunflower. Sunflowers will end their bloom in early September, but their seed-heads will draw wildlife for the full fall season to come.

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You’ll notice that wildflowers exist only in a few places in the forest – around the edges. This is because wildflowers need sun – many need 8 hours a day – to thrive. The forest canopy of mixed deciduous and cedar forests provide more shade than most varieties can manage. So, look for wildflowers in the open area near the Altona entrance and parking (around the picnic table and near the clearing beside Petticoat Creek), around the north pond, in the adjacent hydro corridor, and around the rainwater pond in the Altona Forest South section.

With the humidity and bugs of summer behind us and the fresh air of fall just beginning, it’s a perfect time to grab your camera and walk Altona Forest’s trails. Please take only photos and leave the blossoms behind for the pollinators and birds of the forest.

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A riot of late-season colour at the north pond

Wildflowers Golden Encore ~ © 2017 Natasha G

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The Other Altona Forest

I have wandered Altona Forest’s trails many times but while editing a couple of photos when I re-worked the altonaforest.org site, I couldn’t imagine where in the forest they were taken. The photos seemed to be from a path in a field. Months later I realized that they had been taken in the hydro corridor just north of the north gate.

The hydro corridor abutting the forest’s north end is the other Altona Forest; not part of TRCA’s property but a needed extension to the conservation lands. It is an area of tall grasses, wild grapes, and meadow conditions that allow wildflowers, birds, bees and butterflies to flourish.  It’s an environment missing in Altona Forest proper where the houses and development go right to the trees and no natural meadow space is left. Nature doesn’t stop to consider lines on a map, or fences, or jurisdictions and this area is a vital part of the survival of some species that live in the forest.

I had previously only been in the hydro lands to distribute some milkweed seeds in  hopes of sustaining monarchs.

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Common milkweed in bloom – can this be from some of the seeds I distributed?

I wandered out of the forest and into the adjoining ‘field’ in search of milkweed in bloom the next summer – and the monarch butterflies that depend on it. I found both; a few monarchs, a few milkweed – but also many invasive plants like buckthorn,  dog-strangling vine in massive swaths, and Canada thistle.

This summer I have been a regular visitor to the area. The rarely-used hydro corridor provides a bio-diverse and needed meadow and forest-edge habitat that links (albeit across busy Finch and Altona Roads – very dangerous for wildlife) to the Rouge National Urban Park.

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Meadows such as this one provide crucial open environment, food and shelter. This area fosters a fertile food chain that begins with diverse pollinators who are drawn to varied wildflowers that need full sun to thrive. Meadows complement the woods to create a healthy and integrated ecosystem. It is an animal travel-way, a butterfly-way, food-producing powerhouse (think grasses and wildflowers seeds, grapes and other berries), and nursery for wildlife of all kinds.

It is a more varied and interesting environment than I expected – some depressions hold water, cattails and red-winged blackbirds. Juvenile robins hop trustingly along the path. Rabbits appear and disappear like magic. Here and there small thickets are formed by berry-laden viburnums and hold nesting birds. Wide stretches of native bee balm happily coexist with clover, anemone, rudbeckia, native sunflowers, and other wildflowers to draw butterflies and bees alike. The air hums with buzzing bees and dragonflies, lilting birdsong, and the crackling whir of the power wires overhead.

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A common ringlet

It’s easy to lose time following butterflies in hopes of a photo, pausing to listen to calling birds, or freezing when something ahead of you goes scurrying into the dense green tangle. Don’t forget to look up to see the silent riders of the drafts. Or take a long view in case the deer that sometimes visit are in sight.

Summer is glorious – and too brief: take some time to discover this forgotten corner that is so full of life in this season. You’ll need a hat and sunblock… as my painful shoulders screamingly attest. And some bug spray. Whether you decide to wander the area to enjoy the myriad of butterflies, hear the birdsong, or glimpse a hawk or great blue heron fly above, this area is an entirely different experience than the cool shade of Altona’s tall trees.

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**Perhaps another time I will write about the other other Altona Forest at the south end of the panhandle. It is comprised of 2 rainwater-collection ponds belonging to the City and the inaccessible railway lands that bisect Petticoat Creek.

Resources ~ Begin Your Reading Here

What is a Meadow (youtube 3min)

Importance of Grasslands

Pollinators Need Meadows  (Credit Valley Conservation Authority)

Butterflies of the GTA (pdf book)

Birds of the GTA (pdf book)

How to Butterfly Spot (scroll to bottom of article)

Looking For Monarchs – The Great Butterfly Hunt – Nature of Things (full episode)

Invasive Species of the Corridor :

Growing a meadow (in your garden or curb-side)

Sourcing Native Seeds for Meadows

The Other Altona Forest ~ © 2017 Natasha G

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Leave It To Beavers

The most amazing thing happened to Lacey’s Pond this spring … it rained and rained … and then rained some more. That’s a whole lot of water.

Those familiar with Lacey’s Pond in Altona Forest will know that the native cattails took hold and choked out any open water in the pond. They build a dense mat; last year’s layer of dead plant material below this year’s growth. Last summer and the one before there wasn’t really any pond at all – no open water. It became a cattail marsh. And while the grassy wetland is still a great spot for fostering natural species of the forest, it didn’t provide the open water frogs and other aquatic species require.

Many naturalists were sad to see that this area morphed to a dry and filled-in area – and hoped remediation could be undertaken to bring back the pond to enhance the forest’s viable ecosystems. It would help replace the naturally-occurring ponds that were drained and destroyed in this area during neighbourhood-building. The varied ‘terrains’ are what helps to encourage and improve biodiversity and gives Altona Forest it’s ESA (Environmentally Significant Area) status.

TRCA didn’t amend the area under its current ethos that progression within the forest is natural so the pond should be allowed to dry to a marsh. Lacey’s Pond and its sadly dilapidated boardwalk have been a great bird-watching spot, but the area had stopped supporting an aquatic ecosystem.

And then the second amazing thing happened this spring … beavers came to the pond. This is a small pond. There is no river or even real stream nearby – just a trickle of water. How they found it and where they came from will have to stay a wonderful mystery. Beavers can hear the faintest sound of water from far away and are drawn to it.

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Beaver adding a little more ‘Eau Canada’ to Altona Forest

There are at least 2 beavers at the pond. They have been spending their days shoring up the south-east side of the pond… where the boardwalk goes. This is because the water leaves the pond from the southeast and flows south towards the panhandle. Beavers are diversity builders. They will help to clear the pond and make it deeper and more habitable and desirable for a number of native species… from plants to invertebrates to fish to frogs … and birds.

Beavers are architects of massive amounts of change. They can change the direction and flow of watercourses, build meadows, conserve water – promoting the introduction of other species, create clearings and thus change the plant and tree species that grow near their lodges. It’s extraordinary that we are able to see these changes in our neighbourhood – and see wild beavers at work. They do what is natural to them to create a livable space – and in doing so they may change the destiny of this pond.

They are undertaking wholly natural remediation that will change the area back to the pond it once was.

It’s a great sight… watching beavers swim around, chew on branches, and slap the water with their tails when surprised. They are very tolerant of being watched as long as it’s from a distance and with stillness on your part. Of course, they are less than enthusiastic about those who break the law with off-leash dogs. And this is a real threat not only to the beaver but many other species.

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We can leave it to the beavers to naturally restore the pond to a viable and functional aquatic ecosystem.

Can we enjoy the forest in tandem with their lives and uses of Lacey’s Pond? Of course. But it does depend on many people being wildlife savvy, cautious, and kind – and giving them the space and safety they need.

How wonderful that for this Canada Day, our national symbol moved into our small conservation area and provides an ongoing demonstration of their amazing talents and capabilities!

 

** This area of boardwalk has been broken for some time and now south access is not possible. The north access is possible but with the higher water levels its nearly impassible at this time. If you are daring and are going to try, you will need rain boots since there’s a stretch of mud getting to the boardwalk, and then the boardwalk sinks 3-7 inches into the water with each step. The supports have rotted. The viewing deck is strong and stable and offers some great beaver viewing.

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Resources ~ Begin Your Reading Here

Altona Forest Map (Lacey’s Pond and the boardwalk are between posts 11 and 12)

About Beavers

Beaver Whisperer (CBC full episode)

Leave It To Beavers ~ © 2017 Natasha G

 

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Biting Back Garlic Mustard

Throughout Ontario, an innocuous looking weed has taken hold. It has spread through the countryside, into gardens, and into conservation areas like Altona Forest. It will grow in shade or sun and has the ability to alter the soil’s biology. It pushes out native plants that support wildlife and rare native butterflies. This insidious invasive alien is a herb called garlic mustard.

Would you recognize garlic mustard if you see it? It grows to about a foot and half high, has small four-petaled white flowers at this time of year, and triangular serrated-edged leaves. I’ve seen it all around our neighbourhood – and in the forest.

IMG_8757 (2)Lots of garlic mustard near post 36 or 30

You will see many community-organized events aimed at getting rid of it. And even in areas where the challenge has been dealt with it will move back in, so vigilance and constant action is the only recourse. Seeds remain viable in the soil for years – necessitating regular removal. Each garlic mustard plant produces hundreds of seeds – spread by people (clothing, shoes and bike tires) and animals, by wind, along streams and trails.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) was intentionally brought to the area as a cooking herb. It is native to Europe, Asia and north Africa. If you crush a leaf between your fingers it has garlic scent. It’s actually an interesting and tasty herb.

Invasive plants have long been a problem – things that were planted for a purpose or that stowed away unseen on ships only to gain a foothold in these woods. Foreign invasive plants don’t have any natural uses for wildlife so they don’t benefit the native ecosystem, they push out (out-compete) natives that actually do contribute to the local biodiversity and life-cycles, and they have no local enemies or predators so they spread uncontrollably.

imageedit_6_8568770773Garlic mustard pushes out native wildflowers like trillium, toothwort, and trout lilies and changes the biology of the soil to keep natives from returning.

Garlic mustard brings together two usually-opposed groups:

Firstly, conservation areas are regulated and protected so species are not to be disturbed in any way. With so much of the land converted for human habitation, farming and commercial use, saving ravines, watershed areas, and even small tracts of land is vital. They become less viable for plant, bird and other species. Every native plant becomes more important.

Secondly, we have seen a marked rise in the interest in home-grown foods and foraging. Many cultural groups also have long histories of foraging for foods in natural areas. This is problematic for a number of reasons: most natural areas are protected by law and should not be foraged from. More importantly, only 2-3 people can completely deplete a plant for this year and all future years. If the foraging ethos is only remove 1 of 4 of the plants, each successive person exponentially depletes the reproducing stock. This is because small areas of land are over-used by many people.

Enter garlic mustard. It’s foreign and an invasive plant. It’s delicious and has many uses in the kitchen. It’s easy to identify and harvest. So should you pull it up from a conservation area and take it home for dinner? Absolutely! (Just be very careful where you step so you don’t kill next years native wildflowers.) You can’t deplete it enough – take all you want. Is that official? Likely not – because those who don’t understand the whole story will see ambiguity and trample or remove native species from these amazing places to the long-term detriment of nature.

Garlic mustard is easily found, tasty, and a foragable food. Harvest it – and enjoy it. It is the best of all worlds when you are helping the forest, native biodiversity, and trying the foraging trend in the only genuinely sustainable way. Bon appetite!

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The easiest time to identify garlic mustard is when it’s in bloom       Image ~ pixabay

Resources ~ Begin Your Reading Here

Invasive Species Awareness Program Listing

Recognizing Garlic Mustard (photos)

Garlic Mustard Fact Sheet (pdf)

Garlic Mustard (US source – NY Invasive Species)

Impacts of Garlic Mustard (US source – Penn State)

OMAFRA overview

Butterfly At Risk (due to garlic mustard)

Recipes:

PS Even if you don’t want to eat it, please join a group and pull it! And remember – invasive species go in the garbage and NOT in yard waste collection or composting

 

Biting Back Garlic Mustard ~ © 2017 Natasha G

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Jane’s Altona Forest

“You’re doing this backwards” I thought, “And you really are not the right person to do this at all.”

Just over a year ago, I decided that Altona Forest should have a Jane’s Walk. I don’t usually lead hikes in Altona Forest. I don’t consider myself an expert. I just love the forest and have a curious mind. It was a crazy idea really – since I tend to shy away from these things.

However, the idea stayed with me so I got in touch with the Jane’s Walk organizers and then set up a page for our city on their site. I planned and set up 2 walks in Altona Forest – I asked the Stewardship Committee Chair to lead one and I’d lead the other. In between there was photography, writing and structuring a city page, putting up a few posters, posting the hikes online and in our local paper’s events section (Kristen Calis gave our first Jane’s Walks a great little shout-out), imagining what I’d talk about during a walk.

It came down to one simple thing – we are so lucky to have Altona Forest in our midst – with nature and easy walking trails and yet only a few people know about it or embrace it. Why not share it?

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Jane’s Walk is an international walking festival that takes place on the first weekend of May each year. The premise is that since each of us has experiences and expertise about our neighbourhood, anyone can lead a walk. A Jane’s Walk is as much about the sharing and openness as it is about the learning and walking.

Central ideas of Jane’s Walk are these – the walks are always free, are ‘walking conversations’, embrace a ‘just show up’ attitude, and each walk leader creates and  publicizes their walks themselves. These walks encourage people to share stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect on a human scale.

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The walks are inspired by community activist Jane Jacobs – who’s ideas that neighbourhoods are shaped by the people helped change rigid planning paradigms half a century ago. She was a NYC and Toronto urbanist who got people talking about a human-centered approach to city design.

I knew nothing – less than nothing – about Jane Jacobs. I still barely know anything. But, here’s what I find inspiring: while builders build a neighbourhood, its soul and energy comes from the daily lives and activities of the residents. Function shapes form.

Forest and access to green-space greatly improves the lives of local residents – science is understanding this more and more – and in turn the neighbourhood can give back to the forest. It’s about interest, understanding and synergy with our surroundings.

This blog is titled ‘My Altona Forest’ honouring our collective ownership but individual viewpoints within public spaces. Our personal engagement with the forest. While gorgeous still-wild areas exist around us, we each take away something unique. Our learning, sense memory, the feel of the trail will be different for every person and depend on our own histories, stories and interests. The more times we visit, the more layers of memory are made.

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Altona Forest will be different for you than for me – but together it’s ours. Ours to learn about. Ours to protect. Ours to share. And maybe that’s why we should have a Jane’s Walk every year – and why it’s perfectly Jane’s Altona Forest. Make it yours – join in on the Jane’s Walk in our woods.16831087_10154227829481727_3737420471899133250_nResources ~ Begin Your Reading Here

About Jane’s Walk (from Jane’s Walk HQ)

Jane’s Walk Altona Forest

About Jane’s Walk (1.45min youtube – from an experienced Walk Leader)

Remembering Jane Jacobs (5.37min on youtube)

Jane’s 10 Big Ideas

Park Use Improves Perceived Health

Urban Green Inspiration – NYC’s High Line (full 1hr episode) Being a fan of both cities and green spaces, a walker and a gardener, I found this hugely inspirational in how it re-imagines, embraces nature, engages, creates community in the heart of the city. A grassroots effort – it’s perfect representation of possibilities of post-industrial-use urban green.

“You Can’t Opt Out of Geography” – interesting ‘rivers’ article by a TO Jane’s Walk leader

Jane was both friend and foe to areas like ours – because she had a distaste for connector highways into cities and thought suburbs were ‘parasitic’ to the city. Controversial? Yes – and wouldn’t it be fun to consider/discuss this?

Jane’s Altona Forest ~ © 2017 Natasha G

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