Sierra Club’s Urban River Valley and Greenbelt Celebration Goes On at Mississauga’s Envi
“…The more we all know about and love the ecosystem that embeds and surrounds us, the more we feel that we are a part of it, the more we will see ways to enjoy, protect, and enhance what we have…”Hot on the heels of the October 28th celebration in the Lockhart Forest of St. Catharines, Sierra Club Ontario has had another opportunity to spread cheer and information about the recent admission of 21 new urban rivers into Ontario’s Greenbelt. On November 28th the City of Mississauga hosted its annual Environmental Group Appreciation Evening, attended by various councillors from the City’s Environmental Advisory Committee, The City’s Director of Environmental Division, other city staff and local environmental groups.A presentation by Mississauga’s Inaugural Youth Poet, Rebecca ZsederAs well as serving as an excellent networking and awareness spreading opportunity the evening provided yet another chance for Sierra Peel Group to host its display table and to combine a bit of fun with education, through Sierra’s urban river valleys question sheet and raffle draw. Q: “Which river valley is in Canada’s first national urban park?” A: “The Rouge River”. (It is surprising how many individuals do not know of this amazing park, created practically in our own back yards.)Q: “A stream and coastal wetland in Durham Region famed for its fish ladder at salmon run time?”A: “Bowmanville Creek.” (Although the accompanying map clearly labels Durham Region and also the creek, this was a tough guess for many participants.)Four right answers (assisted if necessary) earned a free raffle ticket for the draw. Clearly, most of us could become much more familiar with and appreciative of the natural heritage features which surround us. Nevertheless, it has been gratifying to see how many people over the course of fall events have shown interest in Ontario’s Greenbelt and in its growth, both through the new urban river valleys as well as by other key additions which are just now being proposed. Many took the question sheet and map away with them saying they want to learn more, show it to their classroom, or bring it to their group or family. A few have discussed ways to combine projects, the Lockhart Forest event being one example.Thaia Jones (left) and Marie Blazic of Sierra Club Peel Region Group, standing in front of their display booth.With many issues and applications of the new Ontario Greenbelt provincial legislation still to be untangled, is it legitimate to focus so much on celebration? The answer, for right now, is a hard YES! The more we all know about and love the ecosystem that embeds and surrounds us, the more we feel that we are a part of it, the more we will see ways to enjoy, protect, and enhance what we have – and the more ways we will learn to “Think Global, Act Local” (Sierra supporters may know that this has long been a quote that Sierrans live and work by). The fact that part of Ontario’s Greenbelt may be flowing through our own urban back yard is truly amazing. Let’s continue to find ways to make the most of it! This article was written by Thaia Jones, Greenbelt Campaign Chair at Sierra Club Ontario.Blog image was taken at Mississauga’s Environmental Appreciation Evening; From left to right: Pauline Thornham, Rosemary Keenan, Marie Blazic and Thaia Jones, all members of Sierra Club’s Peel Region Group Executive Committee, holding Sierra’s URV Celebration mapping game.