This past summer, the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & the Common Good collaborated with a new environmental effort: the Wild Pollinator Partners (WPP) network. This new initiative in Eastern Ontario was created to share information, resources and experience on native pollinators and it also has the goal to help liaise between local groups such as teachers, researchers, NGO’s and local residents. WPP saw a need to support and promote the important pollination benefits that native bees and other native species of insects provide to the local ecology. They realized that many people were not aware that wild bees, which are mostly solitary bees, are key to local pollination in both cities and the countryside. The belief that we are dependent solely on European Honeybees (an introduced species) to do all pollination is false. However Honeybees compete for the same nectar and pollen as our native species so it is crucial to provide native wildflower habitat to ensure the health of local populations of pollinators.
The Jaffari Community Centre is a proud member of ClimateWise Business Network. The organization is currently participating in Faith & the Common Good’s energy benchmarking program.
The Jaffari Community Centre’s sustainability journey demonstrates how passionate people can impact the way a community acts on climate change. A few like-minded women were the forerunners of a sustainability movement that effectively shifted the way community members think and act. Their “Eco team”, which started five years ago with a grass roots approach to reducing waste is now a fully integrated eight-member Eco Board, working to improve the Centre’s overall sustainability method.
The Ottawa Chapter of Faith & the Common Good (FCG) is offering an Outdoor Greening Program for 2019: Caring for Native Pollinators in our Gardens!
This year's summer program is financially supported by Ottawa Community Foundation - a great big thanks to this amazing local foundation!
This program allows us to offer free "pollinator plants" to gardeners who want to add some native flowers to their current garden beds to help increase local habitat diversity and offer pollen and nectar to our wild solitary bees and other pollinating insects that are native to our region! These wild species provide FREE ecological services to our communities, pollinating thousands (millions?) of flowers each year to help grow nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables and who are essential to the ecological food cycle.
Faith & the Common Good has continued its partnership with the Wild Pollinator Partners (Ontario East - Outaouais) who is providing us with some of the organic locally-grown native plants for this program. We are also thankful for other businesses and organizations that are contributing to this new program: Canadian Wildlife Federation - who has donated wildflowers and seeds from their "Wildlife Friendly Gardening" program and the executive director of SOUL (Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care) who has also donated wildflowers from her personal garden and even FRESH on Beechwood Avenue, a local business that donated wildflower seeds to the program.
Contact Katherine Forster if you would like to receive FREE wildflowers - many which you may be familiar with such as Yarrow, Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susans, Beebalm and more. Donations can be 10 or so plants to over 25, depending on the room you have in your garden. Best native plants for your garden will be identified if you need advice. Please contact us as soon as possible as there are limited quantities.
Let us know if you would also like to officially be part of the Interfaith Outdoor Greening network so that you can receive sustainable gardening information, specific tips & techniques, and details on local Ottawa garden resources and our programming such as this "Caring for Pollinators in our Garden" program this summer. Gardening newsletters will be sent out to members every 4 - 8 weeks during the garden season. Members of the Network can get support for their gardens in many ways:
Members of the Outdoor Greening Network can receive a FREE garden visit from the Sustainable Outdoor Greening Coordinator to learn more about the FCG Outdoor Greening resources, discuss specific gardening questions, identify native plants they can add to their garden and/or to help with garden skills including maintenance.
Members can download FREE Outdoor Greening resources available on the FCG website includingOutdoor Greening Fact Sheets and Case Studies that provide inspiration and ideas for sustainable gardening (including xeriscaping, rain gardens, waterwise strategies, wildlife gardens, prayer and meditation gardens, and wildflower gardens, to name a few).
Members of the Outdoor Greening Network can discuss garden plans, designs and sourcing opportunities for their individual gardens and will be provided with information on the local support for sustainable gardening in Ottawa. There are even tips on how to recruit and retain volunteers or organize gardening (weeding) bees and weekly watering committees!
FCG Ottawa staff is here to help support faith community staff and volunteers working outdoors on their landscape and gardens and those who want to add a new sustainable garden component to their property. Let us know what your Care for Creation needs are in terms of your landscape and gardens — we are here to help!
Across the country, United Churches are doing their part to address the climate crisis by getting their own house in order by working to reduce their own carbon emissions. Through a partnership with Faith & the Common Good, the United Church of Canada is offering grants and support for churches to measure their energy use and reduce their climate pollution, in ways that save money and strengthen congregational renewal.
St. Cuthbert, Leaside is an attractive red brick church, but in environmental circles it’s known by another colour — dark green. The church has won the Green Sacred Space Award for 2018, given to the most environmentally friendly place of worship in Toronto. It is only the second Anglican church in the city to receive the award since it was established in 2000.
“We’re delighted and pleased that our efforts are making a difference,” says Heather Conolly, a member of the church and its property coordinator. “We’re keepers of the world and we want to pass on to the next generation what was handed down to us.”
For the past four months, I have been a co-op student working with Greening Sacred Spaces (GSS) Halton-Peel, a program of Halton Environmental Network (HEN) and a chapter of Faith & the Common Good (FCG). My focus was helping to develop and implement the Energy Benchmarking Program in Halton and Peel. This program allows our team to monitor and measure the energy consumption of faith communities and help them reduce or become more efficient energy users.
With this program I had the amazing opportunity to be put into an environment that I was not used to. I am used to speaking about the importance of the environment and saving energy. However, until I started to speak with the different faith communities that we worked with in Halton and Peel, I never realised the important role the environment plays across faiths.
Guest post by Marlie Whittle, St. Anselm’s Ecology Group in Toronto.
GSS Certification Team
In 2015, Pope Francis wrote an encyclical called Laudato Si: Praise be to You. This encyclical was a call to environmental action from the highest authority of the Catholic Church. Since 2015, many Catholic orders, churches and people have found different ways to respond to this call. I have had the privilege of being on St. Anselm’s Church’s ‘Green Team’ for over a year. We call ourselves St. Anselm’s Ecology Group and in the past three years our team has grown from two parishioners to 13!
At Faith & the Common Good, we were fortunate to receive an Ontario 150 grant. It provided the opportunity for youth of different religions and cultural backgrounds, to create 8 native plant gardens in 3 regions this spring; Ottawa, Halton, and Toronto. Toronto FCG chapter chose 3 faith sites: Shaarei Shomayim Congregation, Manor Road United Church, and the International Muslims Organization of Toronto (IMO).
***French version follows – La version en français suit***
St. John’s Anglican Church South March, is a small, well-maintained limestone church on the periphery of Ottawa, Canada that was first established in 1832. It is located on a large parcel of land and has an adjacent heritage cemetery as well as a newer one. Now it is located in the midst of suburban Kanata. Large sugar maples were planted in the old cemetery many years ago and they help to create a park land that is a peaceful place to walk. Many of the graves are lovingly tended.
Climate change. It’s worse than we thought. That was the message we heard from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dr. Dianne Saxe, who joined us on three separate occasions over the past months — a June event in Hamilton and September events at Church of the Incarnation in Oakville and the Jaffari Community Centre in Thornhill.