Are you passionate about engaging the public on environmental issues? If you're looking to work with a great team for a good cause, this might just be the career move for you!
The Greenbelt Foundation is an independent, charitable organization dedicated to promoting and sustaining Ontario’s Greenbelt. The Foundation is focused on making the right investments in the interconnected natural, hydrological and economic systems that Ontario's Greenbelt protects. By ensuring continuous, progressive investment in the Greenbelt, the Foundation nurtures a living, thriving Greenbelt for all to enjoy.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31 January 2020
Third Year of the Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program Announced
Community groups and non-profits across the GTHA are invited to apply for funding for projects that animate Greenbelt-protected ravines and urban river valleys
TORONTO, January 31, 2020—Greenbelt Foundation and Park People have announced the third year of the successful Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program. Funding is once again available for five projects that will connect people and communities to the 21 Greenbelt-protected urban river valleys and ravines across the GTHA. At the end of this year, the Program will have provided over $300,000 in funding and supported fifteen place-based projects that celebrate and enhance local river valleys.
Are you passionate about engaging the public on environmental issues? Do you have the social media and digital savvy to make an impact at an organizational level? Ready to make a difference by connecting with people online and on the ground?
If you're looking to work with a great team for a good cause, this might just be the career move for you!
The Niagara Escarpment is perhaps the most visually astonishing region in all of Ontario. Considered one of the world’s natural wonders, the Niagara Escarpment is said by many to be a “masterpiece of living art” and has officially been recognized as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve site.
Spanning 725 kilometres and covering 1923 km2 of land, the Escarpment is home to a range of farms, towns, cities, villages, recreation areas, sweeping scenic views, thousand-foot tall cliffs, wetlands, and waterfalls. Most notably of all of these - of course - is Niagara Falls.
One site to definitely check out while visiting the Niagara Escarpment would be the Niagara Gorge. Formed 18,000 years ago from melting ice sheets, the Gorge hosts forest unlike any other due to its elevation and proximity to the water! Not to mention, it's a great place for bouldering, for all of you rock climbers out there.
From an agricultural perspective, the Niagara Escarpment offers perfect growing conditions for tender fruit and grapes. The Niagara tender fruit growing region is one of the most productive fruit growing regions in the world! The Niagara Peninsula - between the escarpment and Lake Ontario - produces the largest amount of Ontario’s tender fruit.
•94% of Ontario grapes come from the Niagara region
•90% of Peaches
•80% of plums
•75% of sweet cherries
•72% of pears
•60% of sour cherries
Did You Know, the Niagara Escarpment:
- Over 20,000 jobs and contributes $1.4 billion to the total regional agriculture's GDP.
- Provides up to 90% of all of Ontario’s tender fruit production.
- Is the most diverse region in the province.
- 90 species of fish can be found within the Niagara Escarpment.
- Is home to over 350 species of birds.
- Is home to 109 species which are considered threatened or endangered.
The Niagara Escarpment isn’t just beautiful nature, it’s also an economic hub. Did you know that the Niagara Escarpment:
- Supports over 20,000 jobs
- Contributes $1.4 billion to the region’s agricultural GDP
- Provides up to 90% of all of Ontario’s tender fruit production
- Is the most biodiverse region in all of Ontario
- Includes 90 species of fish and 350 species of birds
- Is home to 109 species of plants and animals considered threatened or endangered.
Aside from the ecological benefits, the Niagara Escarpment offers some of Ontario's most beautiful and unique natural settings in which to walk, camp, cycle, or drive. The presence of large rock formations and dense forest create a hiker's paradise - and given that the Escarpment extends as far north as the Bruce Peninsula, it provides a wealth of unique nature experiences across the Greenbelt for you to discover! However you like to experience nature, the Escarpment literally has something for everyone.
The Oak Ridges Moraine was formed over 12,000 years ago by advancing and retreating glaciers; the Moraine currently forms the watershed divide between Lake Ontario and Lake Simcoe, and is the headwaters to more than 30 rivers. Due to its location and formation, the aquifer located below the Moraine contributes to both local and regional ground water flows; making it an essential asset for Ontarians.
Beyond being both a natural and essential resource for ground water flows, the Moraine is also home to a variety of diverse vegetation and wildlife species. In fact, the Moraine is home to over 1,000 plant species; 30 species of reptiles and amphibians; 51 mammal species; 73 fish species; and 74 species of butterfly—just to name a few!
Did you know, the Oak Ridges Moraine:
- Contains 32 municipalities, and 9 conservation authorities.
- Has over 40 non-government environmental organizations conducting work relating to the Moraine.
- Contains 125 distinct species of moss.
- Is home to over 70 dragonfly/damselfly species.
- Is home to 88 provincial/national at-risk species.
Also part of the Oak Ridges Moraine is Holland Marsh, which is referred to as 'Ontario's Vegetable Basket' because it produces not only a large volume of fresh vegetables for Ontarians to eat, but a wide variety of them as well.
Perhaps most importantly, the Oak Ridges Moraine represents the collaborative spirt of Ontario. While an ancient glacial relic itself, decades of various community-organized conservation efforts around the Oak Ridges Moraine date back to the 1940s, making the Moraine every bit a successful "social innovation" as much as an environmental initiative based on a 2014 study (https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol19/iss1/art48/#discussion14). Protecting the Oak Ridges Moraine from development has become a proud Ontario tradition for generations!
The reason for this continued pressure is due to the rapid population growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. As Canada's fastest growing region, nearly 9 million Ontarians (slightly less than 1/4 of Canada's population) reside within a 20 minute drive of some part of the Greenbelt - and that number is set to explode to 13.5 million people by 2041. As the Greater Toronto Area continues to grow and expand, the calls for access to more land will grow, but the Oak Ridges Moraine is so much more valuable to the Greater Golden Horseshoe than simple buildable land.
It feeds our families fresh locally-grown vegetables, it provides us with clean drinking water (over 20% of earth's fresh water is located in the Great Lakes water system, and over 6 million Ontarians depend on the Oak Ridges Moraine for clean water), it keeps farmers and food producers in business powering Ontario's economy, and it provides us with idyllic natural space which connects us to the timeless wonders of a living and breathing ecosystem as complex as the Oak Ridges Moraine.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21st, 2019
GREENBELT FOUNDATION AND PARK PEOPLE ANNOUNCE SECOND YEAR OF GREENBELT RIVER VALLEY CONNECTOR PROGRAM GRANTS
Five 2019 grantees were announced 9/21 at a launch event for City of Vaughan’s – Doctors McLean Urban River Valley Outreach Project.
CITY OF VAUGHAN – Greenbelt Foundation Program Director, Shelley Petrie, announced the five 2019 Greenbelt River Valley Connector program grantees at a launch event Saturday morning in Doctors McLean Park. The event was a celebration for City of Vaughan’s project, and an announcement of all five 2019 grantees: Corporation of City of Vaughan, Friends of the Rouge Watershed, Ontario
Streams, Bowmanville Valleys 2000, and the Riverwood Conservancy.
The Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program was initiated in 2018 as a partnership between the Greenbelt Foundation and Park People. The program is in its second of three years, and supports five municipalities, conservation authorities or other groups each year in running place-based projects that engage Ontario residents with the enhancement and enjoyment of their local urban river valley.
These river valleys, which have been Greenbelt protected since 2017, are critically important waterways that flow through Canada’s most developed region. They provide a protected source of clean drinking water for 9 million Ontarians, mitigate flood risk, provide integral greenspace, and act as a natural refuge for biodiversity.
“Our Greenbelt-protected urban river valleys and associated coastal wetlands provide vital natural infrastructure for our urban centres and rural communities,” says Edward McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Foundation. “In order to protect them and realize their potential for mitigating climate change impacts, we need to engage local citizens in their ongoing stewardship, which is exactly what the Connector Program is all about.”
“Last year, over 2000 people were engaged through this program. There was such great work happening across the GTA,” said Dave Harvey, Executive Director Park People. “We’re very excited to see the community impacts the projects will have this year.”
About The Greenbelt Foundation
The Greenbelt Foundation is the only charitable organization solely dedicated to ensuring that Ontario’s Greenbelt remains permanent, protected and prosperous. We make the right investments in its interconnected natural, agricultural and economic systems, to ensure a working, thriving Greenbelt for all.
About Park People
Park People supports and mobilizes community park groups, community organizers, non-profits, park professionals and funders who activate the power of parks. Through Canada-wide and city-specific programs and events, funding, resources, research and professional services we help realize the power of parks to build strong communities, healthy environments, and resilient cities.
When you are a newcomer the first months you spend in Canada can be a very busy and stressful time. Migratory process, settlement, finding a place to live, searching for a job or learning a new language are some of the challenges you face when you arrive in Canada. All this in an environment full of traffic, tall buildings, fast-changing weather and an intimidating city.
The Greenbelt Foundation’s Research & Policy team lead a group of newcomers/TDSB’ students into Rouge National Urban Park. We walked the Woodland Trail, a 4.5km roundtrip, through the woods alongside the Little Rouge Creek. For some of the students and the staff, it was their first time in the Greenbelt!
Are you a photographer? Do you know a photographer? The Greenbelt Foundation has partnered with the McMichael Art Collection of Canada to host a photo contest celebrating the Humber River Valley's 20th Anniversary as a Canadian Heritage River.
Added to the protected lands of the Greenbelt in 2017, the Humber River Valley is a critically important resource linking the rural lands of the Greenbelt to Lake Ontario, while traveling through one of the most densely populated areas in the country.