Winter 2013 – Community Leadership Project

Students in the Winter 2013 semester of the Common First Semester Leadership in the Environment course will be participating in the following Community Leadership Projects:

United Way

Creation of an Accessible Garden: The United Way would like to create an accessible community garden in a special project entitled Neighbourhood Bounty. This community garden will be unique because the emphasis is on being accessible for residents of the City Of Kawartha Lakes who are differently-abled. Ask the United Way representative for background information about size, location, contents of the garden, target audience, etc. With this information in mind, what features could be a part of this type of garden? Research other examples of accessible gardens to determine practical elements in terms of structure and design. Focus on elements of accessibility (pathways large enough to accommodate wheelchairs, raised beds, etc). Also, make recommendations about what should be planted in order to allow everyone who is differently-abled to participate in gardening (for example, plants with brightly coloured flowers and/or strong fragrances for those with limited vision). Provide design examples, explaining why each plant, feature or design element is appropriate for a fully accessible garden. Advocate for funds to help create an accessible community garden.

Fenelon Falls Social Infrastructure Team

Public Green Technology: The Fenelon Falls Social Infrastructure Team is a specific response to the larger Fenelon Falls Business Retention and Expansion Project – a joint initiative of the Fenelon Falls & District Chamber of Commerce and the City of Kawartha Lakes – in which local businesses and residents identified the need for enhanced social infrastructure in Fenelon Falls. Taking action on social infrastructure was determined to be key to the community’s growth and development especially to appeal to a wide variety of new residents of all ages. To this end, the Social Infrastructure Team has conducted an initial scan of existing social infrastructure and identified several gaps.

One of these gaps is the lack of public green technology (i.e. bicycle racks) in Fenelon Falls. Identify and document areas where public green technology is lacking in Fenelon Falls. With the guidance of the FFSI Team, consult with local experts, businesses and stakeholders to determine the wants and needs of the community in terms of public green technology. Investigate and assess best practices in the area of public green technology. Present your findings, detailing what is lacking/what already exists, what are the needs and wants of the community, and make recommendations for future expansion of public green technology based on these factors as well as the successful use of green technology in public spaces in other communities. Attach this information to your grant application in a brief report. Advocate for funding to help the Fenelon Falls Social Infrastructure Team with their work expanding the use of public green technology in Fenelon Falls.

Kawartha Field Naturalists

Family Field Trips/ Junior Field Naturalists Club: The Kawartha Field Naturalists has a program called Family Field Trips. This program is delivered at local natural areas. The organization publicized this program by speaking with the parent councils for two City of Kawartha Lakes elementary schools. Through these presentations they were able to conduct a field trip for the Eco Club from one of these schools. The Kawartha Field Naturalists also conducted weekend family outings with their Family Field Trips program. Unfortunately, these were not well attended. They would like improve the promotion and delivery of this program, with the goal of encouraging young families to join their organization. We want to work with these families to establish a Junior Kawartha Field Naturalists Club.

Find out from the organization what they teach to families at these events. Are there any ways that this program can be improved in terms of content and delivery that may help increase attendance? What can be done to improve promotion of Family Field Trips to make it easy for young families to get involved?  Provide supporting documentation detailing your ideas and how they can be implemented. Advocate for funds to assist with the promotion of this program and the establishment of a Junior Kawartha Field Naturalists Club.

Lindsay and District Community Gardeners

Garden Accessibility Project: Lindsay and District Community Gardeners mission is to provide opportunities for gardeners of all ages and abilities, and to promote the enjoyment of sustainable gardening for the food it produces, the physical activity it requires, the environmental benefits it generates, and the social connections it can cultivate. The organization will pursue this mission by providing a safe space, facilities and information, and by eliminating barriers, economic or physical, that might prevent potential gardeners from full participation.

 In order to eliminate barriers for individuals with physical challenges, a portion of the garden adjacent to the entrance will be re-developed. Look at plans and pictures of the Community Garden in its current format and redesign the designated section to make it more accessible. Among the features to be incorporated should be a wheelchair navigable pathway (densely-packed limestone screenings or paved surface), large raised planters, and plantings that include plants with interesting textures and fragrant herbs. (Montreal Botanical Gardens provides one model for this). Create a design plan for this segment of the garden, and provide supporting documentation (ie examples of other gardens, photographs) explaining why these design features should be incorporated into the garden to improve accessibility. Determine the best way the $750 grant can be used to make this project a reality and advocate for the grant on behalf of the Lindsay and District Community Gardeners.

Bee’s Knees: Biodiversity Enhancement: Lindsay and District Community Gardeners mission is to provide opportunities for gardeners of all ages and abilities, and to promote the enjoyment of sustainable gardening for the food it produces, the physical activity it requires, the environmental benefits it generates, and the social connections it can cultivate. The organization will pursue this mission by providing a safe space, facilities and information, and by eliminating barriers, economic or physical, that might prevent potential gardeners from full participation.

The Community Garden has an increasingly diverse botanical assortment, but to complement this they would like to attract a diverse variety of fauna, in particular pollinators and other beneficial insects, but also birds, amphibians (toads), reptiles (garter snakes) and mammals (bats).

 Among the measures that could be taken to attract a variety of fauna would be the following:

  • creation of the invertebrate habitats or insect-houses common in European gardens (structures providing nesting for native bumblebees and solitary bees, etc.)
  • protection of existing garter snake hibernaculum
  • creation of toad-houses
  • installation of bat-houses and bird-boxes

 Research these options to determine which would be the best options for the Community Garden. Are there other ways of attracting fauna that could be used? Keeping the $750 grant in mind, create a plan for implementing these measures, considering what would be a priority if the grant was received, and what could be added at a later date. Provide supporting documentation to explain your choices. Advocate for the funding to help the Lindsay and District Community Gardeners further diversify the fauna in the Community Garden.

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