Westboro’s beloved Clare Gardens Park set to become butterfly haven thanks to City funding and partnership with Westboro CA and Dovercourt

Ottawa, March 29, 2022 – Clare Gardens Park is set to go back to its wilder ways. Back when it was designated a ‘bird sanctuary’ in 1960, this greenspace had a mature ecosystem with trees and wild vegetation that was teeming with birds and other wildlife. In 1970 this wild place became a park. Marshland was filled in, sod was laid and play structures were built. Thanks to our community, The Volunteer Gardeners of Clare Gardens Park have launched the Clare Gardens Park Butterflyway Project to “re-wild” the park by re-introducing Ottawa-area native wildflowers and shrubs.

“Our aim is to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, and create the habitat they need to make Clare Gardens Park their home,” says Deb Chapman, Coordinator of the Volunteer Gardeners of Clare Park, and a volunteer Butterflyway Ranger with the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. “We will be working with our community to create a greater awareness of the important role pollinators’ play in our neighbourhood’s ecosystem.

The Volunteer Gardeners will be working with Dr. Jessica Forrest, Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Ottawa, who specializes in the interaction between bees and plants. More long-term studies are needed to determine the diversity and the population size of Ottawa’s pollinators. The Gardeners hope to support Dr. Forrest’s long-term research efforts.

During the 2021 gardening season volunteers prepared designated beds for the mass wildflower plantings to begin in the spring of 2022. For the Volunteer Gardeners what has made the project especially special is the work contributed by youth.  Led by Grace McGarvie, Youth Brigade Team Leader, 10 teens worked tirelessly to remove invasive groundcovers, and generally tidied up garden beds for next spring’s wildflower plant-a-thon. Over the winter, volunteers will be planting and caring for seedlings that include butterflyweed, a number of varieties of goldenrod, pearly everlasting, and more.

The City of Ottawa generously provided financial support through the Community Environmental Projects Grant Program (CEPGP). The project is receiving administrative and volunteer support through the Dovercourt Recreation Association and the Westboro Community Association to make the Butterflyway project one of the largest pollinator gardens in Westboro. The Clare Gardens Park proposal to the CEPGP had the support of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Public Works and Environmental Services of the City of Ottawa, Mothercraft Ottawa and the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project. Mothercraft Ottawa will also help to create child-friendly tools about pollinators, and why it’s important not to pick wildflowers.

The Volunteer Gardeners have created and maintained the park’s garden beds for over 10 years.

For more information, please contact:

Deb Chapman

Cell: 613 804 1942

Email: volunteergardenersofclarepark@gmail.com

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