We would like to start this newsletter by acknowledging that the City of Guelph, where the 2Rivers Festival takes place, is situated within the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Lands between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Here in these river valleys we have learned that the Attawandaron or neutral peoples were also among the original stewards. We’d like to recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land and the history of the First Nations peoples and neighbouring First Nation, Métis and Inuit. Today there are a wide number of Indigenous peoples who call this territory home under the Haldimand Tract Treaty with the Mississaugas of New Credit.
We want to express solidarity with the 88 First Nations communities in Ontario currently under drinking water advisories.
2Rivers Festival News
Recognizing Challenging Times
In the face of the ever-changing landscape on the impacts of Covid19, we want to express deep gratitude for the innate nature of humans and indeed of all of life - to be resilient and adaptive. We also want to express gratitude for the amazing communities we are a part of and this 2Rivers Festival community, which you are an essential part of. In challenging times, our best selves are often called upon to take care, make good decisions and to look after one another.
Many events and community meetings have been postponed in an effort to stop the spread of Covid19. As this every-changing situation unfolds, please stay tuned to see how our events for the 2Rivers Festival 2020 may be adapted.
Welcoming a New 2Rivers Festival Celebration Event: Tributary to the Rivers
Submit your song inspired by the Speed, Eramosa, or Grand Rivers to info@wellingtonwaterwatchers before June 1, 2020. Finalists will preform a confluence of songs on June 27, 2020 at the Boathouse in Guelph. Special guest judges will select first, second, and third prize winners. There will be food trucks, local beer and wine, face painting, and more!
All songs must be original songs inspired by the Speed, the Eramosa, or the Grand River. Bring a lawn chair or blanket! Prizes will be awarded to the winners on the day of the competition. Winners will be decided by our panel of judges. Find out more here!
🌾 One First Prize 🌾
A full day of recording time at Copper Sound Studio to record the song. This will include mixing and mastering.
🌾 Two Second Prizes 🌾
1) A weekend pass for 2 to Hillside Festival.
2) A weekend pass for 2 to Riverfest Elora.
🌾 Three Third Prizes🌾
Gift packages from Lush Cosmetics.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Our 1st Every Festival Sponsor is the Guelph Outdoor School
Special thanks to the Guelph Outdoor School for choosing to be our one and only Festival Sponsor for 2020! The Guelph Outdoor School provides a dynamic, full nature immersion learning environment and active mentorship for powerful results in all areas of development: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, academic. Their generous donation has contributed to our ability or organize the Festival this year!
Meet the Steering Committee
Social Media and Communications Coordinator
"I've been involved with the 2Rivers Festival since 2017. Since then, I've learned more about biodiversity and the histories of the Speed and Eramosa Rivers. I've also been privileged to get to know other engaged community members.
I love living near the rivers in the City of Guelph and having an opportunity to help connect others with nature."
If you'd like to become a member of the Steering Committee, email us at [email protected]!
And follow 2RiversFestival on Facebook and Twitter!
River Droplets – fun facts about our 2Rivers
- Did you know, in 1851 there was a large flock of pigeons nesting in the woods of Wells Island in the Speed River opposite the mouth of the Silver Creek (near the Sleeman House on Waterloo Avenue).As a child, Dr. Howitt’s job in October was to beat away clouds of birds eating grain, (60,000 bushels of grain were needed to feed a flock).
- Did you know, in 1835 there was an immense rookery of passenger pigeons along the Speed to Rockwood? There were so many pigeons that trees were broken down by their weight. If a farmer wanted pigeons for a pi, he could wave a fishing pole among them and knock them down.
- Did you know, in 1855 the last rookery was in Hatch’s Swamp near Guelph Collegiate? By 1859, the passenger pigeons had disappeared from Guelph area. The last one seen alive was in 1881 on a tree near the present Reformatory site.
Upcoming Events Along the River
This month we are focusing on ways you can enjoy nature at while maintaining physical distance from others to stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay safe everyone!
Explore Yorklands Scavenger Hunt
Hosted by Yorklands Green Hub
Exercise and being in nature can help pass the time during self-isolation. Try this scavenger hunt on the Yorklands Green Hub site (785 York Road) and remember to practice social distancing! Message Yorklands Green Hub on Facebook or Twitter with your results. Good luck!
Free Environmental Education for your Kids
Hosted by Earth Rangers
Earth Rangers is the kids’ conservation organization, dedicated to educating children and their families about biodiversity, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviours and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting animals and their habitats. Follow Earth Rangers on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for Daily Eco Activities!
Report a Plant or Animal Species Online
Hosted by Grand River Conservation Authority
Checklists for the Grand River watershed have been compiled for two groups of species (birds and herpetofauna) and can be viewed by clicking the links below. These checklists include species known to be present and species that occurred historically only. If you enjoy nature and would like to report species that you see within our watershed, please do so online at www.iNaturalist.org and look for the project called "Grand River Conservation Authority!"
Enter the Water Docs Colouring Challenge
Hosted by Water Docs
Looking for a fun activity to do as a family while we’re all staying at home? Water Docs wants to brighten up the “walls” of their website with your artwork, so they've created a beautiful colouring sheet you can download here! They’ll be accepting entries throughout the month of April. #ActionForWater.
Nature's Always Open. Check out these 10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Nature on Our Banks
Spring Awakenings: Plants, Birds and Bugs
- ThThe first flower you notice will probably be yellow, as Coltsfoot, an introduced species, will bloom along lowland margins, followed by the native Marsh Marigold.
- Skunk Cabbage will also bloom along those margins, often melting away any late snowfall from around its flowers through a process called thermogenesis.
- Wild Leek is one of the first herbs to sprout new leaves in the spring, sometimes dusted by late snow on the forest floor.
Aspen and Speckled Alder catkins will be added to those of the willows, and those aromatic Balsam Poplar buds may be opening.
- Around the schoolyard, look for early growth from planted bulbs such as crocuses and snow drops, and ‘weeds’ like Birdseye Speedwell.
- While out exploring local habitats for spring flowers keep your eyes peeled for an early plant that is entirely unwelcome! Garlic Mustard is a very plain invasive species compared to other “show off” plants like Purple Loosestrife so it is often overlooked during the first year of its biennial life cycle.
- Returning Tree Swallows may be found swooping low over open water (video). Since they are largely insect eaters, this means that aquatic insects may be beginning to rise and ‘hatch’ into their adult forms.
- The swallows are likely eating midges, several species of small, dark flies that look like mosquitoes with large, feathery antennae. Look for clouds of them hovering over trees, shrubs, or other objects near water. These are males.
- A sugar bush late in the month is a good place to find spring insects that are attracted to the sweet sap. Bees, ladybugs, tortoiseshell butterflies (closed), flies and moths can all be found.
Look for returning Turkey Vultures, American Woodcocks, Belted Kingfishers , Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes, Northern Flickers and Golden-crowned Kinglets, among many others.
Wolves, Coyotes, Red Foxes and Gray Squirrels are beginning to give birth.
- The Spring equinox occurred on the 19th or 20th. Both Mercury and Venus were farthest from the sun on the 24th, but are visible about 12 hours apart and on opposite sides of the sky.
Updates from Wellington Water Watchers
New #WaterForLifeNotProfit Billboard
Wellington Water Watchers unveiled a new image on the billboard on Gordon Street in Guelph not far from Nestlé Waters Canada. The new billboard is in recognition of World Water Day, which was March 22nd.
The idyllic scene, painted by artist Lanny Shereck, depicts a solo canoeist on a lake with the title “Don’t Let Nestlé take this away”. Lanny understands that Nestlé Waters Canada water extraction does not literally drain a local lake.
However, Lanny says “These words and this painting are an expression of an anxiety about the loss of our natural world due to the actions of corporations like Nestle, including depleting and destabilizing our precious and beautiful Ontario waters and littering our waterways and oceans with plastic bottles. This metaphorical image is a reminder of what we stand to lose”.
It cost $1116.44 to produce and install the billboard. Please make a donation to support this public “#SayNOToNestlé statement.” You can make a $250+ donation and receive a tax receipt or make a donation of less than $250 - both are greatly appreciated!
Community Events Postponed
Wellington Water Watchers are cancelling all community meetings and events until further notice due to COVID-19. The World Water Day event to honour Hugh Whiteley with a Lifetime Achievement Award will be rescheduled. We will host this amazing event when it will be safe to do for our community. Check out the trailer for the short documentary honouring Hugh.
This is a great opportunity to make some important parallels. COVID19 like climate change cannot be ‘managed’ or ‘mitigated’ through individual action. Both require well-funded public health care systems and social solidarity. As we work together to meet the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic let us also reflect on what this means for meeting the future challenges of the climate emergency.
Stay well, everyone.
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'Bluebelt' in the Greenbelt
The Greenbelt turned 15 years old last month!
On February 28, 2005, the Greenbelt Act was passed by the Ontario government, creating the world’s largest Greenbelt. Permanently protecting 2 million acres of remarkably productive farmland and environmentally sensitive areas is a hard-won victory and lasting shared legacy that will continue to deliver health, prosperity, and climate resilience to one of North America’s fastest growing regions – the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
As the Greenbelt enters its 15th year, public support for its continued protection has never been higher. There is widespread acknowledgement that the Greenbelt’s farmland, forests, wetlands and rivers, are all working together to provide us with clean air, fresh water and a reliable, local food source. Permanent protection of the Greenbelt continues to be crucial to preparing the Greater Golden Horseshoe for the impacts of climate change.
Content from Greenbelt Foundation.
Other ways to Help...
Doing the work to safeguard our water requires all hands on deck. We are all Water Watchers!
Please give of your time or money generously. Make us stronger. Make us more powerful. And let’s defend our waters together.
If you are richer in time then money, please volunteer!
If you are richer in money than time, please donate!
For our waters,
Wellington Water Watchers · Canada
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