We were greeted by cheerful faces as we arrived in the cold, wet weather for the first depave event at Sheppard Public School. It was a great opportunity for community building while better managing rainwater and creating a beautiful space. News crews came out to document this historic event, the first ever in Waterloo Region. In an effort to to remove under-utilized pavement from urban spaces and replace it with green spaces, Depave Paradise Canada partnered with the environmental charity, Reep Green Solutions to bring the Depave program to Waterloo Region.  Sheppard public school was the first stop!

BEFORE: The area about to be transformed!

The day started with unpacking gear and setting up tables for volunteer registration, first aid and refreshments. The kids ensured that the timbits were distributed fairly and no one was excluded from the sugary treats. A quick team meeting got tasks assigned and positive energy flowing just in time for community members to start arriving. Evergreen provided some nature play activities to occupy the kids while their parents were busy depaving..  As the morning progressed and tasks began, the hot beverages would become essential for motivating community members.

Four work areas were set up for volunteers and their families.  Team 1 was the depavers.  In their steel-toed boots and heavy-duty gloves, they chewed through the pavement in a mere hour and a half filling a whole waste bin with slabs of asphalt.

Team 2 were the diggers.  Like industrious dwarves, they sifted through gravel pulling out the nuggets of tar-coated stones and pavement crumbles. Digging into the sodden ground, buckets and wheelbarrows full of gravelly clay soil was removed to improve drainage in the site.  It was amazing to see these superheroes clear out so much fill, shifting and heaving buckets into the bins.

Beside them Team 3 took up the sod with manual sod cutters to add more space for plants and an area for the students to relax during recess.  Like a plow with a horizontal knife, the sod cutters sliced grass right below the roots allowing strips of grass to be peeled off the soil.  It looked so easy, and then I tried it.  Not so easy!

Team 4 were the queens of the castle. They presided over the three waste bins helping to dump buckets and steer wheelbarrows.  They also ensured that no pavement contaminated the clean fill and no clean fill dirtied the pavement bins. While the parent volunteers did the hard labour, the kids were also hard at work! Setting up natural shelters using sticks and rope they were challenged to be creative and logistical. Volunteers were around to support and discuss the set up while the kids determined the function of their creation. A group of girls set up an entire campground, only missing the marshmallows!

 

Pizza arrived and everyone was excited to take a break. The energy at the break was high as volunteers chatted and marveled at the progress of the Depave. A hot chocolate refill arrived just in time to warm up the volunteers before getting back to work. Once the pizza was gone, the energy surged as we switched from clearing out the depave site to filling it in with dirt and mulch.  

A mountain of soil and mulch remained, waiting to breathe life back into the newly depaved areas. Parents, children (with their little shovels) and community volunteers got hard to work filling wheelbarrows to complete the job. Some children were more preoccupied with climbing the dirt piles and made for a playful environment amidst the laborious task at hand. Who would be able to fill their wheelbarrows the fastest? A little friendly competition between depavers made the experience all the more cheerful and productive.

Some hours later and after much hard work and determination, the never-ending pile of soil seemed to be finally clearing. A couple more hours passed and after countless mulch-filled wheelbarrow trips, the depaved areas began to resemble the precursor of a lively green space more and more.

By 5pm, the tasks were complete, and volunteers were finally able to marvel at the fruits of their labour, making the entire experience well-worth the end results.  Overall, the depave as a community building event was a success! Volunteers, young and young at heart, all engaged with one another to complete the project which would beautify the school yard, keep the area cool in summer, add shade, manage stormwater runoff and countless other benefits. Knowing all this, even with the gloomy weather there was a ray of sunshine at Sheppard Public school!  

 

Depave in the News!

Students plant trees at former paved playground – CTV Kitchener

Transforming asphalt into a green play space – CTV Kitchener

‘Schlepping wet dirt’ key to environmental renewal in Waterloo Region – The Record

 

By: Heather McDiarmid, Pamela Kisun, Jamylynn McDonald

Photography: Christine Tan

 

EVENT DETAILS

planting a rain garden

Learn ways to add landscape solutions like rain gardens, bioswales, and trees into your yard. See first-hand the gardens at Avenue Road Baptist Church that are designed to soak up and filter stormwater.

Tour the rain garden and row of trees that reduce water runoff into the newly revamped stormwater pond.  We will discuss actions that can reduce runoff from our properties and help to protect our local water ways, such as nearby Shade’s Mills Pond.

Date/Time: Saturday October 13th, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Location: Avenue Road Baptist Church (465 Avenue Rd, Cambridge, ON N1R 5S4)
Registration: Free (space is limited so reserve your spot)
Light refreshments provided

Presenter: Becca Robinson, RAIN Coach, Reep Green Solutions

Photo of Becca, RAIN CoachBecca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions.  Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (DRIWR).

She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

Workshop Funders and Partners:

 

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, City of Cambridge and Avenue Road Baptist Church

REGISTRATION

EVENT DETAILS

Homeowner beside their downspout

“I am a new homeowner and a bit of a newbie when it comes to home improvements. What I learned made things clear about what I could do to get the water away from my foundation.” -Brandie, Kitchener

Intense rainfalls, heavy winds, ice storms, winter thaws… unpredictable weather puts our homes at risk for damp, flooded basements, backyard ponding, and property damage.

Join us for an informative walk around the Fiddlesticks Community Centre and learn the vital steps to protect your own home from water damage.

Date/Time: Tuesday, October 2nd, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Fiddlesticks Community Centre (71 Cowan Blvd, Cambridge, ON N1T 1K7)
Registration: Free (space is limited so reserve your spot)
Light refreshments provided
Presenter: Michael Albanese, RAIN Home Visit Guide, Reep Green Solutions

Photo of the presenter, Michael

Michael Albanese is an experienced RAIN Home Visit Guide who has helped hundreds of homeowners to address drainage problems and educate them about green infrastructure, including rain gardens, permeable paving and rainwater harvesting. Michael graduated from University of Waterloo in the Geography and Environmental Management program and is currently completing the Landscape Design program at Ryerson University.

Workshop Funders and partners:

Registration

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

Join us for a work party to build a rain garden! This rain garden will provide habitat for wildlife, attractive native pollinators like bees and butterflies and encourage rainwater to replenish the ground water, reducing pollution.

Join us anytime between 9am – 3pm, remember to wear closed toed shoes and dress for the weather! No requirements to join the party, everyone is welcome to help out! Nothing is required for participation except an appetite as our host will be providing lunch for all volunteers.

RAIN Coach Becca Robinson will guide participants, step by step, through the construction of a rain garden. Following a short educational presentation on rain gardens at 10 am, participants are invited to help create a beautiful rain garden that will soak up storm-water that would otherwise run-off.

Rain gardens are constructed to capture a large volume of water. Rain gardens differ from conventional gardens because they are dug out and filled with a special soil/compost mixture, enabling the garden to act like a sponge. Learn step by step how to construct a rain garden to maximize its ability to capture water, while also enhancing and beautifying your outdoor space!

This workshop is part of our RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project, in which two Kitchener neighbourhoods – Lakeside and Mount Hope – are receiving support to beautify their homes with landscapes that manage rain where it falls. If you live in one of these neighbourhoods, get in touch to see how we can help you make your home more RAIN Smart!

 A TIMELINE OF THE DAY’S EVENTS

(times are approximate)

  • 9:00 am – 10:00 am Digging out the rain garden
  • 10:00 am – 10:15 am: Presentation about rain gardens
  • 10:15 am – 11:15 am: Refilling the rain garden with special soil/compost mix
  • 11:15 am – 12:00 pm: Break for lunch
  • 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Planting plants, adding mulch, watering plants
  • 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Cleaning up

PRESENTERS

  • Becca Robinson, RAIN Coach, Reep Green Solutions
  • Patrick Gilbride, RAIN Program Manager, Reep Green Solutions

 

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage you to use a sustainable form of transportation such as walking, cycling or carpool.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

City of KitchenerGreen Communities Canada

 

 

 

 

WITH FUNDING PROVIDED BY

 

 

 

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION

Join us for a work party to build a rain garden! This rain garden will provide habitat for wildlife, attractive native pollinators like bees and butterflies and encourage rainwater to replenish the ground water, reducing pollution.

RAIN Coach Michael Albanese will guide participants, step by step, through the construction of a rain garden. Following a short educational presentation on rain gardens at 10 am, participants are invited to help create a beautiful rain garden that will soak up storm-water that would otherwise run-off.

Rain gardens are constructed to capture a large volume of water. Rain gardens differ from conventional gardens because they are dug out and filled with a special soil/compost mixture, enabling the garden to act like a sponge. Learn step by step how to construct a rain garden to maximize its ability to capture water, while also enhancing and beautifying your outdoor space!

This workshop is part of our RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project, in which two Kitchener neighbourhoods – Lakeside and Mount Hope – are receiving support to beautify their homes with landscapes that manage rain where it falls. If you live in one of these neighbourhoods, get in touch to see how we can help you make your home more RAIN Smart!

A TIMELINE OF THE DAY’S EVENTS

June 2, 2018 | 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

(times are approximate)

  • 10:00 am – 10:15 am: Presentation about rain gardens
  • 10:15 am – 11:30 am: Digging out the rain garden
  • 11:30 am – 12:15 pm: Refilling the rain garden with special soil/compost mix
  • 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm: Break for lunch
  • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Planting plants, adding mulch, watering plants
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Cleaning up

PRESENTERS

  • Michael Albanese, RAIN Coach, Reep Green Solutions
  • Patrick Gilbride, RAIN Program Manager, Reep Green Solutions

 

 

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage you to use a sustainable form of transportation such as walking, cycling or carpool.

 

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

City of KitchenerGreen Communities Canada

 

 

 

WITH FUNDING PROVIDED BY:

 

 

Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning

This workshop will give you an introduction to designing beautiful, functional, and healthy yards that are rain smart and beneficial to nature and people alike.

taking notes on rain garden design

The workshop will focus on rain smart techniques and the best places to integrate them into your outdoor space, including:

  • rain gardens
  • naturalized landscaping
  • infiltration galleries
  • rainwater harvesting
  • permeable pavement
  • other aspects of healthy yards, such as attracting bees and butterflies

We will print out an aerial map of your property in advance. After a brief overview, you will be guided through the process of analyzing your property to determine what healthy yard features would work best for your space and lifestyle. We will sketch out your ideas to give you a sense of the size and scope of your project(s). You will leave the workshop with a basic plan for your yard and additional resources to help implement your healthy yard project. The design sketch can help to facilitate discussion with a contractor or form the basis of the plan to do it yourself. If you want help developing a more detailed plan, register for the next workshop in the series Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 7:00 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 7:20 – 9:00 p.m.

This workshop is a repeats of the workshop on Saturday March 17. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

COACH Series

This is a new series of events featuring our resident experts in home energy efficiency, RAIN Smart Homes and waste reduction.

Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden

This workshop is perfect for Do-it-Yourselfers who have an early-stage plan for their healthy yard and desire additional design support to fulfill their vision for a healthy yard.  We will build upon the concepts and principles learned in Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning and guide you through a more detailed design for your healthy yard project(s).

Boulevard garden and Little Library

The workshop will focus on planting design and project planning for rain gardens and naturalized landscapes, as well as topics such as:

  • planting for year round interest
  • the best plants for rain gardens
  • harvesting rain to water plants
  • materials calculations (i.e. compost, sand, mulch)

Participants will leave with a planting design for a part (or all) of their yard and a shopping list for plants and related materials required to implement the project successfully.

Come with a specific gardening project in mind, including its size and location. This could possibly be developed during the Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning workshop or through a RAIN Coach consultation.  We will develop a scaled drawing of your garden during the workshop to effectively determine the number of plants and other materials you will require, so knowledge of the dimensions, sun exposure, and soil conditions (wet, dry, or moist or sand, silt or clay) will be helpful.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 1:50 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Open House: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop repeats on Wednesday April 18 at 7pm. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.  She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

Healthy Yards: Idea Spark & Planning

This workshop will give you an introduction to designing beautiful, functional, and healthy yards that are rain smart and beneficial to nature and people alike.

taking notes on rain garden design

The workshop will focus on rain smart techniques and the best places to integrate them into your outdoor space, including:

  • rain gardens
  • naturalized landscaping
  • infiltration galleries
  • rainwater harvesting
  • permeable pavement
  • other aspects of healthy yards, such as attracting bees and butterflies

We will print out an aerial map of your property in advance. After a brief overview, you will be guided through the process of analyzing your property to determine what healthy yard features would work best for your space and lifestyle. We will sketch out your ideas to give you a sense of the size and scope of your project(s). You will leave the workshop with a basic plan for your yard and additional resources to help implement your healthy yard project. The design sketch can help to facilitate discussion with a contractor or form the basis of the plan to do it yourself. If you want help developing a more detailed plan, register for the next workshop in the series Healthy Yards: Designing Your Garden.

AGENDA

  • Presentation: 1:30 p.m.
  • Design Exercise: 1:50 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Open House: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

This workshop repeats on Wednesday April 11 at 7pm. Choose the date that is most convenient for you. Space is limited

PRESENTED BY OUR RAIN COACH

Becca Robinson is the Principal Designer and Owner of Grow and Gather Design (www.growandgatherdesign.com) and is currently the RAIN Coach for REEP Green Solutions. Her practice of landscape architecture centres around the creation of places that promote and celebrate the benefits of interacting with nature.

She has been the landscape designer for prestigious projects such as Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre, a City of Edinburgh park adjacent to the Holyrood Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.  She has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from University of Michigan and a B.S. in Environmental Science from University of North Carolina.

In partnership with

We would like to acknowledge our project partners, the City of Kitchener, Partners for Action from the University of Waterloo, and Green Communities Canada.
City of Kitchener Print rain_partner-logos_gcc

With funding provided by:

This project is funded through a donation from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) that supports projects that contribute to healthy and vibrant Ontario communities.
Ontario Trillium Foundation

TRANSPORTATION

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail and we have a bike rack.

It is also easily accessible by GRT bus routes that use Queen and have stops near Mill St. If you drive, please consider carpooling with others you know are attending.

Since the house only has a few parking spots, we have arranged for parking spaces in the Schneider Haus lot around the corner on Queen St. S.

Presenters

  • Becca Robinson, RAIN Coach, Reep Green Solutions
  • Patrick Gilbride, RAIN Program Manager, Reep Green Solutions

Workshop Description

St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of ecologists. So it is only appropriate that the community will come together to build a rain garden at the church named in his honour. The rain garden will provide habitat for wildlife and inspire others in the neighbourhood to help protect the environment. RAIN Coach Becca Robinson will guide participants, step by step, through the construction of a rain garden. Following a short educational presentation on rain gardens at 10 am, participants are invited to help convert an unused patch of grass into a rain garden that will soak up stormwater that would otherwise run-off.

Rain gardens are constructed to capture a large volume of water. Rain gardens differ from conventional gardens because they are dug out and filled with a special soil/compost mixture, enabling the garden to act like a sponge. Learn step by step how to construct a rain garden to maximize its ability to capture water, while also enhancing and beautifying your outdoor space!

This workshop is part of our RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project, in which two Kitchener neighbourhoods – Lakeside and Mount Hope – are receiving support to beautify their homes with landscapes that manage rain where it falls. If you live in one of these neighbourhoods, get in touch to see how we can help you make your home more RAIN Smart!

A timeline of the day’s events

(times are approximate)

  • 10:00 am – 10:15 am: Presentation about rain gardens
  • 10:15 am – 11:30 am: Digging out the rain garden
  • 11:30 am – 12:15 pm: Refilling the rain garden with special soil/compost mix
  • 12:15 pm – 1:00 pm: Break for lunch
  • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Planting plants, adding mulch, watering plants
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Cleaning up

Transportation

We encourage you to use a sustainable form of transportation such as walking, cycling or carpool.

Parking is available in the church parking lot for free.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

City of Kitchener                  Print                 rain_partner-logos_gcc

WITH FUNDING PROVIDED BY:

Ontario Trillium Foundation

 

 

 

Here’s one of the stories that we share in our 2017 Report to the Community about how we help you live sustainably.

When more than 100 people arrived to kick off the Front Yard Makeover contest in June 2016, we could see the benefits of working with neighbourhoods to manage rain. Word of the contest had spread and neighbours came together to learn about the $30,000 in prizes available.

The event also officially launched the RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project in Kitchener’s Lakeside and Mount Hope neighbourhoods. “As our climate changes, we’re experiencing more intense rains that increase the threat of water invading our homes, flooding our neighbourhoods and carrying pollution into our lakes, rivers, and streams,” said Patrick Gilbride, RAIN program manager. “By concentrating our efforts at a neighbourhood level, not only will individual homes be rain ready but collectively the whole neighbourhood will enjoy the benefit of being protected from the cumulative effort.”

More than 300 people entered the contest that featured a first grand prize of a $10,000 front yard makeover in each neighbourhood and a $1,500 second grand prize. Steven and Jessica bought their first home and moved in a little over a year ago. The choice of neighbourhood they lived in was just as important as the home itself. They wanted to live in a community where people were friendly and socially active. With that in mind, they wanted to make their front yard into a place that could be a conversation starter and where they could interact with their neighbours.

Winning the second grand prize meant that Steven and Jessica Reesor-Rempel could turn their hopes into reality. After consulting RAIN Coach Becca Robinson, they decided the best way to accomplish their goals and have a rain smart home was to install a rain garden. In spring 2017, a work party consisting of family, friends, neighbours and volunteers helped them to transform their yard.

“We’ve already noticed a difference. We’ve had some heavy rains but more of it is staying on our property instead of finding its way onto our neighbours’ properties or picking up pollution on its way into the storm sewer”, said Jessica Reesor-Rempel. “And hanging out in our front yard and interacting with our neighbours more has helped us to create a greater sense of belonging in our neighbourhood.”

This video shows the creation of Steven and Jessica’s rain garden:

The three-year RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project continues until the end of 2018, working with both Lakeside and Mount Hope residents. We help them manage the rain landing on their property so that it does not contribute to a neighbour’s wet basement or to any flooding down the street after heavy rain. Through the project, homeowners take advantage of incentives that encourage action on their own property for the benefit of the whole community.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation, which is an agency of the Government of Ontario, funds the project. Partners in the program are Partners For Action, Green Communities Canada and the City of Kitchener, which also provides funding.


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