The world is changing – are you changing with it? Join experts in renewable energy installations and green investments to see what you can do in your home and life to reduce your energy bills, save money or invest in the green economy. Whether you own a home, rent or are interested in investing in the future, this panel discussion is for you!

We all have a role in achieving the low-carbon transition – start by installing practical renewable energy projects or investing in them. Join us in this lively panel discussion event with experts who will teach us how to reduce our carbon footprints and retrofit our homes!

AGENDA

Date: Saturday, November 16th

Panel: 1:30 – 2:15 p.m.

Q&A: 2:15 – 2:30 p.m.

Open House: 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

  • Check out the renewable energy demonstrations all over the Reep House for Sustainable Living

 

REGISTER

 

PANEL

Scott Cooper – Merlyn Power Founder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott has extensive experience in home efficiency improvement through his time as an Energy Advisor (2003-2011) is the principal of Merlyn Power (2003 to present). He is a Waterloo Engineering graduate and longtime resident of Kitchener, living in an ever improving century house.

Check out Merlyn Power’s website to learn more about solar power!

 

Brian Unrau – President of Community Energy Development Co-operative Ltd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since 2012, he has led the Co-op through the development of a $45 million portfolio of solar projects. This has included taking CED Co-op ‘public’, the first co-op in Canada to do achieve this. The solar portfolio is set to produce over 250 million kWh of clean energy over the next 20 years.

Check out CED Co-op’s websitefacebooktwitter, and linkedin to learn more about sustainable investing!

 

Jim Bolger – Waterloo Energy Products

Jim is the Owner & President of Waterloo Energy Products, an industry leading turnkey Mechanical System Design/ Build Installation Contractor in Residential, Commercial, and Industrial HVAC and Renewable Energy Sector. Jim strives to help home and business owners across Ontario achieve “Best Fit” solutions for Energy Conservation and Efficient HVAC Solutions. Jim stands as current President on the Ontario Geothermal Association Board of Directors representing the Geothermal Industry in Advocacy, Education and Technology Awareness.

Transportation

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail. 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.

Parking

You are welcome to use Schneider Ave or David Street parking. The Victoria Park Pavilion parking lot is also free to use and only a few minutes walk to the Reep House. Please do not park at the Schneider Haus or Mitchell St lots (click to enlarge map)

Photo Notice

By your entry, you consent to the possibility of being included in the footage and to the purposes for which it may be used: to publicize the event taking place in this area and/or to promote Reep Green Solutions. Individual participants will not be identified without their consent. Reep Green Solutions has exclusive rights to and ownership of this multimedia footage. Speak with the staff/volunteers if you would like to opt-out of appearing in photo/video. Contact [email protected] if you have questions or concerns.

 

Depave Paradise (a program of Reep Green Solutions) will lead the Keatsway Public School community in transforming an underutilized area of tarmac into green space.

Waterloo, ON. On Saturday November 9th, Keatsway Public School in Waterloo, volunteers will use pry bars to literally lift up the tarmac by hand to create a naturalized green space in the school playground. The project will eventually add trees, capture rainwater and showcase a more sustainable way to manage stormwater in urban areas through a program called Depave Paradise. This Depave project is part of an exciting new trend of neighbourhood work bees that renew underutilized, hard urban spaces across Canada.

Students, teachers, parents from the school, and volunteers from the surrounding neighbourhood will gather on Saturday to tear up the asphalt. It is the first step in the process of planting shade trees and adding some green space for the students of Keatsway Public School. Grade 5-6 students from the school conducted a shade audit in the spring and used the information to come up with their own designs for the space. The students will get to see their designs come to life starting Saturday.

“Our students have already learned a lot from doing this project and are deeply invested in the outcome. We have recently lost several trees because of Emerald Ash Borer so the new trees will add some much needed shade in the playground. It will also create a contemplative space for kids to enjoy nature in the City.” Penny Miller Principal, Keatsway Public School.

“Hard surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots and buildings interrupt the natural water cycle. They also create heat islands in our urban centres. By removing pavement and replacing it with trees and native plants we are allowing water to soak in naturally, and can provide shaded spaces in our urban environment,” Patrick Gilbride of Reep Green Solutions explains. Stormwater is the rain or snow that falls on cities and towns and eventually washes into our storm drains. Along the way it picks up a host of toxic chemicals, bacteria, and contaminants like oil, grease, pet waste, litter and salt. These things mix with the water that then proceeds to flow through our drains, untreated, back into rivers and lakes. The Depave Paradise project of Reep Green Solutions seeks to rally the community around increasing green space and educating the next generation on water protection.

Funding for the project has been provided by Region of Waterloo Community Environmental Fund and Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). This is just the beginning of Depave, OTF awarded more than $120 million to some 700 projects this year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities and this project in Waterloo will encourage greener infrastructure in Waterloo Region and showcase the power of community mobilization for a greener future.

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Reep Green Solutions is an environmental charity based in the Waterloo Region committed to helping people live sustainably. Reep offers home energy, waste reduction, water conservation and healthy yards services.  You may also contact Donnique Williams, [email protected], 519-744-6583 ext. 222, for additional comments

 

Funders and Partners

 

Building on the success of the Project Neutral tool in Waterloo Region, Reep Green Solutions and University of Waterloo will research the impact of the carbon calculating tool on local action on climate change.

In June 2018, Reep Green Solutions brought Project Neutral to Waterloo Region. Project Neutral, a project of Tides Canada, allows users to calculate the carbon emissions associated with their lifestyle, including home energy, daily transportation, travel, food, and waste.
Since then, the Project Neutral platform has been shared at workshops and community events across the region, resulting in over 600 users discovering their household carbon footprint.

Today, the project is breaking new ground again in a collaborative research partnership with the University of Waterloo. The UW-Reep research team will be exploring the success of the Project Neutral tool as a channel for engaging people in effective, practical climate action. This innovative project looks to fill the gap between climate change awareness and meaningful personal climate action, with a goal to make climate action relevant and accessible for every single person in Waterloo Region.

With support from the Region of Waterloo, and a successful pitch at Social Venture Partners’ Perfect Pitch competition, the Project Neutral-Reep partnership has gained momentum in the community, increasing capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and normalize low-carbon lifestyles in Waterloo Region.

Even with its growing popularity in Waterloo Region, the Project Neutral engagement tool opens up new questions about people’s motivations to reduce their household impact. “We’re really excited about what this research collaboration will reveal,” explained PhD Candidate Nicholas Palaschuk, “We know that engaging 600 households has had an impact, but we want to explore how big an impact the Project Neutral tool has in driving people towards those meaningful actions on climate change.”

You can support this research and measure your carbon footprint by visiting projectneutral.org/reep to get a snapshot of your household carbon footprint, learn how to start taking action, and share your journey with others. Look for the Project Neutral team at festivals, events and workplaces all over Waterloo Region this year to help measure your carbon footprint on the spot.


For more information on participation in research opportunities, or to bring Project Neutral to an event or workshop near you, please contact Donnique Williams at 519-744-6583 ext. 222, or by email at [email protected]

 

The other day my colleague Dave Blake sent this quote around to the managers at Reep Green Solutions.
“I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that,” – Gus Speth, American climate scientist.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a “cultural and spiritual transformation.” At Reep Green Solutions we work steadily towards a cultural transformation, steering us all towards more sustainable ways to heat our homes, reduce our waste, plant our yards, and move through the city.

The part that’s been on my mind even more is the spiritual transformation. There’s something that’s not connecting when we cut flood prevention funding during a time of massive flooding, or lighten up our endangered species protection at a time when the UN predicts the extinction of a million species imminently.

We’re not making some important connections here, between our own actions, and the massive collective impact we’re having on the natural world that sustains us. It’s not logical to keep on hammering the planet when we can see and feel the damage we’re doing. And it’s not the way we’ve always been. We’ve lost a soul-full connection to nature, one that was alive and thriving in the Celtic world, in Indigenous ways of being, and likely in many other cultures as well.

When I look a little at both Celtic and Indigenous views of the natural world, I see a much stronger embeddedness of life in earth and sea and sky. In ancient Celtic ways, there is a profound connection between the spiritual and the natural worlds, and a strong sense of the goodness all around us in nature. It was tradition for men to tip their hat to the sun in the morning, and for women to bend their knee to the moon at night. “I bind unto myself today, the virtues of the star-lit heaven, the glorious sun’s life-giving ray, the whiteness of the moon at even…” (Listening for the Heartbeat of God, A Celtic Spirituality, J. Philip Newell, pg 25).

When I read about Indigenous perspectives, I learn of a deep sense of kinship and gratitude to the natural world we are part of. “We give thanks to our Mother the Earth, for she gives us everything that we need for life… To our Mother we send thanksgiving, love and respect. Now our minds are one.” (Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer, pg 108).

There must be many more examples from all the other cultures of people that have lived or still do live close to the land. I would love to hear them. It matters to me that I can not only learn from other traditions, but that far back in my own heritage too, we had this connection to the natural world. Together, can we remind ourselves every day of the grace and beauty and life-giving gifts that we walk through, breathe in, see and hear all around us? Suddenly hugging a tree makes so much more sense to me. I’m going to go do that right now. And say a very big thank you for all that it gives me.

Mary Jane Patterson, Executive Director of Reep Green Solutions

 

 

Looking for something to do on Earth Day? How about the rest of the week? We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive list of the special events and activities happening in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge on the week of the April 22nd and Earth Day 2019! Some activities may require registration or other important information, be sure to click the link to the accompanying website to find out more.

EARTH DAY SHORELINE CLEAN-UP 

What: Preston Flats is often littered with garbage from upstream after spring flooding. Join in cleaning up the shoreline on which numerous birds and other wildlife depend. 

When: Monday, 22 April, 1:00 PM  

Where: Rare Charitable Research Reserve, 1679 Blair Rd., Cambridge, ON 

Find out more!

 

Earth Day Showcase 

What: Join us this Earth Day to learn all about recycling, clean water, and sustainability! While you’re here, participate in a Green Scavenger Hunt that will lead you throughout THEMUSEUM’s green initiatives! 

When: Monday, 22 April, 11:00 AM 

Where: THEMUSEUM, 10 King Street West Kitchener, ON

Find out more!

 


Earth Day Reconciliation Tree Plant 

What: The Land has been deeply impacted by colonization. We have a responsibility to work towards restoring ecosystems and relationships. Bring your family to plant trees, remove invasive species, and listen to Dr. Andrew Judge (Anishinaabe) speak about revitalizing Indigenous Land practices toward sustainability.  

When: Mon, 22 April, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM  

Where: Waterloo 33, 82 Meadow Creek Lane #R, Cambridge, ON 

Find out more!

 

 

Butterfly Walks + Easter Storytime 

What: Celebrate the return of spring wildflowers and wildlife with a guided walk led by the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. Explore the tropical greenhouse and enjoy some of our favourite bug and butterfly books during Storytime. 

When: All Earth Day (April 22) and Easter Weekend activities are family friendly and included with regular admission. 

Where: Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. 2500 Kossuth Road, Cambridge, ON

Find out more!

 

Earth Day: 20 Minute Makeover 

What: In honour of Earth Day (April 22), join the Sustainability Office for our annual 20 Minute Makeover and help tidy up around campus and in the community! Organized annually by the City of Waterloo, the 20 Minute Makeover encourages organizations to tidy up our neighborhoods. 

When: Wednesday, 24 April, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM 

Where: Environment 3 (EV3), 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON

Find out more!

 

 

The Eco Market 2019 

What: Our yearly big conference and the green event of the year! Featuring a highly curated marketplace, speakers all day, interactive activities for the full family and more, free to attend! Reep Green Solutions will also be there offering $10 off your order of the Bloom{in} Box all-in-one garden kits! 

When: Saturday, 27 APRIL, 11:00 AM  5:00 PM 

Where: Waterloo Region Museum, 10 Huron Rd, Kitchener, ON

Find out more!

 

K-W Earth Day Event 

What: Join staff from the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo as we host our annual Earth Day celebration. Free activities for the whole family including bird box building, live bird of prey shows, kids crafts and tree planting. 

When: Saturday, 27 April, 1:00 PM– 4:00 PM 

Where: Bechtel Park, Waterloo, ON

Find out more!

 

Settler’s Grove Community Clean Up 

What: Join us for our community Earth Day clean up. Continental Breakfast will be served for all volunteers. Bring your rain boots and gardening gloves. 

When: Saturday, 27 April, 10 AM 

Where: Settler’s Grove Park182 Pioneer Tower Rd, Kitchener, ON

Find out more!

 

 

Cambridge Community Clean Up 

What: Pick up your litter clean up supplies at one of these City Green booths.  

When: Saturday, 27 April, 9:00 AM- 12:00 PM 

Where: Your choice of clean up locationCambridge ON 

Find out more!

 

Kitchener Community Clean Ups 

What: Community clean-ups bring neighbours, colleagues or classmates together for a common cause – cleaning up our community. They provide an opportunity to see how a small act for a short time can have a great impact. And, when people get involved in cleaning their neighbourhoods, parks and open spaces, they are less likely to litter – and more likely to keep it clean. Choose a date, time and clean-up location that works best for you. 

When: Materials will be available for pick up after April 1. Register for clean-up time that works for you! 

Where: Your neighborhood, school or near your workplace: anywhere! 

Find out more!

 

School-yard clean-up PLUS 

What: In honour of Earth Month, local schools are encouraged to hold a school-yard clean-up PLUS other Earth Day-related activities for a day in April. For example, some schools host book swaps, while others hold green scavenger hunts and fun quizzes about the environment. 

When: If you need supplies, click here to register your school-yard clean-up by Friday, April 5. Kits will be sent out the week of April 8. 

Where: Your school, Kitchener ON 

Find out more!

 

If you’d like your event to be featured on this list, let us know at | [email protected]

Learn more about Project Neutral and Reep

Project Neutral is known for its community-focused, carbon benchmarking and climate action tool. Project Neutral allows anyone to find out their carbon footprint in 5 minutes, based on real local data.

Diving into Waste 101

Date: | Thursday, December 13

Time | 5:30pm – 7:00pm

 

Note: This is an interactive event and you will need a phone/tablet/computer to participate!

Alicia Parkin, Customer Engagement and Outreach Coordinator, Reep Green Solutions

 

Alicia is passionate about teaching people how to find their carbon footprint, and what their next steps are for living a sustainable life. She is the In-Home Services & Customer Engagement Coordinator at Reep Green Solutions. One of her lead roles at Reep is to help launch the Project Neutral tool into the Waterloo Region and find like-minded community members to help connect others with this tool. Alicia has a Bachelor’s degree from Carleton University in Environmental Studies and a minor in Political Science.

 

Transportation

We encourage the use of active transportation such as walking or biking. The house is just off the Iron Horse Trail. 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.

Parking

You are welcome to use Schneider Ave or David Street parking. The Victoria Park Pavilion parking lot is also free to use and only a few minutes walk to the Reep House. Please do not park at the Schneider Haus or Mitchell St lots (click to enlarge map)

Depave Paradise (a program of Reep Green Solutions) will lead the community in transforming asphalt-covered areas of Sheppard Public School into a dynamic naturalized play space.

Kitchener, ON. On Sunday October 28, the Sheppard Public School community, with partners Reep Green Solutions and Green Communities Canada, will tear up unused pavement and create a naturalized green space for the children of Sheppard Public School. The project will capture rainwater, beautify our community, and showcase a more sustainable way to managed stormwater in urban areas through a program called Depave Paradise. This Depave project is part of an exciting new trend of neighbourhood workbees that renew underutilized, hard urban spaces.

Participants will liberate this area from asphalt and reclaim the space for nature play, creating the first ever ‘depave’ site in Waterloo region. “Hard surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots and buildings interrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain water from soaking into the ground, thus creating heat island effects, and warming up our cities. By removing pavement and replacing it with native plants, trees and shrubs we are increasing the infiltration rate, recharging our groundwater supply, and cooling the schoolyard,” Becca Robinson, Landscape Designer for Reep Green Solutions explains.

Based on consultation with students and staff at Sheppard Public School, including a ‘Shade Audit’ by the Waterloo Region Public Health and in-class design workshops, the new play space will include native trees and shrubs to provide shade for students and natural objects, such as stumps, logs, and a naturalized ground surface that will absorb more stormwater runoff and reduce the heat radiating off of the play surface during hot days.

Stormwater is the rain or snow that falls on cities and towns and eventually washes into our storm drains. Along the way it picks up a host of toxic chemicals, bacteria, and contaminants like oil, grease, pet waste, litter and salt. These things mix with the water that then proceeds to flow through our drains, untreated, back into rivers and lakes.

“The hands-on depaving process and subsequent tree plantings capture the hearts and energies of our school community, working together to make our school yard healthier for both the environment and students. We are excited to demonstrate to others the power to make positive change when individuals act together,” said Christy Webster, Principal of Sheppard Public School.

Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities. With additional community support and a grant provided by OTF and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, this Depave Paradise project at Sheppard Public School will encourage greener infrastructure in Waterloo Region and showcase the power of community mobilization for a greener future.

Depave Event Registration

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Reep Green Solutions is an environmental charity based in the Waterloo Region committed to helping people live sustainably. Reep offers home energy, waste reduction, water conservation and healthy yards services. You may also contact Donnique Williams, [email protected], 519-744-6583 ext. 222, for additional comments.

 

 

Sheppard Public School staff, students, and Parent Council are working together with Reep Green Solutions to DEPAVE an underutilized area of tarmac and transform it into a dynamic naturalized play space! On Sunday, October 28 at 10am volunteers from the school and surrounding community will work together to liberate the ground from tarmac and gravel subsurface and install healthier soil and mulch in its place to kick-off the tarmac makeover.

BEFORE

before depave Sheppard public school

AFTER

after depave render

Afterwards, we will be working with students and Parent Council to install:

  1. Native trees and shrubs to provide shade for students and a buffer between the tarmac and the teacher’s parking lot.
  2. Natural objects, like boulders and logs, and a mud table
  3. A naturalized ground surface that will absorb more stormwater runoff and reduce the heat radiating off of the play surface during hot days.

 

mud table

Hahn Plastics Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plans for this area were developed after consultation with students and staff and design workshops with Grade 5 and 6 classes in the spring that illuminated some of the problems with the status quo. Our proposed solution will help absorb rain (reducing mud problems) and provide shade in an otherwise hot play area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve partnered with Waterloo Public Health to look at the need for shade in the schoolyard, and sampled temperatures on various surfaces, such as the tarmac, the “kindy area” and the “natural area”.  On a hot day, typical for the beginning and end of the school year, there was sometimes a 15C° difference between the black tarmac and a softer surface material like wood chips!  We want to create more shady and cool play surfaces for our kids as extreme temperatures and high UV warnings are becoming more prevalent.

https://twitter.com/DepaveParadise/status/1045872190418276352

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interested in being part of this makeover?

  • VOLUNTEER!
    • Register for the event to rip out tarmac and place soil
    • DONATE!
    • We are seeking in-kind donations of tarmac saw cutting, provision of a disposal bin, soil, mulch, pry bars, trees and shrubs, and food and refreshments.  Contact [email protected] if you can help.
    • Parent Council is still raising money to purchase additional challenging obstacles like a log jam climbing structure.  Contact [email protected] if you are interested in donating towards this.

Eventbrite - Depave Paradise at Sheppard Public School

 

 

UPDATE: The Region of Waterloo, and cities of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo councils have unanimously approved an 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target by 2050!

If you’re interested in being involved in real change happening in our region to take action on climate change, read on. ClimateActionWR (co-led by Reep Green Solutions and Sustainable Waterloo Region) will be presenting a long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target to the councils of the three cities and the Region of Waterloo in the coming weeks. We are proposing a target of 80% below our 2010 levels of greenhouse gas emissions, to be reached by 2050. Within the next several weeks we hope that the four councils will approve the target

We encourage you to reach out to your city council and/or regional council to share your views on the long-term target. This could be in the form of a delegation (5 minute speech) or an email.

In a short email or delegation you may speak as citizens, professionals, or parents explaining why addressing climate change and investing in the green economy is a priority for you, your business or your family’s future.

The long-term target will be considered on the following dates:

• City of Waterloo – COMPLETE
• City of Cambridge – COMPLETE
• Region of Waterloo – COMPLETE

Below, I have included a list of email addresses for councilors, as well as information on how to register to give a delegation.

Points that you could address in an email or delegation speech include:

  • Strong scientific consensus confirms the global economy must eliminate carbon by the middle of the century and we need for our community to do our part in achieving that.
  • The necessity of being leaders on climate change to support the development of clean-tech business across Waterloo Region and to keep more of the money we spend on energy in our community.
  • Our community’s ongoing leadership and innovation on the environment and preparing for a sustainable future.
  • The additional benefits of reducing our GHG emissions such as cleaner air, mitigating severe weather, healthier and more liveable communities and diverse transportation options.

If you are able to provide a delegation, please register as soon as possible! You may also visit the ClimateActionWR for more updates on this target and the upcoming delegations.

This is a historic moment for our community that you can be a part of. We want to give councillors as much support as possible in approving this target!

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

Mary Jane Patterson, Executive Director

 

Councillors’ email addresses:
Region of Waterloo (all council members): <[email protected]>
City of Cambridge: <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>
City of Kitchener: <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>
City of Waterloo: <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>, <[email protected]>

Register to speak to council as a delegation:
Cambridge: https://forms.cambridge.ca/Delegation-Request-Form
Kitchener: https://www.kitchener.ca/en/city-services/appear-as-a-delegation.aspx
Waterloo: http://www.waterloo.ca/en/government/delegationregistration.asp
Region of Waterloo: https://www.regionofwaterloo.ca/en/regional-government/communicate-with-council.aspx

By Sarah Lukaszczyk

On a late spring Saturday morning, I made the walk from my home in Waterloo to the Mount Hope Neighborhood; I was planning to volunteer at a rain barrel fundraiser for a local charity. As I walked I began to notice subtle changes in the landscape. From diverse, grass-free lawns blooming with wildflowers to pollinator-friendly plants, it was easy to see the different ways residents in this neighborhood  were safeguarding the environment and bettering the overall community aesthetic. Peoples’ desire to improve their yards was not limited to their lawns – standard grass boulevards were commonly replaced with an eye-catching arrangement of colourful flowers and other succulents. 

I noticed these neighbourhood improvements following my opportunity earlier that week to interview Mount Hope resident Stephen Barath, who recently installed a rain garden. In our interview, Stephen made me acutely aware of the neighborhood’s heightened conservation ethic. However, it was not until I saw the gradual transition from grass lawns to little forests during my walk that I felt like I was entering a little utopia.

As part of Reep’s RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods project, and under the watchful eye of his wife and two young daughters,  Stephen installed a rain garden on one of his rental properties. Digging holes and choosing native plants was rewarding, Stephen explained, a sense that was increasingly evident to me over the course of our interview.  As a daughter of a professional landscaper myself, it was invigorating to see the enjoyment and pride Stephen had towards his garden. It warmed my heart further to hear that his two-year-old daughter even got her hands dirty to help her Dad dig holes. That evoked memories of time spent with my own Dad as a child. Stephen’s understanding of the importance (and fun, as he reminded me repeatedly) of these projects to safeguarding our water and beautifying the community left a lasting impression, as he has already decided to build another rain garden on a different property.

Not entirely convinced it was all fun and games, I challenged Stephen to tell me something unexpected he had experienced while building the rain garden. He explained that in jest neighbours would stop and say things like ‘Did the water main break?’ while only one neighbour was able to correctly identify what Stephen was actually up to. A little girl who was walking home with her grandmother after school even exclaimed, “Look Grandma that man is still digging holes.” After describing them, Stephen went on to say that these exchanges with his neighbours were always welcome so he had a reason to take a break from digging and chat about the wider benefits of rain gardens for the community.

For his tenants the rain garden removes almost all the grass on the property. There is no longer a need to mow and Stephen imagines this could be seen as an added benefit for the renter and the landlord. Although, based on my brief time in the community, initiatives such as these are not merely done for the sake of convenience but also for their environmental benefit.

Being that Father’s Day had recently past, Stephen’s father came for a visit and while in town the two made time to see the new rain garden. Stephen admitted to me that while the garden didn’t look like much at present, his father observed that, “Like the acorns they used to plant together when Stephen was young, the garden will begin to bloom in due time.” And just as Stephen’s father continued to point out the different trees the two had planted in his youth, I imagine Stephen would likewise do the same with his own daughters in the years to come. Thanks to the help of Reep’s RAIN Coach, the family had resources that helped them to identify which native species were best suited for the area and whether they should be placed in the shade or sun.

Overall, my greatest take away from meeting Stephen and his family is that while fun, you don’t start these projects – especially the do-it-yourself ones – simply for yourself. These spaces are created to be shared, whether that be with the little girl and her grandma who live in the neighborhood, the Environmental studies student casually strolling by one Saturday morning or the busy bees and butterflies attracted by your hard work. It’s all worth it for the joy your rain garden brings to all who see it.

Visit Reep Green Solutions’ RAIN Smart Neighbourhoods web page to learn mo re information build your own rain garden and incentives available residents of Mount Hope on a first come, first served basis.


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Upcoming Events

  1. The Good Green Death Project

    November 23 | 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm