Community members shared their plans and received funding for nine diverse projects, April 7, in the foyer of the main library. These nine projects received the most votes during a week of community voting at events, public libraries and on-line. They will also receive volunteer support as they move forward. 1083 ballots were cast by residents from all over Greater Sudbury. It’s all part of Project Impact, a grassroots effort by Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury, to support people in making a difference where they live with small but impactful community projects.
The projects funded ranged from gardens, to wildlife habitat, to community art, and many involve students and youth.
Wild at Heart netted the most votes for wildlife education supplies for school children. They will purchase materials for their interactive school activities, including lumber for squirrel houses to be put together by students, and tools to help children and adults identify different kinds of forest creatures. Wild at Heart is looking for individuals or organizations who may be willing to share space in their woodworking shop to assist with the project.
Students will also be putting their building skills to use in support of bird populations. Dr. Charles Ramcharan (Laurentian University, School of the Environment) and Mr. Leo Leclair (LoEllen Park Secondary School teacher) will lead students in building bird houses, which will be placed in local green spaces. The funding obtained from Project Impact will allow 50 bird houses to be built and installed along Rainbow Routes trails. They aim to build approximately 300 in total, to be placed in local green spaces and host yards. These bird houses will provide safe nesting sites to help counter declines in song bird populations.
“Shedding light on Junction Creek” will be a visual representation of the path of the creek as it flows beneath our feet through downtown Sudbury. Led by the Junction Creek Stewardship Committee, community art will involve residents in the project. They propose brightly coloured stencils along the sidewalks and roadways where the creek is present to demonstrate the biodiversity and richness of life that live in or along the creek. Stencils would include, fish, turtles, frogs, and plants. They also hope to incorporate a mosaic in the round courtyard in the Tom Davies Square, where Junction Creek also flows. “The stenciled walkway will help bring awareness to this historic creek under our feet, but also its life and the ecological importance of a sustainable waterway and how it ties in with the overall health of our city,” they wrote in their application. Watch for a chance to join in on this unique community art project this summer!
If you live in the Kingsmount neighbourhood near downtown, you may be called upon to host milkweed for monarchs. Monarch populations are in decline, and milkweed is the only food source for monarch caterpillars. Led by area resident Tara Levesque, in collaboration with Mark Varrin of Save the Butterfly, “Milkweed for Monarchs” aims to create milkweed ‘waystations’ for monarchs throughout the neighbourhood in host yards, local green spaces, and a local schoolyard. They are currently waiting for their milkweed seeds to germinate, hosted in greenhouses through a partnership with Vale. Interest in the neighbourhood is already high, and other Project Impact garden projects have been inspired to include milkweed at their sites as well.
Ryan Heights Neighbourhood Association will also be supporting monarchs and other butterflies with their “Butterfly Garden and Pollinator Habitat Project.” Students at the local school, and families in Ryan Heights will be involved in creating the Butterfly Garden, which will include habitat elements for other local wildlife. Adding to a recent community garden, this is part of a larger revitalization project to transform a park that has been avoided as an unsafe area into a green space cherished and enjoyed by residents.
Northern Lights Festival Boréal garnered support for purchasing a Water Buggy. The Water Buggy will allow them to provide drinking water at the festival. Previously, this equipment was not available locally and had to be shipped from southern Ontario. The Water Buggy will be available to other local festivals and events for a reasonable fee, and is expected to be a valuable local resource that will reduce waste from bottled water, and raise awareness about watershed health.
St. David Catholic Elementary School is getting a new home, and parent and Ojibway artist Will Morin will be involving students in helping to regreen the new school site with sweetgrass, and native species. “Sweetgrass is one of the 4 sacred medicines, referred to as the hair of Mother Earth,” said Morin, explaining that this is of special significance because of the large aboriginal population at the school and in the surrounding Donovan neighbourhood.
Morin is also assisting with the design of a Creator’s Turtle Garden, which will be added to the Twin Forks playground in New Sudbury as part of the Ward 8 Community Action Network community garden. Morin brought a painting and model to explain the special significance of the turtle. The garden will include sweetgrass, milkweed, sage, and other native and medicinal plants.
The final project to be funded is a railroad themed mural by the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre. Adding to on-going beautification work, the mural will revitalize the surface of a storage container near the museum. Watch for a call out to the community for art submissions for the mural! Once artwork has been selected, the community will be involved in painting the mural, under the direction of a local artist.
Many of the other projects who made submissions to Project Impact will also be going ahead. You can find the full list of projects on-line, where you can also find the full voting results. Many projects will be looking for volunteers and other support. To connect with any of these projects, contact Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Naomi Grant chairs Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury and is a member of the Project Impact working group.
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