We now live in a location with four distinct seasons, where the natural environment changes drastically and it is evident in the temperature as well as the plants and animals around us. Celebrating the warmer weather and making the most of the limited gardening season is a passion for many. It is valuable to be knowledgeable about best practices to make sure that we contribute positively in the care of the natural environment in our area, whether right in our front or backyard, or in public spaces.
Here are some resources or programs on gardening and nature in our city,
On Learning about Natural Areas in The City
1. North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society: The North Saskatchewan River Valley Conservation Society is the voice of Edmonton’s river valley and those seeking to preserve it for future generations. They have volunteer opportunities and projects where they help advocate for the preservation of the River Valley, and they have a newsletter that anyone can subscribe to. Their Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/NSRVCS/ and the website is www.edmontonrivervalley.org.
2. A Pocket Naturalist Guide: Edmonton Trees, Shrubs, and Wildflowers: This multi-panel, durable, colorful brochure lists all the different shrubs, flowers and trees that you can see in the natural areas of the city, complete with the scientific name, descriptive details of the plant parts, and measurements. You can get one as a thank you gift for volunteering for events hosted by Root for Trees.
On Weeds, Invasive Plants, and Plant Alternatives
1. Invasive Species, A Guide for Alberta: This website contains a comprehensive list of different species of plants and fungi to watch out for. When these plants or fungi grow in large numbers, they can cause harm towards the native plants in our area. The weblink is: www.abinvasives.ca
2. Noxious Weeds, City of Edmonton Resource: This dedicated webpage has resources that explain why managing and limiting weeds is important. There are mechanisms to report the infestation of weeds in both private and public property, as well as tips on making sure that you don’t unintentionally spread seeds from weeds while enjoying the outdoors. The weblink is: www.Edmonton.ca/weeds
3. Edmonton Native Plant Society: This group is passionate about identifying different plant species spotted all over the city. They have a webpage as well as a very active Facebook page where enthusiastic members post photos and have meaningful discussions. The weblink is: www.edmontonnaturalizationgroup.org.
On Encouraging Gardening and Beautification
1. Front Yards in Bloom: Front Yards in Bloom has a nomination process for the summer season, and also during the winter season. Any home that gets nominated as having an attractive front yard will receive a bright yellow outdoor sign that indicates that the home is nominated by someone. This initiative believes that those who make their yards beautiful at any time of the year deserves recognition, and there are special categories for other spaces like apartment balconies. The website is https://www.edmonton.ca/programs_services/landscaping_gardening/front-yards-in-bloom.aspx
2. Root for Trees: Root for Trees is an initiative by the city that helps facilitate tree planting activities. Group tree planting can serve as an incredible team building activity for any group, and businesses, community organizations and individual residents can ask for help to set up a session. The annual target of this initiative is to plant an additional 45,000 trees. The website for more information is www.rootfortrees.ca.
While this is no way an exhaustive list, the goal is to encourage seeking information and assistance for any type of challenge, no matter how big or small, whether common or not. For any readers who are not directly served by the area where the outlined programs are listed, it is likely that equivalents are available by searching the topic and adding the name of your location.