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President's annual report - 2005-2006

Thanks to volunteers:

First of all, a huge thank you on behalf of the ACRE Board of Directors to all of the wonderful volunteers who have helped make ACRE a successful organization over the past year. Without you ACRE would simply not exist.

We have had volunteers working in many capacities over the past year:

  • Earth Day event organizers and participants
  • H20 Chelsea volunteers and steering committee members
  • Nature conservation committee members
  • ARORA shoreline rehabilitation project
  • Joujoutheque ChelseaToy Library
  • Multi stakeholder Golf Course Committee members
  • Board members
  • And many more…

Thank you all so much!

Education Program:

Lecture Series: Another successful series of presentations on environmental themes was organized this year by the ACRE education committee, composed of Ann Chudleigh, Geof Burbidge, Louise Lebrun and Deirdre Jackson. Geoff Green started off with a presentation on ???, followed by the presentation of the H20 Chelsea research results to the community by Dr. Scott Findlay and Patrick Henry, and finally a presentation on wildlife in winter by Tony Beck. All presentations were well received, and we reached approximately 200 people through the three events.

Thanks once again to Chelsea United Church, who generously shared their home with us for these three events. And thank you to our three event sponsors, ??? and Gerry and Isobel's.

Earth Day: ACRE's seventh annual Earth Day celebration was held on Saturday, April 22nd. We held our Summer Sports Gear exchange again, thanks to Gary Fehr and Stephen Woodley who organized the exchange once again this year. Information booths from ACRE and H20 Chelsea were also part of the day's activities, as were refreshments, kids games, music and a silent auction!

Thanks so much to all of the volunteers and sponsors who made the day a success.



Projects:

H20 Chelsea

The H20 Chelsea project is a partnership between ACRE, the municipality, and the University of Ottawa's Institute of Environment. 2005 was the second full year of research and monitoring for H2O Chelsea, results from this research were presented to Council in December, 2005 and to the community at an ACRE lecture in February, 2006. The data compiled in 2005 included results from lake and stream sampling as well as a water census that was sent to all Chelsea residents. The final report compiling all of this data can be found on H2O Chelsea's web site.

ENTER INFO ON AWARD!!!

H2O Chelsea is now entering it's third year and with this comes a new phase in the project. With the completion of the final report on sampling results for 2004-05, the sampling program will continue but has been modified to monitor changes from baseline data reported in 2004/05. The program has secured funding for the following 2 years from CLD des Collines de l'Outaouais, the Municipality of Chelsea, and the Walter and Duncan Gordan Foundation which will enable the program as a whole to be packaged and marketed for use in other communities. This new phase for the project will include the development of water monitoring kits, a training manual, a training video and a compilation of all forms and publications used in the monitoring program. The H20 Chelsea project continues to be extremely successful. I would like to express our sincere thanks and recognition to the Coordinator of the project, Patrick Henry, who is doing an exemplary job of implementing the vision of this project, as well as to our partners. H20 Chelsea has been supported by a team of more than 100 volunteers!

ARORA

The ARORA project is a shoreline rehabilitation project that ACRE has been working on for six years. Due to the hard work of a group of volunteers, led in recent years by Steven Uriarte and Jim Douglas, and with the stated support of Hydro Quebec, ACRE secured substantial funding to restore a patch of Hydro Quebec land beside the Alonzo Wright Bridge that had been badly damaged by Cloutier's Botanix Nursery. This denuded land is just upstream from a major spawning ground for three endangered species of fish, including the River Redhorse. Funding is in place, site plans have been completed by Jim Douglas, the site has been surveyed, geophysical studies have been completed to assess the stability of the site etc.

In the summer of 2005 Hydro Quebec finally resolved the drainage problems on the site and signed the agreement that they require for us to implement the project. Due to these delays we were unable to start the rehabilitating last summer but have begun this spring 2006. In early May we successfully planted ?? of trees on the sit and will continue with the rehabilitation throughout the summer.

Thank you so much to Stephen and Jim for their dedication in the project, we are very happy to see that all of their work is finally starting to be seen on the ground!

Nature Conservation Lands Initiative

One of the key gaps that we noted from our Master Plan analysis was in the area of nature conservation. As a result, a committee was struck to examine further opportunities for nature conservation in Chelsea. As a first step, a GIS-based analysis of important wildlife habitat and corridors was assembled to inform our work, thanks to work by Stephen Woodley and Ewen Eberhardt. With the use of the fantastic maps created by the GIS-based analysis, ACRE has had a number of conversations with the municipality who have indicated that they fully support this initiative. ACRE will continue to work with the municipality and the NCC to protect ecologically important wildlife areas in our community. Ask Stephen what the next steps are

Chelsea Foundation: Send this section to Andrew for input

The Chelsea Foundation has begun its consultations with community groups and the community at large to determine what is desired in a community centre on the Foundation lands on Old Chelsea Rd. ACRE participated in the initial consultation meeting in June, and expressed our interest in ensuring that a community centre is an example of environmental leadership in its building technology and operation. We also expressed our support for creating an educational opportunity around the wetlands on the property. The Foundation is seeking members of an environmental leadership team to pursue this part of their vision. If you are interested in getting involved in this initiative, please call Alison Woodley at 827-4092.

Joujouthèque Chelsea Toy Library

The Toy Library had a year of both great successes and challenges. The Toy Library was successfully launched and operated for most of last year, building a membership of 75 families in just over six months.

Unfortunately, in December of last year asbestos was discovered in the ceiling of the toy library storage space in the Community Centre, resulting in the closure of the library for close to six months while tests and renovations were conducted by the municipality. During this time, the space has been renovated, cleaned and tested, and is now free of asbestos. However, unfortunately the toy collection had to be disposed of because of the discovery of low levels of asbestos fibres, even after professional cleaning. Obviously this ran counter to the objective of encouraging the re-use of toys in the community, and was particularly disappointing because of the generous donations of toys from members of the community to start the library. However, the health of our children must be our number one priority.

In recent months, the Toy Library has begun a new toy drive to replace its lost inventory. The library has re-opened in a newly renovated and cleaned space in the basement of the community centre, and the Municipality has provided funding to partially replenish the stock of toys. If you have any toys that you have finished with, please consider donating them to the library. The toy library collection is geared for children aged 0 to 5 years. If you are interested in donating toys, joining the toy library, or volunteering, please contact Louise at 827-8972.



Conclusion

Once again, ACRE has had a busy year. We are always looking for more volunteers to help with our many initiatives. Particular needs are:

  • Translation (even a few hours would be a huge help)
  • Displays committee (to improve our display and coordinate and staff booths at community events)
  • Fundraising
  • Communications

If you can help, please contact us at 827-4092.

Submitted by Allison Stoddart, President June 1st, 2006

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