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President's annual report - 2006-2007

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
  • Speaker Series organizers and participants
  • H20 Chelsea volunteers and steering committee members
  • Conservation Lands project
  • ARORA shoreline rehabilitation project
  • Chelsea Toy 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 led by the ACRE education committee, made up of Ann Chudleigh Louise Lebrun and Deirdre Jackson.

Dr. Phillipe Crabbe of the University of Ottawa started off the series in January with a talk on "Local Adaptation to Climate Change: what it means for Chelsea and what can be done about it."

In February, we featured Becky Mason's spectacular slideshow called "Watershed Moments: Memorable Rivers I've Paddled" followed by an update on the Quebec protected areas strategy by Marie Eve Marchand of CPAWS.

March brought Chris Ives from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation to Chelsea to present on "Ideas for Building Energy Efficient, Healthy Homes".

Finally, in April, Dr Scott Findlay of the University of Ottawa presented the results of the H20 Chelsea 2006 research and monitoring program. All presentations were well received, with over 200 people attending the four events.

Thanks once again to Chelsea United Church, who generously shared their home with us for these events. And thank you to our event sponsors, Greg Christie's; Todd Evans of the Byward Marketing Group; Innovation Chelsea; and Markhauser Homes for sponsoring our presentations this year.

Earth Day

ACRE's eighth annual Earth Day celebration was held on Saturday, April 21st. We held our Summer Sports Gear exchange again (thanks to Stephen Woodley who organized the exchange), resulting in 26 bicycles, and 54 other items being re-used. Our silent auction, along with the exchange resulted in over $1400 raised. Information booths from ACRE, H20 Chelsea, the Toy Library, and Friends of Gatineau Park were part of the day's activities, as were refreshments and kids activities.

Thanks to our volunteers and sponsors, including:

  • Century 21 Macintyre Inc
  • Clean Air Lawn and Garden
  • Caroma (dual flush, low flow toilet donated)
  • Le nordik nature spa
  • Bushtukah
  • Nature Clean
  • Mountain Equipment Coop

Projects:

H20 Chelsea

The H20 Chelsea project is a partnership between ACRE, the Municipality of Chelsea, and the University of Ottawa's Institute of Environment. 2006 was the fourth full year of research and monitoring for H2O Chelsea, the final report compiling all of this data can be found on H2O Chelsea's web site H2O Chelsea's web site.

In 2006/07, H2O Chelsea focused its efforts on the following activities:

  • Maintaining our base sampling and education activities in Chelsea (lake, stream and well monitoring programs, annual report, public presentations).

  • Promoting and transferring our water monitoring and education programs to other communities by way of presentations to lake associations, municipal governments, cottage tradeshows and academic conferences.

  • Development of the Water Mapping Portal which will provide a secure data storage, viewing and access platform for sampling programs across Canada (to be completed in August, 2007).

  • Development of a Well-Water Quantity Manual and Sampling Resources aimed at informing municipal governments of various options for engaging in the analysis and management of groundwater resources in their community.

  • Working to create a permanent H2O Chelsea position at the municipality of Chelsea (3 days/week) in 2008.

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.

Last fall we began the rehabilitation of the site with volunteer's planting hundreds of shrubs at the site. This spring we will scarify a portion of the site, spread soil and seed. This will be followed by a number of planting sessions throughout late summer and fall. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Jim Douglas at dalajd@magma.ca

Thank you so much to Stephen and Jim, and the rest of the volunteer team, for their dedication to 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

Chelsea continues to be developed at a rapid pace. Within 10 years it is possible that it will be fully built out. Within that context, ACRE is exploring the question: How do we meet the needs of our expanding community while conserving the natural areas we all enjoy? In order to address this question, ACRE is in the initial phases of a new conservation initiative. This involves gathering relevant information and entering a dialogue with potential partners.

As a first step, ACRE has built a model that allows us to map areas within Chelsea that have a high potential conservation value. These were identified based on criteria such as distance to roads, occurrence of rare and endangered species, proximity to water courses, amount of forested areas, and wetlands. The result is a basic tool that will help us to prioritize specific areas to consider for conservation.

Areas of potential high conservation value occur throughout the municipality. Whether and how these values are conserved will depend on a range of factors and tools available. Possibilities include private stewardship efforts, land purchase or assignment of conservation easements, municipal designations (e.g. recreation lands, wetlands), and other protected area designations.

This effort will only succeed with public support and creative partnerships. ACRE maintains a dialogue about this project with the Municipal Council, and is also looking for ways to collaborate with a national land trust, the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Chelsea Foundation

ACRE remained involved with the Chelsea Foundation's Environment Committee which continues to explore Green and sustainable building practices and their application to the Meredith Centre.

Joujouthèque Chelsea Toy Library

The Toy Library continues to operate successfully out of the basement of the Community Center. If you are interested in joining the toy library, or volunteering, please contact Nathan Kline at orionqd@primus.ca

Specific Local Issues

ACRE continues to be involved in local issues of environmental concern. In the past year, we provided input into discussions about the municipal pesticide by-law, made a formal submission to the NCC mandate review, and was involved in a committee examining the proposed cell tower in Chelsea.

We are in the final stages of renewing our website, and hope to have our new site up and running soon.


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)
  • Communications coordinator
  • Fundraising committee
  • Membership

If you can help, please contact us at 819-827-3436

Submitted by Allison Stoddart, President
June 14th, 2007

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