This past Saturday, I went to the Willow Park Ecology Centre. From their website, “Willow Park Ecology Centre is a year-round nature preserve that provides habitat for native plants and animals. It is approximately 2.1 hectares (or 5 acres) in the floodplain bounded by the West Branch of the Credit River (Silvercreek) and the main Credit River.” They have composting learning centre, an organic garden, tree trails, a butterfly garden, wetland, and a snake hibernaculum. The park is located just outside of Georgetown on highway 7 this side of Norval. I have driven by it countless times, but I have never been there.
What brought me to the centre was, in part, my desire to connect more closely to the place and community where I live. One of the personal learnings I took from my sabbatical in 2011 was a renewed emphasis on “blooming where I am planted.” Prior to my sabbatical, I was increasingly fretting about the problems of the world, the environment, the world wide church, and other real “big picture” issues. Not surprising, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed. It was my trip that helped me return my focus to something that would have an impact in the places where I have the most influence. That is right here in my own community. That’s what brought me to Willow Park on Saturday morning.
Saturday was a volunteer event coordinated by the Centre and the Credit Valley Conservation. Trail maintenance and evasive species removal. Practically that meant, gravel screenings, wheelbarrows, rakes, and Buckthorn removal. (I also learned about Stinging Nettle!) I met some nice folk who are also concerned about being good stewards of the earth, and I felt like, in a small way, I was able to make a positive change. Even if it was a just a small one.
The Willow Park Ecology Centre is always looking for volunteers, and they run a number of events like this one that help them carry out the mission of the Centre. There are also plenty of events run in parks like this one up and down the Credit River, run by the Credit River Conservation.
In fact, a great time to check out the Willow Park Ecology Centre is this coming Sunday from 2pm to 3:30 pm for their “Falling Leaves” event. Learn more about the event and register at their site.