July 7, 2015 started out as beautiful summer day as the 1st Valois-Dorval Pathfinders (and one Strathmore Guide) met at Dawson College’s Peace Garden. We explored the different parts of the garden and where then welcomed to the garden by Chris Adam from Dawson College’s CRLT Program and Sustainable Dawson. He taught us about how a meadow is created, why beavers are important in creating a meadow and how these link to long-term sustainability. As we listened, the rain started. We moved under cover to learn about the focus of our visit which was the milkweed plant. We learned about the various uses of the plants including waterproofing, insulation and natural glue and then found out more about how important they are to the survival of the Monarch butterfly.
This was the reason for our being at Dawson. We were there to help plant baby milkweeds and create a monarch nursery as part of Dawson’s Living Campus project. Because the sky did not look to be clearing, in true Girl Guide fashion, we braved the teaming rain, went ahead with the project and we got wet! We were supplied with tools and directed by Chris Vaughn, Sustainable Dawson Coordinator to the planting site.
The rain had come earlier than expected so we did not have our rain gear – but that did not stop us! We planted 150 milkweed plants which will help create a haven for migrating monarchs. We were even joined by Pamela Rice, our National Commissioner! Using information from the Earthvalues Institute, the girls had built mason bee homes earlier in the spring and where keen to continue the project with the planting of the milkweed.
Our visit finished with a tour of the rooftop gardens where we saw vegetables being grown and had a chance to sample some honey from the Dawson beehive project. The girls really understood how they were taking action to make their community, the environment and the world a better place. We are hoping to be able to see some of the butterflies when they come to the garden.
We would like to thank Sustainable Dawson, the Earthvalues Institute and Nature Canada for welcoming us, teaching us about a part of our living world which we often take for granted and for providing lunch after the project and Robert Brown for helping us with the milkweed plants.
Photos and text by Heather Martin, Guider with the 1st Valois-Dorval Pathfinders