Our happy group enjoying the wildflower walk; notice the blanket of trilliums in the background.

On May 7 a group of twenty four (including eight children) joined A Rocha Ottawa for wildflower walk, potluck supper and presentations on two environmental topics. Hosted by Monique and Paul Heintzman, the event was co-sponsored by the Graduate and Faculty Christian Fellowship group at the University of Ottawa.

It was a beautiful, warm day (without any mosquitos or black flies) for a hike along the Lauriault Trail. The white trilliums were at their peak, almost creating a carpet of flowers in some places. We also saw red trilliums, Dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, hepatica, bellwart and wood anemone. In addition to the wildflowers we observed painted turtles and bull frog tadpoles at Mulvihill Lake, a panorama of the Ottawa Valley from the top of the Eardley Escarpment, the Bridal Veil waterfall and the ruins at the Mackenzie King Estate.

Tolu Awobusuyi presented highlights from his master’s research (chemical engineering) at the University of Ottawa in which he discovered that it is possible to produce N-type fertilizers from municipal and agricultural anaerobic digestate by using membrane separation technology. His research also found that the removal of ammonium ions–a necessary component of N-type fertilizers–increases biogas yield in the digesters. Tolu shared how through two years of research he learned that major problems in the environment require a little ingenuity to solve, and that nature’s potential for creation cannot be exaggerated.

Laura Coristine, presented findings from her PhD research (biology) which focused on how climate change is altering the size and geographic location of the range of songbird species. Laura began with an overview of the severity of the current climate change problem and then gave some examples from her research. For example, the prairie warbler – one of the hardest hit songbirds – has lost 170 kilometres of its Gulf Coast range at the southern edge, but gained only 16 kilometres in Ontario on its northern boundary. In many cases, the songbirds are not moving to more suitable areas quickly enough, which is resulting in fewer birds.
Click here to listen in on a CBC Quirks and Quarks interview with Laura.

Get Involved

– We hope to have another similar event in June (possibly Saturday June 18). Stay tuned to our events page for details.

– We have been allocated space for a community garden once again this year at the University of Ottawa. If you would like to help out with the garden (planting, weeding, watering), if you have topsoil and compost to donate to it, or if you would like to make a sign for it, please contact Paul Heintzman at paul.heintzman@arocha.ca

– Save the Date! Saturday evening, Nov. 5, 2016. Dr. Iain Provain, professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College and author of many books including Tenants in God’s Land: Earth-Keeping and People-Keeping in the Old Testament will be speaking at our A Rocha Ottawa gathering.