There's always something new to discover at FortWhyte Alive.
Today is World Food Day, the international call to action to engage in the issues around food security and food justice for people all over the globe.
We know that food is a human right. Everyone should be able to access adequate, healthy, safe, affordable, culturally-appropriate food that has been grown responsibly. In other words, everyone should be able to grow, harvest, hunt, acquire, cook and eat with dignity.
At FortWhyte Farms, we believe in food sovereignty, which works with nature and supports entire food systems socially, environmentally and economically. We are inspired by the work of Food Secure Canada, one of the leading alliances promoting holistic food policy changes on a national level, which defines food sovereignty using seven pillars - check them out here.
As we know, food injustices happen all over the world every day. Food production is impacted by pressures of on the environment via climate change, natural disasters and pollution as well as war and other human causes including resource extraction and forced migration.
In Manitoba, the harvest time is bountiful in food from the land. While we often have too much to eat, we also share a responsibility to raise awareness, protect land, increase diversity, and work to build peace.
On this day we can set targets to create a world where everyone is food-secure. Today, what are ways that you can ensure food sovereignty for yourself, your neighbours and communities throughout the world? Let us know on Instagram with the hashtag #getsustainablefwa to win!
Sustainable Volunteer Profile - Dayna Graham
Dayna has been volunteering at FortWhyte for 11 years in various roles including Goose Flight evenings, Open Paddling nights and Santa in the Forest.
Babies come with a lot of ‘stuff’, what have you been doing to reduce your family’s footprint?
You can really only wear maternity clothes for a matter of months so it doesn’t make that much sense to invest in an entirely new wardrobe. My friends lent me their gently used maternity clothes, in many cases I’ve been the 3rd or 4th benefactor. I’m also part of a buy and sell group for parents on Facebook. It’s been really great for getting gear that we’ll only be using for a short period of time.
Many baby products are designed to be disposable, have you been able to find some more sustainable options?
Plastic diapers create a ton of waste and I knew I didn’t want to contribute to that. My friends have given me their old cloth diapers. They’re really easy to use and create a fraction of the waste.
You’re a pretty active person, how have you been continuing get your heart-rate up since you’ve had your baby?
I love biking but babies can’t support a helmet until they’re 1 year old. Riding the bus can be a bit challenging with a big stroller, so I’ve been walking to different mom and me groups in my neighbourhood. I get some exercise and I’m reducing my carbon footprint at the same time.
Today, FortWhyte Alive unveiled the largest solar installation in the City of Winnipeg. The 60 kilowatt (kW) array is made possible thanks to support from Bullfrog Power, Investors Group and Manitoba Hydro’s Solar Energy Program. The grand opening, including a green ribbon cutting to officially launch the project, took place this morning under sunny skies. The project was managed and installed by local renewable energy company Solar Manitoba.
“As community leaders in sustainability, we believe that harnessing solar power at FortWhyte makes perfect sense from both an environmental and economic perspective," says FortWhyte Alive President and CEO, Bill Elliott. “As we face the growing challenges of climate change, we look forward to using this solar farm as a tool to educate the public on the importance of transitioning to clean, renewable energy across the globe.”
The FortWhyte Alive solar installation will generate enough carbon-free solar power to make up 50 per cent of the electricity consumed at FortWhyte Farms. In addition to the environmental benefits of the project, the solar power generated is expected to save FortWhyte Alive approximately $350,000 in energy costs during the 30-year lifespan of the panels.
“Bullfrog Power’s community renewable projects program is all about supporting clean power projects that educate people about the impacts of how we power our lives and the actions we can take on climate change,” says Ron Seftel, CEO of Bullfrog Power. “We hope the FortWhyte Alive solar project will have a meaningful impact in terms of generating both green electricity and awareness on climate change for decades to come.”
As part of its work as a social enterprise, Bullfrog Power has supported more than 130 green energy projects nationwide through its community renewable projects program. Investors Group, a bullfrogpowered organization since 2015, has a long heritage of community involvement, corporate funding and project initiation and is helping to support the FortWhyte Alive solar project alongside Bullfrog Power as part of its commitment to renewable energy.
“Investors Group believes in giving back to the communities where our people live and work,” says Andrea Carlson, VP Finance and Corporate Responsibility, Investors Group. “FortWhyte Alive has always focused on helping us learn about the natural world; this solar project will showcase the clean technology we need to preserve the natural world for future generations.”
She started volunteering as a school program interpreter and guided walk leader when the Interpretive Centre was just built. She has seen the volunteer program develop, the programs grow and the number of staff and volunteer increase significantly. The training she received as a volunteer encouraged her to take additional courses being offered at Red River College and U of M. The challenge of moving beyond her personal comfort level and to learn something new is one of the reasons she likes to be a part of the volunteer program.
Verna is now retired, but she has uses employment experiences as a Social Worker, Reporter, etc for her volunteer roles. Things she has done over the years: Outdoor Survival instructor, Snowshoe and ski leader, school programs, guided walk interpreter, Info Desk attendant, raffle ticket seller, Greenhouse and Pond Gardener, Sodhouse Pioneer, voyageur canoe paddler, FortWhyte Farm worker, baking at the farm, Sodhouse Singer and the list goes on. Above all, Verna likes interacting with people and explaining all the opportunities available at FortWhyte Alive.
During the Fall, Verna is especially dedicated to Sunset Goose Flight Evenings. As an interpreter/rover, she helps visitors understand the goose migration ritual and ensures they feel welcome during the autumn evenings. Sunset Goose Flight evenings have been going on 23 years and 4,000 people are expected to enjoy the four weeks of family fun. For Verna, the sight of the flock of geese, the sound of the swish of their wings and the splash as they land on the lakes never grows old.
“I can honestly recommend FWA as a place to volunteer. The entire program is well planned and provides the necessary information to do the job well. The Volunteer Manager is always willing to help, encourage and answer questions and concerns. Staff and other Volunteers all provide information, share ideas, are friendly and cheerful.“
Thank you Verna, for your continued dedication to FortWhyte and the volunteer program.
On October 5, 41 high school students from 6 urban and rural Manitoba attended a special program at FortWhyte to learn about the waters that surround us, and some of the current threats and solutions for better water quality.
Students became citizen scientists for the day, using water sampling equipment and chemistry tests to learn more about measuring the health of an aquatic ecosystem. They got muddy and wet using a water jet planter to restore a section of shoreline on our lakes with "nature's rebar," also known as willow. They collected aquatic insects, learned about fish research, and discussed how water issues in northern Manitoba are impacting water, ecosystems and people.
Thank you to the presenters for sharing their knowledge and inspiring Grades 9-12 students to understand more about water protection, and giving them a great hands-on learning experience:
Kent Lewarne - River Watch & South-Central Eco-Institute
Pauline Gerrard and Danielle Desrochers - IISD – Experimental Lakes Area
Stewart Hill - University of Manitoba Natural Resources Institute Ph.D. Candidate
Audrey Boitson and Armand Belanger - East Interlake Conservation District
For other high school programs related to environmental science at FortWhyte Alive, check out our Urban Water Monitoring program, high school science days or other school programs or contact email@example.com to be added to our high school mailing list.