David Suzuki Foundation recruiting troop of volunteers to help reimagine the city as a Homegrown National Park
TORONTO — The David Suzuki Foundation is now recruiting Toronto residents to participate in the third year of the Homegrown National Park project, a collective effort to create a green corridor along the former path of Garrison Creek, in the city's west end. The project goal is to tap the creativity of residents to begin transforming their neighbourhoods one green intervention at a time — ultimately helping to re-imagine the city as a Homegrown National Park.
"The Homegrown National Park project has demonstrated how keen residents can quickly and creatively transform the places where they live, work and play — and have a lot of fun while doing it," said David Suzuki Foundation project lead Jode Roberts. "We urge residents to apply to be a Homegrown Park Ranger. We will help them make awesome things happen in 2015, and together we will bring nature home to the city."
Over the past two years, the Foundation has recruited 44 volunteer Homegrown Park Rangers, with backgrounds ranging from art and architecture to real estate and theatre, and provided them with advanced community leadership training. Over the following months Park Rangers work with two-dozen partner groups and parks and residents associations to support greening efforts, such as the popular 2014 #GotMilkweed campaign and participate in community events like outdoor pizza nights, music festivals, walking tours, native plant sales and movie screenings.
The Rangers are also supported in hatching plans for greening schoolyards, alleys, parks, streets, balconies and yards. Some have experimented with light, quick, cheap interventions, like pothole planters, moss graffiti and canoe gardens. Others have aimed for bigger projects, including transforming a parking lot into a green plaza, a schoolyard into a pollinator garden and "parkify-ing" a residential street. By the end of the second year, more than two-dozen Park Ranger-led interventions and events were completed, resulting in thousands of volunteer hours and more than 5,000 native flowers and shrubs planted.
While the Homegrown National Park Project will continue in 2015 along the Garrison Creek corridor, through municipal wards 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21 (See HGNP map here), this year the program will be expanded to include Park Rangers from outside the area, plus a new troop of occasional volunteers in the Homegrown Volunteer Corps.
Motivated, creative individuals are encouraged to apply to join the 2015 Homegrown Park Ranger team. Working cooperatively, Park Rangers will develop and launch new green projects with the support of the David Suzuki Foundation and project partners. Park Rangers will be selected through a competitive process. Application deadline is midnight on February 9, 2015.