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Home > What You Can Do > People in Action > Bring Back the Tadpoles!

People in Action

Bring Back the Tadpoles!
by Cynthia Cohlmeyer

I am a landscape architect who likes to get her hands dirty, and gardens and plants have fascinated me since childhood. My sister and I used to make 'salad' of autumn leaves and hollyhock seedpods, breaking the pods into pieces of 'pepper'. I loved how the plant parts fit together and couldn't get over how beautiful they were. I suppose this is a big part of what led me to study landscape architecture.

When in graduate school, as part of my research, I regularly visited a tall grass prairie. I observed with relish how the growth forms, sizes and blooming periods of the native species complement each other, both functionally and aesthetically. Later, when I compared my neighbourhood park with the prairie, the park looked a lot less interesting. It supported little wildlife, it looked nearly the same all year; and the creek running through it looked more like a ditch than a creek because there was nothing but mowed grass along its banks.

View of Truro Creek, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
View larger version.

The deepened Truro Creek now provides habitat for ducks, dragonflies, frogs, and fingerling fish. This area is called the Jimmy Welsh Wetland -- it was named after a local curling star because the foundations of his home rink are literally in the creek, forming part of the east bank.

 

So I called 10 neighbours and we sat down to discuss what we could do about it. We created the Friends of Bruce Park, and have since brought big changes to the park. Today there is a buffer of tall grasses along the creek, there are lots (I mean LOTS) of new shrubs and trees, and there are 17 stone riffle structures in the creek. Fish spawn in the creek, tadpoles are there for the catching, and it is just plain more fun to be there.

A group of people.
View larger version.One of the groups of "Planting Day" volunteers from over the years.

 

Text: Top of page. Illustration of an arrowhead.

About Cynthia Cohlmeyer

Cynthia Cohlmeyer.

 


 

 
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