Over the years it’s been a privilege to work with engaged citizens who share our love of nature. They appreciate that the environment needs a little help to thrive, given all the pressures of urban life. Last month we attended the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards where six members of the Rattray Marsh Protection Association (RMPA) were recognized for more than 150 years of collective service.
Congratulations to our friends:
- Janet Bumstead (vice-chair), 30 years;
- Kirsten Burling, 25 years;
- Wendy McDonald, 20 years;
- Elaine McMillan, 20 Years;
- Audrey Oswald, 30+ years and
- Peter Westbrook, 25 years.
Local residents started protecting Rattray Marsh as early as 1959. They lobbied to protect the marsh when it was slated to become a marina and housing development. The RMPA was officially established in 1979 to protect the marsh for present and future generations. Members felt a connection with the land and saw Rattray as an extension of their own backyard. They understood the environmental value of the marsh and the potential tragedy of losing it.
Rattray Marsh is known as an ‘environmental gem’ and as we know all precious gems need special care. This area is the last remaining lakefront marsh between Toronto and Burlington, and it is home to many species of plants and animals. It is also an important stopover site for migrating birds. The biodiversity of the marsh makes it a living outdoor classroom for visitors to enjoy.
Through the years RMPA have worked with us to protect the land, educated the community and lead annual community events. Each year members of RMPA share their love of the land through annual clean-ups, invasive species removal, tree and shrub plantings, and improving trails and boardwalks to protect sensitive areas.
The RMPA was instrumental in garnering public support and understanding for recent restoration work at the Marsh. This included removing excess sediment to help native plants and fish thrive, and removing ash trees decimated by the emerald ash borer. Their continued support and stewardship efforts are helping the replanting effort.
We are proud of RMPA. They share our vision of a thriving environment that protects, connects and sustains us. Thank you for all that you do, and congratulations!
Find out how you can volunteer and make a different in your community and for the environment.