Carolinian Canada

Workshops - Learn and Grow

Join the Movement

Saturday April 18, 2020

9:30 am – 4 pm
845 Florence St, London, ON N5W 6G6
Western Fair District Agriplex

Climate Action Stage

Explore life in the Carolinian Zone! These speakers will cover a variety of topics - from protecting wildlife to promoting native species in your backyard, this is your stage to learn more about how to protect diversity within Ontario’s Deep South through nature-based climate actions.

Be A Climate-Leader: What’s Good for Nature is Good for People

Koral Wysocki, Program Manager, Carolinian Canada
9:45am to 10:30am

Lead the Challenge. Become a Zone Leader to count your community’s efforts in Canada’s Biggest Wildlife Garden. Get resources curated by experts to guide even the most inexperienced gardeners to grow beautiful, climate-smart habitat for wildlife. Get inspired! Learn more how to track your collective impact and celebrate your how your backyard is helping the climate and wildlife!

Learn how you can amplify your impact with little bit of healthy competition and great perks you can get by planting native plants!

Koral is a strategic leader passionate about addressing diverse challenges through an environmental lens. She supports teams at Carolinian Canada and World Wildlife Fund to accelerate a cultural shift toward values of connectedness to nature, responsible stewardship and energized community. Koral completed her Masters of Science in Conservation and Community Development, specializing in the systematic evaluation of conservation programs with integrated social justice goals.

Paw Paw Parade: Carolinian Canada’s Little Known Fruit Tree

Ben Porchuk, Carolinian Zone Ecologist, & Steve O'Neil
10:45am to 11:30am

A little know fascinating native tree, bearing the largest fruit of any in the continent was the subject of a frenzy of interest in the fall of 2019. The Pawpaw. One hundred of the trees were donated to Carolinian Canada and I knew something special had to come of this amazing opportunity. Realizing these trees were the perfect ‘poster species’ for the Carolinian Zone – largest, tasty, and healthy fruit, will grow in the shade, doesn’t get too large, has beautiful flowers and tropical looking leaves – I thought of my neighbour Steve and his recently purchased hybrid car…Steve was in and next we had to decide who to get a pair of trees and how to make it happen in two days! 1,500 km later Steve and I returned home with a treasure trove of stories and experiences, including warmer hearts and hope for the future of getting native plants back onto our landscape. With thousands of people writing in to get a pair of Pawpaws, we couldn’t possibly meet the demand and so we are planning Pawpaw Parade II, heading out this September after we head to Albany, Ohio for their world famous Pawpaw Festival.

Ben Porchuk has over two decades of experience in ecology, non-profit management, environmental consulting, and sustainable living. Before the recent era of rapid renewable energy expansion, he gained expertise on living off grid. Ben lived remotely off the grid for over a decade with solar panels, a large facial beard (not required but seemingly a part of the job) a wind turbine, composting toilets and a rainwater collection system. Now living in a densely populated area of a London, Ontario, his property consists of over 200 species of native plants, including a wetland, all visited by many species of wildlife, seldom observed in the downtown of a city. Currently working a near full-time job with Carolinian Canada Coalition, Ben uses his skills and experience to help recover natural habitats on rural and urban properties using native plants in wetlands, prairies, forests and more.

Steve O’Neil is a recently retired grade 6 teacher who was really popular with students for his calm and generous personality and his ability to bring the best out of his students. Steve is also a successful family man, with to great children. He lives with his wife Marianne, in Wortley Village. Active in curling, yoga and other pursuits, Steve is passionate about community issues and the environment. Recently having purchased a Hyundai Ionic, Steve is a meticulously safe and efficient driver, often not needing GPS, relying solely on his God-given abilities to hone in on Pawpaw drop off sites, like a Homing Pigeon blindly navigating on a cloudy day.

Natural Beauty: How to Incorporate Native Plants into Mainstream Landscape Designs

Sara Bellaire
11:45am to 12:30pm

The science and ecology behind using native plants in our landscapes is abundantly clear. As a Landscape Architect, I often hear from informed clients that they want to put in native plants around their properties but don’t know how to do so that can allow you to have an ecologically functional yard while maintaining a mainstream design aesthetic.

Sara is a Sr. Landscape Architect at Shift Landscape Architecture.  Sara's experience is diverse and includes working for a family-owned nursery and design/build company along with small and large consulting firms and provincial and municipal governments. As a result, she is comfortable working on a broad spectrum of projects. Within Shift, Sara is a planting specialist and lends her expertise of green infrastructure techniques and the needs of plants to projects.  Sara is also a professor at Fanshawe College teaching in the Landscape Design Diploma and Environmental Design & Planning Degree programs. Recently her work has been focusing on how to incorporate native plants into our urban landscapes.

The Forager's Garden: Growing Edible Native Plants

Lorraine Johnson
12:45pm to 1:30pm
In this talk, author Lorraine Johnson explores some of the benefits of gardening with native plants (for biodiversity, for pollinators, for climate change mitigation, and more) and focuses on growing edible native plants in backyards, balconies and community projects.

Lorraine Johnson is the author of numerous books on environmental issues and gardening. Former president of the North American Native Plant Society, her areas of expertise include gardening with native plants, urban agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and urban forest protection. Some of the books she’s written include: The New Ontario Naturalized Garden; Grow Wild!; Green Future; The Real Dirt (which she co-authored with Mark Cullen); Tending the Earth; and City Farmer. A new edition of her book 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens was recently published. 

The Miracle of Flight

Brian Salt, Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Centre
1:45pm to 2:30pm

What is it that lets eagles soar, hummingbirds hover, and geese travel thousands of kilometres south each fall? Explore the characteristics that allow living things to fly, from wing design to the four forces of flight.

Brian is the founder and Director of Salthaven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Centre. Since its inception, Salthaven has treated and released thousands of animals back into the wild; from foxes to fawns to falcons, and more. Whether it flies, burrows or slithers, there’s a healing hand and open heart waiting at Salthaven from Brian and the clinic volunteers. As well as overseeing the clinic, Brian is active in spreading the word about what people in the community can do to help protect wildlife and the environment.

Find Your Climate-Action: Native Plant Gardening: WWF- Canada

Ryan Godfrey and Jarmila Becka Lee
2:45pm to 3:30pm

Gardens present a unique opportunity to address the dual crisis of wildlife decline and climate change while also connecting people to each other and to nature. It is even possible to do this in a small space like a balcony, porch, patio, walkway or doorstep if we choose the right plants and learn to garden like an ecologist. This talk will introduce In The Zone, an project that is restoring native habitat in the Carolinian Zone one garden at a time. We will also focus on practical strategies and tools to avoid common hurdles on the way to building your own small-yet-mighty biodiverse garden

Jarmila Becka Lee 
Specialist, Program Advancement, Nature-Connected Communities 

As part of WWF-Canada’s Nature Connected Communities Team, Jarmila manages In the Zone as well as the Go Wild granting programs, both of which strive to increase Canadians’ engagement with nature, especially in urban areas. During her nearly 22 years at WWF-Canada, Jarmila has worked on a variety of conservation initiatives including advising Loblaw on its 100% sustainable seafood commitment, managing WWF’s species at risk work as well as the long-running Endangered Species Recovery Fund, and serving as coordinator for the Marine, International and Toxicology programs. Jarmila holds a Bachelor of Science, Environment and Biology, from the University of Toronto. 

Ryan Godfrey 

Ryan Godfrey is a botanist with a B.Sc. in Ecology and Environmental Biology (University of British Columbia) and a M.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (University of Toronto). His 10 years of experience with native plants spans academia, museum collections, botanical gardens, consulting to the private sector and work with NGOs to engage communities and neighbourhoods for ecological restoration and stewardship. Currently, Ryan's focus is on adding native plants back into the built environment in order to realize the layered benefits of restored ecosystems: climate resilience, carbon drawdown, wildlife habitat and community health.