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The Clean Air Partnership is a registered charity, founded in 2000. Our mission is to work with partners to achieve clean air, facilitate the exchange of ideas, advance change and promote and coordinate implementation of actions that improve local air quality.

My sustainable Day-Cation in Halton Hills Day 2: Wild Willow Park!

Nestled in the middle of Halton Hills is the Willow Park Ecology Centre, a beautiful little hidden gem.  It sits upon the bank of the creek, features abundant natural vegetation, a beautiful bridge, and fantastic learning opportunities for kids and adults alike.  Willow Park is run by a group of dedicated volunteers and staff who maintain the grounds, run educational programs and coordinate volunteer efforts for individuals and groups interested in helping out.

When I arrived at Willow Park, a group of children was there learning how to prepare fried squash blossoms. They were looking on quite intently!

A delicious Squash Blossom, before being battered and fried.

After all the kids left, there were still a couple of squash blossoms left for the staff and yours truly! Yum!

On the day I visited, I arrived at just the right moment to see a large group of children gathered around Willow Park’s educational manager, Teresa, and a hot plate.  She was teaching the kids how to prepare breaded squash blossoms, a personal favorite snack of mine.  The kids watched in wonder as she cooked and ate a flower, and then they all crowded around to get a delicious flower of their own.  These kinds of activities are typical of the Ecology Centre, where staff and volunteers work together to show residents the value of the natural world and interesting ways to live more sustainably.  Of course, growing your own food is a great way to live more sustainably, so the Centre’s garden demonstration plots, compost demonstration area and their cooking classes are all aimed at educating residents on the value of those plants we can sometimes take for granted.

Raised beds at the Willow Park Ecology Centre where various food crops, medicinal herbs and ornamental plants grow and are used for teaching.

The compost demonstration area at the Willow Park Ecology Centre.

The value of a place like Willow Park is difficult to overstate.  It provides a place where community members can come together with a common goal, provides children with an opportunity to interact with, and learn about nature, and it provides residents young and old with a natural respite, a place where the city seems far behind.

A pond at the Willow Park Ecology Centre that is home to turtles, frogs, birds and insects.

Of course, people aren’t the only ones who enjoy the Ecology Centre.  Willow Park is home to a stunning array of butterflies frequenting the butterfly garden, birds nesting in the trees, insects, marsh birds, reptiles, amphibians and other wildlife enjoying the wetland and fish spawning and surviving in the LUNKERS installed along the creek bed.  Having such diverse wildlife in one place provides both a biodiversity hotspot within the Town limit and an opportunity for residents to learn about what makes an ecosystem thrive.

The Butterfly Garden at Willow Park Ecology Centre.

It’s really quite difficult to do justice to the Willow Park Ecology Centre with words and photos.  It’s really something that should be seen in person to be appreciated, but I still hope that I’ve done it a bit of justice here, and sparked your desire to go and visit it for yourself.  Speaking of things that you should visit yourself, my trip continues tomorrow at the Devereaux House, a historical building with some very cool green features.  See you tomorrow!

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  1. Clean Air Partnership blogs about Willow Park - November 23, 2012

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