MANOTICK, June 15, 2021 – Accessibility and conservation advocates are teaming up to transform Baxter Conservation Area into the most accessible nature destination in Eastern Ontario – but they need your help.
The Nature For All committee is working to upgrade Baxter’s bridges, boardwalks, trails and facilities to the gold standard of accessibility to make the park as inclusive as possible to all ages and abilities.
Truly accessible natural areas are few and far between, which leaves people with disabilities or mobility concerns stuck on the sidelines. Nature For All believes every person should be able to enjoy the many physical and emotional benefits of the great outdoors without worrying about safety or logistics.
But to make this dream a reality, they need individuals, businesses and charitable partners to support the project.
Nature For All is now seeking funding partners and donations for Phase 1, which requires $750,000 to build a brand new, fully accessible bridge across Baxter’s marshlands – complete with several education platforms overlooking the water.
Every donation, from $5 to $500,000, helps bring accessible wilderness one step closer to our friends, family and neighbours with disabilities and mobility concerns.
And the timing is right: the current bridge has reached the end of its life cycle and was closed as a safety precaution in 2019. Replacing it presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Baxter’s infrastructure as inclusive as possible. The new bridge will be wide enough for two people in wheelchairs to pass safely and easily; two large, accessible viewing platforms will facilitate better and more inclusive outdoor education programs, helping students with special needs get up close and personal with the natural world.
“Nature and wilderness should be for everybody. That’s where you begin to find yourself: when you can get into nature and be at one with yourself,” said Mike Nemesvary, founder of Nature For All and long-time accessibility advocate. He has been visiting Baxter in his power wheelchair for nearly 20 years, after a training accident left him paralyzed on his path to becoming a world champion freestyle skier. “Baxter Conservation (will be) a model of accessibility for other conservation areas. People from all across Canada can come here and see how much effort and time was put into the planning, and that the planning has really paid off.”
Nature For All’s fundraising efforts are being spearheaded by the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation, the charitable partner of Rideau Valley Conservation Authority which owns Baxter Conservation Area. The Foundation is a registered charity that can offer custom corporate sponsorship agreements and donor packages, with benefits to donor organizations such as media recognition, team building opportunities, naming rights and on-site signage.
To learn more about Nature For All or to make a donation visit www.rvcf.ca/nature-for-all. To discuss corporate sponsorship packages and partnerships contact .
Modern Niagara pledges $300,000 to Conservation Foundation — Rideau Valley residents can count on cleaner water, healthier shorelines and more climate-resilient communities thanks to a ground-breaking agreement between the RVCA’s charitable foundation and building services giant Modern Niagara. Learn about this and other happenings in the watershed — click here.
RIDEAU VALLEY, June 9, 2021 – Beach-lovers of all ages and abilities can enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches at Baxter and Rideau Ferry conservation areas this summer thanks to the RVCA’s new accessible beach mats.
The heavy-duty mats will help people with mobility devices like wheelchairs, walkers and strollers access the Rideau River without worrying about getting stuck in the sand. They’re part of a suite of accessibility tools and upgrades the RVCA has introduced to make its conservation areas more inclusive.
“Investing in accessibility is a priority for us, especially as the pandemic highlights the importance of getting outside and connecting with nature,” said RVCA’s Conservation Lands Manager Chelsey Ellis. “These mats will make our beaches a more welcoming space for everyone in our watershed.”
Baxter Conservation Area is located in Kars at the southernmost edge of the City of Ottawa. Rideau Ferry Yacht Club Conservation Area is located on the north shore of Lower Rideau Lake in the township of Drummond/North Elmsley.
Both boast beautiful sand beaches that are extremely popular during the hottest months of the year. But it’s difficult for someone in a wheelchair or pushing a walker or stroller to navigate the unstable sand. The mats solve that problem: they span the entire beach and even extend several feet into the water, allowing a wheelchair user to go for a dip if they choose.
The mats, made by Mobi-Mats, are part of several accessibility upgrades recently introduced or in the works at RVCA properties. Earlier this winter, Baxter purchased a set of accessible sleds to help students with special needs participate in its outdoor education programs.
Baxter is on the cusp of a major transformation to become Eastern Ontario’s most accessible wilderness haven thanks to the efforts of Nature For All, a fundraising campaign to upgrade the site’s boardwalks and marshland bridge to the gold standard of accessibility. The campaign, led by former world ski champion and accessibility advocate Mike Nemesvary, is now accepting public donations.
To find your local conservation area visit www.rvca.ca/conservation-areas. For more information about accessibility on RVCA properties contact.
(WCS-LW - 1/2021) June 8, 2021 — Due to below average rainfall over the last three months, conditions in the Rideau Valley Watershed now meet the threshold for Minor Low Water status under the Ontario Low Water Response Program.
Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water by limiting non-essential uses (e.g., lawn watering, car washing, etc.), for an overall consumption reduction of about 10 percent. Residents are also encouraged to consult with their municipalities regarding any water conservation bylaws that may be in effect.
Stream flow values are lower than normal by as much as 20 to 30 percent and field observations indicate that ecological conditions are becoming stressed. The average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the watershed is near 60 per cent of normal for this time of year, which has triggered the Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, rainfall has been variable across the watershed, with the average amount being near 35 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast indicates we will receive minimal precipitation.
Following an early spring freshet this year, Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels throughout the Rideau Canal system inside the Rideau Valley watershed. Water levels in the reservoir/flow-through lakes are currently well below normal and are expected to decline further with little precipitation in the short-term forecast. Rideau River flows downstream of Big Rideau Lake have been reduced to minimum. Water levels in the Rideau River below Smiths Falls are within navigable ranges.
Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed. Updates to this message will be issued as conditions warrant.
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-environment-conservation-parks
Ontario’s Low Water Response program: https://www.ontario.ca/page/low-water-response-program.
RVCA website: www.rvca.ca
Hourly and daily streamflows and water levels: https://www.rvca.ca/watershed-monitoring-reporting/reporting/streamflow-water-levels.
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Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a partnership of municipalities within the Rideau Valley watershed
created under the Conservation Authorities Act to deliver a range of programs in watershed management and
natural resource conservation.
RIDEAU VALLEY, June 7, 2021 – It’s been a hard year for students and teachers alike, but still your teachers have helped you grow and thrive. Now's your chance to return the favour!
The Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation offers a range of commemorative programs that support a healthy and sustainable local environment for the future. Instead of trinkets and gift cards, consider planting the seeds of a thriving future, just as they have planted within you.
Tree Planting: Each year the Foundation plants a combination of white cedar, white pine, red oak and sugar maple across the Rideau Valley watershed to clean our air, fight climate change and create beautiful natural spaces to unwind and reconnect. A single tree costs $25, while a grove of five costs $100. Ten trees cost $150 and a family grove of 25 costs $250 – just $10 a tree. More here: https://www.rvcf.ca/ways-to-give/special-occasion-tree-planting
Adopt an Acre: When you adopt an acre for $25, you protect land right here at home in the Rideau Valley. Your symbolic gift will protect more than 6,765 acres of wetlands, shorelines and forests and the many plants and animals they support. These crucial habitats are hard at work reducing our risk of floods, cleaning our water, stopping erosion and storing vast amounts of carbon to keep our communities healthy and resilient in the face of climate change. More here: https://www.rvcf.ca/ways-to-give/adopt-an-acre
Nature For All: Access to the great outdoors and its many health benefits is crucial for people of all ages and abilities. Our Nature For All campaign is fundraising to build new boardwalks and bridges at Baxter Conservation Area to the gold standard of accessibility. If this cause is close to your teacher’s heart, consider donating on their behalf to transform Baxter into Eastern Ontario’s most accessible wilderness haven. More here:https://www.rvcf.ca/nature-for-all
Online ordering makes gift-giving easy and fast. To purchase your gifts, visit www.canadahelps.org, choose your donation category and enter your information. You’ll receive a charitable tax receipt to your inbox right away. You can even send your teacher a personalized e-card in English or French.
The Foundation is a registered charity that supports the work of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, which monitors more than 4,000 km2 of waterways across 18 municipalities in Eastern Ontario.
The authority is responsible for monitoring water quality, flood risks and other hazards to keep people, property and the environment safe. Planting trees is an important part of the authority’s efforts to promote biodiversity, protect our drinking water and reduce the risk of flooding.
For more information visit www.rvcf.ca or email .
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RIDEAU VALLEY, June 1, 2021 – What do the dusty exercise bike in your basement and the abandoned dress in your closet have in common? They can now both become cash donations to Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation!
The RVCF is thrilled to become the first environmental charity partnering with GiveShop, an Ottawa-based online community marketplace.
Like other buy-and-sell platforms, GiveShop users can post new and gently-used items for sale on the app or website. But in an innovative twist, sale proceeds are donated directly to the seller’s charity of choice and the seller gets a charitable tax receipt for the full amount.
This is an exciting new donation option for RVCF supporters, and offers huge benefits for everyone involved:
- the seller clears out their space and gets a charitable tax receipt;
- the buyer gets a great deal;
- the item is spared from landfill;
- users support an innovative local business;
- and the Foundation receives much-needed funds to continue supporting critical environmental programs such as tree planting, water quality research and outdoor education.
“GiveShop expands donation options for our supporters while contributing to a more sustainable future,” said Diane Downey, RVCF’s executive director. “Partnering with this local start-up dovetails perfectly with what we are trying to accomplish in the Rideau Valley watershed.”
The Foundation is a registered environmental charity working to help protect and conserve the lands and waters of the Rideau Valley watershed in Eastern Ontario. The Foundation complements and supports the work of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority by raising funds and in-kind gifts for three major areas of conservation work: land care through tree planting, trail maintenance, and picnic tables, benches, boardwalks; river care through water quality monitoring, biodiversity monitoring, wetland inventories, invasive species removal and clean water projects; and conservation education through outdoor learning experiences, accessible programs and public events.
How to support RVCF on GiveShop:
1. Using www.GiveShop.ca or the GiveShop app, create an account and choose Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation as your preferred charity. Verify your account through your email.
2. To sell an item, click “Give” and choose RVCF as your charity. Post photos and a description and wait for buyers to bid or buy outright. Once an item has been sold, the funds are sent directly to the Foundation – you don’t handle the cash! You can then arrange a pick-up time with the buyer. Watch for your charitable receipt in your inbox.
3. To buy an item, visit the Foundation's marketplace page or click “Shop” and choose RVCF as your charity. Buy an item you love and enjoy it knowing it supports a more sustainable future for you and your community!
In light of COVID-19 public health guidance, we ask that all GiveShop users follow social distancing policies when meeting up to exchange items. Sellers should thoroughly sanitize items before pick-up and leave items by the door or follow a "curb-side" model when handing off the item to the buyer.
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