Category Archives: Uncategorized

Émie Gaboury 2019/07/28

Thank you everyone for another month of support! This month the Friends of Petrie Island staff, along with the help of our Wednesday workday volunteers, have accomplished multiple tasks that have contributed to creating a more welcoming and informative area for all of Petrie’s Islands visitors. The construction and painting of our new display structure, a new table for our container, the ongoing creation and upkeep of our new wildflower garden are just a few examples of the many tasks that have been completed throughout this past month! This upcoming month of August boasts exciting opportunities that we would like to share with you, our dedicated members!

In partnership with the Ottawa Stewardship Council (OSC) and the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club (OFNC), Friends of Petrie Island will be conducting a tree inventory on Saturday August 17th and Sunday August 18th from 8:45am to 3:00pm, and we are looking for volunteers! Volunteers would help to measure and record information about the trees on Petrie Island. No previous experience is needed and tree experts will be on site to instruct volunteers on how to take measurements and help with tree identification. This is a great opportunity to learn about the trees and the natural history of Petrie Island! Please visit our webpage, https://www.petrieisland.org/tree-inventory-2019-2021, for more details about the event.  If this is of interest to you, we ask that you please register ahead of time at inquiries@petrieisland.org, with the subject line ‘Attention Sherry – Tree inventory Volunteer’. We are looking for approximately 20 volunteers, so do not hesitate to share this information with your friends and family! 

In other news, our children naturalist program is still accepting registrations for our Pre-school, Junior and Youth naturalist sessions. Children learn about a variety of different topics such as turtles, invasive species, fossils and dinosaurs and many more exciting subject matter! The staff is having a great time running the program and getting to interact with the youth about the wildlife and biodiversity at Petrie Island. If you or someone you know may be interested in joining us, you can email us at inquiries@petrieisland.org and we will answer all your questions!

Are you looking to host the perfect picnic, family gatherings or work event in one of Ottawa’s most beautiful locations? Petrie Island’s various picnic areas offers multiple options that will fit  your every need. For smaller groups, up to 25 people, picnic area 2 and 3 offers 4 picnic tables with shade, that can be rented for 20$ and can be yours for the day. For bigger gatherings, the event tent can accommodate up to 100 people and can be rented for 100$ for half the day or 125$ for the full day. There are a lot of dates available for the rental of the picnic areas in August. As always, inquire at inquiries@petrieisland.org to reserve your picnic today.

In relation to the area rentals available at Petrie, FOPI staff are also available to host birthday parties as well as tours for any age group. This past month we have hosted successful kids and adult tours! If you are apart of or know any club or group that might be interested do not hesitate to contact us at our inquiries email for more information!

Finally, we wanted to emphasize that we are in the process of rebuilding multiple structures after the impact of this years flood. Each Wednesday dedicated volunteers arrive for our Wednesday work days that are especially busy with building and repairing displays and other areas that need reconstruction. This includes manual and carpenting work. If you would like to participate in our rebuilding efforts, you are welcome to join us on Wednesday mornings. We ask that you please notify us in advance which date you would like to come out and help. 

As always, thank you for supporting Friends of Petrie Island, and we hope to see you soon at the island!

Émie Gaboury 2019/07/07

We would like to thank you for all of your support in 2018! With your help, we were able to work on many projects last year, such as launching our Naturalist programs and building our display area. We also received much support during our Wednesday Workdays. Let us all work together, new members and old, and make 2019 an extraordinary year for Friends of Petrie Island! 

Petrie Island is officially open after much reconstruction courtesy of the City of Ottawa. As you may know, this year the flooding at Petrie Island was the longest to recede even compared to 2017. It delayed our reopening for a couple of months. The water was almost a meter above the ground, and the water line can be seen among the trees and buildings in the area. In the meantime, we were working out of Queenswood Heights Community Centre getting things ready for our grand return. Of course, when we were able to safely enter the Island, there was much work to be done. Displays were faded and covered with mud, the tool shed and craft shed were still flooded inside, and almost all of our benches were displaced or lost. With the help of our staff on Wednesday Workdays, much of our benches and our displays were recovered. At the moment, most things are done and we are able to operate our programs; however, there is still more to do. Our staff is still hard at work getting things back to the way they were. We are rebuilding our lost display area and doing our best to clean up our picnic area. Luckily, we do have our picnic rentals up and running and our container and office have been delivered. Overall, we are excited to say that the Nature Center is open and we have staff on duty daily. Feel free to ask them about our programs and memberships for the summer!

In terms of programs and events, we recently held our annual Turtle Day on June 23, 2019. It was a great turnout! We had the Canadian Wildlife Federation come in and do a presentation on turtles in Ontario, and we had various games and activities for kids. Moreover, our Children’s Naturalist Program officially started on July 2, 2019. This year we have preschool (ages 2-5), junior (ages 6-8), and youth (ages 9-12) naturalist groups. Preschool and junior being every Tuesday and Thursday, and youth every Wednesday and Thursday.  Our themes this week were turtles and fossils. Both the younger and older groups have a variation in teaching and activities by increasing or decreasing the complexity of the subject. For example, the youth group focused on turtle nesting on Petrie Island; whereas our junior groups focused on the identification of turtles on Petrie Island. Finally, the Plant Group has returned! They will have their sessions on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 PM.  

The trails around Petrie Island are starting to dry. Bill Holland and the Turtle trail are not flooded; yet, the Basswood, Muskrat, and Sunrise trails are still partially flooded. Given the warm weather ahead, the trails should clear soon! Our staff has been going down the Bill Holland trail everyday to look for signs of turtle activity. We have recovered six nests consisting of snapping, painted, and map turtle eggs which are protected on our Turtle Trail. 

Last, but not least, we do have new additions to our student summer staff! Teyana, Laura, and Atirah are our new Park Monitors this summer! Emma and Émie are returning for their second year as the Children’s Program Manager, and Coordinator of Staff, Volunteers, and Memberships respectively. Let us all wish our team good luck for the summer!

We do hope 2019 will be a great year for Friends of Petrie Island! There will be many new projects to work on, such as, a new turtle pond, programs, and more species conservation efforts. Without your help, none of this would have been possible. This is why we give our utmost thanks for your support. Let us help preserve Friends of Petrie Island for many generations to come!

Paul Le Fort 2018/09/05

I saw twin bolts of lightning during the first storm, obviously hitting somewhere near Jean D’Arc (North Service). It caught our little dog as he was looking out the patio door. He has been sleeping sheepishly since.

Al Tweddle just confirmed serious damage, many trees down, one hitting the Morin house, another missing the trail shed. Others fell on Turtle Trail, across the road between our location and Morin house. Al reports no other damage, unless you include the wet floor in the container, he having left the end open. So all is OK, we trust the City will clean up. The power pole to the pavilion was split by lightning, it appears, and there are trees down along the access road past the causeway. Hydro was on site, and their report on the outage app showed two sites on Petrie, undefined (when I looked it up before we lost power ourselves.)

Jim Robertson 2018/06/21

Its been a long time since we’d been down to Petrie and even longer since I sent in a “Dispatch”. We found ourselves at Petrie at 1:30pm on June 21st, not the best time to see things, but we headed out for what was a 4.5km walk to renew old acquaintances. We checked out all the trails but the Sunrise Trail.

Lots of people fishing, didn’t see anyone catching anything, but then fishing isn’t always about catching fish. There were a few heron around in the bay to the west of the access road, but no ducks.

It wasn’t the best time of the day to see turtles – too many people and sun too hot – but we did see a few good sized map turtles as well as the usual painted turtles. There were a few destroyed snapping turtle nests, but nothing like the number I used to see. Fewer turtles? Fewer predators? Better protection?

The yellow iris and blue iris (blue flag) were out in many places as well as lots of anemones and one fern still in fiddlehead stage.

Canada Geese I know have been at Petrie for a while, but they were never there when I frequented the Island 10-15 years ago. There were 6 geese in the bay by the Beaver Trail. One family with 3 goslings at “causeway” on the Bill Holland Trail and another family with 5-6 younger goslings were crossing the road at the start of the Bill Holland Trail.

A few mallards were swimming in various spots included a pair, the male of which was blue, almost purple, headed. There was no green sheen. I checked for blue/purple headed mallards on the web and it seems they are not unheard of. The reason for the odd colour is not certain, but some think it is a sign of low testosterone – either for genetic reasons, or younger duck. Given this was the first one I have noticed, I suspect the testosterone rational might be a better story.

A good number of leopard frogs were along the trails and a few bull frogs were heard and seen.

Of course beaver aren’t in evidence at that time of the day, but there were signs of beavers at work last fall and several beaver lodges, included one on top of one that was deserted many years ago.

We’ll have to make a point of coming down much earlier sometime in the future to get a feel of the “real” Petrie.

Pictures at: http://www.fototime.com/inv/745D76F5A54955D

FOPI Staff 2018/05/18

The road to the island is now open; however, most of the trails are partially flooded and have limited access. We foresee that they will be clear within the next week. We are excited to say that the temporary Nature Centre is open and we have staff on duty daily. Feel free to ask them about our programs and memberships for the summer.

The City granted us with a trailer that we will be using as an office and we are working on obtaining a shipping container where we will be able to put our displays.

Our 4 summer students: Emma, Manisha, Alessia, and Émie are currently working hard to plan and prepare events for our opening within the next week.

About 55 Grade 7 and 8 students from Ashbury College came out on April 20th to help with an Earth Day Cleanup.  On May 6th, we had great success with our Jane’s Walk about turtles, and a turnout of around 40 people. Although the roads and Nature trails were flooded, we met on the causeway and brought out displays that people really enjoyed

Saturday, June 2nd from 10AM – 3PM is our registration/information day, which will be hosted at the Nature Centre. If you have any questions with regards to our programs and opportunities this summer,  we invite you to come out and get more information.

We are looking forward to our WWF cleanup on Sunday, June 3rd where we expect about 300 people. We intend to get our Nature trails and the Nature Centre in great condition for this summer.

Sunday, June 10th is our Turtle Day.

City of Ottawa on the future of the nature centre 2017/11/03

From Dan Chenier, General Manager, Recreation, Cultural and Facility Services, City of Ottawa, regarding FOPI’s nature centre, or interpretation centre.  This was an old cottage built by the Grandmaitre family in the 1960’s.  It is now demolished.

The City has received the condition assessment report that was undertaken by Concentric Associates International Inc.  Their report outlines the findings of their investigation and details a significant list of deficiencies that are related to original construction issues, poor construction practices and foundation displacement and settlement issues.   Important deficiencies identified include sagging of the roof, main floor and exterior deck, the building does not appear to be mechanically connected to the foundation in a tangible way, load bearing columns that rest on plywood floors between joists with inadequate support, at some locations the existing exterior grade is higher than the floor framing,  floor beams that do not appear to be structurally adequate for the current occupancy, and more.

Based on the consultant’s review, it is their recommendation that the structure is not fit for occupancy without extensive remediation.  This would include at a minimum upgrades to the foundation system, reinforcement of existing floor beams, wood blocking within the floor system, lintel reinforcement, and modifications or replacement of the exterior canopy framing.   Given the age of the structure and the extent of work required, the consultant recommends that we demolish the building.   Preliminary cost estimates from the structural elements only (not including permits, taxes or engineering fees) is pegged at a minimum of $150,000, though it is reasonable to assume that the final cost would be more than this when restoring interior finishes, accessibility requirements and programming needs are included.

Given the above, we are recommending that the building be demolished.   As well, as an interim measure we are proposing to install a trailer that could be used by your group as a home base for your activities at the park.  The trailer is City owned and has been renovated.  I am attaching pictures to give you a better idea.  We would propose to install the required equipment so that a hydro connection can be made to the trailer and restore your access to electricity.   The trailer would be set down on a gravel bed, and we would discuss with RVCA whether it had to be removed each winter, or whether it could stay.   This is being proposed as an immediate and temporary solution to the loss of the cottage building and to allow more time to work on a more permanent solution and the funding that would be required to achieve this.

We understand the value that the cottage building brought to programming at the site, and the important role in played in the environmental activities at Petrie.  Unfortunately, the building has reached its end of life.  The Asset Management Unit will take the lead on arranging for the demolition.  Preliminary discussions indicate that it may be possible to get this completed before winter.

Al Tweddle, 2017/11/09

After a short winter period Petrie Island was flooded to the highest level in many years during April and May. Floods caused damage to the causeway, which delayed repairs to the beach and picnic area and the area was not officially opened until late June. Petrie Island and the road was closed for 60 days.

Beavers were very active during the flooding, debarking many large Cottonwood trees, many of these trees were in higher elevations where the Beavers would not normally be able to reach them. Fopi members managed to wrap about 10 large trees to save them from dying. The City came in to remove over 60 large dead Ash trees in January and planted 95 trees and shrubs in October as replacements.

FOPI received grants to hire five students from Canada Summer jobs. Unfortunately most of the school tours had to be cancelled due to the flooding. Only two of fifteen scheduled tours were held at the end of June. Our adult tours and clean ups were cancelled, however we did run our successful Naturalist programs and summer tours. Due to the flooding we were unable to use our nature centre as it was closed while being evaluated for mould and structure damage. We also lacked power and had to operate with a generator, displays and other equipment were moved to our tent area which became our operation headquarters. The City removed mould and damaged materials from the nature centre in September and we are still waiting to find out what renovations will have to take place.

We continued our Wednesday adult workdays on a variety of projects to maintain the picnic area trails and repairing and restoring picnic tables and observation benches.

The Membership program was cancelled which included three clean ups, educational tours, removal of invasive species, all due to the flooding and reconstruction of the area. We did send out regular dispatches to members starting in May. Many people offered to help with restoration work in June but were unable to help as the island was inaccessible. By the time we were able to get in we were working on our summer programs. FOPI held one clean up in late June in cooperation with the World Wildlife Federation that included a display trailer from the Vancouver aquarium. We also hosted the release of 400 young Eels into the Ottawa river in cooperation with the Ottawa Riverkeeper, Environment Ministry staff from Ontario and Quebec.

We continued to support Kayaking at Petrie Island with the Petrie Island Canoe club under Sarah Kennedy. They ran full day camps during the summer using the FOPI tent and picnic area for parts of their program. We participated in the Cross fit event and received $3200.

Despite the difficulties we completed our 20th year of operation. We would like to thank members for their support of our programs which will continue in 2018. We plan to have some celebrations next year to mark our 20th.

FOPI Staff 2017/08/31

As we now find ourselves at the end of August, the season is starting to wind down. The city will finally be coming in soon to remove the mold and debris from the nature centre. This will include removing the tile flooring and the insulation from the walls. When this is done, they will do a final evaluation of the building and decide what improvements need to be made to restore it. Although we lost many school tours during the spring flooding, we did have several summer tours for camps and home school groups. The naturalist programs were successful as usual and were well attended. A good portion of the summer workdays were spent restoring benches, picnic tables, and observation platforms.  The Wednesday workdays will continue into the fall and the educational displays and signs will be out through September. Most of the protected turtle nests are still intact and we are waiting for the hatchlings to emerge. The executive would like to thank the summer students Shannon, Diana, Robert, Emily, and Sarah for their work on the island this season, and wish them all well in their studies. We would also like to thank all of our members and volunteers for their support. It was a difficult year but we still continued to strive towards our goals of protecting the wildlife and educating the public.

FOPI Staff 2017/07/17

Last week Friends of Petrie Island hosted an Eel Release Day in partnership with the Ottawa Riverkeeper, Canadian Wildlife Service, and Ministry of Natural Resources. Four hundred eels were tagged and released into the Ottawa River at Petrie Island. The event brought out many volunteers and spectators, and we would like to thank everyone who stopped by! For more information on why the eels were released, see the following news article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/researchers-tag-release-eels-ottawa-river-1.4202694

Elsewhere on Petrie Island, many wildflowers, trees, and shrubs have begun to bloom! We are identifying as many as we can with informational signs along the trails and in the wildflower garden. Unfortunately, many of our reference books that we often use for plant identification were damaged or lost in the flood along with many other items. If any of our members have any plant or animal reference books we would welcome any donations! If you have no books and still wish to help, we are still accepting monetary donations and new/renewed memberships.