As we close out summer, it is a great time to reflect on the progress to date and think about what comes next for the Friends of Petrie Island. It has been a very busy summer and we are delighted with the increased interest in our beloved Island as evidenced by almost 600,000 visitors to date in 2021. Memberships, volunteer hours, picnic table rentals and social media participation are all up significantly. Memberships have more than doubled from last year and over 1400 people are members of the Friends of Petrie Island Facebook Group. Visitors continue to enjoy our educational programming such as our displays and Naturalist sessions. A number of species are getting established in our expanded wildflower garden.
We have made some real progress on the conservation side as well. Our activities this summer have included: remediation of shore line erosion, continued work on our tree inventory, tracking beaver activity and removal of invasive species. Thank you to Ottawa Riverkeeper and local guides and scouts for continued clean up events. With our dedicated volunteers and staff we were able to protect over 200 turtle eggs from predation. There is another turtle release planned on September 26 at 2 pm. Please register through the email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The University of Ottawa and the Canadian Wildlife Federation have also been conducting research on our turtle population so this all bodes well for the future of Petrie Island turtles.
We invite you to check out these new points of interest in the Petrie Island landscape.
- Our giant squid and other driftwood sculptures
- Displays and signage in our interpretive area, for example on freshwater mussels, tree inventory, history of Petrie Island
- More whimsy in the dogwood fairy maze. Many thanks to Carol, one of our volunteers for the log castles and amazing bird paintings
- The Volunteer Memorial Trail and Bench. Tucked under some trees and facing Petrie’s incredible sunsets, this place is a tribute to volunteers like René Cloutier, Bill Bowers and Helen Tweddle, who contributed to the Friends of Petrie Island but are no longer with us.
While our summer programming has closed, we know that fall is one of the best times to visit Petrie Island. Wednesday workdays (9-12) will continue while the weather permits. Staff will be present at the office on weekends til early October. The beach pavilion is closed for the season but the portapotties stay until after Thanksgiving. The City has removed the parking machines. There are several fall events at Petrie Island such as a Vendor’s Market, a corporate service event and a general meeting of an environmental agency. You are all cordially invited to the Friends of Petrie Island Annual Meeting on Tuesday Oct. 5 at 5:30 pm at the Event Tent near the office. (Rain date- Oct. 19 at 7:30 at the Queenswood Heights Community Centre).
The Friends welcome your comments and ideas for future activities. Your feedback is useful to improve programming, set priorities and stimulate creativity. Feel free to send an email (email@example.com), stop by the office, or message us on Facebook. A couple projects currently being scoped include a project to enhance our interpretive materials and a project by Carleton University students to examine bird populations at Petrie.
In closing, we would like to thank you for your support. Donations, memberships, volunteering, participating in events and social media, and being the eyes and ears of the Island, all contribute to our mandate of protecting the ecology of Petrie and engaging the community in the preservation of our small wilderness. Hope to see you out there.