FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2013
ONTARIO’S GREENBELT CONNECTS HEALTHY FORESTS & HEALTHY KIDS
New Interpretive Sign Teaches Next Generation the Benefits of Forest and Greenbelt Protection
A new interpretive sign is being installed today at the Ganaraska Forest. The sign, created by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, in partnership with the Ganaraska Forest Centre, highlights the contributions and environmental impacts of the Ganaraska Forest, part of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
Located at the forest’s trailhead, the sign outlines the remarkable transformation of this landscape from what once was an ecological wasteland less than 60 years ago, to what is now a lush and vibrant forest. The sign details not only the history of the forest but the ecological effects of what is the largest contiguous forest area in Southern Ontario.
“The Ganaraska Forest is the epitome of what the Greenbelt has to offer Ontarians,” says Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “This new sign looks to expand awareness and deepen the public’s understanding of what the forest provides—clean water, wildlife habitat, and a breathtaking recreational landscape—all within one hour of the GTA. The Ganaraska Forest is a prime example of how resource rich and resilient both nature and the Greenbelt are.”
Located within the 11,000 acres of the forest is the Ganaraska Forest Centre, a hub for environmental education and outdoor learning for students from Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12. It provides rich and unique opportunities for children to experience the forest, nature, and learn through outdoor play, which is crucial to the intellectual, social, and physical well-being of young people. Those young people who spend more time outside show improved creativity, increased problem-solving abilities, and lower instances of many childhood diseases such as obesity and diabetes.
“Scientific evidence shows that children learn best through play. The need for unstructured play and experiential learning in nature are essential components of wholesome child development,” says Linda Givelas, Property Manager, Ganaraska Forest Centre who joined Foundation staff and Grade 5 and 6 students from Baltimore Public School to celebrate this landmark achievement. “Most importantly, children engaged in outdoor activity, report that adventurous play makes them feel happy.” Signage is an important part of the campaign to raise awareness about the Greenbelt. Since 2005, the Greenbelt Foundation has put up more than 380 signs including road signs, trail signs, lamp banners, plaques, and park signs in an effort to raise awareness of the reach and profile of Ontario’s Greenbelt.
About the Ganaraska Forest Centre:
The Ganaraska Forest Centre is a multi-use facility, located in the heart of the 11,000-acre Ganaraska Forest. Featuring overnight accommodations for over 80 people, the facility boasts a large Great Hall, four break-out classrooms, a commercial kitchen and expert culinary staff to look after any group’s dietary needs. The certified teachers at the Ganaraska Forest Centre offer over 25 Ontario curriculum-linked outdoor educational opportunities to students in Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12, through day-use programming, or 2, 3, or 5-night residential stays.
About the Greenbelt:
Fresh air, clean water, healthy local food–all brought to you by Ontario’s Greenbelt. At more than 1.8 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect and grow natural features. Join us! Learn more at: greenbelt.ca or find us on Twitter and Facebook.
Ganaraska Forest Centre
Phone: (905) 797-2721
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation
Phone: (416) 960-0001, ext. 306