By: Across U-hub, Toronto
On a sunny Saturday in late October, Across U-Hub took 30 young adults to immerse themselves in the spectacular colours of fall at Kortright Centre for Conservation in Vaughan.
As soon we got off the bus, we were greeted by a gust of breeze and a sky of falling leaves. Despite the chilly temperature of only 2°C, we were warmed up and energized after a few short rounds of games. The morning nature walk was guided by Abbey, a knowledgeable staff from Kortright Centre. This walk took us deep into the Sugar Maple Trail, which is characterised by its abundance of various types of maple trees. We learned about the Hemlock tree with its minty flavour; edible leaves which are a rich source of vitamin C; Jewelweed leaves which can relieve itches from mosquito bites; plant stalks containing yellow pigment that can be used as paint; and we learned about squirrels who often forget where they stash their food. A curious young deer veered into the vicinity when we were on the trail, but it quickly retreated.
For many of us who are city folks, being soaked in nature is itself is a refreshing experience, enriched by the beautiful fall colours and the informative tour. And yes, as a group with many teens and twenty-somethings, it also means a copious number of selfies were taken.
After lunch, our participants separated into smaller groups and ventured on a self-guided tour of the Power Trip Trail. Showcasing modern, sustainable energy practices, the Power Trip Trail was a 180° turn from the all-natural environment of the morning. We saw solar panels that heat water and generate electricity, walked across a field of different wind turbines and windmills, and pedalled on the bicycles to generate power to pump water. The last stop on this trail was the Archetype House, which features home construction technology and practices that will minimize our carbon footprint -- from something as simple as line drying laundry instead of using a dryer, to planting edible gardens that use rainwater, and to paving our driveways with permeable material to allow water run-off. The morning was about appreciating nature’s beauty. The afternoon was about protecting it.
We would like to thank for the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and RBC for funding this event, allowing our participants to learn about nature and ways we can protect it.
Into the Greenbelt is a project of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, in partnership with RBC, The Stop Community Food Centre, and regional Conservation Authorities to bring new Canadians into Ontario’s Greenbelt for fun, educational day trips.