November Newsletter

  • Published on Nov 21 2017 |
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Winter is here! November has been full of guided school hikes, meetings and planning for the future. CPAWS held its annual meetings earlier this month to discuss and share strategies, information and perspectives. We also attended several conferences to learn more strategies on how to engage with our partners and the public. Thanks to the generous support from the Multiculturalism Ontario Grant and Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, we will continue our work with our Education Program and are beginning new conservation projects. We have been leading on average two school hikes each week to connect children with nature. We met with our partners to prepare for new projects this spring, including removing invasive plant species from Ottawa's greenbelt. 

We also engaged with many people through our Cafe Scientifique and participating in the Help Santa Toy Parade in Ottawa last weekend. We have several exciting events coming up, to learn more continue reading!


December 2 - Join CPAWS-OV at the Aylmer Santa Clause Parade in Old-Aylmer! The parade will begin at Front Street and end at Les Galleries Aylmer. The parade runs from 6:00pm-7:00pm. Would you like to participate in the parade? We are looking for volunteers! Contact Jesse at

December 9 - Join CPAWS-OV for our 2018 Calendar Launch and Holiday Party! Come on out and drop by the Clocktower Brew Pub (575 Bank St) anytime between 1:00-4:00pm to buy a calendar, learn more about CPAWS in a fun, festive atmosphere.

December 9 - Join CPAWS at Arts and Crafts Market at Parish Hall of Christ Church Aylmer (101 rue Symmes) in Aylmer Quebec from 9:00am - 2:00pm for beautiful crafts, homemade baking and a fun, festive atmosphere. We will have an information booth where we will be selling our amazing 2018 Gatineau Park Calendars and our Make it a Real Park t-shirts! To purchase a calendar or a t-shirt online, click here.

December 11 - Join Nik Lopoukhine at our next Cafe Scientifique. Nik will be discussing the federal government's committment to protecting 17% of Canada's land by 2020. As a member of the National Advisory Panel, Nik works to create recommendations to achieve Canada's goal to protect 17% of land by 2020 throughout a coordinated and connected network of protected and conservation areas throught the country that could serve as the cornerstone for biodiversity conservation for generations to come. Meet at the Fox and the Feather Pub on Elgin st, Ottawa from 7:00-9:00pm, order a drink, grab a bite to eat and engage in discussion on Canada's commitement to conservation.

January 27 - Join us for a snowshoe hike in Mayo, Quebec! Details to come. 

Volunteers Needed:

We are currently looking for volunteers to participate in our float at the Aylmer Christmas Parade and to help out at the Arts and Crafts Market. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Jesse at or call the office at 819-778-3355.

Donations of Winter Clothing Needed

CPAWS-OV currently works with a high school aged youth group and helps them connect with nature by going out for hikes, snowshoing trips, lectures in class and other events. As winter quickly approaches, we are realizing that not every child has good quality, warm clothing. We are doing a shout out for warm winter clothing so each student in the youth group has the opportunity to participate in our activities.

We are looking for new or used items: 2 winter coats (medium sized), snow pants, scarves, mitts/gloves and hats

We are also looking for new: warm socks and hand/foot warmers.

If you are able to donate, please contact Jesse at the CPAWS-OV office at or 819-778-3355.


Our 2018 Gatineau Park Calendars are out! This calendar features photographs of Gatineau Park taken by local photographers. 

Gatineau Park is managed by the National Capital Commission and does not have legal protection provided to "real" national parks. As such, portions of the park have been sold or used for housing development, the construction of shopping centres and the creation of new roads. Our mission is to achieve legislated protection for Gatineau Park, with boundaries protected in law.

Our calendars can be ordered online, bought from the office and will be in stores soon. Follow us on social media to see where you can purchase them!

Proceeds from the sale of this calendar will support wilderness conservation in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

Order a calendar online for $10.00!

Learn more about Gatineau Park and our Make it a Real Park Campaign.

Bateman Books for Sale

CPAWS-OV still has a number of Robert Bateman's book Robert Bateman's Canada for sale. This deluxe, over-sized art book showcases Robert Bateman’s vision of the Canadian landscape, coast to coast, for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Bateman has spent his life painting the Canadian landscape and in this book he shows us the land that has captivated artists and nature lovers for decades, from the historic eastern shores to the luscious west coast.

Robert Bateman's Canada is sold for $75.00. To purchase, contact the office at 819-778-3355 or e-mail

CPAWS-OV Board Retreat

On Sunday, November 12, the CPAWS-OV Board and senior management got together to develop our annual strategic and work plans. CPAWS-OV has been growing over the last few years and we wish to maintain that positive trajectory and keep growing in the future. Our overarching priorities remain the same as in previous years: the establishment of new parks and protected areas; ensuring that existing protected areas are managed to maintain their ecological integrity; protecting and restoring connections outside of parks and, finally, connecting Canadians, especially youth, to nature.

Over the next year, we hope to strengthen our conservation programs by bringing on a new Conservation Director to help ensure that we are seizing all of the opportunities associated with recent commitments by the provinces of Quebec and Ontario in terms of protected area growth. We also wish to engage a fundraising specialist to help us build a strong and diversified fundraising program that makes use of new and emerging trends in fund development and finally, with the growth in our education programs, we hope to start offering some new programming for youth outside of schools, new Canadians and seniors.

If you would like to learn more or get involved in helping us achieve these goals, please contact us. 

Stories from your backyard:

Sorley O'Neill, CPAWS-OV volunteer, is new to Ottawa and has been exploring the region. In October he visited Mud Lake and wrote about his experiences and impressions of this important ecosystem. Mud Lake, near Britannia Park, is one of the most important natural habitats in the urban part of Canada's Capital Region. Mud Lake is a habitat for a wide diversity of animal species and is an Important Bird Area (IBA) and serves an important environment for bird conservation. CPAWS-OV also does turtle monitoring in the area and creates and maintains turtle beds for turtle species such as snapping turtles and painted turtles.

Wandering into the Mud Lake Depths

Perhaps finding yourself wandering across a lazy day, meandering across the Britannia way, a peculiar opening will appear, presenting itself along the side of a linear path

Untamed, untouched, and unknown the mysterious opening is a siren call for the curious traveller. Step closer and quickly find yourself far removed from societies’ hullabaloo, whisked away onto scared ground, here Mud Lake beckons for something lost to be found.

To the traveller a decision is presented, the first of many, a fork in the road. Mud Lake offers a foray into nature’s depths, yet the traveller must choose their path. Wading through muddied paths, avail of fallen logs and secreted trails, delving deeper into the wild. Slowly the surrounding wild growth flanks from all sides, warding off the modern-day racket. Giving way to the soft chirping of crickets, melodic bird songs, and rustling leaves to blend into an hypnotic melody.

Follow the melodic tune, allow the lure to embalm spirit and find oneself upon an open vista. A bridge crossing the unknown watery depth sets the stage for a theatrical wildlife display. Ducks gracefully glide atop still waters, playfully flirting with the tranquil environs. Vocal backings surround the theatrics with amphibians strategically camouflaged offering tonal ribbits. Lighting turned entrancing illusion with the dance of dragonflies.

Only the traveller quiet of footfall and tempered patience is entreated with such spectacle, those busy fetching cameras and noisily stamping about their presence will find only an empty stage.  For Mud Lake is hallow ground enriched by unspoiled ecological diversity. One of the few remaining due to rampant and belligerent societal expansions.

Continue respectful reverence of this ancient land, follow wild trails though myriad pathways of your choosing. Each rewarding, an open bank with view of expansive lake, a sunken forest forgotten and unknowingly old, or the enchanted woods which stretch beyond sight. These are only a glimmer of Mud Lakes unspoiled reach, truly beyond a single day’s sojourn.

And as with every sojourn’s end, Mud Lake will eventually return one to their beginning. Though the traveller may discover something missing. As with every step we place from nature toward the concrete high-rises and metallic shells, we find a growing emptiness. The lingering absence of adventure that only is found when steeping through muddied forests, gazing upon vibrantly coloured leaves, inspired by the muse of wildlife song. Mud Lake embodies our yearning for adventure, and awaits to remind those who find themselves meandering on a lazy day.

Interview with CO-OP Student Stephanie Medwenitsch

How did you find out about CPAWS-OV?

A couple of years ago I was looking for environmental volunteer experiences and came across a volunteer ad for CPAWS. I volunteered in an event which allowed me to learn more about the organization.

What made you want to join CPAWS-OV?

I appreciate the dedication and passion that is found in small organizations such as CPAWS – OV. Especially as an NGO, they have to work with a more limited amount of resources and that shows the dedication. As well, as a nature lover, I appreciate the work CPAWS does to protect parks around Canada.

What is your role with CPAWS-OV? What do you do and what have you done?

I am a co-op student from Carleton University. I have helped with CPAWS-OV’s road ecology program which involved surveying Gatineau Park, helped lead educational hikes for elementary school kids, and am currently working on media to share information about road ecology with the general public. 

What do you do (school or work) outside of CPAWS-OV?

I am a 4th year environmental studies major at Carleton University. 

What is your favorite thing about CPAWS-OV? A campaign, education, hikes etc…

The balance of the work – field work is an opportunity to be outside, while there is also office work, as well as events to attend. I like having the opportunity to break routine.

Can you tell us a highlight story of working with CPAWS-OV?

Surveying Gatineau Park one day, I found a snapping turtle nest with babies emerging for the first time. They were all crossing the road to get to the wetland on the other side so we had to help move them across quickly and re-direct cars. They are so small, anyone could easily run them over without noticing. We ended up moving about 10 safely – it felt great to know that by being there we saved that many turtles.

What have you learned from your time with CPAWS-OV?

I’ve been quite immersed in the road ecology program, road ecology being something I hadn’t heard of before. I’ve learned about surveying, how data is analyzed and presented to officials, what the different mitigation strategies are, and what some of the challenges to managing the issues are. One interesting mitigation strategy I’ve found out about is one that’s been built on highway 69 near Sudbury – it’s an extension of the landscape in the form of a bridge over the road which allows for animals to cross more safely.

If you could give CPAWS-OV advice, what would it be?

Maybe to advertise themselves and their work more – no one I know has ever heard of the organization.

What is your favorite way to connect to nature?

Time spent at the cottage – you really do feel like you’re breathing fresher air, I love being by the water and walks in the forest, there are many more animals to encounter, and overall I’m outside much more often when I’m there.

Do you have any adventures planned in your future? (hikes, canoe trips, travelling etc…)

I go to England often and will be there next at the end of December. One thing that was unexpected to me about England and part of the reason I fell in love with the country was the beautiful landscapes – there are so many old forests, beautiful coastline, white rock cliffs, rolling hills, and the northern Lake District.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

NGO organizations such as CPAWS-OV can always benefit from volunteers – anyone who loves nature and being outside would be happy with a volunteer experience here.