- Paul Van Nest
KINGSTON ROTARY’S ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS
The Rotary Club of Kingston formed its Environment Committee in the 1980s under the watchful eye of Rotarian, Larry Ritchie, who worked with the Ministry of the Environment at the time. Our club assisted in the delivery of the city’s first blue boxes and helped with the establishment of the hazardous waste drop-off site at Kingston Area Recycling. To reduce the waste of city-treated water on our gardens and grass, we helped with the city’s rain barrel project, promoting and delivering rain barrels to area homes to be installed at the bottom of downspouts.
Since that time, the committee has focused on numerous projects that include battery recycling programs and the bi-annual Kingston Pitch-In Day to clean up garbage from public spaces including Rotary Park. Led by long-time Rotarian and our own ‘Mr. Environment’, Wilf Sorensen, the committee worked with the Frontenac Secondary School’s Interact Club to collect e-waste. On a sunny day in 2015, a massive bin parked outside the school was filled with TVs, computers, printers, and pretty much anything else with a plug. The community response to this opportunity was impressive. This Ontario Electronic Stewardship Program to divert e-waste from the landfill also raised $550 for Interact.
Many years ago, the LaSalle Secondary School Interact Club and the Kingston club teamed up to conduct a Saturday seminar and projects at the Landon Bay Park east of Gananoque. Much was learned by many students that day. We were lucky; the weather was perfect! Opening the K&P Trail was a major project, led by Doug Knapp, a friend of Rotary. Rotary sponsored a portion of the trail that wound its way out of the city. Some of our members have joined the international Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group (ESRAG).
The Kingston-Frontenac Rotary Club has worked with the Cataraqui Conservation Authority to rebuild and replace sections of the boardwalk. They have also supported wet land property acquisitions by the Land Conservancy of KFLA, notably Depot Creek Nature Reserve and the Bayview Wetlands project. All these sites have been and will continue to be enjoyed by the public for generations to come.
Two of the Kingston Rotary Centennial Projects focus on the environment. One project involves planting 100 trees – 21 in Rotary Park and the remainder at No. 9 Gardens north of the city. Planting is anticipated the week of 22 September. Rotarians and Friends of Rotary will take on the task of regular watering schedules for the critical first two years. Rotarians are working with the city of Kingston and a few local companies to help map and plant the trees, and we are grateful to two sponsors: Empire Life and Capital Movers.
Rotary Park now features our second centennial environmental project – a Monarch Butterfly Garden. The garden structure was built in September 2020 by Rotarians and will be planted in the spring of 2021.
And hold the presses! Here comes another Centennial project: the Great Lakes and Watershed Cleanup. Yes, Kingston Rotarians will be joining Ontario, US and Quebec Rotary clubs to clean our shorelines. Earth Day is April 22. Locally, we will participate on Saturday, 24 April. Please join us: register at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/great-lakes-watershed-cleanup-kingston-loyalist-islands-tickets-144273424697.
It is not at all surprising that the environment has become Rotary International’s seventh area of focus.