2021 Opening of GreenUP Ecology Park

May 21st, 2021

While the wildlife at GreenUP Ecology Park may be returning to life as usual this spring, human visitors at the Nursery are required to once again follow COVID-19 public health guidelines, including physical distancing and wearing masks. (Photo by Leif Einarson.)

By Vern Bastable, Director of GreenUP Ecology Park

It truly is a gift to be spending time at Ecology Park again as we prepare to open for our 2021 season. The birds have not noticed COVID-19 and they are going about the things birds usually do. There are songs of all sorts, endless flying around, little baby birds calling for more food, and the testing out of those new wings.

The little critters take no notice of the lockdown and gather in groups to finish the fallen bird seed from under the feeders, occasionally getting annoyed with one another which ends in a big wild chase.

Grey squirrels, chipmunks, red squirrels, and the occasional mouse or vole happily gather, mask-less, looking like they always have at the park. The trees are leafing out with this year’s canopy strangely unaware that the world is different for humans again this year.

Flowers bloom, the breeze is just as fresh as it has always been, and the sun still warms your skin on these cool spring mornings. It feels… normal.

GreenUP Ecology Park offers a bit of a break from the bad news we’ve all endured. The trails and pathways are open to folks to use freely with the new standard precautions of course. There are some new benches to enjoy. Mead Creek is babbling like it doesn’t have a care in the world, and if you are lucky, you may even spot a raccoon taking a little siesta in the treetops. Nature is doing its thing for you to enjoy.

A red maple (Acer rubrum) sapling at the Ecology Park Nursery. Red maples are known for brilliant red and yellow fall colours, and they do well in a variety of soil types. As a hardwood, red maples not only help remove carbon from the atmosphere, but also serve as excellent material for creating furniture and flooring at the end of their natural lifespan. (Photo by Leif Einarson.)

There are some changes this year. Like all public places, we ask that you stay home if you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19 and keep that two-metre distance from others when you are out and about.

We strongly suggest that you wear or at least have a mask in your pocket while wandering through Ecology Park. You might run into an old friend or even make a new friend and we want you to be able to chit-chat safely.

We encourage hand washing or sanitizing and remind everyone to keep those hands away from your face. Most importantly, we ask that visitors show respect for each other and be kind. It has been a hard year for everyone. Kindness helps.

We plan to open the Ecology Park Native Plant and Tree Nursery on-schedule this year on May 22, assuming the rules don’t change between now and then. Our hours are as follows until October 8, which will be our last day for this year:

Thursdays from 10am to 6pm

Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10am to 4pm

You can check for updates, COVID-19 requirements, and information about our inventory by visiting greenup.on.ca/nursery. If you’re on social media, follow @PtboGreenUP to receive updates and learn more about what we have to offer.

A native bumblebee enjoys the nectar of a Dolgo Crabapple sapling for sale at the Ecology Park Nursery. Trees that bloom in early spring are crucial for native pollinators. The Dolgo crabapple provides relatively sweet fruit and easily cross-pollinates with other apple trees. (Photo by Leif Einarson.)

We are not doing a big spring sale this year or anything: instead of encouraging large crowds and rushing, we want to keep our community healthy and offer a safe place to enjoy buying native plants.

If you’ve bought plants from the Ecology Park Nursery before you know our prices are always low to begin with. Plus, as a non-profit environmental charity, 100% of proceeds from sales support our programs here at GreenUP.

Please note that because the stay-at-home order included schools, we were once again not able to work with local students to get herb and vegetable seedlings started. As a result, we will have a reduced number of edibles for sale this year.

We will be limiting the number of shoppers in the Nursery area so please be patient.  These rules are in place to protect us all. We will be encouraging the use of debit/credit but will still take cash if that’s all you’ve got. We would like it if you touched the Nursery stock as little as possible and remember to hand sanitize before entering the Nursery.

If possible, please limit the number of folks you bring with you shopping. We understand it is fun to shop with friends, but sometimes less is more. Our staff is always here to help, but please remember to give that two-metre distance for members of our team and the public. While we love to shake hands, a masked elbow bump or toe tap will have to suffice.

This Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) sapling at the Ecology Park Nursery shows off how early in the spring it grows its serrated compound leaves. Buckeye leaves are also quick to turn gold in the fall. This is Canada’s only native species of Aesculus. (Photo by Leif Einarson.)

We will be offering compost, wood chips, and cedar mulch this season, but it will be a little different than you might remember. We have reduced the maximum to ten buckets as only a single staff can shovel at a time. We ask that you please give lots of space for our staff while they are loading buckets.

We will bring the buckets to you, and you can load your vehicle from that point. The less contact the better. You can drive into the Nursery only for compost/wood/cedar pickup. If you plan to walk around the Nursery, please park at the Beavermead parking lot.

As always, parking is available at the Beavermead parking lot, and yes, we will help you get your plants to the car. There is no parking within Ecology Park. We will insist that you move your vehicle if you do attempt onsite parking. Keeping vehicle traffic in the park to a minimum makes the park safe for visitors of all ages.

As you look up just beside the Children’s Education Shelter at Ecology Park, you’ll see that this old White Birch is leafing out sooner than the Ash beside it. As Peterborough’s trees age, landowners can keep the neighbourghwoods of the future green and vibrant by adding appropriate native trees to their properties. (Photo by Leif Einarson.)

A number of our staff have returned this season, and we look forward to saying hello and assisting you with your gardening needs. Please come take a stroll through Ecology Park! Enjoy a bit of nature, smell the flowers, and savour a little bit of normal during these unusual times. Stay safe, and see you soon.

Posted in GreenUP Ecology Park, Uncategorized

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Ecology Park Native Plant and Tree Nursery

Ecology Park Native Plant and Tree Nursery