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Sustainable Environment and Urban Agriculture 

What is a Nature Journal?

Nature journaling is about keeping a journal where you write down and collect things you see, questions you have, and your experiences related to the environment around you. It can be done using words, pictures, numbers, or a mix of them on the pages of a notebook. It provides a space to nurture your thoughts, emotions, experiences, observations, and your connection to the world around you.

Importance of Keeping a Nature Journal

Keeping a nature journal will help you in many ways. It is a well-known fact that maintaining journals helps people feel calmer and enables them to enjoy the present moment. It can improve mental clarity, problem-solving skills, and emotional intelligence while enhancing confidence, self-discipline, and greater creativity. Above all, a nature journal enables you to feel more connected to the natural world. It enhances your curiosity and provides environmental education for both you and others. Keeping a Nature Journal will make your experiences better and help you become better at observing and remembering things. It's like teaching your mind how to discover the incredible and beautiful secrets of the world.

Tips for Getting Started

Let’s get into What to Record in Your Nature Journal....

The best part is that in your nature journal, you can decide what to write and how to do it. You can structure your journal the way you see and feel nature. If you enjoy drawing and painting, go for it! If you like to write what you see and feel, that's fine as well. It will be a unique journal that reflects your style and interest.

Use your sensory organs and mind to explore what’s around you. Simply, keep records of what you see, what you hear, what you smell and what you feel.

As an example, imagine that you are curious about beautiful flowers.

Here are a few steps that you can take to kick-start the journalism journey.

1. Get your notebook or iPad, pencils, pens, paints, chalk, etc. together.

2. Go to a nice and quiet place where you can observe flowering plants. (Your home garden, park, trail, etc. )

3. Always note the date, time, place, and weather as those factors are important for future reference.

4. Sit, relax, and carefully observe the different types of flowers you see.

5. Try to focus on their colors, patterns, shapes, petals, size and the surroundings.

6. Note the other plants and species growing around the flower.

7. Try to draw a picture of the flowers you see using the colors you got. It doesn’t have to be a perfect picture. Remember, the goal is to paint a vivid picture with your words, allowing someone to imagine the flower even if they've never seen it before.

8.Try to recognize the plant.

9. Write down your expressions and feelings. How the flower makes you feel. Does it remind you of something, evoke certain emotions, or simply stand out?

10. Note down the questions that arise that you need answers to.

11. Research the things you observed when you get home.

12. Keep your journal and materials closer to you all the time and keep recording.

That’s it!

In just a few simple steps you can create a fun and informative nature journal!

Make sure to keep being curious and share your observations with others!!!

Check out the journals created by the children at the Kids Nature Lab.

Leave you comments below.#DallingtonPollinators #NatureEducation #KidsNatureLab

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Who are Pollinators?

Pollinators are organisms that help in the pollination process by transferring pollen from one plant to another. Pollinators reach those plants for nesting, shelter, and in search of food such as nectar and pollen. In the process of doing so, they unknowingly transfer pollen from one place to another supporting a large number of other species in the environment. Most commonly found pollinators in Canada include bees, flies, moths, butterflies, wasps, some beetles, and many bird species, especially hummingbirds.

Why are they important?

Pollen transfer is significant in flowering plant reproduction and for the production of fruits and vegetables. It has been found that almost 80% of all flowering plants and over three-quarters of the staple crop plants that feed humankind rely on pollinators. Hence, pollinators play a critical role in maintaining a sustainable and healthy environment for many species.

Why should we help them?

Despite their importance, pollinators in the world are threatened and declining due to habitat loss, diseases, parasites, environmental pollution, and climate change. And most of such threats are human-induced. This places pollinator conservation as a top priority.

When discussing the conservation of pollinators, similar to other animals, their primary requirements revolve around food and shelter. Pollinators utilize food and habitat wherever it is available, be it on roadsides, in a schoolyard garden, or even in a planter on a windowsill. Hence, supporting pollinators is easy with just a few simple measures.

Some tips to help pollinators in your garden:

1. Careful consideration of what plants you plant in your garden

  • By planting native plants, you make an excellent choice for supporting pollinators. Native plants are abundant in nectar and pollen, require minimal maintenance, and are not a threat to local species. They are also generally pest-resistant, drought-tolerant, and effective in controlling erosion. Moreover, these plants serve as valuable sources of food and shelter for wildlife while adding natural beauty to the environment.

  • Create a continuous food supply for pollinators by selecting plants that bloom throughout each of the three blooming periods: spring, summer, and fall. Pay particular attention to flowers that bloom in early spring and late summer, as these are crucial for bees during their emergence from and preparation for winter hibernation. For a more significant impact, plant these species in groupings or clumps.

2. Prevent or limit the use of pesticides.

Chemicals present as residue on the petals or within the nectar and pollen pose significant risks to pollinators. They can lead to direct mortality or result in various sublethal effects, including hindering their navigation abilities and affecting their reproduction. Hence, careful application of pesticides is important to maintain a viable population of pollinators. Whenever possible, take proactive measures to prevent pest problems from arising. You can accomplish this by burying plant residues that are infested, removing pest habitats, and choosing to plant native species that naturally attract pests' natural enemies.

3. Incorporating a diverse range of plants.

By selecting flowers with varying sizes, shapes, and colours, along with plants of different heights and growth habits, you can attract a broader array of pollinators with varying needs. This can be achieved by mixing native plant species, heirloom plants, and herbs in your garden. Some common herbs like rosemary, basil, basil, oregano and borage make excellent bee-friendly plants. Additionally, consider letting some fruits and vegetables go to flower by allowing them to bolt, providing extra food sources for bees and other pollinators.

4. And finally make sure you share your knowledge with others and promote awareness.

Educate others about the significance of pollinators and share your experiences of creating a pollinator-friendly environment at home for bees, butterflies, birds, and other animals.

Take a look at some of the many varieties of pollinator plants at Dallington Pollinator Garden

Leave your comments below!!!

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Let's talk about a topic often overlooked in gardening circles – the common weeds that find their way into our Toronto home gardens! While some may see them as nuisances, these native plants have their own unique beauty and play vital roles in our local ecosystem. Let's explore a few of these "unwanted guests" and discover organic ways to reduce or remove them.

1️. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale )

These cheerful yellow flowers are a favorite of children making wishes, but many gardeners dread their presence. Embrace the dandelion's bright beauty and consider letting a few stay. However, if you prefer to reduce their spread, hand-pulling is an eco-friendly method. Make sure to get the entire taproot to prevent regrowth.

2. Chickweed (Stellaria media)

With its small white flowers, chickweed can be charming but may become invasive. To keep it in check, try using a homemade organic herbicide made with vinegar, water, and a touch of dish soap – but be cautious not to overspray, as it can harm desirable plants.

3. Plantain (Broadleaf plantain)

Not the banana-like fruit, but a broadleaf weed common in lawns and gardens. Plantain is hardy and challenging to eradicate. Embrace the tenacity of this plant or try hand-pulling or regular mowing to control it.

4. Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum )

This vibrant, purple-flowered weed can be beneficial for pollinators and soil health. If you want to keep it in check, regular weeding and promoting strong, healthy plants through proper gardening practices will help.

5. Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)

Also known as Ground Ivy, this low-growing plant can spread quickly. Some gardeners appreciate its pretty purple flowers, but if it's getting out of hand, try mulching or smothering

the area with cardboard or newspaper to discourage growth.

Remember, before removing weeds, identify them correctly to avoid accidentally removing beneficial plants. Additionally, embracing some of these weeds can benefit your garden's biodiversity and support local wildlife. 🐝🦋

Let's transform our perspective on these "unwanted" plants and appreciate their ecological role. By using organic methods, we can maintain a balance that nurtures both our gardens and the environment!

Share your tips and experiences with managing weeds in your Toronto home garden in the comments below! Let's grow together and celebrate the beauty of nature all around us! 🌿#dallingtonpollinators #TorontoGardening #OrganicGardening #EmbraceWeeds #GardenersUnite

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