As long-standing winter ice melts away, our rivers flow with the promise of spring and a reminder of water’s role as the lifeblood of our landscapes and our very existence. March recognizes the centrality of water to our lives with World Water Day (March 22) and International Day of Action on Rivers (March 14).
Park People and the Greenbelt Foundation are helping to promote stewardship and awareness of our need to protect and enhance the 21 urban river valleys that flow through our cities and into Lake Ontario with three wonderful short videos. These videos are a celebration of these wonderful spaces and the culmination of all of the amazing work being done to protect them by great organizations including the recipients of our Greenbelt River Valley Connector Program grants.
There is over 1,000 km of river valleys flowing from their headwaters in the Greenbelt, bringing fresh water and green ribbons of nature close to home in our communities. These vital corridors are incredible places to explore nature nearby, and they provide important habitat for the plants, animals and ecosystems that keep these spaces healthy, providing us with clean air and fresh water.
“Preserving our urban river valleys is essential to the health of both people and wildlife, and the efforts of The Riverwood Conservancy’s volunteers are pivotal in our conservation projects. With the help of our diverse community of volunteers, we continue to protect our local ecosystems, and offer opportunities for people of all cultures, ages, and abilities to connect with nature.”
— Derek Stone, Conservation and Program Manager, Riverwood Conservancy
As temperatures rise and our communities become hotter, these Greenbelt Protected urban river valleys can make the air feel 11 degrees cooler. As extreme weather hits more often, natural spaces absorb rainwater like sponges and slowly release fresh water into our creek’s streams and river valleys helping to prevent flooding. Learn more about why natural systems matter and how to protect them.
“For over 30 years, Evergreen has been deeply connected to the ravines, engaging with the community through hikes, rides, public markets, stewardship efforts, and public art installation. We have experienced first-hand how the urban ravine system plays a vital role in city life and that the work to protect, maintain, and improve one of Ontario’s biggest assets is a group effort.”
— Orit Sarfaty, Chief Program Officer, Evergreen
Black Creek Community Farm
There are dozens of organizations and community groups working to help protect these important landscapes from erosion, invasive species and misuse through plantings, education, shoreline stewardship and trail making. Find your closest stewardship group to get involved. It’s our job to protect our urban river valleys so that they can protect us.
Get involved at https://www.greenbelt.ca/urv.
Get to Know the Rivers
Meet the community
Learn About the Benefits of Rivers
Rivers for Resilience
A partnership with the Greenbelt Foundation