Reducing the impact and increasing connection to nature for park and ravine events

September 23, 2020

Jodi Lastman

An important objective of the InTO the Ravines program is to help more people connect to and engage with their ravines. However, given the environmental sensitivity of the ravines, this goal must be carefully balanced against the importance of protecting these fragile spaces. After all, Toronto is a city of almost 3 million people and population growth, new development and climate change are all putting increased pressure on the ravines which do a whole lot of “heavy lifting” for our city.

We are eager for more people to experience the ravines and see an opportunity for these kinds of events to contribute rather than just extract from the natural world. However, this takes deliberate thinking and action. We encourage people to start by asking:

How can your event be in alignment with nature?  How can you use a ravine event to foster reciprocity to ensure the natural world benefits as much as the community does?  How can you strive to use events as opportunities to give back to the natural world which offers us these meaningful and enriching experiences?

We explore these questions through conversations with Monica Radovski, Natural Environment Specialist from the City of Toronto in the Natural Environment and Community Programs unit of Urban Forestry and  Carolynne Crawley, a Mi’kmaw woman with mixed ancestry from the East Coast known today as Nova Scotia.  Carolynne operates her own business, Msit Nokmaq, which focuses upon decolonizing current interactions with the land, self, and others to build healthy and reciprocal relationships.

Given that we are writing this on the land we now call Toronto, which is on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, Carolynne focuses our conversation on sharing teachings that may resonate across many nations. She also reminds us that Indigenous people have been in relationship to these lands since time immemorial.

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