The Case for Ottawa’s Urban Natural Areas

This 24-slide presentation presents the economic, environmental, social and health care case for protecting and preserving Ottawa’s urban natural areas. PDF and PPT versions available below.

This presentation is freely available to any community group that wishes to customize it for their own urban natural area. Please email if you do!


The Clyde Bee & Butterfly Patch

Find the Clyde Bee & Butterfly Patch near the intersection of Clyde and Castlehill in Ottawa’s west eend.

Pollinators in your garden

We hope that the Clyde Bee & Butterfly Patch has inspired you to garden for pollinators, too!

The number of species and the number of pollinators are in decline. This matters because pollinators and the plant species they depend on are key elements in so many natural cycles. A substantial proportion of the food we eat depends on pollinators as do most wild flowering plants. Butterflies and moths depend on flowers, and birds, in turn, depend heavily on their caterpillars.

Biodiversity matters! We can all help by replacing even a small part of our lawns with flowering plants or replacing some common ornamental plants with native plants. Perennial flowering plants have much deeper roots than lawn grass, improving the soil and storing more carbon.

Why native plants? Many plants you already have in your garden will supply nectar and pollen to some bees and butterflies even if they are not native plants. The thing is that many species of native bees and other pollinators can’t make use of them or do not get as much nourishment as they need from them since they didn’t evolve with them. Planting plants that are native to our region will help conserve those insects.

You don’t need a lot of space. Whether an enormous garden or small balcony, you can help pollinators. One garden may have tall grasses for birds and butterflies, the next some native flowers, while another may provide water or a wood pile for shelter. A balcony can have pots of anise hyssop, wild geranium or dwarf asters that local insects can visit.

By supporting pollinators and growing the plants they depend on, we help ourselves and create a healthier ecosystem for all living organisms.

For information about the Patch, contact:

There is a lot of good information available online and in your local library.


Here is the list of the plants in the Clyde Bee & Butterfly Patch, a dry, sandy site in full sun.

Since it is fall, here is how to put your garden to bed the pollinator friendly way, courtesy of Pollination Guelph.

Over the winter, plan your own pollinator patch. The Ottawa Seed Library has some quick tips and a wealth of linked websites. It also has a list of plants for beginners. David Suzuki Foundation also has a list of native pollinator plants and butterflies for eastern Canada. For design help view the slide show Just Do It: Beginner Native Plant Garden Design for Urban Ottawa, by Berit Erikson, the maker of the Corner Pollinator Garden, corner of Sherbourne and Fraser.

Wild Pollinator Partners is an excellent website started by Ottawa’s Friends of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden where you can find a wealth of information. There is a list of pollinator gardens in Ottawa, links to all kinds of how-to information including about gardening for pollinators and making bee houses, and information about the pollinators themselves and where you can find plants or seeds.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation has been encouraging gardening for wildlife for at least 25 years.

The Pollinator Partnership has been active since 1997 and has a North America-wide presence. One of their publications related to our region: Selecting plants for pollinators: a guide for gardeners, farmers, and land managers in the St. Lawrence Lowlands region.

Heather Holm Learn about pollinating insects with this expert. Here is an interview with her, mostly for listening but with pictures of different pollinating insects, and a great table she put together on Native Perennials for Pollinators.

Previously at the Patch

OPEN HOUSE! Come tour the new pollinator garden on Clyde Avenue

Ottawa, ON –  This Saturday June 26, 2021 is your chance to tour Ottawa’s latest pollinator garden, the Clyde Bee & Butterfly Patch up close!

Local resident Nora Lee had become concerned in recent years about the state of Ottawa’s pollinating insects and birds and decided to do something about it.

Teaming up with Friends of Carlington Woods and the Copeland Park Community Alliance, Nora and a volunteer crew worked with city staff and other officials through the winter of 2020 and the spring of 2021 to get this new garden designed, approved, and planted. FoodCycler, with offices in nearby Westboro, also got involved, lending a FC-30 home composting unit to help augment the soil for the native plants.

The Patch was already home to native asters, goldenrod, and staghorn sumac and now boasts a variety of carefully selected native species including wild columbine, evening primrose, yarrow, and blue eyed grass. It’s also been designed for maximum pollinator comfort with an ironwood stump, and rock and log piles for bugs to curl up in.

Join us as we celebrate the official Open House this Saturday! Rain date Sunday. Please follow all public health guidelines regarding masks and distancing.

Saturday June 26, 2021 Anytime between 10:30 and noon. Clyde Avenue (south) near the intersection with Castle Hill Crescent.

Pollinating insects and birds have always been part of city life. But as humans take over more and more space, many natural habitats and food sources are being lost.

We can help by integrating more natural areas within urban settings.

Converting even a small space on your property or on public land, as we have done on Clyde, can help provide critical habitat and food for pollinating species, such as bees, wasps, and butterflies.

The Clyde Bee & Butterfly Patch is also right next door to the Carlington Woods. The patch will add to the already rich biodiversity of this Environmentally Protected urban forest. For more information about the Carlington Woods, visit the Friends of Carlington Woods.

To learn more about how to start your own garden, or support pollinators in other ways, check out the resources below.

The Corner Pollinator Garden and Wildlife Habitat, Ottawa.

Wild Pollinator Partners, Ottawa

Canadian Wildlife Service, national

Ecological Study: Carlington Woods and Hampton Park Woods

Friends of Carlington Hill teamed up with the Friends of Hampton Park and the Hampton-Iona Community Group to have an ecological study conducted of the Carlington Woods and Hampton Park Woods in 2020.

The study, funded by a City of Ottawa Community Environmental Protection Grant, is now done and the report can be downloaded here as well as our Executive Summary.

Webinar features the unique ecosystem of the Carlington Woods

“It’s a real pleasure of mine to speak about Carlington Hill because it’s one of the best natural areas in the City of Ottawa.”

Owen Clarkin, 2nd VP, Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club

The Friends of Carlington Hill welcomed guest speaker Owen Clarkin of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club to its first webinar on June 27, 2020. Owen’s passion for and curiosity about the natural environment is infectious! He presented more than 60 of his own iNaturalist observations and answered participants’ questions on a range of topics, from trees and flowers to snakes and fungi.

“These limestone upland habitats tend to have pretty unique species,” he said, starting off with a photo of a Milk Snake, a federal species of Special Concern, but not endangered. Its provincial status was downlisted in 2016 and is no longer considered a species at risk. “This snake isn’t common in the Ottawa area and it’s very susceptible to being run over, by bicycle tires for example. If a bike runs over a snake, it probably dies. This is a significant species to have.”

Considering that the Carlington Woods is in the middle of a city of 1 million people, the biodiversity of flora and fauna is quite good, including migratory raptors like owls and hawks, many species of insects, and insect- and seed-eating birds. There is also wide variety of tree species and plants. A few are listed below.

Monarch Butterfly / Mourning Cloak Butterfly / Red Admiral / Fire flies

Purple fragrant raspberry / Early Goldenrod (uncommon) / Trout lily (spring ephemeral)

Ware’s Elm / Rock Elm (species of concern) / Slippery Elm (one of the best sites in Eastern Ontario)

Butternut (endangered) / Peach Willow

Sharon Boddy, of the Friends of Carlington Hill, provided a short introduction to the area, its zoning and land use designations, and the type of ecosystems found within it. She also reported that Friends had secured a City of Ottawa Community Environmental Protection grant so that an assessment of the urban natural area can be completed later this year. If you’d like to view the webinar, please email for the link, or visit us on Facebook (search: Friends of Carlington Hill).

Thanks to TD Park People for their continued support of the Friends of Carlington Hill!

Friends team up with Friends

For the second year in a row, the Friends of Carlington Hill have secured funding from TD Park People. TD Park People provides grants to small community groups events and activities related to public parks, and also has a wealth of information and research on the importance and value of our natural areas.

This year, Friends of Carlington Hill has teamed up with the Friends of Hampton Park (part of the Hampton-Iona Community Association), less than 2 kilometres away to raise awareness of urban forests.

On June 27, we’ll be hosting one-hour webinar that introduces new and long-time residents alike to the Carlington Woods, an environmentally protected inner city urban forest. Guest speaker Owen Clarkin, 2nd VP, Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club, will share his expertise on the rich tree biodiversity to be found in the Carlington Woods and answer your tree-related questions. 

Look for event registration details on the Friends of Carlington Hill Facebook page and on Twitter @CarlingtonHill starting June 15, 2020.

Native, naturalized or invasive?

You’ve heard of a guided plant walk? Well, on September 14, the Friends of Carlington Hill are hosting a guided plant sit! That’s right, bring a chair, a cushion, or a blanket and get comfy in a living laboratory! In the fertile greenspace that leads into the Carlington Woods, you’ll learn how to identify the plants you see every day and the roles that they play in the environment.

This event is low impact, all ages. There will be an optional, shorter walk (less than 2 minutes) to study certain species, like black walnut trees.

Event runs from 10:30 am to noon. Meet at McBride Street and Lepage Avenue in Carlington, four blocks south of Woodward Avenue. OC Transpo #14, stop at Raven and McBride. Look for the blue Environment Protected Zone sign. Long pants & insect repellent recommended.

Rain date: September 15, 2019. About the instructor: Sharon Boddy is a professional environmental writer, amateur naturalist, a Westboro Brainery instructor, and a member of the Friends of Carlington Hill and the Friends of Hampton Park.

This event is supported by a grant from TD Park People.