July 2012 Project         View Flyer            News Coverage

 Pinhey Sand Dune Ladyslippers




Pink Ladyslip Orchids


Please come out and enjoy the beautiful Pink Ladyslip orchids at the Pinhey Sand Dune. Please stay on the trail. If you wish to take a picture please watch your step when approaching the orchids. This orchid species requires a special soil with a symbiotic species of fungus to thrive so please do not pick the flower or dig up the plant as it will not survive transplantation.




Ottawa Greenbelt Sand Dune Conservation

The Ottawa Greenbelt sand dunes were ground out of the Canadian Shield by the movement of the kilometer thick ice of the last Ice Age, which started to recede over 10,000 years ago. Dry islands in an ocean of mosquito filled forest, the dunes were favored camp sites for pre-European cultures. Over the past 60-70 years in eastern Ontario, the sand dune systems have declined to only 1% of their former natural coverage harboring a very specific community of species in a desert-like habitat. The dunes appear to have few living organisms but if you look carefully you will discover a rich diversity of animal species(especially arthropods) and plants well adapted to extremes of heat and drought. The disappearance of the dunes seriously threatens the survival of as many as 65 regionally rare species of plants and animals.

Biodiversity loss is one of the greatest environmental concerns of the century and the Tropical Conservancy(TC) has taken on the mission of reducing this loss. The TC mission is to conserve biodiversity on several important fronts including;(1) dissemination of biodiversity knowledge globally through the quarterly, peer-reviewed journal Biodiversity; (2) collaborating with national and international organizations through publications and conservation initiatives; (3) providing educational programs (workshops, field excursions) to local schools and the general public, raising awareness and appreciation of living organisms and their role in Earth’s life support systems.

TC has received a 2-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to study and conserve the biodiversity in Ottawa Greenbelt sand dunes. Although the Slack Road sand dune represents only a small fraction of the original Ottawa sand dune system, its core species are adequate for the sustainable restoration of the biodiversity of the dune. TC will work with the Ottawa community to establish a non-profit organization, tentatively entitled “Friends of the Sand Dunes”, to sustain the conservation effort into the future.
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), MP Lisa McLeod and the National Capital Commission (NCC) are in full support of this restoration/conservation initiative. A leading grant maker in Canada, OTF (www.trilliumfoundation.org) strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investment in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.

For more information please contact:

Tropical Conservancy (www.tc-biodiversity.org) or (http://biodiversityconservancy.org/sand_dune.html)
Ottawa Greenbelt Sand Dune Conservation (OGSDC)

Send Email to Stephen Aitken, Project Coordinator
  - OR -
Send Email to Joanne Hakkaku, Community Engagement