Condo Dwellers Step Up to Re-wild the Seine River Greenway
This tree story was written by Wilma Sotas, Board Member of Save Our Seine from 2011-2020, Land Care Chairperson for 3 years and now a key volunteer.
The mandate of the non-profit environmental organization called Save Our Seine, is to enhance, protect, preserve and restore habitat along the 27 kilometre Seine River urban waterway from the perimeter to its confluence at the Red River. Much has been accomplished in more than 30 years of volunteerism at the core of this mandate. The planting of trees and shrubs is recognized as a major component of replenishing the habitat along the Seine River corridor and thus, in the summers of 2019 and 2020, this initiative was undertaken.
Partnerships are very helpful in having initiatives succeed. Residents at The Legend, a condo development on South St. Anne’s Road, approached Save Our Seine about planting shrubs and trees on city land next to their condo development. A perfect expanse on a curved pathway provided the locale for this endeavour. With Save Our Seine, run by volunteers and an executive director, it was highly improbable that the organization could maintain the necessary watering and maintenance long term, for a viable shrub forest to succeed.
In consultation with the condo residents, a partnership was born. The watering and maintenance would be provided by The Legend long term, which assisted Save Our Seine immeasurably. The longstanding partnership with the City of Winnipeg’s Parks and Open Spaces Department, under the Natural Services Branch, yielded habitat restoration along the river corridor for a number of years. With this continuing partnership, approximately 50 native species of shrubs were provided for this project. Highbush cranberry, hazelnut, hawthorne, chokecherry, sandcherry, and saskatoon were provided by the city nursery.
Citizen volunteers, Green Teams, board members, city naturalist employees, and condo residents provided the person power for the 2 summer plantings, and the caging of all of the shrubs. In the summer of 2020, the health directive of social distancing and wearing of masks during the planting was adhered to by volunteers.
In time, this forest of shrubs will produce shade, beauty, and berries for all of us to enjoy. Birds will be attracted to nest, with a close food supply. Wildlife will enjoy a haven of safety. The rewilding of this part of the Seine River will enhance the urban habitat restoration. And in turn, all citizens will experience more of a natural environment at a time when public green spaces in an urban setting is so crucial to our health and well-being.