Archive for the ‘About Us’ Category

We’ve moved!

Green Venture has moved its Blog to the greenventure.ca web site, effective July 1, 2016

Please visit our web page directly to see more current entries, and thanks for reading!

Meet the EcoStar Summer Camp Staff

Green Venture is getting ready for their first EcoStar camp! With topics like Bugs & Blooms, H2Whoa that’s a lot of Water, and EcoExplorers, campers are sure to learn new skills and an appreciation for the environment around them.  As camp director I’m excited to introduce our two camp counselors Bright Eyes and Dandy.

 

A message from Bright Eyes:

Hi everyone!

My name is Bright Eyes, I’m the Environmental Programs Assistant and Camp Counsellor for EcoStars! I’m so excited to meet all of my campers and spend my time in the great outdoors. I’ve been living in Hamilton for three years now and can’t get enough of the hiking and waterfalls; needless to say, I’m pretty stoked for our hiking trips. When not hanging from the side of a tree you can find me in our crafts room (where the magic happens). I’m hoping to kick-start some really awesome art projects this summer, and will definitely need some campers that aren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty.

I study science at McMaster, and have fronted some neat science projects at past camps. I’m really excited to bring these experiments to EcoStars, and add an environmental twist!

Although I am new to the Green Venture family this year, I already feel accepted and proud to be working with such environmentally-forward individuals. I’m now even more excited to welcome our campers aboard, and cannot wait for camp to begin!

 

Staff Pic Bright eyes

 

 

A message from Dandy:

Hi there!

My name is Dandy and I am super happy to be a part of the EcoStars camp this summer! I study science at McMaster so I love to analyse things and figure out exactly how they work. I am especially stoked for the “Bugs and Blooms” week because I like learning about how animals, insects, and plants interact with each other. My favorite tree is the Willow tree and my favourite animal is the Cheetah. I am an avid hiker, paddler, and skier. I recently started bird watching and I hope to learn some bird calls during the time spent outdoors at the camp.

I first became interested in the idea of sustainable living when I saw An Inconvenient Truth as a kid. Being a counselor at EcoStars camps gives me great chance to share my knowledge concerning sustainability to the leaders of tomorrow all while having a blast in the great outdoors!

Dandy Pic

The camp takes place at EcoHouse in east Hamilton, and there is a cost of $175+hst per week.  For more information or to register, visit greenventure.ca, email education@greenventure.ca, or call 905-540-8787 x154.

 

Hope to see you all at camp

Virginia

UpRoot Hamilton – Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

uproot1Every now and again we need to be challenged and motivated to get out of our routines and try out new ideas and experiences, finding ourselves UpRooted! On October 3rd Green Venture hosted it’s first ever fundraiser, pulling up its own roots and trying new things to grow as an organization. What a success it was! Despite the strong winds, rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, people came out to help  celebrate 20 years of environmental outreach and education in the Hamilton community and donate  to help keep Green Venture going strong for the next 20 years!

It was a lively event with local food from Eat Industries Inc, Wild Thyme Catering, Ya Man Carribean Cuisine and Ramped Up Catering – all selected for their passion for local ingredients and the community. Conversations were buzzing amongst the selection of local wine and craft beer as uproot2Hamiltonians chatted with friends, old and new. Of course we couldn’t resist the urge to teach something, we are Green Venture after all! Patrons engaged in educational (and fun!) games on waste, water and living sustainably with our Education Coordinator Virginia. The heritage tour was extremely popular!  Attendee’s had the chance to learn what makes Ecohouse such a unique location for Green Venture, with stories of the building’s rich history and behind the scenes historical tidbits.

A HUGE thank you to all who attended UpRoot Hamilton on October 3rd!uproot3 The support from volunteers, staff, board members, and the community truly demonstrates what can be done when people come together. I am new to Hamilton myself and am constantly inspired by the engagement, energy and connectedness of this dynamic community. For those of you who missed it don’t worry, there are already plans in motion for our next fundraising event!

Cheers Green Venture; here’s to 20 more fantastic years!

Celebrating 20 Years: A Look Back

Green Venture officially began operating in 1995, making 2015 our 20th anniversary. Although we’ll be marking this special occasion with an amazing event called UpRoot Hamilton (which you can read more about), we’ve also taken the time to think about our past 20 years, and the amazing journey we’ve been on as we try to make Hamilton and area the most environmentally friendly place to live, one day, and one action, at a time.

Here are some of our highlights.

1994- Green Venture is founded as part of a provincial “Green Communities Program” under the direction of the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth.

1995- Jackson square GV office

Green Venture’s Jackson Square Storefront location. Yes, we do still have that neon sign!

1995- A Jackson Square storefront becomes Green Venture’s first office space.

1996- Following the cancellation of the “Green Communities” program, Green Venture becomes an independent not-for-profit organization, hiring Heather Donison as its new Executive Director.

2000- In partnership with the Hamilton Air Quality Improvement Committee, Green Venture launches the Region’s first annual Commuter Challenge.

2003- Green Venture secures the use of the Veevers Estate in Hamilton’s East End and begins renovations to transform the space into an environmental education and demonstration centre.

The first welcome sign to the EcoHouse Community Garden.

The first welcome sign to the EcoHouse Community Garden.

2005- The EcoHouse Community Garden is established as a prototype garden for the region. Its popularity encourages over 70 other community gardens to be created city-wide over the next several years.

2007- After six years as a staff member, Pete Wobschall becomes Green Venture’s Executive Director. During his tenure, he guides the organization through the development of a revised mission, vision and values.

2008- Solar panels and a wind turbine are installed onsite at EcoHouse, allowing visitors to explore the pros and cons of installing alternative energy at their own home.

2009- The Enbridge Home Weatherization Retrofit Program is launched. With a goal of assisting residents in reducing their energy bills while improving the efficiency of their home, it quickly becomes one of Green Venture’s most in-demand programs.

2010- The first Seedy Saturday event is launched. Today, the event, co-hosted by Green Venture and the Hamilton Community Garden Network, attracts hundreds of eager gardeners each winter.

2011- With assistance from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Bay Area Restoration Council and Green Venture create an easy-to-access education centre focusing on Hamilton Harbour Watershed issues.

Kathryn Enders, Green Venture's current Executive Director, with one of our newest displays- an electric CarShare car!

Kathryn Enders, Green Venture’s current Executive Director, with one of our newest displays- a plug-in hybrid CarShare car!

2013- Kathryn Enders is hired as Green Venture’s Executive Director. In the same year, she travels to Mexico on behalf of Green Communities Canada to present at the Commission for Environmental Co-operation about the success of the Depave program.

2014- EcoHouse Educational Tours increase by 19% from the previous year, solidifying Green Venture’s place as the region’s premiere environmental demonstration and education facility.

2015- Green Venture completes their participation in the Good To Great program, leading to a renewed emphasis on revenue diversification, including the launch of special fundraising events and donor campaigns.

My Green Venture Internship: Lessons Learned

Hi! My name’s Areeba and I’ve just completed a seven week placement at Green Venture. I have learned many different things during the past seven weeks through my position as a green gardener where I assist with the maintenance of the many gardens and facilities present on the property.

During the weeks of my placement I can confidently say that I know how to successfully identify many plants and weeds, use various gardening tools (like a lawn mower), and paint skillfully. Sometimes, like many outdoor jobs, the weather turns on us. When I am indoors, I help keep the displays organized and up-to-date, organize materials, and assist with other tasks around the office. I also had the chance to participate in numerous road trips like a visit to a local farm with other staff.

Being a green gardener has provided me with extensive knowledge of environmental issues and initiatives, and the opportunity to take part in the solutions. For example, I helped to build the new green roof at EcoHouse. Green Roofs are a cost-efficient way to save energy, manage storm water, and insulate the building. This was an eye-opening experience that prompted me to think about the other green initiatives in the Hamilton community.

EcoHouse Green Roof

EcoHouse Green Roof

I have gained valuable experience and skills while working at Green Venture. Before working here I had no real understanding of the issues that are present in our city and in the community. By communicating with the talented and educated program staff and coworkers, I gained thorough insight about various environmental topics and going green together!

Written by: Areeba

Are you UpRooted?

Green eggs and ham may not be on the menu, but Hamilton’s first social food market will still be turning green this Fall.

UpRoot Hamilton, a fundraiser celebrating Green Venture’s 20th Anniversary will feature local chefs, local ingredients and the impact that eating local can have on the environment. Attendees to the October 3 event will be able to sample locally sourced and inspired food dishes that come from equally unique vendors, many of whom do not yet have an actual storefront location in the city.

“The reputation of Hamilton’s food scene is really taking off,” said Green Venture’s Executive Director Kathryn Enders. “We’re excited to celebrate rising chefs with this event, as well as showcase just how easy- and delicious- it can be to eat locally and reduce your environmental footprint in the process.”

A side view of Green Venture's historic EcoHouse site.

A side view of Green Venture’s historic EcoHouse site.

The venue for UpRoot Hamilton, Green Venture’s EcoHouse, is just as unique as the food that will be served. An 1850s stone farmhouse, Green Venture has converted the property to be a complete environmental education and demonstration center of sustainable living that attracts over 10,000 individuals each year. As part of UpRoot Hamilton, Green Venture will be opening its gates for attendees to tour the two acre property and farmhouse as they sample the evening’s culinary delights.

Green Venture, Hamilton’s premiere environmental education not-for-profit organization, is dedicated to finding long-lasting, positive and practical ways to make Hamilton and the Golden Horseshoe region the most environmentally-friendly place to be, every single day.

UpRoot Hamilton, the organization’s 20th Anniversary Celebration will be held October 3rd, 2015 from 5-10:30pm at EcoHouse (22 Veevers Drive). For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit www.greenventure.ca.

Green Venture Announces New Executive Director

Green Venture gets Gold

Green Venture announces their new Executive Director, Kathryn Gold.

At only 30 years old, Kathryn is the youngest Executive Director the organization has ever had.

Kathryn has worked for Green Venture for six years as a Program Coordinator, and has a history of exceeding everyone’s expectations.  You may remember Kathryn for bringing the idea of “Pet Waste Composting” to Hamilton a few years back.  The three workshops (held at EcoHouse) were filled to capacity, and 100 people were on a waiting list hoping to get in.

Earlier this year, Kathryn was chosen to represent Green Communities Canada at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation Council Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, where she highlighted their joint “Depave Paradise” program.  Last year, Green Venture helped to depave 95 square meters of pavement at St. Augustine’s elementary school in Dundas.

Kathryn obtained a Masters Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo in 2008, and has a background in Water Conservation and Demand Management.  She also has an Honours Degree in Geography from Brock University.

“I am thrilled to lead Green Venture into the future”, says Gold, as she explains that building partnerships with other environmental groups will be at the forefront of her focus for the organization.

The Board of Directors expresses their confidence that Kathryn will settle into the role well.  “Kathryn has a great rapport with current staff, and we are certain that she will guide the organization with purpose and stay true to our Mission and Vision,” Velma Grover states.

With Kathryn’s fresh outlook on environmental issues, and experience with the media, everyone expects Green Venture to have a strengthened presence in the community.  “It’s really about connecting with Hamiltonians, and providing the environmental knowledge and services that they are seeking.  Connecting with others is what we are all about,” says Kathryn.

When asked if she thinks she can live up to the previous Executive Director’s legacy, Kathryn insists that it will be tough, but she is willing to put in the effort and hard work.

Green Venture representatives receive national awards!

boardmember

Stephanie Holko – Outstanding Board Member – Green Communities Canada 2013 award

StaffPerson

Clare Wagner – Outstanding Staff Person – Green Communities Canada 2013 award

Green Venture’s Stephanie Holko  received the 2013 Outstanding Board Member, and Clare Wagner the 2013 Outstanding Staff Person award in recognition of their hard work in the service of the environment and the City of Hamilton.

“We’re very impressed with the accomplishments of Clare and Stephanie,” said Clifford Maynes, of Green Communities Canada, a national organization which conferred the award at its recent Annual General Meeting. “We want to take this opportunity to congratulate them and their community supporters for everything that’s been achieved to date, and to wish them the best for the years to come.”

Maynes noted that it is far from easy to maintain and grow an organization like Green Venture, with its excellent programs and partnerships (see www.greenventure.ca to learn more).

“It takes determination, entrepreneurship, and constant innovation,” he said.

“Environmental sustainability is an urgent goal, but we’re not going to get there overnight. We need people like Clare and Stephanie that will keep working away — through good times and difficult times.”

Green Communities Canada is a national association of more than two dozen community organizations that help people go green – at home, at work, on the road, and throughout their communities. See: www.greencommunitiescanada.org

For more information, contact Clifford Maynes, Executive Director at cmaynes@greencommunitiescanada.org or 705-745-7479 x 118.

Doors Open Hamilton

Doors Open Hamilton 2013 is Green Venture’s annual opportunity to celebrate the heritage of the EcoHouse site. The site is open for the May 4-5 2013 weekend (10-4 on Saturday and 12-4 on Sunday), providing our neighbours an opportunity to get to know us better, and to learn what is new.

Because Doors Open Hamilton is about architecturally interesting buildings and their community connections, this event is one in which the heritage of Glen Manor, the traditional name for the site, comes to the foreground.

Glen Manor may have been named by the Veevers family, or may have already been called that going back into the late 19th century. The name is first referenced in 1930 in a shot of the entire farm from the Niagara Escarpment, although the name “Glendale”, for the surrounding roads and lands, appears to have existed back to before 1900.

Green Venture takes great pride in maintaining the heritage building, and indeed is determined to showcase EcoHouse as an example of adaptive reuse: the repurposing of existing facilities and “invested energy” rather than destroying said facilities and expending more energy and materials in creating something new. In 2012, Green Venture received a Benjamin Moore paint grant to enable us to repaint the front façade in more appropriate heritage palette colours.

new paint job EcoHouse 2012

new paint colours for EcoHouse 2012

Please help us get a better historical picture of the families who lived not only at our site, but also in the surrounding neighbourhoods. Green Venture welcomes any historical information or pictures of the Davis Creek neighbourhood (roughly from the Red Hill Valley to Centennial Parkway, and from King Street to the escarpment) to better help us present a good narrative of the land and its people.

In 2011, Green Venture was very glad to receive from a Veevers descendant a series of photos of the farm in 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as well as invaluable information, helping us to get a better idea of the dimensions of the Glen Manor farm and what sort of crops they were producing. The complex, and occasionally painful, story of how the farm was eventually subsumed into the modern City of Hamilton provides an illuminating example of the nature of technological change and the effects of urban sprawl

Glen Manor farm sketch

sketch of Glen Manor farm in 1940s

Glendale Dairy barn

old Glendale Dairy barn, c1940

Davis Creek 1953

Davis Creek in 1953

Green Venture has aspirations to one day return the front façade of the building to its pre 1970 look, removing the front dormers and recreating the clean lines of a mid 19th century pre-Confederation stone farmhouse. Such a project is, of course, well beyond our current means, and would have to be taken in partnership with the City of Hamilton, owners of the heritage property. Doors Open Hamilton however, is a good annual opportunity to keep the dream alive and to remember the rich story of the Green Venture education centre.

During Doors Open Hamilton 2013, Green Venture will be conducting a Garlic Mustard Pull on Sat M<ay 4, between 1-3 pm. This volunteer event is part of our commitments to maintain the site and a heritage and horticultural centre. Help us eliminate this aggressive invasive species on the site. If time and manpower permits, we will expand the effort into the neighbouring Veevers Park.

Green Venture will also be hosting a vermicomposting workshop on Sat May 4, from 1030 am – noon. Learn about worm composting from an expert, David Pitt of Vermisprout, and make your own starter kit to take home. Get a jump-start on producing superior organic compost and liquid fertilizer for your gardens. There is a $30 charge for this workshop to cover materials, a great value for an item that regularly costs double that to buy. Pre-registration is required. Please give Green Venture a call at 905-540-8787, ext 115 to register, or email contact @greenventure.ca

Food Trucks Bring the Tasty (My Green Adventures Part 3 of 5)

My Green Adventures is Green Venture’s open house event, taking place on Saturday October 13th from 10AM until 3PM, at our demonstration home, EcoHouse (22 Veevers Drive, Hamilton).  In the weeks leading up to My Green Adventures, we will feature blog posts highlighting some of the exciting activities taking place on October 13th.

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Green Venture will have some company this Saturday, October 13th.  Dirty South and Southern Smoke food trucks will be set up outside our front gates for the afternoon to provide their unique brand of travelling gourmet southern bbq to our visitors and volunteers!

My Green Adventures will be a day full of fun family activities.  We’re thrilled to have Scientists in Schools coming to show kids some really neat science experiments that they can try hands-on!  All of our partners will have kids activities on hand.  On your tour of EcoHouse, you and your family will get to see our newest educational displays and have a chance to try them out yourselves.

This Saturday, come spend some time at EcoHouse!

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