This summer, CISV Peace Bus delegates had whirlwind of tour in Ottawa volunteering with local community environmental groups, meeting up with CISV Ottawa members, and touring our lovely city. Upon arrival, they were greeted with a potluck supper by Billy Shipton, his family, and two of last year’s Peace Bus delegates. It was thrilling to see them all arrive.
Our On Monday the Peace Bus drove up to the Pinhey Forest Sand Dunes in Nepean to help the Biodiversity Conservancy group in its project to restore the original ecosystem of this beautiful area. The group was greeted by local city councilor Keith Egli and his wife, a former CISV delegate. Local Ottawa CISVers Kiran and Mesha worked with the group to dig up non-indigenous trees and roots from the soil to help return it to its natural state. The group worked hard in the hot sun to pull down two trees.
While half the group dug up roots the other half used forks to carefully sift through the soil to locate a threatened insects called antlions found in dimpled areas of the soil. Once these antlions were retrieved they were put in a container and later released into a protected area. Our guides helped us identify robberflies and ghost beetles and helped us to discover the wonders of this beautiful sand dune ecosystem. It was a fascinating and rewarding morning of hard work.
After lunch we headed downtown for a visit with the Otesha project. This Ottawa based youth has a mission is to teach young people that individual actions have an impact. Through theater and other activities, Otesha teaches that individuals have choices and that their choices have an impact on the world around them. Peace bus participants were shown how Otesha uses fun drama activities to put spread their message and truly engage young people in thinking about the impact of their choices on the environment. The team also made Bike Love messages that will be hung on bikes around Ottawa and some were taken by Peace Busers to be put on bikes in Montreal. Each delegate received a really cool Otesha book that explains about their projects and their sustainability message.
After a hot muggy day, a thunderstorm erupted in Ottawa, rain and hail came pouring down and the allure of the delicious rain after the heat was too much, first the leaders and then the rest of the delegates ran out into the street to splash and just have fun getting soaked in the downpour.
Tuesday morning, the group headed to the Parliament Buildings for a historical tour, the pervasive WWI themes, the fire, the significance of the Gothic architecture and its use in federations. Then the group had an outdoor picnic outside the Museum of Civilization, enjoying a beautiful view of the river and historic buildings of downtown Ottawa. After a morning of touring, the Peace Busers packed their belongings and headed off to Montreal. It was a great visit!
~ Lynn (Billy’s mom)