ReLeafCK started in 2019 when North Buxton resident Mike Smith attended a Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority workshop. He wanted to create a platform for people to share their experiences, ask questions, and build community around the quest to 'ReLeaf' Chatham-Kent. "Many of our members are undertaking habitat restoration projects ranging from a small backyard corner garden to multi-acre complexes of wetlands, forests and prairies," says Smith.
ReLeaf member, Becky Haskell, has started The Prairie Project that is a 1/3 acre tall-grass prairie restoration in Henry Smyth Park in Chatham. Another member, Steve Parr, is working on The Pollinator Garden, which is a signed and well-curated garden in Chatham. Steve hosts groups from schools and teaches them about the benefits of native plants for pollinators. "The members working on projects on their own properties are too many to list, but the work being done will benefit the entire community for years to come by providing much needed ecosystem services like flood mitigation, carbon sequestration and improved pollination of conventional crops." Smith adds.
ReLeafCK members participate in tree plantings, invasive species removal, share information online and host workshops and lectures on the history of Chatham-Kent's forests and grasslands. In addition to these on-going activities, the group has hosted several fundraising initiatives with the proceeds donated to Downie Wenjack Fund, the Buxton Museum, Lower Thames Valley Conservation Authority, St. Clair Region Conservation Area, and the Sydenham Field Naturalists.
If you want to learn about the Carolinian zone habitats and ecosystem, 'how to' knowledge on native plants and volunteering for group projects to support our region's diversity of wildlife, join ReLeaf Chatham-Kent.