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July 2009 - The Local Scoop - Summer Fixin's Issue

Call To Action: Garlic Mustard Pull And Periwinkle Smother
Sunday July 5 and July 12, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Charlie Clifford Memorial Park

The park is located in the Bayview & Steeles area in Thornhill. The walkway entrance to the park is located between 51 & 55 Sprucewood Dr., which runs north of Proctor Avenue, west of Bayview Ave.
Greg Hagan
Director, NANPS
Land Management Committee Chair
Miriam Henriques
Co President, NANPS
Greg and others have already done their civic duty with the four-hour Patriotic Pull on Wednesday July 1 (Canada Day). It was a resounding success from all accounts. But there's so much more to do. Please join Greg this Sunday and next to tug plants before the garlic mustard seeds pop!
Contact Greg to let him know when you are coming. If these times do not work for you and you are still interested in helping out, please contact him to make other arrangements. There are other insurgents (invasive species) inhabiting the park, so various activities will continue into the summer and fall.
Many hands are needed. All hands are appreciated!!! Thank you again for your continued interest in and support for the restoration of native plants.
The Scoop Take
What combines the activities/sports of Gardening, Knitting, Tai Chi and Yoga with the game of Twister? WHAT?! You must be thinking that The Scoop is really out to lunch this time or maybe needs to take a very long vacation out of the sun. Nah! We're just plugging the latest outdoor activity/sport - The Garlic Mustard Pull.
The aforementioned activities require focus, co-ordination, balance, and the ability to do numerous repetitions. There is also a spiritual element to the activities. If we could package The Garlic Mustard Pull as the latest and greatest trend, we would approach it in this way.
  1. Like gardening - very spiritual, an excuse to get dirty without feeling guilty, not to be rushed, attention-oriented activity, serene, zen-like experience; it brings the art of gardening to a new level.
  2. Like knitting - pluck one, pull two (need both hands to pull those darn garlic mustard weeds); good hand-eye co-ordination and lots of repetition.
  3. Like Tai Chi - combines focus and a clear mind with the spiritual element of yoga/gardening; a self-healing, meditative, martial art where each move is anticipated and executed gracefully, but movements actually connect with something more tangible than thin air.
  4. Like Yoga - the positions, e.g., the "alternate-leaved dogwood" (for those in the know - Cornus alternifolia); lots of stretching, particularly of both arms, good breathing technique, promotes a healthier lifestyle, enhances the spiritual connection with nature.
  5. Like Twister - the full-body board game but solo with arms and legs intertwined; a good test of balance and co-ordination.
Is it a sport or is it an activity? You be the judge. Depending on the participant's commitment, effort and sweat, it could range from a mild activity/hobby/art to an Olympic-status sport (think iron man/woman/weed competitions). The Garlic Mustard Pull incorporates a full body workout and encourages the use of all muscles, even those you never knew existed (gluteus maximus anyone?).
But if the Garlic Mustard Pull is not your speed, or you would like a change up, then perhaps The Periwinkle Smother may be of interest. It is a relatively new sport, but guarantees a certain level of satisfaction in the accomplishment. Also, it may be of particular interest for Toronto (minus Etobicoke) residents who are looking for a place to unload their stockpiled corrugated cardboard and newspapers. We can put the recyclables to good use by smothering the Vinca invasion originating from neighbouring yards.
Why pay for a club membership at a local gym when you can get a great workout through the NANPS network? Where else could you get a free workout in a spa-like setting? No hidden fees or fly-by-night operators (we only pull by day). Charlie Clifford Memorial Park is located in the semi-wilds of Thornhill, a rustic, spa-like setting with nature all around, yet close to everything an urbanite needs. All activity levels, from beginner to advanced will benefit under the guidance of Greg Hagan, Master Puller and Smother Brother who will guide you through the steps at your own pace. All age groups can participate. This is not an activity just for younger adults, but the young-at-heart who want to keep active or maintain a certain level of activity.
Like the NANPS annual plant sale, the Garlic Mustard Pull/Periwinkle Smother has many benefits: by helping a good cause, i.e., NANPS, in promoting its mandate, through restoration, and by helping the local community and wildlife.
Can't think of anything to do this summer? Don't get your knickers in a knotwood! Come out and pull for a good cause.
***REMINDER: Annual Awards, deadline looming
NANPS Native Plant Garden/Restoration Award honours those members' projects that celebrate diversity and best reflect our mandate to study, conserve, cultivate and restore North America's native flora, e.g., urban, suburban, rural...creating habitat for insects and birds. Deadline for submissions is July 31st.
Upcoming Calendar Events - check our website for updates under "events"
Saturday July 18, 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Nature Walk: Bugs by the Bushel: The Diversity of Insects Around Us. Reservations accepted starting July 6.
Early Fall - A NANPS excursion.
Saturday October 3 - NANPS AGM (Annual General Meeting)
Markham Civic Centre, 101 Town Centre Boulevard. This event should not be confused with the AGMP (A Garlic Mustard Pull), which is sort of like those annual plow matches in rural areas but without the oxen or oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum).
Sunday October 18, 11 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Nature Walk: Trees and Fungi: Friends or Foes? Reservations accepted starting October 5.
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