On October 16th the signage for the Kemp Woodland Environmental Stewardship Project was unveiled. This important project in our community was undertaken by the Ottawa Stewardship Council in partnership with the City of Ottawa, Stittsville Village Association, Waste Management and Sacred Heart catholic High School’s environmental studies class.
The forest is owned by the City of Ottawa and is a designated Natural Environment Area and is located to the west of Sacred Heart Catholic High School and east of Caribou Street. This grove is comprised of 8.9 hectares of up to 200 year old cedar forest. The purpose of this project is to restore and provide sustainable care for this natural space including the enhancement of informal trails with formal entrances and interpretative signage placed throughout the area.
As part of project the Ottawa Stewardship Council submitted a commemorative naming application to the City to name the forest after John Kemp. Born in 1838 in what is today called “Stittsville”, John Kemp was the son of William Kemp, one of Goulbourn’s early Irish settlers. John Kemp was a prominent 19th century Stittsville tavern keeper, railway contractor, and Goulbourn Township reeve from 1887 to 1894. He is best known as the builder and owner of the stone mansion Kemp’s Tavern, which now houses Cabotto’s Restaurant on Hazeldean Road. John Kemp purchased Lot 25, Concession 10 sometime before 1879. Today, an 8.9 hectare cedar forest lies within this lot, which is adjacent to the Trans-Canada Trail and Sacred Heart High School. Having the site named in recognition of John Kemp is also very significant because as our community grows I feel it is very important to retain the historical aspect of the area and honour those who were part of creating the community we now call Stittsville.
I truly appreciate the work of Janet Mason with the Ottawa Stewardship Council and Martha Copestake with the City of Ottawa and the Stittsville Village Association who have been involved in this project. I would also like to acknowledge the environmental stewardship partnership with Mr. Carr’s Sacred Heart High School’s environmental studies class. I understand that through this partnership over 100 trees have already been planted to promote regeneration in the forest and that there is a commitment to continue ongoing ecological monitoring of the site.
It is also very important to recognize the contribution by Waste Management as their involvement assisted in having this project come to fruition. The project is funded by a $25,000 grant from the Waste Management community project fund. At least $10,000 of this will be provided to the high school for long term stewardship. The students will conduct monitoring studies and provide data about the forest to the City.
I am very thankful that this great project has been undertaken in the Stittsville community. This project represents the importance of both ecological and historical preservation in our community.