Moore Park - Brick Works

Sights & Sites: Jessica Iraci

Jessica Iraci is originally from Buffalo, NY and decided to move to Toronto for her post-secondary education. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. in biology and environmental science and received her Master's in Forestry in 2012. She is currently a natural environment volunteer coordinator with the City of Toronto.

I asked her the question: What is the most interesting, unusual or beautiful sight to see in one of our ravines or forests?"

Working in Forestry for the City of Toronto allows me to explore nearly all the ravines in the City, so this is a difficult question to answer! However, as a volunteer coordinator for the Community Stewardship Program, a program that invites people into the ravines to care for and improve the environment, one of the greatest sights I see is the successes of volunteer work. We plant native species like dogwoods, oaks, maples, and wildflowers and manage invasive species like common buckthorn and European common reed.

Some of my favorite locations revolve around this community spirit and include:

1. The Don Watershed: specifically Crothers Woods, one of the last remaining old growth forests in Toronto, Beechwood Wetland, Riverdale Park East, Nordheimer Ravine, Milne Hollow and the Don Valley Brick Works Park, a restoration success story that's studied around the world.

2. The Humber Watershed: we have a group at the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat who help plant native wildflowers such as milkweed, asters, joe-pye weed, coneflowers, etc. One of my favorite sights has been watching butterflies, like monarchs and mourning cloaks, and other pollinators feed on the plants we've added to the Habitat!

To join the Stewardship Program, go to toronto.ca/greentoronto or email greentoronto@toronto.ca.

Photos at the top of this post courtesy of Jessica Iraci.

Posted on: September 24, 2015
This post is part of Sights & Sites, a series that celebrates our amazing ravines & forests and the people who care for them.