Petrie Island

Petrie Island is a class 1 wetland east of Ottawa. To the north is the Ottawa River, then, southward, a series of small islands separated by a channel and small marsh/wetlands. The Native Flora Coordinator, Katherine Forster, and I collaborated to plant a number of poems on Petrie; the poems were written by local poets David Groulx, Pearl Pirie, Sandra Ridley, Blaine Marchand and Roland Prevost. Grateful thanks to the Friends of Petrie Island for building the 5 fantastic displays for the poems – they will hold up nicely through the fall and winter. And thanks to Katherine for the wheelbarrow, drill, mallet, and guidance when we planted the poems…nice to know someone else carries those tools with them or has them on hand! Thank you’s also to David, Pearl, Sandra, Blaine, and Roland for participating!

Pearl Pirie, Brian, Roland Prevost, Janice Tokar, Kathryn, Friends of Petrie Island Chair Al Tweddle and I spent a lovely fall morning placing the poems. What I particularly enjoyed was watching everyone figuring out where the poems would be placed, thinking about the height of the poems on the stakes, noticing angles and viewer standpoints. I also enjoyed seeing folks swing a mallet, drill screws, adjust plexiglass, wonder about flooding conditions, move around each other. A different form of design. And the being outside part…

It’s a gorgeous spot, Petrie Island. The islands’ formation, and subsequent erosion, over time, is fascinating. There’s clear information on the trails and in the cabin about various species and their habitats, as well as maps.

These poems will stay there until the Spring, monitored off and on as I get there now and again.  All five poets have books published – follow their links to find out more….Maybe go to Petrie Island and check out the poems if you’re in or near Ottawa, and give some kudos (or donations) to the Friends of Petrie Island for conserving the wetland and providing spaces for the public to appreciate it.

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