New butterfly and herb garden takes root at Saunders visitor centre
OPG’s Saunders Hydro Dam Visitor Centre in Cornwall just got a whole lot greener.
A new butterfly and herb garden has sprung up outside the visitor centre near OPG’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station, part of a long-term sustainable landscape plan for the centre.
A joint venture between Iroquois Consulting Group, an Akwesasne-owned business, and M. Sullivan & Son Limited helped make the project a reality. The garden, which features native wildflowers like purple coneflower and milkweed, will help improve biodiversity in the area by attracting pollinating insects and birds. The garden will also educate visitors on the uses and history of the traditional herbs planted in the garden.
“This is another successful collaboration with our Akwesasne and Cornwall community partners,” said Mike Martelli, President of OPG’s Renewable Generation. Through the hiring of Iroquois Consulting Group, a first-time contractor with OPG, the project provided employment opportunities for Akwesasne businesses and community members.
“This unique and educational garden will serve the Cornwall community well for many years to come.”
On Aug. 22, a ceremony was held to officially mark the opening of the recently completed centre island of the garden, which represents the first phase of the landscape plan for the visitor centre. In attendance were Chief Tim “Dooley” Thompson, members of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Mohawk community, staff from OPG and its contract partners, and members of the Cornwall community.
Many of the species featured in the garden are herbs and pollinator plants that traditionally thrived in the St. Lawrence River region. Over time, these species have been reduced in numbers or have disappeared altogether. The garden will help reintroduce some of these plants to the area while educating the public on the benefits they provide to the local habitat and environment.
As part of the landscape development plan, other areas around the Saunders visitor centre will be developed to include new trails and signage on the traditional uses of the herbs, spices and healing plants important to Indigenous peoples.