Students Slowing Stormwater: Raingers Training Starts Now!

No, we didn’t spell it wrong.

Introducing Hamilton’s newest youth profession: Raingers. Move aside Rangers, we’ve got a new group in town and these Raingers are taking Hamilton by storm, literally! Green Venture and the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) have teamed up to train and inspire students to be active keepers of our water. Entrusted with the important job of protecting and preserving the Hamilton Harbour Watershed we will empower our young leaders to make lasting change.  These Raingers have a big responsibility!

In the natural environment, rainwater moves slowly through the land.  Once in the soil, rainwater that is not absorbed by plants will eventually recharge the groundwater table or enter creeks. Approximately 10% of rainwater that falls in a forest will leave as runoff. The rest is absorbed by plants, evaporates or soaks into the soil.

In urbanized environments most to all of the historical landscapes have been paved over. Rain flows quickly over impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways and parking lots. Rather than entering the soil the water is redirected to nearby storm drains. This water picks up pollutants along the way such as road salts, fertilizers and motor oil. These pollutants enter storm drains and are conveyed quickly to our streams and Hamilton Harbour.

The Solution

Through a hands on experiential stormwater management education program, Raingers will learn about the serious problems relating to stormwater and runoff including environmental and water quality degradation. Inside the classroom students will use model homes to measure stormwater, incorporating low impact development techniques such as rain barrels, disconnecting downspouts and rain gardens to capture stormwater before it hits the storm drain. The Raingers will then enter the urban environment (i.e. go outside) on an investigative journey to identify where water flows around their school and neighbourhood. The final step in training is when we see how far these students are willing to dig to create positive change. They will help to plant a rain garden at their very own school – capturing stormwater, reducing stormwater pollution and ultimately, protecting our watershed.

Rain gardens provide a perfect setting to teach about water quality, habitat creation and the impact of student actions on protecting Hamilton Harbour and its watershed. The native plants and species in a rain garden have high tolerance for excess moisture and increased levels of nutrients often found in stormwater. These gardens can be a powerful tool to make connections between land development, water quality, and personal actions. Today, a new era in stormwater management in dawning: managing rain where it falls, before it runs off.


EcoHouse west rain garden

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a sunken garden (typically 4-8 inches deep) planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses designed to capture, absorb and naturally filter stormwater. A strategically placed rain garden will intercept the flow of stormwater and allow water to slowly infiltrate into the ground rather than contribute to stormwater runoff. Compared to a conventional patch of lawn, a rain garden increases ground water infiltration by about 30%.

The Raingers Rain Garden program is available to any school in the Hamilton Harbour Watershed. For more information about our Raingers Rain Garden program please contact Program Coordinator Laura Anderson at or 905 540 8787 ext 158

Ostrich Fern

GV Energy Audit services now available to Oakville

Green Venture is pleased to be able to now offer energy audit services for the Union Gas Home Renovation Rebate program to the Town of Oakville. This expands the area serviced by GV for the incentive program (and the related incentives through the Ontario government) to include Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Haldimand, Norfolk, and rural Brant County.

For more information, please call 905-540-8787 (toll free 1-866-540-8866) and use extension 115.

EcoStars Summer Camp is finished for the year

Steam and Tech visit 1

With the summer coming to a close, it’s been a sad week here at the EcoHouse- we just don’t know what to do with ourselves! It’s been a tough time packing up all of our crafts and games, but we look forward for the next summer to come. The three sessions of campers that we had were equal parts enthusiastic and creative, and we’re so lucky to have had them as EcoStars! Be it an adventurous hike in the woods, or a quick dip in the pool. our campers were down for everything! They were especially brave when facing our scaly friends from the reptile man. More than that, our campers were kind to one another, and it was really fantastic to see some new friendships form over the week.


We really hope to see some returning (and new!) faces next year, but until then we’ll be preparing all of the fun games and activities to come! Enjoy the last little bit of summer, and good luck with the coming school year everyone! We really do hope you can make an Eco-impression on your classmates, friends, and family.


Bright Eyes and Dandy



Bugs n’ Bloom EcoStars Camp Week #2

20160727_144716 It feels strange that we’re over halfway done summer camp, but that’s only because of how quickly it flew by! Our latest camp session was themed as Bugs n’ Blooms, and was jammed-packed with visits from the members of Bay Area Restoration Council, as well as some slithery friends from the Reptile Man. Our EcoStars took to the forest at the Dundas conservation centre, where we found all types of friends- both big and small! We even lent a helping hand to our community by helping prepare food with Victory Gardens’ food bank program.

I was so impressed with the curiosity, creativity, and genuine enthusiasm of my campers. I can’t wait to see what our next (and last!) week has to offer… let’s just say we’re soaked with excitement. Until then!


Bright Eyes Victory Gardens EcoStars camp field trip 160728 1


New incentives from Ontario government for home energy audits

The Ontario government will be augmenting the existing home renovation rebate incentives already available through Union Gas and Enbridge Gas, and making retrofit rebates available across the province for the first time since 2012. This program “assist” by the Ontario Green Investment Fund will increase drastically the value of doing energy-saving home renos.

Homeowners who get a “before” and an “after” energy audit, and do at least two items from the approved list, can get up to $5000 back in incentives, including most of the cost of the audits themselves.  Full list of eligible measure can be found at Continue reading

EcoStars Summer Camp Week I

With the end of our first session of EcoStars summer camp, I can’t wait for the next week of campers and activities to begin! Our Eco Explorer’s campers paved the way as the first official campers at the Eco House, and boy did they set the bar high (especially at our week-end talent show).

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Meet the EcoStar Summer Camp Staff

Green Venture is getting ready for their first EcoStar camp! With topics like Bugs & Blooms, H2Whoa that’s a lot of Water, and EcoExplorers, campers are sure to learn new skills and an appreciation for the environment around them.  As camp director I’m excited to introduce our two camp counsellors Bright Eyes and Dandy.

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Ridding Riddell of Pavement

Depave Paradise projects engage volunteers and neighbourhoods in communities across Canada, removing pavement and planting gardens filled with native species in its place. Hard surfaces, such as driveways, parking lots and buildings, interrupt the natural water cycle by preventing rain water from soaking into the ground. This in turn leads to flooding, poor water quality, and creates urban heat islands that are warming up our cities. By removing pavement and replacing it with green space, we are increasing the infiltration rate of rain water, cooling our neighbourhoods, keeping our water clean, and providing us and our children with greater connections to the natural world.

On May 28th and June 4th, we helped R.A. Riddell Elementary School, partners and local residents host Hamilton’s 3rd Depave Paradise event to transform part of the school’s asphalt playground into a beautiful garden – and it was a great success! Continue reading

R.A. Riddell School is going on a Green Venture

May 19, 2016



HAMILTON, ON – DEPAVE PARADISE ( projects engage volunteers and neighbourhoods in communities across Canada, removing pavement and planting gardens filled with native species in its place. On May 28th and June 4th, Green Venture, R.A. Riddell Elementary School, partners and local residents will be hosting Hamilton’s 3rd Depave Paradise event to transform part of the school’s asphalt playground into a beautiful garden for the community to enjoy. Continue reading

Dry Spring Solutions

What do you get when combine your life’s passion with an amazing team of earth-loving co-workers? …. Green Venture!

 My name is Chelsea and I am a new Educational Support Staff here at Green Venture.  My background is in teaching children how to grow food and dig in the dirt.  Working with kids is very rewarding (and at times challenging) and it is always nice to see a group of little ones exploring in the community gardens at Eco House.  There is so much to see, from the pollinator gardens to the community plots to the Red Wigglers who help to feed our plants.  The kids are excited and engaged and a lot of fun.  We help them make connections to their environment through games and arts and trivia, which is fun for both the kids and myself.

I have learned so much in the short time that I have been here and it’s nice to feel a part of the greater Hamilton community which is thriving and full of people helping to make our city a cleaner and greener place to live.  Green Venture is an awesome place to work and Eco House is a little hidden gem to those who haven’t yet discovered it.

Over the last few weeks the kids and I have been in the garden weeding, planting, and watering.  Have you noticed what a dry spring we have had? Continue reading