Friday, August 29, 2014

'My Five Photos' (Oxford County, ON) Contest

Join in some 'PHOTO'graphic fun!   

This is an 'informal fun' contest whereby you are asked to take (photos from April 1, 2014 onwards until Oct 31, 2014 are going to be accepted) photos ON YOU OWN PROPERTY, rented or owned. To do so, please also join the Stewardship Oxford Facebook page noted below. You will learn why as you keep reading.

Why have this contest? 1. Because I can!  And 2, because a good way to 'steward' the land, air, and water around us is to first appreciate and 'act upon' what we have ... even within a few feet of our front doors! Often times, we get so busy with our lives that we don't necessarily appreciate what is happening in the great outdoors ... even our own great outdoors ... beyond lighting a barbecue!  Creating a bit of a natural oasis in your yards is good for mind, body and soul, as well as setting an example for others.

Photos should showcase nature in your back yard or front yard. If you live in an apartment and want to participate, ask a friend or family member who rents/owns property if you can 'partner with them' to scrutinize their front or backyard 'habitat'.  You would be amazed at what even a couple hours 'dedicated' to observing nature can accomplish!

The best way to approach this exercise is to be proactive. So have a camera 'at the ready'. If you wait for a butterfly to come to you, it will be long gone by the time you grab your camera! Cell phone cameras are awesome devices as you will have better luck 'capturing the moment'.

Remember, join Stewardship Oxford on Facebook, an organization I have chosen to 'feature' with this contest. Also think about checking out the Stewardship Oxford Website.  It is still in development, but some of the photos will end up on this web page! Then ..............

Photo Ideas and Rules:

  • Butterflies, insects, dragonflies, bats, rabbits, birds, etc. 
  • Resident wildlife such as a snake, chipmunk, squirrel, or whatever. (cats, dogs, domestic fish, etc. are not considered 'wildlife' for this contest!) That said, the wildlife you see may differ depending upon whether you are rural or urban situated! Remember, Oxford County residents only!
  • If you have 'indigenous' (native to the area) plants in your yard, those can be submitted as well. 
  • Ideal would be if you are able to identify the 'feature point' of your photo, especially if it is a little 'unique like some bugs and insects!
The idea of this contest is to make you 'aware' of your surroundings as well as encouraging you to document  and appreciate what you encounter.

For each submission, include the location of the photo, (i.e. front or back yard), the date (within the above date framework), and if possible, identification of the 'feature creature' or plant. Load them onto My 5 Photos Facebook Event Page once you have collected five.  (Please only upload once you have taken your favourite five.) 

My hope is to create a video for YouTube which can be attached to the Stewardship Oxford website page. Or maybe even several, depending upon the # of entries!

Help me show the natural beauty of Oxford, as found in our own Oxford County front or back yards!  

Catherine Stewart-Mott
Forward Momentum Services
(& Social Media Support for Stewardship Oxford!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

From Cowapolooza to TrashapoloozaAHA!3

This past weekend, an 'event fixture' in the Woodstock community was held, entitled Cowapolooza. That festive event has come and gone for another year, but what lies ahead may be just as fun and festive for those with a creative flair or a practical mindset.  And even better, the event ... and the items ... are FREE.  So put TrashapoloozaAHA3! on your calendar for September 20th, 2014!

This will be the third time around for the Trashapolooza event, a 'turn words into action' event organized and hosted by Oxford People Against Landfills, with the support of other groups such as the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice. The 'seed' from which this idea bloomed was sort of a bad seed, meaning the potential of a landfill coming to the Oxford County area ... a landfill which would see garbage sourced from across the province.  When recognizing the potential landfill's proximity to a sensitive river system, it is all the more perplexing. Check out the OPAL Website for more details and other initiatives that have occurred.

But that said, let's not overlook that we are a wasteful society.  We often buy on impulse.  We replace old with new when things are deemed out of fashion.   And we have morphed towards low quality mass produced products and one use items.  Time to reorient our priorities and values, perhaps?

First, let's think twice about what we purchase.  Do we need it ... really?  If not, why bring one more thing home to collect dust or store away in the shadowy recesses of our home?

Second, those items which you 'eventually' discover no longer suit your purposes don't need to end up at curbside for garbage pickup or landfill delivery. I am amazed at the number of items during the annual 'spring cleanup' that could have ended up in a yard sale, a second hand store, or offered for free to those in need, etc. Yes, sometimes people set castoffs at curbside with the best of intentions, assuming someone will come along and drag it away.  I did that with a perfectly usable electrical item.  I even put a sign on it saying "I work!  Take me!"  Within a half hour, that item was still at the curbside, but minus its cord (cooper collectors, apparently).  I did not make that mistake again!

TrashapoloozaAHA3! is your chance to drop off items for others to discover.  I took home a 1970's metal and glass blender that has made many smoothies since it's debut into my home in May 2014.  It was tempting to drag home other 'neat things', as habits die hard.  Be careful of that temptation or you simply perpetuate the problem. 

But do join in the fun by dropping off usuable items or searching for treasures you can truly use.  Those that are not taken away and are usable will reach a second hand store destination for resale.  "Just don't bring your honest-to-goodness trash."   That is counter-productive and should not be the organizers' problem.  Another important note ... please don't drop off items after 2:00 p.m. although you can 'shop' until 5 p.m.  

The event will also be an opportunity to learn more about the organizers and supporting partners, as well.  By attending, you are not only helping yourself; you are helping in your community.