Rebuilding Ecology Park’s Lath House for 2023
December 7th, 2023
By: Lili Paradi, Communications Manager, GreenUP
GreenUP seeks to rebuild the iconic Lath House, a cherished shade structure in Ecology Park where we grow native plants. The Little Building Company, based out of Lakefield, is poised to complete the project this winter and GreenUP is delighted at the prospect of seedlings sprouting beneath it come next spring.
A generous donor has gifted $10,000 to GreenUP in support of the project. GreenUP is asking the Peterborough community to consider contributing to the Lath House campaign to collectively match that contribution. A total of $20,000 raised will cover the cost of constructing a new lath house from locally sourced white cedar beams.
Tegan Moss, Executive Director at GreenUP speaks to the importance of rebuilding the Lath House for plant propagation and climate education.
“The first action area outlined in GreenUP’s Strategic Plan is to enhance GreenUP Ecology Park through the development of critical infrastructure,” she states.
“One of the specific goals in this area of work is to increase the sustainability and production capacity of our Native Plant and Tree Nursery. The replacement of the Lath House is an important project that will increase our capacity to raise notable and diverse species and create an additional teaching space.”
A lath house is a nursery building without walls, a specialized garden structure that resembles a combination of a greenhouse and a pergola. It consists of a framework made of wood or metal, with horizontal slats that create a lattice-like roof, allowing dappled sunlight to filter through.
The primary purpose of a lath house is to provide sheltered environment for plants. At GreenUP’s Ecology Park, this new structure will also be an important site for climate action education.
In 2023, over 4,500 visitors enjoyed and explored the five acres of naturalized space within Ecology Park year-round. Additionally, more than 655 children engaged in immersive outdoor educational programs in Ecology Park’s gardens and landscapes.
In 2024 and beyond, the youth participating in programming at Ecology Park will benefit from an additional shade structure where they can learn about the natural world. Topics include but are not limited to pollinator ecology, biological lifecycles and soil sciences.
The community of people who visit Ecology Park for workshops, recreation, and nature appreciation will also be welcomed to the new Lath House to learn about plant propagation, the importance of native plants and trees, and how to care for shade loving native species.
In addition to being a site for educational programming, Ecology Park houses a Native Plant and Tree Nursery. As a trusted source for locally grown, ecologically friendly plant stock, the nursery sold 248 trees and over 4,869 wildflowers, grasses, ferns, and shrubs in 2023. With a non-profit status, all proceeds from Ecology Park support our efforts to provide inspiring environmental programming.
Hayley Goodchild, the new Plant Propagation Program Coordinator at Ecology Park, is excited to begin propagating rare native plants from both seed and cuttings in the new Lath House.
“The Lath House is an important part of GreenUP’s plan to propagate more native plants for sale at Ecology Park. Right now, the lath house garden boasts dozens of shade-adapted native plant species, such as Virginia Bluebells, Bloodroot, and White Baneberry,” Goodchild says.
“By rebuilding the Lath House, we can ensure these and other plants will provide a reliable source of seed and cuttings for nursery production for many years to come. We also look forward to having campers and visitors tour the updated Lath House gardens, and try their hand at propagating plants or saving seed!”
Replacing the Lath House in Ecology Park will have positive benefits to biodiversity in our region and support local climate adaptation. Peterborough’s ecozone is changing and the demand for resilient, native species is growing among gardeners and organizations across the region.
By growing native plants and producing seed under the new Lath House, GreenUP will increase access to regionally sourced plants that are likely to thrive in our area’s unique climate. Everyone at Ecology Park looks forward to welcoming visitors to learn about the cultivation of native plants and trees as we enjoy the dappled shade provided by this structure.
Your tax-deductible donation will support GreenUP create a greener and more sustainable future for Peterborough & the Kawarthas. To donate and learn more, visit https://www.greenup.on.ca/donate-now/