(Jessie Lozanski author and researcher of Wild Stittsville, at the marshland head of Poole Creek, (Goulbourn-Flewellyn Wetlands), along the Trans Canada Trail west of Stittsville.)
Jessie Lozanski of Stittsville is a ‘carer of the land’ with a passion for the environment and biology. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Carleton University. Jessie recently published a go-to guide on the ecosystems of Stittsville entitled, ‘Wild Stittsville – A Guide To Our Ecosystems and How We Can Re-Wild Our Community’.
“The guide is about the ecosystems of Stittsville and how residents can support our ecosystems by gardening for wildlife,” Jessie told Stittsville Central. Her guide shows Stittsville residents that our suburb is “home to a natural world worth caring about.” A suburb with special ecosystems that we sometimes take for granted – an old growth forest, endangered species, a rare cold water creek, and a provincially significant wetland all of which without our help could disappear. Jessie adds, “luckily, we can all contribute to helping our wild neighbours and this guide shows some ways how, such as gardening.”
Growing up in Stittsville, Jessie has lived here most of her life and says, “Stittsville has changed a lot even since I was a kid and I have watched some of my favourite places disappear into subdivisions.”
Since a young child, Jessie has always been interested in the environment and biology. It was during high school at Sacred Heart that she enrolled in an environmental science class being taught by Glen Carr. It was this class that inspired her to pursue a related career in either biology or the environment.
Her ‘care for the land’ deepened during COVID. “I grew up in Stittsville but as a kid I didn’t really appreciate what I had here, in terms of the natural world, and when I was older, I was always in and out of Stittsville whether living in a different city or traveling to grand landscapes that made Stittsville feel smaller and less-wild. It was only until I moved back here at the beginning of COVID and spent my evenings during lockdowns going on walks through the woods that I came to develop a deep love for this place. Paired with the literature of some of my favourite authors I came to understand that land shouldn’t be compared and that it should all be treated with care and compassion whether far from civilization or in the middle of a city,” Jessie told us.
In 2020, Jessie was looking for ways to get involved with conservation in our community and when searching the web, came upon the Canadian Conservation Corps (CCC) on the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) website. “I am so happy I found the Canadian Conservation Corps because it is a truly amazing opportunity that has changed my life.”
Being involved with the Canadian Wildlife Federation and its Conservation Corps, also seeing firsthand the important work they are doing, Jessie decided to write her guide as a project for the CCC.
In January, 2021, she began her comprehensive research and writing. With assistance from the CWF over the course of a few months with reviewing and editing of her publication, the guide was finally completed and in its final format! Jessie is most appreciative of the help she has received from CWF and CCC along the way and says she “could not have been able to complete the guide on her own”.
We didn’t want to put Jessie on the spot, but did want to know her thoughts on Stittsville and how we, as a suburb, were doing on the eco front? “This is a difficult question to answer. I would preface this by saying I’m not very qualified to be giving this answer but I would give Stittsville maybe an average score on the eco front. I have seen some great initiatives sprouting up around Stittsville, one of my favourites being Jo-Jo’s Community Garden. That being said some eco efforts that are maybe taking more hold deeper in the city like naturalized/wildlife friendly yards have yet to establish themselves in the suburbs.
The ‘Stittsville Wild’ guide was released this week. You can pick-up a copy at Quitters, Honey Coffee Bar and at the Cardel Recreation-Goulbourn Complex. Copies are expected to be available at the Stittsville Library in the fall. You can also download a copy at this link, or if you prefer, the QR code below will bring you to the guide. Stittsville Wild also has a Facebook page to like for additional information and updates.
Jessie ends our chat with, “I’m hoping with this guide that we foster more care for where we live and hopefully the places we all love in Stittsville will be able to persist.”
Having read Jessie’s comprehensive and beautifully illustrated guide, this Editor highly recommends that a copy should be found in every Stittsville home.
If you are interested in getting involved with The Canadian Conservation Corps, they work towards getting youth aged 18-30 engaged in conservation and service through a three-step program. The steps include an outdoor expedition, followed by a placement with a conservation organization, and finally the participants implement a conservation project in their home town.