Nature for people. People for nature.
Willow Park Ecology Centre is an award-winning ecology park and outdoor education centre located in the hamlet of Norval at the confluence of the Credit River and Silver Creek. We offer a beautiful, small-scale site for outdoor activities, and programs for people of all ages.
To contribute to the education and engagement of citizens about ecologically and environmentally sustainable matters.
2020 Board of Directors: The volunteer board and Executive Director, Tunde Otto, are working on a focused plan (in collaboration with their partners) to lead programs and events through strategic alliances for the successful management of : 1. Willow Park as a unique nature park within the Town of Halton Hills and 2. Ecology Centre programming to help people get involved, learn and volunteer!
2020 Directors: James Crawford – Chair, Cristian Altobelli – Vice Chair, Laura Young – Treasurer, Shoaib Akram – Secretary, Devon Doane, Jimmy Harika, Michael Xanthios.
2019 Board: Philippe Mesly; Cathy J, Co-Chair; Brenda B, Secretary; Tunde Otto, Program Director & Park Manager; Steve Jackson. Back (left to right): Shoaib Akram; Cristian Altobelli, Co-Chair; Jason Bassels; David Harder; Narasimhan Bhagavan, Treasurer. Absent, Jaspal Gill.
History, and now a Community Hub
In 1998, Town of Halton Hills’ Town Environmental Advisory Committee (TEAC) members were inspired by the success of the new Peterborough Greenup initiative (link). They proposed the creation of a local ecology park for the Georgetown-area community. The committee evolved into a working group with ten partners, headed up by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department and Credit Valley Conservation (CVC).
Over their first planning year, the group worked out a budget, defined a set of specific goals, wrote a detailed Master Plan for their new centre, and applied for funding. A small, flood-prone, decommissioned trailer park site nestled beside the Credit River was chosen as a perfect spot for their project. They named it Willow Park Ecology Centre after the willow-bordered grassy park.
Over the following 12 years, with the support of three substantial grants and the enthusiasm of volunteers and community members, they laid trails, planted carefully-chosen species of native plants to enhance the regeneration of local ecosystems, and built park structures.
Grant funding also provided for the development and delivery of biodiversity-based science education programs, and cultural and New Canadian programs for North Halton and North West Peel schools.
A Community Hub
Today, Willow Park Ecology Centre is an incorporated non-profit with a contract agreement with the Town of Halton Hills to maintain their leased CVC property as a unique nature park “in a natural state,” and provide educational and stewardship programs as a service to the public.
Community engagement and volunteer contributions of time and talent are at the heart of Willow Park Ecology Centre’s success since 1999. Volunteers maintain the park, assist with school and community programs, and help run special community events. They also staff the Board of Directors and its working sub-committees (fundraising, communication, programs, events).