Andrea Macdonald is a Fernwood resident living a few blocks away from Spring Ridge Commons. She volunteers regularly in the Commons and will be working full-time as a landscaper.
* How do you use Spring Ridge Commons?
On a daily basis I use it just as a place to walk through, be in nature and become calm. When I come here to work, it’s very educational as a gardener because there’s so much variety and it also is a really nice way to interact with community because I meet people here. I also find it very relaxing and therapeutic to pull weeds and be involved in the garden.
* What does Spring Ridge Commons bring to you?
It really does bring a sense of peace and joy. It allows me to be in the neighbourhood in a different way because usually when you’re in the neighbourhood, everyone is on their way somewhere. You are always coming or going and you just walk past people…. But when you are in Spring Ridge Commons you’re just here and you’re present in your neighbourhood and so are your neighbours and you get to be present together. And that is what it brings to me as well as the natural beauty. The fascination of the biodiversity – the bugs and the plants. It also brings me great tasting of vegetables and fruits.
* What would be lost if it were not here?
If it were not here, a lot of people will lose a place to hang out / chill out…We would lose the biodiversity, the insects and the birds, trees. I see people learning here all the time. – they see a plant they’ve never seen before; and they see a bird and they eat something they haven’t eaten before; I think people come in here regularly for herbs they use in cooking and in teas; I know that classrooms come in here for the educational values; I think we would lose an important piece of Fernwood if we lost the Commons.
* What are your concerns about Spring Ridge Commons?
People don’t realize the extent that it is a free public space. I’m concerned about it going away and rezoned for housing. I’m concerned that people don’t take advantage of it enough. Sometimes, I’m concerned that it will be overtaken by invasive species – I’m concerned that it would be choked out by grass and not be as pretty or as it should be.
* Imagine five years into the future. In your ideal future, what would be the same and what would be different about Spring Ridge Commons?
I’d love to see it really working as a permaculture garden where all the native plants take over and there’s much less maintenance work that needs to happen to take out grass and and other invasives. So it would be a working system of native plant, fruit trees and flowers. That would be awesome! And to have be used frequently as an educational area.