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Government of Canada activities and initiatives

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This category includes people being active in the outdoors in a variety of pursuits, people taking on advocacy roles for environmental action, demonstrations of environmental action through education, fairs, open houses and resource centers. Environmental food action includes farmers’ markets, and community agriculture projects.

Outdoor Activities

Canoeing – canoes and kayaks, people paddling, canoe tripping, camping. See also white water, flat water

Motorboat, sailboat, fishing – boats with/ without motors, moving on water, boats on shore, in harbour, wake from boats, water skiing, fishing from boats, fishing from shore. (see also Fisheries in Resources and Services)

Cycling – recreational /destination /commuter cycling, impact of mountain     biking, families riding, child carriers and trailers, specialty bikes, bike signs and lanes.

Trails, walking, hiking, riding – bicycle trails and paths, hiking trails, forest hiking, mountain hiking, back-packing, horse-riding, rock climbing, walking in country and city

Skiing – alpine skiers, Nordic (cross-country). board skiers, ski resorts, ski equipment

Snowmobiling- snowmobiles, clubs, trails, riding, impact of snowmobiling

Swimming – beaches, swimming in lakes, scuba, snorkeling, children playing on beach, kite boarding, sail boarding, playing games in the water, sunbathing, water toys

Family time – maple sugar bush, zoo, picnicking, cornfield mazes, farm tours, ice skating, snowshoeing, dog-sledding, tobogganing, camping

Community Action

Resource centres and education – environmental buildings and centres, displays, education, brochures, games, children’s areas, classes, demonstrations, festivals

Green Expos and Doors Open – emphasis on green products, demonstrations, displays, sponsors, garden shows, environmental architecture and function in buildings

Environmental projects – tree planting, stream clean-ups, habitat preservation, habitat enhancement, conservation areas, heritage conservancy, nature trust, stewardship

Shared gardens and produce – community gardens, allotment gardens, community shared agriculture

Farmers markets – examples of farmers markets, products, organic products

Signs – regarding the conservation and protection of land, wildlife or vegetation


Climate change, global warming

Although this is hard to illustrate visually we are working on it and hope to have more images soon. Ideas would be appreciated.

Micro-climate – a little local climate within a larger climate pattern of temperature, precipitation or wind. May be caused by colour (dark colours soak up radiant energy), surface (conducting or not), topography (shape of the land), or plants. Examples are plants and animals under high level rail bridges, circles of flowers or weeds, sheltered areas, ‘sun-catcher’ warm areas among urban buildings, wind blocks/breaks, irrigation.

Sky – blue sky, grey sky, clouds of every type, lightning, smog, UV rays, humidity, stars, moon, eclipse of the moon

Sun, sunset – sunshine, shadow, sun at different times of the day, arc or path of sun, sun used for direction by aboriginal people, sun dogs, sun flare, eclipse of the sun

Mist, fog – fog over water, mist over land, hanging in valleys, mist over falls, morning mist, heat fog

Rain – light rain, sprinkle, heavy, rain in sky/ falling/on surfaces, accumulating, running away, hail, people in rain, rain collectors such as eavestroughs/ rain barrels, raindrops on flowers, rainbows

Snow – accumulation, shoveling, patterns in snow, mountain snow, snow on lakes, sun on snow, country scenes, ice on snow, trees with snow

Ice  – lake ice, ice layers, icicles, glaciers, ice on snow, ice patterns on water, shorelines

Wind – causes, patterns with time of day, prevailing winds, light winds, plants and trees bent in the wind, smoke and steam from chimneys, strong winds, hurricane, tornado, turbulence, scudding clouds, windmills, wind generators, clothes blowing in wind on line, flags, sailboat with full sail, wind patterns in sand and snow and on water

Fire, combustion – campfire, grass fire, bush fire, forest fire, black trees after fire, volcano, effect of smoke on weather, internal combustion engine, no idling by-laws.


Geomorphic shape, earth/ ground, top layer of soil, sustainable land use, land tenure, degradation, pollution, land use planning, development and reclamation.

Cultivated and uncultivated –  producing, fallow, crop rotation, old field, meadow, range land, grazing, pastoral, tundra, cropland, hayfield, overgrazing

Wooded and bush – temperate deciduous forest, boreal or taiga forest, conifers,  hardwoods, muskeg, rock, ‘vacant land’

Sandy and dry – dunefields, arid, desert, sand, dry stream beds, oasis

High mountains – dome, fold, volcanic, plateau, limestone, granite, shale, geomorphic processes, glaciations, Aeolian deposition, bedding, volcanism, frost shattering, slides, mountain streams, water falls (see also water/ waterfalls and white water )

Rounded mountains and hills – Laurentians, the Gatineau, drumlin, drumlin field

Canyons, ravines – gorge, ravine, gut, valley, coulee, bench







Most of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Life is dependent on a source of clean water.97.5% of water is in oceans and seas and is not potable. Much of fresh water is in polar ice and underground and is not accessible. Conservation and water quality are important environmental goals.

Oceans and seas  coast, cliff, inlet/bay, fjord/ harbour, coastal lagoon, estuary, reef,  beach, peninsula, island, tides, tidal estuaries, tidal pools, high tide, low tide

Flowing water – rivers, creeks, streams, brooks, rivulets, rills, current, direction of flow and how you can tell, volume, hi/low water levels, flooding, floodplain, river mouth and delta, water braiding and ox-bow, headwaters, tributary, catchment basis, watershed, base level, channel, streambed, banks, meanders (loops), erosion, estuaries, youthful, mature/old river, subterranean, mainstream, ephemeral, log drive, drinking water, waste disposal, transportation, tourism, energy generation, mills. See also water/ waterfalls and white water and water/fast water close-up and water/slow water close-up

Lakesfresh water, salt lakes, minerals in lakes, standing water, moving water, spring-fed, surface water, wave action on shore, wind mixed water columns, oxbow or crescent lake, dry lake, floodplane lake, sinkhole, endoheric, artificial, high latitude, glacial,  crater, underground, fjord, meromictic, ephemeral,  oligotrophic, euprophic, small lake, large lake.  See also –  water/ shorelines and docks

Ponds – natural and dug, drainage, retention, detention, ephemeral, seasonal, irrigation, livestock watering, salt pond, solar pond (thermal), aeration for water quality, isolated ponds (salt melt), ornamental

Shorelines and docks – natural shoreline, shoreline restoration, riparian border/zone, foliage, wildlife production, filtering of sediments and contaminants, habitat protection, edge habitat, logs at shoreline, rock cribs, stones, poor examples of hard shore with gabions and floating docks, no wake 10 km/hr. 30 m from shore, low impact docks, minimal alteration to shoreline, pipe docks, cantilever docks

Waterfalls and white water – riffles, waves, rapids, channels, fast current, swifts, haystacks, drops, ledges, strainers, holes, pools, eddies, chutes, rock/ rose gardens, hydraulics, white falls, brown falls, winter falls

Fast water close-upwaves, standing waves, whitecaps, strong current, swifts, ledges, holes

Slow water close-up reflections, colours, current, floating objects, weeds


Bogs – peat, sphagnum, muskeg, trees, shrubs, moss, wildflowers, orchids, cotton   grass, pitcher plant, sundew, willow shrubs, tamarack, black spruce, moose, songbirds

Fens – grassy wetland, basic soil, tamarack trees, poison sumac, wildflowers in profusion, butterflies, deer, turkey, snakes, turtles, fish

Marshes – emergent herbaceous vegetation, islands of vegetation, tall reeds and rushes, grasses, sedges, pickerelweed, broad-leafed plants, yellow pond lily, muskrat, mink, turtles, frogs, ducks and waterfowl, salt marshes.

Swamps – water flowing through, dense coniferous or deciduous forest, tall shrubthicket, white and black spruce, cedars, red maple, ash and birch in south, silver maple in Ontario, ferns, touch-me-nots, orchids, skunk cabbage, deer, wood frogs, salamanders, wood ducks, black ducks

Sloughs – glacial depressions, prairie potholes

Pond scum – broad definition, any growth on top of water, many colours. Seealso: ecology/ flora/ aquatic plants and growths

Water control – dyke, weir, dam, beaver dam, flume, flue

Erosion, run-off, flooding – natural run-off, human intrusion, loss of soil, siltation of water body, floodplain, overflow, run-off control (wood chips, small pebbles), permeable paving stone, planted depression for overflow, swales

Water quality drinking water, water source, surface, groundwater, aquifer, water testing, water filters, contamination by sewer bacteria, aerobic treatment tank, bacterial culture for smaller spaces, high-efficiency sewage, composting toilet, Porta Potty, dog feces as source of water pollution, cows in water, degradation, salination, lake algae, phosphorous, organic solvents (eg gasoline), downspouts, sump pump effluent

Water quantity includes water conservation, proximity to source water, sale of source water, use of water for other purposes (irrigation, industrial. resource extraction), extended drought, flooding (may decrease drinking water quantity and quality), erosion/soil conservation, polluted source, residential/commercial water conservation methods, low flush toilets, dual flush/ lo-flow toilets, lo-flow shower heads, tap aerators, commercial laundry, home laundry, home car wash, commercial car wash, lawn watering restrictions, lawn watering methods, irrigation, rain barrel for rain, snow melt, green roof for storm water and grey water

Artistic watershadows, reflections, colours, shapes, patterns. See also Nature by design/ abstracts


Life in all its forms of flora and fauna including end of life and the new growth that may spring from detritis

Fauna – selected examples

Birds and insects – domestic turkeys, geese, ducks; pigeons, doves, gulls, Canada geese, guinea fowl, peafowl, chicken, duck, night birds, birds of prey,  songbirds, waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, sea birds, bird window collisions, osprey nesting platforms, bluebird houses, wood duck boxes, bird houses, bird feeders, hummingbird feeders, butterflies, moths, beetles, grasshoppers, spiders, ants, centipedes, millipedes

Farm and home animals – domestic animals kept in captivity, horse, cattle, donkey, sheep, mule, ox, husky dog, guinea pig, rabbit, pig, dog, cat, llama, alpaca, buffalo, elk

Non-domestic animals – deer, moose, elk, whale, dolphin, mink, otter, beaver, weasel, wolf, fox, coyote, jackal, rabbit, wildlife rehabilitation, habitat restoration, critical mass for species, wildlife corridors, city linked green space, nesting and spawning signs on waterfront, protection of critical habitat, signs to warn visiting boaters, feral animal control, effects of roads, mining, forestry,

Water creatures – fish, water snakes, turtles, tortoises, burrowing frogs, tree frogs, toads, crabs, starfish, zebra mussels (need to drain bilge and bait bucket, scrub hull), lead sinkers, jigs.

Reptiles – reptiles and amphibians (snakes, crocs, dragons, monitors, geekos, skinks, legless lizards)


Biodiversity – how to achieve biodiversity, mono-culture eg Okanagan viniculture, reforestation

Aquatic plants and growths – hold sediment in place, have only small area for swimming, removing weeds/ plants, pickeral weed, ‘water lilies’, yellow lily, carnivorous plants, spirogyra, sea lettuce, elk kelp, bladder kelp, carrageenan, seaweed, ‘cloud’ of hazy growth, gummy floating stuff, algae bloom, carrageen stabilizer, ‘Irish moss’. See also water/ wetlands/ pond scum

Mushrooms, fungus, moss and lichen – (not all are plants) lichens, mosses, fungi and mushrooms, algae on land, molds, mildew

Plants – native species, annuals, biennials, perennials, ephemerals, epiphytes, fire tolerant, carnivorous, lianas, orchids, alpine plants, desert plants, arid scrublands, broadleaf woodland plants, halophytes, exotics, hybrids, plant behavior, succession, coppicing, germination, growth/ regeneration, resurrection, zonation, seed dispersal, colonization, fruiting/ pollination

Shrubs – needles evergreen, broad-leaf evergreen, deciduous, flowering, fruiting, butterfly and bird attracting, borders, privacy, colour, backdrop

Trees – deciduous trees (leaf, bark), coniferous trees (needles, bark), woodlot, woodland, snags, nurse tree, self-pruning (cottonwoods/poplars), historic promotion of trees for windbreaks and other farm planting (prairies)

Flowers and close-ups – buds, blossoms, rain drops on petals, sun shining through flower, close-ups and extreme close-ups

Weeds and wildflowers – noxious weeds, invasive species, tall grass prairie, seasonal species, weed control

Nursery and garden centre – annuals, pot plants, nursery stock, forestry company reforestation, Trees Canada reforestation

Grasses – porcupine grass, spreading needle grass, needle and thread grass, velvety gray sagebrush, arrowleaf balsam root, antelope-brush, American chamaerhodos, clump-forming bunch grasses, blue bunch wheatgrass, rough fescue, Idaho fescue, hummock, clump-forming (bunch grass), endangered species, prescribed burn, tall grass prairie restoration, xeriscaping

Home gardens: vegetable and flower – organic gardening, complimentary planting

Landscaping – xeriscaping, large private gardens, municipal gardening, parks, corporate landscaping, Communities in Bloom

Lawns and alternates – groundcovers, alternatives to grass, pesticide-free, organic, push lawn mower, watering practice, native grass species

Detritus System  – detritus is the stuff of decay – decaying plant and animal matter. It is the semi-living, usually gooey, muck-encrusted stuff that other life forms feed on (or off). It is the truth of what is rotten: that it will live to see another day as something else. It is worm food. It is you – one day. Conceptually Detritus is a metaphor! It’s the rubbish of our own lives, our culture, the stuff that gets tossed, but somebody else picks it up, and sees something new in it, some kind of food for thought. (Quoted from the Detritus  magazine)

Decay – biomass, exfoliation, decomposition, diseases of trees, Dutch Elm, pine tree borer, gypsy moth

Garbage and litter – containers, trucks, transfer sites, garbage dumps, landfills, household hazardous waste sites, dog litter bags

The 3 R’s – imbedded energy, reduce, reuse, recycle, renewable, recycling icon, packaging, public bins, recycling bins design, wet/dry collection, demolition/ deconstruction, Habitat for Humanity

Organic waste – kitchen bucket, organic waste collection, green waste collection, wet/dry collection, vermicomposting, composters

Weathering – rocks, acid rain, frost action, solar radiation, moisture, mould, airborne pollutants, exfoliation of mountains, oxidation, wood, metal rusting, lichens, moss, plants in cracks

Fertilizerand pesticide – use, alternatives

Graffitti and vandalism – visual noise, art, defacing

Pollution – air pollution, smoke stacks, smog, contaminants in water

RESOURCES AND SERVICES – the inputs and outputs of our environmental life, of commerce and development

Agricultureclearing land, irrigation, removing stumps, plowing, cultivating, harrowing, seeding, planting, fertilizing, pesticides, run-off, equipment, crops, harvesting, corn for feed and biofuels, orchards, fruit farming, market gardening, grass/hay, grains and seeds, legumes, corn, sod farm, nursery stock

Fisheries boats, equipment, harbours, fleet, canneries, fish farming

Aggregates, miningchanges in land form brought about by mining activity, access roads, clearing land, open pit, shafts, trucks, crushing, access roads, entrance to site, underground, crushers, extractors, gravel pit, gravel trucks, restored pit, open-pit mine, rail cars

Timberingclear cutting, selective harvesting, skidding trees, logging equipment, log boom, logs stacked for shipment, logging trucks, logging trains


Construction – transportation corridors (blasting/ tunnels/ rock cuts/ water   diversion), surveying, bull dozing, leveling, removing material, importing material, gravel trucks, asphalt application, shoulders, road markings, signage

Personal vehicles – types of vehicles, fuel efficient vehicles, motorcycles and carts, hybrid cars, electric cars, electric motorcycles, hydrogen cars, traffic signs, traffic congestion, solar-powered signs and signals

Rail – subways, LRTs, intercity light rail, heavy rail

Transit, coach, taxi – busses, coaches, trolleys, streetcars

Freight – ship, rail, tractor trailer, container, cubevan

Ship – cable ferry, short ferry, large ferry

Electricity hydro power development, damming, water storage at head, storage ponds, turbines, generators, tail race, diversion canal

Housing construction – removing vegetative growth, leveling land, putting in roads and services, building houses or condos or apartments, creating parks and green spaces, planting trees, residential landscaping, signage

Manufacturingbuildings, industrial parks, water/electricity supply, raw materials, waste management, effluent, smokestacks, shipping

History – Historical pictures of structures such as mills and log flumes and of historical action such as the use of dynamite at waterfalls for logging.

REAL PROPERTY – land and whatever is erected upon or fixed thereto that is generally immovable


Multi-residential – high density, smart growth, energy efficiencies, apartments, co-ops, row housing, duplex, triplex

Single residential – densification, small footprint, ‘granny flats’, secondary living suites, renovation

Condominium – small footprint, unique environmental designs, environmental efficiencies

Other housing – unique housing, unique location, small footprint, environmental efficiencies

Commercial Property

Commercial and industrial – big box stores, malls, plazas, superstores, drive-throughs, threatened downtowns, decaying structures, historic buildings

Retail, restaurant, hotel – all small retail ventures, all restaurants, all hotels except resort hotels

Growth patterns – eco-density, urban densification, aerial shots, diagrams of subdivisions, skylines

Barns and farms – factory farm, silage, hay storage, livestock barns, dairy operations, grain storage, fruit barns, poultry and egg, greenhouses, historic buildings, disrepair

Cottages and resorts – private cottages, small cottage resorts, large resorts, B&Bs, small inns

Marinas – docking for private boats, services supplied, may be attached to resort or hotel, may be municipally owned

Mills – historic structures, some still operating as mills, commercial ventures

Public and parkland – municipal, provincial, territory, federal designated lands

ENERGY AND POWER – dependence on fossil fuels to do work, especially at a high rate, is slowly being supplemented and/or replaced with renewable energy sources

Thermo-regulation – heating and air conditioning

Insulationsprayed in place foam, foam panels, batt insulation, rigid board, green insulation such as recycled glass, mineral wool, cotton, soybeans, insulated concrete forms, green roof

Conservation methods smart meter, power off-peak, light switch timers, compact fluorescent light bulbs, unplug beer frig, phantom load, power bar, hi-efficiency furnace, passive strategies indoors, shading, orientation, thermal flooring, traditional stick frame construction, structured insulated panels, straw bale homes, rammed earth tire home, log home, weather-stripping

Off-grid back-up generation, propane or diesel generator, battery bank charged by hydro, solar or wind battery back-up, photovoltaic cells, net metering

Wood burningwood stoves, air tight, cob stove, wood furnace, wood cutting, chopping, stacking

Water heatingsolar flat-plate collectors, non-tank water heating, insulate hot water tank

Solarsolar generation, passive solar, solar panels, solar-powered lawnmower, solar powered snowmobile, the Loon pontoon boat, solar monitoring equipment, solar signs,

Geo-thermalheating, geysers, mud pits, water or ground-source heating or cooling

Wind generationwind turbines, wind farm, wind mill


Found objects – objects from nature that are attractive in themselves often combined with other objects such as stones, wood, gems

Manufactured and handmade  – utilitarian and attractive objects resourced from nature

Architectural elements – interesting lines of structures, windows, trim, rooflines, porches, cupolas, weathervanes, often in heritage structures

Bridges – large spans, metal, stone, concrete, wood, on roads, highways, trails, suspension bridges, arched, decorative

Fences – workingman’s fence, split rail, gathered stone, post and rail fence, wire and post, barbed wire, vine covered, coil fence, wood fence, picket fence, privacy fence

Garden and outdoor furnishings – Muskoka chairs, table and chairs, lounge, tall structures, arches, gates, statuary, decorations, fountains, pools, ponds

Abstracts  – all from nature, sometimes just a quirky way of seeing something

Backgrounds and covers – interesting images suitable to layer as a background or use as a cover for reports, statements in print or on web page

Nature as therapeutic – Japanese gardens, Providence Farm, flowing water, water falls, misty mountains

Picturesque – calendar shots of nature