2021 Greener Greenspace Profile
Cocagne Community Park
Created by the landscape and ecological restoration company Helping Nature Heal Inc., Cocagne Community Park in Cocagne, New Brunswick is a living shoreline project designed to provide native habitat, absorb water and support climate change adaptation.
Helping Nature Heal Inc. incorporated a variety of native and heritage species from the company’s nursery and other local sources for this installation. The soil came from a nearby job site where they saved the top layer of vegetation, which was used as borders around the berms. This vegetation layer included living native plants as well as local seeds. There was an existing milkweed garden within the riparian zone and more native species were added to restore the riparian zone and create food and habitat. Hay bales were added to create snake habitat, and brush walls and a wattle fence created habitat for smaller animals.
Plenty of coarse, woody debris was included in the installation to break down over time to fuel the mycelium in the soil food web. There were many features designed to absorb water including berms, hay bales and a rain garden to reduce overland flow. Native trees were planted to improve air quality and provide shade. Plants were provided organic seaweed-based fertilizer a few times during the first year. However, the project has been designed to be self-sustainable by providing plenty of material to break down and provide nutrients to the system. The rain garden includes wooden stepping coins for the children to step across when leaving the playground. The centre of the park is a packed gravel path that is wheelchair accessible, and includes large stumps for seating.
The project was a collaboration between Group de development durable du Pays de Cocagne, Shediac Watershed Association, CSR Peninsule acadienne, Vision H20 and Nature NB and funded by the New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund. These groups are carrying out the ongoing care and maintenance of the park with the help of their volunteers who have diverse backgrounds in ecology, biology and gardening.
This project was completed as a hands-on workshop where the public was invited to participate in the installation. Staff from Helping Nature Heal, Inc. led an educational session at the beginning of the day to teach methods of nature-based shoreline erosion mitigation as well as the principles of ecological restoration such as soil-building and habitat creation.
To learn more, check out this video, below, of Rosmarie A Lohnes, President and CEO of Helping Nature Heal Inc. describe two projects, including Cocagne Community Park.
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.