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“Row to the shore and explore a place you don’t know.”

So sings one of Canada’s GreenHeroes and singer-songwriter Sarah Harmer in a recently released campfire song she wrote to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada. Sarah recorded this beautiful tune, simply titled “The Park Song,” in both English and French. She also headlined a free outdoor concert at the official Parks Day celebration in Toronto earlier this month.

Jasper National Park by Frank Kovalchek

This isn’t the first time Sarah has written and sung about the environment. She wrote and recorded a song called “Escarpment Blues” and donated the proceeds to PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land), an organization she co-founded to protect the landscape she grew up on from further development. She starred in a documentary, also called “Escarpment Blues,” about her “I Love the Escarpment” tour in which she performed and spoke about the PERL campaign.

On a different project, thirteen Canadian filmmakers created The National Parks Project,which features 13 Parks including  the Tundra in Manitoba to Gwaii Haanas National Park, off the coast of mainland B.C. It is in this last park that Sarah Harmer’s music is featured. Make sure to check out the film, which shows some of Canada’s most grandiose beauty. Hear more about this project from John Bessai, executive producer and creative director of the GreenHeroes Campaign, in  The Bulletin!

The rural countryside in our backyard is a diverse home to native trees and rare species; the Niagara Escarpment specifically, a pristine 450 million year old UNESCO world heritage site, is home to 40% of Ontario’s rare species and houses trees that are over 1000 years old. The land here is irreplaceable once it’s lost, and it’s threatened every day by industry and urban encroachment.

When an aggregate company recently put forth a proposal to remove another 200 acres from Mount Nemo, Sarah Harmer, who grew up with this natural landscape in her Burlington, Ontario backyard, refused to sit idly. She co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) to stop the destruction of her hometown landscapes.

Her move to act is not a lone battle; campaigns like these are being waged across the globe, many right in our own backyards. Ancient forests, wetlands and valleys are irreplaceable once they are lost, and we must act to keep them alive. Don’t wait for your neighbour to do something about a problem. Take action now.

Sarah Harmer, the GreenHero from our ‘In My Backyard’ campaign and one of our favourite Canadian Green musicians has been busy.

This year, Sarah’s album Oh Little Fire is nominated for 3 Juno Awards; Adult Alternative Album of the Year, Producer of the Year and Recording Engineer of the Year.

In one of our previous webisodes, we profiled Sarah’s tireless work to raise awareness about the problems facing the Niagara Escarpment.

This UNESCO Heritage Site is home to numerous species and trees that are as old as 1000 years. As we highlighted, Sarah is co-founder of PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and lends her energy to this cause which is close to her heart.


The Niagara Escarpment

Her film on the same subject has received great acclaim and she continues to speak for this beautiful natural resource.

This film, entitled “Escarpment Blues” is being played at TIFF Thursday March 24th as part of the 40th Anniversary celebrations of the JUNO Awards in Toronto. For more info regarding this screening click here. Go check it out and get involved!

Listen to her song of the same name below:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52vXPZAkDug[/youtube]

Singer, songwriter, environmental activist and GreenHero Sarah Harmer just cannot be stopped.

Co-founder of Protecting Escarpment and Rural Lands (PERL), she’s just begun a musical tour to promote her newest album, Late Bloomer.

It comes on the heels of her toe-tapping Escarpment Blues tour, which exposed her feelings towards her childhood backyard in the Niagara Escarpment through song, and uncovered the devastating destruction of its biodiversity by developers and industry digging for aggregates.

This October, we will watch PERL stand before the Ontario Municipal Board to defend the escarpment from further invasion. Sarah Harmer took a moment from her busy tour schedule to lend her voice to the GreenHeroes campaign, and to remind us to be the voices for the environment in our own backyards.


It’s been over 5 years, and the work to save the Niagara Escarpment’s Mount Nemo in Burlington, Ontario from a massive LaFarge/Nelson Aggregate open pit quarry continues at a busy pace.

In mid-September the Niagara Escarpment Commission voted in what they called a “precedent setting” vote in favour of processing community organization Protecting Escarpment Rural Land’s (PERL) amendment application to properly designate the land at risk on Mount Nemo based on current science.

This would include recognizing the Grindstone Creek Headwaters Provincially Significant Wetland Complex, and Species at Risk habitats, which were confirmed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in 2006 and 2007.

To have this up-to-date science reflected in the land-use designations of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act (NEPDA) would update much of the subject land from “Escarpment Rural” to “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected”.

Aggregate extraction is contemplated in “Escarpment Rural” designated land, but not in “Escarpment Natural” and “Escarpment Protected” land. Getting the proper designations in place would prevent the contemplation of aggregate extraction on most of the LaFarge owned property.

PERL, Halton Region and the City of Burlington have all called for the proper designations to be put in place on this land, in other words to get the planning right, before Ontario tax payers are made to spend millions of dollars in a Joint Board hearing, which is slated to begin in October 2010.

With this decision to process our amendment application the Niagara Escarpment Commission has recognized that it is crucial to have the most current Provincial science reflected in NEPDA land designations.

We are ever more hopeful that good planning will prevail, and the future of Mount Nemo as part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, home to Endangered and Threatened Species and vital source water supply, will be saved for future generations.


The Ontario Municipal Board hearings are currently underway, but it is not too late to sign on to the petition and take action. For more actions you can take to protect Mount Nemo and your community, visit our In My Backyard campaign page.

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

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Sarah Harmer is a JUNO award winning singer/songwriter who flexes her musical muscle to protect a world biosphere site.

Sarah grew up with the Niagara Escarpment in her backyard. Today, she is dedicated to its preservation, and to achieve this goal, she co-founded PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) and mounts a concert each summer featuring renowned musicians like Bruce Cockburn and Feist.

“There’s so many places to help the environment wherever you are and whatever your neighbourhood or community is, I think it’s all there to find and it can be right in your neighbourhood, in your own backyard as it was in mine.”

Tell us about the projects or causes you’re involved with that are helping the environment in your community.

We want to hear about your moment of inspiration: enter our contest, or nominate a friend, for a chance to win a GreenHeroes prize and be featured on our contest website. You may even end up having your story told on TVO!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

Spanning 725 kilometers from Niagara to Tobermory, the 450 million year old Niagara Escarpment is one of Canada’s most pristine ecological features. But, it’s under continued pressure from developers and urban encroachment, which threaten to rip into the massive geological rock formation and disturb the nature that lives there. For GreenHero singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer, who grew up with the Escarpment as her backyard, sitting idly wasn’t an option.

Sarah Harmer was fueled to co-found PERL (Protecting Escarpment Rural Land) to stop the destruction of her hometown landscapes. Growing up in Burlington, Ontario beside Mount Nemo, Sarah took a lot of these natural features for granted.

But, here in the UNESCO world heritage Niagara Escarpment, exists a diverse ecosystem and habitat for over 300 species of birds, 55 mammals, 36 reptiles and amphibians, 90 fish, and 100 varieties of flora, which are threatened by ecosystem destruction. Already the Escarpment was being gouged, but with a recent proposal to remove 200 more acres from Mount Nemo, Sarah raised her voice to prevent an irreplaceable loss of wildlife and landscapes.

Her move to act is not a lone battle; wars like these are being waged across the globe – in our backyards too. Ancient forests, wetlands and valleys are irreplaceable once they are lost, so we must act to keep them alive. Currently, PERL is scheduled to stand before the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) to stop the proposed quarry from moving forward. Stay tuned for details on the OMB case, and learn how you can take action to protect the environment in your own backyard.

“It’s amazing what starts to open up as soon as you crack the door open a little bit. There’s so many things to do, there’s so many ways to help the environment. It could be right in your backyard, as it was in mine.”

– Sarah Harmer

Watch for both Sarah Harmer’s and PERL’s Elaine LaChappelle’s guest blog coming soon.

You can watch Sarah’s own GreenHero profile video to learn more about her inspiring work in her own backyard. To learn more about PERL and its various campaigns and initiatives, and to take action yourself, visit the In My Backyard campaign page. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Sarah’s profile and on the campaign page!

Remember – in the battle to save the planet, you can make a difference in your backyard. What actions are you taking to make a difference in your community? How are you acting locally to affect global change? Do you know someone who is a change agent in your community? Share your story here for your chance to win a prize in our contest

GreenHeroes.tv is all about saving the planet, one story at a time. Do you have a great story to tell about how you’re helping to make the world a greener place? Enter the contest to nominate a friend or yourself – you could be one of Canada’s next GreenHeroes!

Watch and learn about our celebrity GreenHeroes

Read our blog to keep up-to-date on GreenHeroes Campaigns

Sign up for our newsletter

Follow us on Twitter

Become our fan on Facebook

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