Butternut trees

butternut treebutternut tree butternut treeA few weeks ago, we learned that our application to the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation was successful. This grant will allow us to learn more about the endangered butternut tree, and to catalogue the health of our butternut trees at Wintergreen, document their habitat, and develop educational programs about this extraordinary tree.

We’re starting work on the project already. The first task was to identify a 20 meter x 20 meter area that will be carefully monitored to learn about tree health, growth, decay, and regeneration. We expect to be marking the trees themselves in about a month’s time, in partnership with students and faculty from the Environmental Studies Program at Queen’s.

New batteries!

batteriesWe’ve finally made the big move — fresh new batteries and a generator specifically designed for an off-grid system. Thanks to the generosity of our partner, Quantum Renewable Energy, and to funding from the Frontenac CFDC, under the auspices of the Eastern Ontario Development Program, we’re going to be “powerful” all winter long!

Eastern Ontario Development Program

Frontenac CFDCExciting news! The Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) offers grants to promote growth of existing businesses in Eastern Ontario, as well as to advance community-led economic development to diversify local economies.

We applied for an EODP grant through the Frontenac CFDC – and we were successful! The $15,000 grant will cover half of the costs associated with our plans to extend Wintergreen’s season to the winter months. Last year, we explored the possibility of year-round retreats and programming, with our new partner, RKY camps, as well as private rentals of the lodge and cabins. Building on those successful pilot projects, we are now planning to make the Beach House winter ready. This will include the installation of an airtight woodstove from Renewable Energy of Plum Hollow and a dry kitchen. We will also upgrade our generator and batteries for the lodge’s solar system, so that we have all the power we need for the winter months.

And then there are the snowshoes… we’ve partnered with Trailhead Kingston, and if you come to the lodge or rent a cabin in the winter, you’ll be able to grab a pair of snowshoes to make your way down the snowy winter trails!

Frontenac CFDCQuantum Renewable Energy will be installing our batteries and generator, designed for an off-grid system. We’ll be fully functional by the time the snow flies! Check our website under rentals for details for planning your private retreat – winter, fall, spring or summer!

Our 2014 Annual Report is ready!

2014 annual report

Click on the link below to download a pdf file of our just released Annual Report. The Board approved the report at our Annual General Meeting earlier this week, and we’re delighted to share it with our Wintergreen friends.

While some of the report features the happenings at Wintergreen this past year — such as our new solar panels and the very successful drumming workshop held in July — we would draw your attention, especially, to the page that lists our volunteers and donors. Thank you, one and all, for helping Wintergreen thrive.

Wintergreen Studios 2014 Annual Report


September musings

septemberAlthough we’ve lost some of the subtle pinks and blues of the summer gardens, the September yellows and purples are vibrant and enticing. Some of our sunflowers are over 10 feet tall!

Lorna Crozier will join us for a week in May, working with published and would be poets. There will be another drum making workshop as well, followed a few weeks later by a community drumming circle. As other workshops are confirmed, we’ll post information so that you can plan early and avoid finding out that the workshop of your dreams is already full.

But 2014 isn’t over yet. Early in November, we’ll be hosting an event called Camino Spirit. If you’ve ever walked the Camino de Santiago, or if it’s on your bucket list, or if you’re just plain curious, then this event is for you.


Wool Spinning Workshop

Just a little over three weeks away now, we’ll be hosting a spinning workshop for the very first time. You will have the opportunity to discover new spinning and fibre preparation techniques, and rediscover some of the familiar ones as well.  Bring your spinning wheel, combs, hand carders, and fibre and gather together for a weekend of creativity, idea sharing, camaraderie, and soft, fluffy, wool in a beautiful natural setting. Wintergreen Studios in the fall is a wonderful location for this workshop. Our enthusiastic instructor Angela McInnis has been spinning for roughly 10 years now and is looking forward to sharing her experiences with you and creating new ones while here at Wintergreen Studios.

If you’ve been here before you know you’re in for a treat. For those who are new to Wintergreen, our colourful gardens, quiet atmosphere and woodland trails are sure to inspire you and drive your creativity. After long days, many have enjoyed relaxing in our sauna while they wait to relish home cooked meals with produce from our gardens.  We look forward to seeing you here!


Latvian gardens

latvian gardensIt’s not often that I post something this personal, but I can’t resist (it’s Rena Upitis posting, and for those of you who don’t know me, I’m the Executive Director of Wintergreen Studios).

I’ve just returned from an amazing trip to Latvia, where I spent languid days with my children and many of our Latvian relatives (close to 30 of them, on both my mother’s and father’s sides). I was completely taken with their energy, strength, and love of the land. And boundless optimism, in spite of what some might regard as nearly overwhelming challenges.

Everyone gardens. There are fruits and vegetables galore. Many make their own cheeses, meats, breads, in addition to harvesting the produce. Perennials abound.

latvian gardensPlenty of wood-burning stoves and furnaces, too. I was awestruck by one of my mother’s 86-year-old cousins (the younger of two). She visits her other cousin, who is 88, as often as possible, but because it is an 8 kilometre walk — in each direction — she confessed that she doesn’t visit as much as she once did! One of my other relatives commented that the wood pile was a long way from her walk-up apartment, and so it was. (I’ll never complain about moving wood again.) And her garden, too, was simply lovely. Humbling and inspiring.

Open House – Sunday August 24

open houseCome visit Wintergreen this coming Sunday, August 24. Our monthly Open House will take place from 11 – 4. Drop by any time.

While you’re here, feel free to wander the trails (we have trail maps), have a swim in our beautiful lake, or simply stroll through the gardens next to the lodge. Our self-guided tour features our sustainable practices, from photovoltaics (solar power!) to passive solar to our peat-based septic system. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about upcoming events and workshops as well.

Spinning Wool in the Woods

Spinning woolAre you a spinner, or curious about the process of spinning wool? Join us for the last weekend in September, as the weather turns cooler, and the trees respond with their colourful palette. Beginners are welcome, as are participants with a working knowledge of wheel or spindle spinning.

During this relaxing weekend retreat, you will explore new spinning and fibre preparation techniques.  Bring your spinning wheel, combs, hand carders, and fibre and gather together for a weekend of creativity, idea sharing, camaraderie, and soft, fluffy, wool in a beautiful natural setting. We’ll have supplies at hand for beginners!

Spinning woolThis workshop takes place from September 26 to September 28. You can read more about the spinning wool workshop and about Angela McInnis, the instructor (wearing some of her colourful wool creations) by clicking here.

Register for this workshop

Open Book

Illustrated Journal Workshop

Hello friends!

We’ve decided to extend the registration period for the illustrated journal workshop put on by Helen Humphreys and Kelley Aitken that will be going on here, on August 7th-10th, 2014.  You still have a couple of days to sign up for the workshop, the deadline is now Thursday, July 31st, 2014. If you’re still thinking about registering, head to the workshop’s webpage and sign up for the event! With a little initiative from you, Helen and Kelley will help guide your inspiration and show you how much fun it can be to blend art and writing.

Wintergreen Studios is the perfect place to hone your artistic and writing skills. Under the guidance and supervision of our two talented teachers, your experience at this workshop will certainly inspire you. Join us for a long weekend of creativity and collaboration you’ll treasure forever with your journal.


bringing balance back