Look and Listen
is a small business with the mission of educating Ottawa area residents of all ages about the value, fragility and richness of the region’s natural areas. We feature a nature day camp for children (visit “day camps” on this website) where young people experience awareness games, stories, nature crafts, and interpretation that introduces children to the natural world. As a special offering, organizes seasonal field trips that illustrate winter tracking, experience the edible wild and help participants to study the stars that blaze in the skies over the rural parts of our amazing locale.
Our founder and our principal educator/interpreter and guide is Martha Webber. Born in New England, Martha majored in Botany-ecology and geology (BS. MS), was staff assistant at the Children’s Nature Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina, (and Worcester Natural History Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts). She taught biology and earth science in the Vermont Public School system before marrying a Canadian and moving North. Two children later she volunteered with Scouts and Guides and did this for a few years before offering a spring botany course for the City of Kanata. That field course, called “Edible Wild” has continued since the 1980’s. Martha’s first business venture partnered her with Madeline Kallio running “Ottawa Valley Field Trips” where they organized field trips on wheels, mostly for seniors, exploring back roads and fun places with good food.
In addition to our core programs, custom field trips can be organized for groups, homeschools, school classes, scouts, etc.
Martha is an amazing resource with an understanding and feel for the natural world that is seldom found in our day and age. She is always looking for opportunities to introduce teachers and groups to the heritage plants (better known as “weeds”) that our ancestors found here or imported over time to be used for foods and medicines. Many of these still offer superior nutrition to commercial vegetables, but can only be used when grown in clean (unsprayed) habitats.
Our website is Dandelion Jam because it derives it’s relationship from the natural world. A much maligned weed, dandelion was once a favorite grown for greens, coffee substitute, wine, beer and now jam. A must in herb gardens of castles and monasteries and now an “alien invasion” on lawns. Just imagine when lawns were once composed of meadow flowers and lawn boys were hired to pull out grass. Kentucky Blue Grass, by the way, is an example of an alien invasion.
The Ottawa Field Naturalist Club selected Martha Webber for the 2007 Mary Stuart Education Award in recognition of “outstanding work teaching natural history at schools and to the public throughout the Ottawa region with a variety of programs.”