Designated by UNESCO in 2004, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is an area of 347,000 hectares that stretches 200 km along the eastern coast from Port Severn to the French River, in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago, also known as the 30,000 Islands. The unique geography and geology of the area create more than 1,000 distinct habitat types which support a variety of rare species, including plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians. Visitors can explore a mosaic of open waters, sheltered bays, coastal wetlands, exposed bedrock shores, sand and cobble beaches, riparian vegetation and upland forests.
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve model aims to integrate core protected areas (such as provincial and national parks), surrounding buffer areas (mostly Crown Lands) and an outer transition area of communities that support sustainable development. The biosphere reserve does not affect existing jurisdictions but creates a forum for cooperation and operates through community partnerships.
Protects the environment.
Creates vibrant communities.
Builds a healthy economy.
Following the mandate of UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves, to be an international model of sustainability for eastern Georgian Bay, while protecting the ecological values of the region.
To facilitate cooperative action in support of the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development through education and public outreach, that will foster a shared responsibility for the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve for the next seven generations.
Established in 1998, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve Inc. is a non-profit community organization. The organization is comprised of volunteers from various walks of life with a common purpose. At GBBR Inc. we are guided by the core values of a shared “Georgian Bay Feeling” and Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Knowledge, and Cooperation.
Biosphere Reserves strive to achieve four pillars of sustainable development:
Environmental sustainability: all actions should enhance and protect environmental health upon which human health & the economy depend;
Economic sustainability: we must support local livelihoods, create a vibrant economy and foster long term wealth for our citizens;
Social sustainability: our institutions and infrastructure must foster healthy family and community life over the long term;
Cultural sustainability: we must preserve our rich and diverse cultural heritage, while fostering an atmosphere that encourages expression, communication and interaction in the arts, recreation and well-being of our citizens and visitors.
How We Operate
Sustainable development can only be achieved by working with other groups and organizations committed to the same goals. Our work necessitates creating partnerships, building networks, facilitating dialogue, and coordinating programs with other partners.
Our role at GBBR Inc. is to help inform, educate, facilitate and provide leadership where it is needed. Once a program has been established, we explore ways to transfer leadership while maintaining an interest in the “big picture” of activities that support conservation and sustainable development in the region.
We are able to act as a neutral forum for governments and civil society, and to mobilize the participation of organizations and committed individuals for a healthy community. In order to build leadership for sustainability in our communities, we aim to support existing initiatives, or initiate them where needed. Once other partners are actively engaged, we work with them to transfer and maintain leadership.
“Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
(Brundtland Commission, 1989)
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