Healthy living, food skills taught through Community Kitchen Program

A plethora of smells wafted out of the kitchen at the Salvation Army on Monday afternoon.

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The Mix, Measure, and Mingle community kitchen group made easy vegetable coleslaw, sweet potato fries, vegetarian burgers, and apple crisp for their weekly Monday afternoon meal.

Earlier this year, the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve was graced with a $57,500 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to expand community kitchen opportunities at the Salvation Army and the Parry Sound Friendship Centre.

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We’re Hiring!

Are you or someone you know interested in a summer position with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve?

Read the full job description for the Environmental Stewardship and Outreach Intern position! Please send your applications to Delaina Arnold at education@gbbr.ca by April 3rd.

Applications are now closed. Thank you to all applicants.

Biosphere Charter Member Profile: White Squall Paddling Centre

White Squall Paddling Centre has operated since 1985 and has been a Biosphere Charter Member since 2012. With the simple desire to share the outdoors and paddling with others, White Squall provides paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages the opportunity to experience firsthand the fun and beauty of Georgian Bay.  The name came from the late Stan Roger’s song “White Squall”, a haunting ballad that captures the mystery and power of Georgian Bay.  Grace- Billboard

The coastal islands and shores of northeastern Georgian Bay have been recognized by the United Nations as a unique littoral ecosystem of international importance. Sea kayakers recognize the thirty thousand islands as some of the best paddling in the world. We’re pretty lucky to have this as our backyard – and look forward to sharing it with you” says Tim Dyer, owner of White Squall Paddling Centre.

In conjunction with the GBBR and other community partners, White Squall is active in cleaning up campsites and installing thunderboxes on Franklin Island and surrounding crown lands. Click here for more information on the outer islands project. White Squall is also partnering with the GBBR to present the 2015 Reel Paddling Film Festival. All proceeds from this event will go to Global Medic, click here for more information.

Building Communities Through Cooking

The Ontario Trillium Foundation has granted $57,500 to the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve to expand community kitchen opportunities available at the Parry Sound Friendship Centre and the Salvation Army.

Community kitchens help provide access to healthy food in two meaningful ways: through meals and through food skills education.

“Community kitchens bring people together to gain hands-on cooking skills, learn about meal planning, nutrition, and food safety,” said Glenda Clayton, project coordinator. “This grant will help bring six to ten people together to cook on either a weekly or monthly basis and take home both food and knowledge to share with their families.”

This two-year collaborative project is also supported by North Bay Parry Sound Health Unit and District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board. It builds on a successful community kitchen pilot program initiated by Salvation Army last year.

“We are delighted to be able to offer more community kitchen programs for our clients and community,” said Heather Murch, senior program services worker.  “These programs are a wonderful opportunity for people to get out and share a meal, to improve their cooking skills, to have greater access to nutritious food and ultimately improve their food security and health.”

The Wasa Nabin program at Parry Sound Friendship Centre will focus on teaching youth healthy cooking and gardening skills. Elders will meet monthly at a luncheon called “Congregate Cooking and Dining” to enjoy cooking, sharing recipes and eating together.

“We believe that our elders and youth and our community as a whole will greatly benefit from this project,” says Gail Hall, Friendship Centre executive director.  “It helps meet real needs in our community and builds our capacity to offer future food-related programs.”

Local chefs who have a strong interest in community development will also be engaged to help groups develop specific cooking skills. Health professionals, such as dieticians, will be invited to share their knowledge.

Up-coming cooking classes include:

Salvation Army

• Monday, March 2, for young people who could use a little help learning their way around the kitchen (10-1 p.m).

Parry Sound Friendship Centre

• Thursday, March 5, for elders who are interested in cooking and dining together (10-1 p.m).

• Wednesday, March 11, for youth (12-18) who would like to gain culinary skills, sample new foods and share their cooking with family.

Biosphere Charter Member Profile: Bayside Inn

Bayside-Inn-1024x768The Bayside Inn sits on Gibson Street near the Parry Sound Harbour front and has been a Biosphere Charter Member since 2012. The Bayside Inn was originally constructed as a tourist home when Parry Sound was still young, in 1898, but is now a historic hotel.

Inn keeper Jeff Quathamer says “Demonstrating our commitment to Biosphere values was an easy and natural fit for this business. Our guests are completely receptive to the idea of a Biosphere Reserve and get a lot from seeing not only the beauty of the region, but the way people cherish and protect it.”

One significant and practical way in which Bayside Inn demonstrates its commitment to Biosphere values is in the installation of an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station. This EV charging station not only provides a cleaner source of fuel for vehicles but also supports local energy production. If money is received from the EV users, the proceeds are then donated to the GBBR.

GBBR Receives Environment Canada’s Lake Simcoe South-eastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund Grant

“Coordinated Nutrient Monitoring” project, led by the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve in partnership with the townships of Carling, the Archipelago, and the Township of Georgian Bay has been funded $191,300 over two years to make water quality monitoring more consistent, in order to help research and government decision-making.untitled-40
Working with these 3 municipalities, as well as volunteers, partners, and government  agencies over two years, this project will establish common monitoring objectives and expand the monitoring activities in Georgian Bay, ensuring that nutrients are measured by stakeholders in a similar and comparative fashion.
“With over 15 different water quality monitoring programs in use on the Bay, we need to focus on the priorities for scientific purposes, and then train volunteers within the Townships and cottage associations, to collect consistent data. We need to compare apples to apples to improve our understanding of how water quality might be changing and help local governments respond,” says David Bywater, project coordinator with the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.
Activities will include volunteer training and 10 workshops in the region; and developing a user-friendly water quality website that maps nutrient monitoring activities, research, and stewardship activities.
“One of the key objectives of Environment Canada’s Lake Simcoe & Southeastern Georgian Bay Clean Up Fund,” says Bywater, “is conservation of critical aquatic habitats and species, as well as reducing pollution. We hope that this project will begin to give people the tools to track water quality and put those environmental management programs in place based on better science.”
Data and trends collected as part of this project will also be reported in a special update of the State of the Bay ecosystem health report card program for eastern Georgian Bay in 2018.

Biosphere Celebrates a Decade; Equipped to Aid Municipalities

Delegations from three Parry Sound organizations – the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve (GBBR), the Parry Sound Area Chamber of Commerce, and the West Parry Sound District Museum – were delivered at the Seguin council this past Monday, Jan. 15.

Rebecca Pollock, GBBR’s communications manager, presented on behalf of the organization making it known to council that, after celebrating their tenth anniversary this past year, have now successfully developed the capacity to work more effectively in partnership with municipalities. Read More…

Mayor Celebrates 2014, Hints at Growth in 2015

2014 saw many changes for the town, but it continued to spend wisely and looks to the future for some exciting new business opportunities, according to Mayor Jamie McGarvey.

On Sunday afternoon more than 50 community members attended the mayor’s annual levee inside the Bobby Orr Community Centre to hear his annual summary of the year’s successes, and a hint of what’s coming in 2015. Read More…

Biosphere Highlights Notable Successes

In the last decade the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve has had a notable impact on the region.

At a meeting last month, town council heard from the biosphere’s communication manager Becky Pollock about the gains the organization has made since its inception and highlighted some of the opportunities for partnerships with the town. Read More…

Biosphere Charter Member Profiles

demasdonsDesmasdon’s Boatworks in Pointe au Baril has been a Biosphere Charter Member since 2012. Designated a Clean Marine since 1998, Desmasdon’s Boatworks recycles all the plastic used to shrink wrap boats in addition to 200 other measures designed to reduce environmental impact. Co-owner Tonia Blenkarn explains: Desmasdon'sKnowing that our industry has a reputation of not being environmentally conscious, we are part of truly trying to change that. We are all proud of being a part of the Biosphere and what that means for our business and for our community.”

Since 1946 Desmasdon’s Boatworks has prided itself on being a family owned and operated business: the motto is “Desmasdon’s… Where relationships matter”. While Desmasdon’s has grown immensely, owners Andy and Tonia Blenkarn still take the time to chat with each and every customer and instill those values and the belief that every customer is equally important.

Desmasdon’s Boatworks has also been a proud sponsor of the Kids in the Biosphere Program in Pointe au Baril since 2013. The program is geared for getting kids ages 8-12 to learn about the Biosphere right in their own backyard through fun activities, games, experiments, and more. Families receive ‘kits’ at the beginning of the summer to assist their adventures and can earn points and prizes for the activities they complete.

This year will be 11th annual Family Fun Day, another staple of Desmasdon’s Boatworks and very popular with over 500 people attending in past years. Fun for the entire family with delicious food, cotton candy, floater mat fun, turbo paddler rides, extreme face painting, activities with GBBR, boat and Yamaha Waverunner demonstrations and more! This year join the Desmasdon’s team any time between 10am and 3pm for a gourmet catered meal and fun for all ages on Saturday, July 4th. For more information on this event or other inquiries please contact tonia@desmasdons.com.