Biosphere Member Profile: North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit

By: Teryl Faulkner

The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is proud to be a charter member, and partner, of the GBBR. In our public health work, we envision a healthy life for everyone in our communities.

To achieve its health goals, the Health Unit collaborates with many sectors, including business, education, and the environment. Our efforts to develop policies and environments that better support community health often align with the ecological health goals of related community initiatives. For example, the Health Unit endorses the Parry Sound & Area Food Charter and promotes the development of safer cycling routes. Though our main goals are to reduce chronic disease and prevent injuries, healthier food and transportation systems are also better for the Biosphere.

Many activities that improve population health also contribute to the Biosphere’s sustainable development goals. The Biosphere is a key partner in the Health Unit’s efforts to foster healthy living in our communities. Visit our website to learn more about what we do.

Student Authors Launch Award-winning Book

Over 200 people attended Building Our Bridge: Our Journey to Reconciliation at the Stockey Centre on November 9th to support student’s work at Parry Sound High School.
 
The book was read at area elementary schools to over 700 students, many of whom attended the event with their families. Each page of the book was read and projected on screen, while students acted out parts of each scene. The drum was the beginning of cultural reconciliation at the school, and drummers sang at key points in the reading. They accompanied the dancers on stage, to symbolize the pow wow that is organized at the school by Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.
 
15 members of the community honoured, with gifts and an Honour Song. Honourees were invited to say a few words, and they congratulated the students on their efforts and their belief in peace, respect, and friendship as embodied in the original Treaties. They recognized their ancestors for passing on teachings, and spoke about the next seven generations to come in our community.
 
Five student co-authors were gifted a copy of their book by teacher Patti Jenkins. On November 15th, they read it to thousands of youth at Me to We, Ottawa. A video of the Stockey Centre performance can be seen here. The event was sponsored by GBBR’s Canada150 grant, donations received will go to future youth programs.

Biosphere Member Profile: Wright’s Marina Ltd.

Wright’s Marina Limited is a third generation family business on the shore of Georgian Bay in Britt. First established in 1950, Graham and Karrie began their marina journey in 2000 with a goal to be more environmentally responsible. Wright’s Marina was designated a Clean Marine in the 1990s, and the Clean Marine Program values were firmly adopted in the early 2000s. Each update to the marina facilities was done with the environment in mind. Striving to lead by example, to also make choices to better protect the Georgian Bay area.  
 
Many land, water, and building improvements led to the 2010 Green Marine Award presented by the Canadian Safe Boating Council. Wright’s Marina became a Biosphere Member in 2013, which was the natural path to follow on the journey of environmental education.
 
In 2016, the boating community voted Wright’s Marina as the Boater’s Choice top Canadian Marina. They are humbled by the accolades bestowed in their efforts to provide a safe, clean and environmentally friendly marina for their patrons. Wright’s Marina has undergone many changes since 2000 in an effort  to shrink their  footprint. Together, we can be the difference as we continue on this journey together.

Spooky Situation for Bats in the Biosphere

Silhouettes and cartoon images of bats are common sights as Halloween approaches. At a time when local bat species are beginning their hibernation or have already migrated, these illustrations portray a simple version of one of nature’s most complex mammals. Bats might seem spooky at first, but they play a vital role in the ecosystem and provide many benefits to people.

The real horror story bats have to offer is a tale of disease. In 2006, a European fungus called white-nosed syndrome was accidentally introduced to a bat population in New York. According to the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, white-nose syndrome has spread at a rate of 200-250 kilometers per year across neighboring states and into Canada. Millions of bats have died due to the effects of white-nose syndrome infection.

One bat species that has been hit particularly hard by white-nose syndrome is the Little Brown Bat. Before 2006, this was the most abundant species across North America. With the loss of an estimated 7 million Little Brown Bats and a birth rate of one pup a year, a population recovery for this species will be an uphill battle.

The ending to the bat’s tale has yet to be written. To date, there is no cure or way to contain the white-nose syndrome. The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative estimates the disease may affect the entire Canadian bat population within 12-18 years.

“We can all take action to help our local, endangered bats” says Delaina Arnold, Education & Stewardship Coordinator for the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve. “We encourage people to report bat sightings, especially in winter because these bats are likely affected by white-nosed syndrome. We also welcome reports of installed bat houses, whether or not they’re being used by bats.”

The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve is undertaking a two-year research and outreach project targeting endangered bat species. With support from Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund, bat houses were installed at Waubuno Beach & Park in Parry Sound and Britt Public School. Volunteers will monitor these bat houses for bat presence in the spring and summer.

“Installing a bat house is another great way to get involved and help species including the Little Brown Bat,” says Arnold. “There are many designs to experiment with and many places to buy a bat house – it is also an excellent project for families. Monitoring a bat house can be as simple as watching at dusk and counting the number of bats that fly out, or using a form available at gbbr.ca to record those numbers. They are very helpful for science.”

To report bat sightings or share information on bat house locations, please contact Delaina at [email protected] or 705.774.0978. More information on bat house blue prints and local bat species is available at gbbr.ca under the title of Conservation > Species at risk.

Biosphere Member Profile: Ritchie Insurance

Donald T. Ritchie Insurance Broker Ltd has been a locally owned and family operated business since 1969 with roots back in the Parry Sound community to 1912. We sell Property & Casualty Insurance for Personal, Commercial and Recreational products such as home, auto, cottage, business, marine, snowmobiles and more.
 
Ritchie Insurance has been a Charter Member of the GBBR since 2012. Our community and business depends and thrives on the environment we live in. People come from all parts of the globe to experience and enjoy the Georgian Bay Area, something that we live and breathe on a daily basis. We take great pride in helping protect this jewel!

Green Energy Forum – Saturday November 4th

You are invited to attend our first GREEN ENERGY FORUM on Saturday, November 4th at Canadore College, Parry Sound. All ages welcome!

Learn about sustainable energy options, how to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Hear about climate change impacts in our area & what our community can do!

Agenda details and speaker information attached with poster.
We hope you can join us!

9:30 a.m. electric vehicles & bikes on display (Tesla, Ford C-max, Chevy Volt)
10:00 a.m. keynote speaker, Dr. Peter Sale, on climate change impacts

10:30 a.m. workshops on home energy efficiency & renewable energy co-op
11:30 a.m. workshop on solar design & community action

12:30 p.m. optional tour of an off-grid home in Seguin (solar, wind, design)
Register for your free seat on the bus at strawbale.eventbrite.ca

Refreshments provided!

Biosphere Member Profile: Carling Township

Perched on the edge of the Sweetwater Sea in the heart of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, the Township of Carling is a rural-recreational municipality committed to preserving, enhancing and promoting sound development in harmony with the natural environment.  Carling’s leadership and residents recognize the inter-relationship of ecological, biological, economic and social systems and the importance of minimizing interference with the complex and precarious balance of our ecosystems.

With more than 75 kilometres of shoreline along Georgian Bay, thousands of islands, popular Killbear Provincial Park, 30,000+ acres of Crown Land and many businesses dedicated to supporting recreational tourism, the opportunities for exploration and excitement in Carling are endless in any season.   It’s no wonder our residents are so fiercely Carling Proud!

The Township of Carling is a proud supporter of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and the important work they undertake on behalf of all who live and play here.