Ziigwaan River Stewardship
In September 2018, GBBR with many community partners, first nations, municipalities, businesses and individuals celebrated the completion of the first phase of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve’s Zigwaan River-Seguin Stewardship project with the unveiling of its butterfly garden.
“This was an idea, it was a seed of an idea that came together with youth and the biosphere, with the Town of Parry Sound corner property and Wasauksing advisers and Shawanaga advisers,” said GBBR executive director Becky Pollock. “We have had a lot of impacts on this river – logging, railways, pollutions, development – it’s time to take care of this river like we used to.”
Prior to the start of the unveiling ceremony, children from Wasauksing Kinomaugewgamik School spread milkweed seeds throughout the garden on Great North Road.
“Our river here was very, very sacred to us at one time,” said John Rice of Wasauksing First Nation. “We would gather here in the springtime and in the fall to harvest fish, but also in recent history in the late ’50s and early ’60s a number of people were drowning from our community – my father and uncle being two of them – so what the people remembered at that time is we used to feast this river. So they had a ceremony and they feasted the spirit of this river and the drownings stopped.”
Building Bat Houses
GBBR and the Parry Sound Anglers & Hunters (PSAH) held a family bat house building event titled All About Bats in October 2018 at Canadore College Campus.
The PSAH pre-made three-chamber bat house kits that were then assembled by families. GBBR delivered a presentation at the start of the event about Ontario’s bats, White Nose Syndrome information, reporting information, information on evicting bats and proper installation techniques for a bat house.
This event was part of a two-year research project to understand the species, populations and ranges of local bats that are species-at-risk. The GBBR is undertaking a broad survey as a first step in strengthening the knowledge base for biologists and the public concerning bats in eastern Georgian Bay.
Monarchs & Milkweed: Creating Community Pollinator Gardens
GBBR has created several community and school yard pollinator gardens along eastern Georgian Bay and has plans to create more gardens with help and support from local partners. Each garden serves as both an educational resource for classrooms, municipalities, community groups, residents and seasonal visitors, as well as a robust native plant garden supporting the habitat needs of the endangered Monarch and other pollinators. This project builds on GBBR’s 10-year history of species-at-risk stewardship-engagement projects. It also provides the opportunity for people to participate in citizen science programs, further assisting Monarchs, and to participate and witness the beauty and simplicity of gardening with native plant species.