Numair Uppal on WRAIN and the Kawartha Lakes!

By Marcelo Kawanami

So we are continuing with our interview series with Movers & Shakers that has significantly contributed to the development of the Kawartha Lakes region and Gamiing. Our conversation today is with Mr. Numair Uppal, Economic Development Officer at the Water Research & Innovation Network (WRAIN).

In this conversation, Mr. Uppal shares with us his work at the Water Table andalso his opinion on how economy development and sustainability can work together.

Gamiing: Tell me a little bit about yourNumair Uppal work and the Water Table.
Numair Uppal: My work as the Economic Development Officer is with The Water Research and Innovation Network (WRAIN), which is the innovation arm of the Economic Development department at Kawartha Lakes. Our objective is to help accelerate the market adoption of new and innovative water treatment technologies through the implementation of demonstration and pilot sites in a real time, real operational facilities in Kawartha Lakes. WRAIN works with all levels of city staff, government officials and private sector companies to help identify and solve issues surrounding one of our most valued resources in Kawartha Lakes.

The City of Kawartha Lakes formed the Water Table to collectively share knowledge, perspectives, experiences and opportunities. The Water Table consists of researchers, municipal services and economic development professionals involved in conservation, management and research throughout the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Gamiing: What’s the importance of water conservation to leverage business and economic development?
Numair Uppal: Water conservation and sustainability is a topic of inordinate importance for both businesses and economic development in Kawartha Lakes. On average Kawartha Lakes can expect anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 seasonal guests and tourists. Ensuring the quality of our beaches, lakes and rivers is at the forefront of any discussion can yield huge benefits to our tourism sector as well as foster growth, expansion and investments being made in the community.

Gamiing: What are the key topics in the agenda of the Water Table for 2015?
Numair Uppal: One of the key topics for the Water Table for 2015 will be around rehabilitation of our beaches and recreational water bodies in Kawartha Lakes.

Global Insights: Nicaragua

By Marcelo Kawanami

This week we land in Central America. In 2007 I had the great privilege of visiting Nicaragua, the largest country in Central America. Still unexplored in comparison to its neighboring countries, Nicaragua has a natural landscape composed by volcanoes and lakes. The two main lakes are Lake Nicaragua, which is the largest in Central America, and Lake Managua, also known as Lake Xolotlan. Both lakes are the largest bodies of fresh water in the region.

Nicaragua’s lakes are also known for its unique biodiversity. For example, Lake Nicaragua, despite being a freshwater lake, has sawfish, tarpon, and sharks! Initially, scientists thought the sharks in the lake belonged to an endemic species, the Lake Nicaragua Shark (Carcharhinus nicaraguensis). In 1961, following comparisons of specimens, the Lake Nicaragua Shark was synonymized with the widespread bull shark, a species also known for entering freshwater elsewhere around the world.

Both lakes are extremely important for the local and regional ecosystem. Nevertheless, the lakes have been severely polluted, mostly by decades of sewage being dumped into them. Lake Managua is the most critical one, where Nicaragua’s capital, also name Managua, lies on in its southwestern shore. Many communities rely on the fishing sources of the lake in order to survive.

Organizations focused on the preservation of lake shores from around the globe have turned their attention into Lake Managua. The video above explains the importance of the lake and one of the greatest projects implemented in the country in order to clean Lake Managua. The implementation of the water treatment plant was a big kick-off for cleaning up this natural resource.

Despite intensive cleaning campaigns and projects, the lake still need a lot of improvement. Below you can find some local organizations that fight for the protection of the environment and, above all, try to integrate communities into the local ecosystem:

• Adic: http://www.adicnicaragua.org/
• Fundenic: http://www.fundenic.org.ni/

Nature anywhere, everywhere

Guest Post By: Dhruba Barman., dhruv12j@gmail.com

Most people say that nature shows its beautiful scenes in remote areas/hilly areas. But from my viewpoint, I can see the different beauty of nature wherever I am. Someone rightly said, “Beauty lies in the eye of beholder ”

Being brought up in a crowded city, I could only see crowds, pollution, noises, etc. But amidst all of these I found my love for nature when I was just around 9 years old. It all started one rainy season when I was looking into the dark clouds looming over the tall buildings along with a thunderstorm. What I noticed suddenly proved to be turning point in my life with regards to my love for nature.

Amidst the dark cloud, 4-5 white pelicans were flying, with their wings stretched, giving me a feeling of independence, independence from the daily hectic routines of life, I had no stress, I felt tension-free.

The sight attracted me so much that I kept looking at the sky for around 20 minutes without knowing that it was already raining and my mother was shouting to close the window. I was so impressed that I tried to sketch the view on a plain paper, though it didn’t turn out that good (as I am not that great an artist) .

From that day onwards till today, (around 17 years have passed), I wait for rainy/monsoon seasons to catch a glimpse of that soul touching scene — “white Pelicans amidst dark rain clouds!!”

I  have even collected so many wallpapers of the scenes. Unfortunately, It is very rare to see such a scene but whenever/wherever I see it, the camera on my mobile phone comes in handy.

So what I feel is that Nature is beautiful in all its senses. We just have to find the beauty.

The Importance of Raising Earthy Children

Guest Post by Melissa S. McGaughey

I grew up on a dirt road. My family home, a little, blue, ranch style house, on a hill, surrounded on three sides by grape vineyards and flanked by a peach orchard. Ringing the vineyards and the orchards were the family woods. Nothing too wild, they are kind woods, with well-used paths created by my father and aunts and uncles as children. There are several make-shift tree houses created by said aunts and uncles in their time as children, and newer ones created by my cousins, my sister and I in our time as children. A small creek, excellent for catching minnows and frogs and crawfish, and even for swimming in some parts, winds through the woods to empty into a pond that my grandfather dug years ago. Over the years, the pond has been home not only to fish and frogs, but to snapping turtles, beavers, and geese. Overlooking the pond are two tall maple trees that stand as watchful sentinels seeming to guard the place and the children that have played, and grown up on it over the years. It is between these two trees that I have spent ridiculous amounts of time.

When I was small, my mother would take my sister and me for walks around this little family farm. As I grew a little older, with three of my cousins and my younger sister, the farm became our playground. The woods, the pastures full of Grandpa’s horses, the vineyards, the orchards, the pond, the creek, it all served as our stomping grounds. We played tag, hide and seek, we invented our own games where we were woodland creatures or elves living in the woods, or orphans run away from the home and living together, taking care of one another in the woods (similar to the boxcar children, we were very well read and very imaginative children). We climbed. We swam. We ran. We skinned our knees. We got dirty. We tore our clothes.

As I reached adolescence, I would sneak out of the house during chore time with a book to my two maples by the pond and read for hours. When I began playing guitar, I’d hike across the farm to my trees and sit and play by the pond, watching the geese. One year, the pond froze over so solidly that the entire family skated across it in their sneakers. My father would bring home all sorts of creatures that he rescued from the road on his daily commute to or from work, usually turtles that we would take and release by the pond.

My father bought my sister and me a horse when I was twelve and she was nine and the farm became an extension of the pasture, a place to ride, to practice trotting, cantering, galloping, jumping.

When I became a teenager, I took long walks to escape the house. I’d sit in a tree with my sketch book on a Saturday afternoon and live there until dusk. My friends and I would take the four-wheeler for rides through the woods, or we would just sit between my two trees and talk. I received my first kiss beneath my maples, by the pond, at age sixteen.

The family farm, the golden glow of it at dusk, the smell of the peach orchard, running through the woods with my cousins, and sister, holding their hands and laughing, this is what connected me to the earth at an early age. This connection is precious and it is rare and unfortunately it is not a reality for all children. I know though, that someday when I have children, and when my sister has children, our children will play together on the family farm as we did. They will read and imagine and run wild. There will be no excessive video games, just the outdoors. Our job, our generation’s job, in the mean time, is to keep the outdoors, and safe havens such as these, passed down from generation to generation, lovingly alive and well. So that our children will come to love the outdoors, and the earth as we have, and so that they will pass that love onto their own children and their children’s children and in this way, there will always be the children of the earth to guard our precious planet and the creatures and life she harbors.