The Ways We Connect

By Hannah Gartner

The modern environmental movement is filled with calls to connect with the natural world. Over half of the world’s population now live in cities, and having gown up in a city myself I understand how easy being in the concrete jungle makes it forget that one is part of nature. Danger arises from this because human beings value and take care of what is seen as like them, and without any connection to the natural world there is no motivation to behave more sustainably. The environmentalist are therefore on the right path by encouraging connection with the natural world.

My own connection really began as a child, when I spent my Summers going to Maine and my afternoons walking the woods near my home in Philadelphia. Then, in my early twenties I began hiking, snowboarding, and rock climbing. Throughout all this I also grew an understanding of how the world interacts within me through what I take in and put out. For example, the food I eat and excrete can be turned into compost, which has nutrients that feed the plants who then go on to provide me with oxygen and more food. This rapport, along with many others, is no accident but rather a symbiotic relationship developed over millennia.

I have found no better way to connect with nature then to adventure in it, sometimes in exposing and scary ways. Each of the athletic hobbies that I pursue also connect me differently. Snowboarding is a fast rush, while climbing is slow, calculating, and far more exposing. Hiking does not possess the same thrills, but allows more intimacy with the most peaceful aspects of nature. The connection is further enhanced as I learn more about the native flora in my home.

A few weekends ago I took a three day backpacking trip. Passing into wilderness areas with nothing but my feet to move me and what was on my back to sustain me, I found a nature that is rarely seen. The first night was spent by a mountaintop lake between two high passes. The next day, after getting water from the lake, we continued over one of the passes. It was a beautiful day until an afternoon thunderstorm came and refused to leave. We arrived at the campsite that afternoon sopping wet with the rain still pouring down. The tent was erected as quickly as possible, and the remainder of the evening was spent huddled from the rain under that nylon barrier.

Experiencing the natural world is not always confortable. This lesson is clear in the above story, and is one I learn almost every time I adventure in nature. Another lesson I learn is that it is through vulnerability that a deeper connection is able to arise. To foster these types of experiences in one’s own life therefore spontaneously creates the kind of links to the natural world that our culture so desperately needs. Furthermore, allowing oneself the discomfort of being in the outdoors better prepares them for the uncomfortable task of mitigating climate change. So go out there, get your hands dirty, and get close to nature!

I am Water

By Marcelo Kawanami

Last week, charity: water, a non-profit organization focused on the fund of water projects in developing nations, posted a powerful short video showcasing the importance of water and the impact that this essential natural resource has in the life of our planet.

One of my favorite statements of the video: “It takes a great wall to hold me back, but I can be held by a human hand”.

Winterlude 2015!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! Winterlude at Gamiing Nature Centre is right around the corner! It will be hosted on February 16th, 2015 from 11am to 4pm at Gamiing’s facilities. So bundle up and head down to Winterlude 2015 for a fun afternoon full of outdoor activities!

Winterlude 2015

NGOs teaming up!

By Marcelo Kawanami

The preservation of land, water, oceans, rivers and lakes are the core for Gamiing Nature Centre. Working closely with the local community, Gamiing has developed a set of programs such as trainings, workshops, recreational programs and events in order to educate the participants on the importance of land preservation and the environment.

We are also constantly benchmarking what similar organizations are developing regarding the topics that are important to us. Apart from the big global ones, we are always observing and collaborating with the local small ones like us!Imagem2

Today, I would like mention some these organizations that do amazing things for the environment. I selected some international ones that might not be well known to you, and also some very nice local ones with which your support will certainly make a difference!

Ramsar (Switzerland): http://www.ramsar.org/
The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

Imagem1PFE (France): http://www.partenariat-francais-eau.fr/
The French Water Partnership (FWP – Partenariat Français pour l’Eau), a non-profit association, is a muti – actor platform which works on conveying key consensual messages on the governance and management of water resources in the international arena.

OCC (Uruguay): http://www.occ.org.uy/
Local organization from Uruguay (South America) that fights for the conservation of the oceans with a focus on the white whales.

BHNS (India): http://bnhs.org/bnhs/
One of the largest local Indian organizations, BHNS is a pan-India wildlife research organization, that has been promoting the cause of nature conservation for the past 131 years.

What a great summer! Ready for the next season!

By Marcelo Kawanami

So, the summer is over once again … but as usual it has left good memories for all Gamiing’s team. This year, we received approximately 1,000 elementary students visiting Gamiing’s center and facilities!!!

Kawartha Lakes - Fall picWe had tons of fun and Gamiing’s team prepared many activities in order to entertain and educate our visitors. This year, we not only received a record number of visitors, but we focused our activities on educating the kids on the new challenges that our planet is facing through dynamic and group activities. We all enjoyed the outdoors taking advantage of the amazing infrastructure that we have!

The end of summer means the beginning of a new season. Thus, we keep with our ongoing activities and preparing ourselves for the upcoming events. Interpretive Trails Walk, special workshops, Fall Festivals and Halloween party, Volunteer Days, Winterlude… Ow! So many things! And we hope to see you all.

Global Insights: Mongolia

By Marcelo Kawanami

Recently I hadthe chance to watch a Khövsgöl Nuur v1documentary regarding Mongolia. This far land located between China and Russia, the country has a strong influence from both countries but had the ability to develop a unique and rich culture. One of the things that called my attention the most was Khövsgöl Nuur. Known as the Blue Pearl of the Mongolia, Khövsgöl Nuur is an extraordinary lake that stretches 136km deep into the Siberian taiga. The lake and mountains that surround it form the basis for this popular national park, a major destination for both Mongolian and international tourists.

In surface area, this is the second-largest lake (2760 sq km) in Mongolia, surpassed in size only by Uvs Nuur, a shallow, salty lake in the western part of the country. But Khövsgöl Nuur (sometimes transliterated as Hövsgöl or Hovsgol) is Mongolia’s deepest lake (up to 262m) as well as the world’s 14th-largest source of fresh water – it contains between 1% and 2% of the world’s fresh water (that’s 380,700 billion litres!).

Khövsgöl Nuur v2Khuvsgul is one of seventeen ancient lakes in the world being more than 2 million years old, and the most pristine. The Lake area is a National Park bigger than Yellowstone and strictly protected as a transition zone between Central Asian Steppe and the Siberian Taiga. Despite Hovsgol’s protected status, illegal fishing is common and prohibitions against commercial fishing with gillnets are seldom enforced. The lake is traditionally considered sacred in a land suffering from arid conditions where most lakes are salty.

The Park is home to a variety of wildlife such as ibex, argali, elk, wolf, wolverine, musk deer, brown bear, Siberian moose, and sable.

Celebrating First Nations!

By Marcelo Kawanami, post suggested by Suzanne from Kawartha Lakes Mums

Curve Lake First Nation Pow Wow

National Aboriginal Awareness Month is recognized by the federal government every June
in an effort to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous peoples in Canada. During the month of June, Aboriginal history is brought to the forefront in Canada. It is a month for aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people to reflect upon the history, sacrifices, contributions, culture and strength of First Nations, Inuit and Metis people. Thus, we could not forget to write a post regarding this special month that has just passed, once the First Nations have a direct link to the history of the Kawartha Lakes.

“Kawartha” is an Anglicization of the word “Ka-wa-tha” (from “Ka-wa-tae-gum-maug” or Gaa-waategamaag), a word coined in 1895 by aboriginal Martha Whetung of the Curve Lake First Nations. It was hoped that the word, which meant “land of reflections” in the Anishinaabe language, would provide a convenient and popular advertising label for the area, much as “Muskoka” had come to describe the area and lakes north of Gravenhurst. The word was subsequently changed by tourism promoters to Kawartha, with the meaning “bright waters and happy lands.”

According to the last report from Statistics Canada, 1.9% (1,385) of the population of Kawartha Lakes had an Aboriginal identity. Aboriginal Peoples of those, 47.7% (660) reported a First Nations identity Aboriginal Peoples only, 43.3% (600) reported a Métis identity only, and 5.4% (75) reported an Inuit identity only. An additional 35, or 2.5%, reported other Aboriginal identities.

Kawartha LakesIndigenous peoples are caretakers of Mother Earth and realize and respect her gifts of water, air and fire. First Nations peoples’ have a special relationship with the earth and all living things in it. This relationship is based on a profound spiritual connection to Mother Earth that guided indigenous peoples to practice reverence, humility and reciprocity. It is also based on the subsistence needs and values extending back thousands of years. We should all celebrate and recognize the importance First Nations every day of the year!

Curious Facts!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Today I was researching some interesting topics for the blog and I crossed many interesting facts and figures that I thought very interesting to post here! Did you know that:

  • Canada is home to approximately 60% of the world’s lakes?
  • Lake Karachay, Russia, is considered the most polluted lake in the world? It was used as a radioactive dumping ground for years.
  • the Caspian has characteristics common to both seas and lakes? It is often listed as the world’s largest lake, although it is not a freshwater lake.
  • Lake Titicaca in Peru is the highest navigable lake in the world? It is about 12,500 ft (3,810 m) above sea level. This lake is also South America’s second largest freshwater lake.Lakes
  • the lowest lake is the Dead Sea (it’s considered a lake but called a sea), which is in the Jordan Valley of Israel? The surface of the water is 1,340 ft (408 m) below sea level. Almost nothing can survive in it besides simple organisms like green algae.
  • Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes and it’s also the freshwater lake that covers the greatest surface area in the world?
  • Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest lake and is located in Siberia, Russia, north of the Mongolian border? It is 5,369 ft (1,637 m) deep – more than one mile straight down.

A Great Day is a Volunteer Day!

By Marcelo Kawanami

October is full of Gamiing’s events! From a Wild Edibles Workshop to an Interpretive Trail Walk, Gamiing has prepared a full range of activities allowing a direct integration between people and the natural environment.

Volunteer DayLast week, we had our Volunteer Day! Many volunteers from nearby communities came to Gamiing Nature Centre and provided a great support in maintaining the structure of this space which is key to the ecosystem of the Kawartha’s region. The volunteer team supported in the cleaning of the property, and also in building up a turtle site!

Volunteer Day 2

It was a great day to meet new people, learn more about sustainability and Gamiing’s values! We will have another Volunteer Day next Saturday, October 19th from 10 am until 2 pm. Volunteers will help us set up the property for our Halloween event! Not only will you be helping Gamiing and learning new skills, but it will also be an amazing opportunity to get outside and meet new people. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

Because we are providing lunch, it is important to pre-register for this volunteer day. If you would like to participate but don’t have a ride let us know as carpooling may be available. If you would like to sign up please email Katie@gamiing.org or volunteermanagement@gamiing.org

We are waiting for you!

Great Lakes Now!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Two weeks ago, The Nature Conservancy posted a great video entitled “Investing in the Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands”. This 5 minutes video shows the importance of the Great Lakes for the coastal communities that significantly rely on the local ecosystem resources.

Combining recreation with sustainable economic growth is a key element for successful projects regarding wetlands and coastal communities.

I believe this video brings a good perspective of possible actions in order to protect natural resources while bringing economic benefits for local communities! For more information, I recommend you all to check The Nature Conservancy website and its projects: http://www.nature.org/