Listen, Talk and Understand

By Pooja Mishra

Heavy rainfalls and a large amount of debris precipitated a muddy flood in Southern California last week on October 16th. Hundreds of people were trapped and stuck in their homes, cars. While many of them have been rescued, the rescue efforts are still ongoing.
Similar torrential rains had struck South Carolina on October 4, 2015. The flood had caused damage to many shelters. The whole South Carolina was gripped by floodwater. According to the National Weather Service, that day was the wettest day in the history of Southern Carolina.

 
The weather pattern is not a local phenomenon. 11 people died and 65,000 villagers left their home as a typhoon battered northern Philippines on October 18, 2015. It is a scary though that these floods might be just a preview of what is coming in near futureSource Luis Sinco and Los Angeles Times“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”
These words of Albert Einstein say everything about life. It describes the connection of a man with nature. Nature has all the answers to your questions; whether these are related to you, your life, your relations or your work. All we need to do is listen, talk to and understand it.

 
Everybody loves to get out into the nature and feel the real charm of life. Living in Canada, I am fortunate to have so much beauty and splendor of nature all around me. The autumn season is here. The crisp and cool breeze makes us feel the summer is gone and fall is in the air. In Canada, autumn is the third season of the year. It is the time when leaves start to turn in different color red, yellow, orange and brown. It is amazing, an awesome creation of God. The glory of nature mesmerizes one and all. We forget everything in the lap of nature and just enjoy the pleasure of being there.

 
Nature is derived from the Latin word Natura, which means birth. It has its own way of existence and the mountains, beeches, hills, forest, rivers, sunrise, sunset, flowers, clouds in the sky, various season and so on together make an incredible spectacle. It is a privilege being surrounded by these. But as the saying goes, every privilege comes with some responsibilities.

 
Ed Begley Jr once said, “I don’t understand why when we destroy something created by man we call it vandalism, but when we destroy something by nature we call it progress.”
Every time we build a new house, new road, parking space or even a concrete over a garden we astray ourselves to think that we are making the world a better place to live in. The natural resources are not infinite. They are limited and the way we are using it, that day is not far when we will have nothing to pass on to our future generations.
These days’ floods are the most frequent natural disaster worldwide. Recent splurge in population and the changes in land use patterns are the main causes of flood.
We are constantly cutting down trees and plants for our daily needs. One and a half acres of forest is cut down every second and agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation. We get wooden furniture, decorative items for the interior of our house and offices but we do not realize that we are cutting our own feet by making wood from trees and plants. If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy all the rainforest on the earth. Cutting of trees can be avoided if we cut down our materialistic needs and shift our focus in different direction.

Source National Bank and Nature Conservancy
According to The World Counts, 13 million hectares of forest have been converted for other uses or destroy by natural causes. We cannot deny the fact that our environment is constantly changing. Global warming is slowly becoming a more daunting threat with each passing day. Our environment is warming up and we are definitely responsible for it. Since the industrial revolution and the large scale of burning fossil fuels has increased the amount of heat in the atmosphere has also increased by 40 per cent.

 
All across the world people are facing different kind of environmental problems every day. Some of them are small and localized. Whenever a natural calamity hits a particular area, we talk about it for a few days, feel miserable and then forget. We never think that somewhere we are also responsible for that. We are making this earth not habitable by neglecting the nature and its requirements. From time to time nature warns us in many ways; we need to listen to it and make some changes before we reach a point where we won’t have anything left except regret.

 
As human, the earth is our home. This is the place where we live, eat, enjoy, raise our children and dream for their healthy, safe and beautiful future. Our entire life is dependent on the well-being of earth, environment and all the species. It is the home of all natural beauty that we praise. But the relationship with nature is not a one sided relationship. We need to form a closer bond with nature, we have to live within it to understand and feel it; not only for the betterment of our life but the lives of our future generations.

Ducks Unlimited Canada

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! Well, this has been a super busy month and I’m sorry for the absence here in the blog. Just to start with, I would like to talk about the tree planting and wetland restoration initiative from the Green Party members at Gamiing Nature Centre. The 1st Bobcaygeon Scout also supported the work and the group removed invasive species and planted a variety of trees and shrub species.

Today I came across a video from Ducks Unlimited, which is one of the global leading organizations on wetlands and waterfowl conservation. Ducks Unlimited Canada recently posted a video talking about the wetlands in Alberta and the impact that it has on biodiversity, flood protection and water quality.

It is a very short video, but that it is worth watching to know more about the organization and the work that they do in North America. If you want to know more, I invite you all to visit their webpage: http://www.ducks.ca/

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

Great interview with Linda Skilton from Fleming College!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Hi everyone! This is our first post of 2015, and it could not be better! I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Linda Skilton, PhD, Dean and Principal of Frost Campus at Fleming College. Gamiing Nature Centre and Fleming College’s School of Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences (SENRS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to further develop and strengthen our relationship. Due to this reason, I wanted to know from Linda her opinion on the benefits of this partnership and also her point of view regarding environmental trends.

Gamiing: The School of Environmental & Natural Linda SkiltonResource Sciences (SENRS) atFleming College has a focus on active, outdoor, and hands-on learning. What are the main benefits that you believe that the partnership with Gamiing Nature Centre will bring to your students?

Linda: The students at the Frost Campus have been involved with many activities at Gamiing including course work in the Ecosystem Management program through the Credit for Product course, field placement in various programs and so on. The formalized partnership MOU that was signed in December 2014 will ensure our involvement with Gamiing in the future and lead to more activities for our staff and students.

Gamiing: According to a recent article from McKinsey, there is a chronic under-investment in leadership development within the fast growing social sector (which includes environmental organizations). What are the main attributes that you believe that the future leaders of these organizations need to have and that are being developed on SENRS students?

Fleming CollegeLinda: From the time that our students enter our programs at SENRS, we assist them in developing their leadership skills. These skills are developed through a number of courses and the applied activities that students participate in throughout their program of study. Many assignments include project/team work where the students are expected to demonstrate their leadership skills. Future leaders in the environmental sector need to be knowledgeable, critical thinkers, innovators and possess excellent communication skills. It is not only important to have the technical knowledge but it is critical that graduates can are able to communicate with those who may not have environmental knowledge. There are big environmental problems in need of big solutions and leaders who can contribute to the change necessary to address these problems. Colleges are investing in leadership development and our graduates are demonstrating these skills in a variety of careers in the environmental sector.

Gamiing: Partnerships with community stakeholders including the private sector, universities, and government are key to drive the growth of nonprofit organizations. In your point of view, how can we increase the engagement of community stakeholders and promote partnerships like the one between SENRS and Gamiing?

Linda: SENRS has over 100 partners including Kawartha Conservation, the Ontario Clean Water Agency, the City of Kawartha Lakes and Trent University. Our partners are both public and private sector, local, provincial, national and international. Partners bring opportunities for our faculty, staff and students to engage in applied activities and joint ventures that would not be possible to do on our own. Our partnerships are always growing and expanding with the goal of working collaboratively to achieve goals that contribute to positive change in our world. Increased engagement comes naturally when people rally around and are passionate about the things that matter. What matters to our staff, students and partners are clean air and water, social justice, food safety and security and the protection of our natural resources. Our shared goal is on the overall health and sustainability of our planet.

Creatures of Light

By Marcelo Kawanami

Today I would like to share with you the amazing exhibition that the Canadian Museum of Nature is currently hosting on bioluminescence creatures. Bioluminescence is light produced by living organisms.

Researchers estimate that between 80 and 90 percent of deep-dwelling animals are bioluminous, creating light by mixing the pigment luciferin with luciferase, the enzyme that makes it glow. The light tends to green and blue, colors that travel far in seawater. Glowing helps attract mates, lure prey or confound predators.

This particular exhibition will be open just until November 9th 2014. For further information, check the following link: http://nature.ca/en/plan-your-visit/creatures-light

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.

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.

Nearly $1M Committed to Further Lake Winnipeg Clean-Up

By Marcelo Kawanami

Manitoba’s Lake Winnipeg has been given the dubious distinction of “Threatened Lake of the Year” by an international environmental organization.

According to the Germany-based Global Nature Fund, the health of Canada’s third largest freshwater lake and the world’s tenth largest lake was in jeopardy due to increasing pollution from agricultural run-off and sewage discharges.Lake Winnipeg

The wake-up call worked and clean-up initiatives started to take place. The federal government is funding 16 new projects to clean-up Lake Winnipeg. The nearly $1 million in funding announced Friday comes from the Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund, part of the Lake Winnipeg Basin Initiative.

These funds and projects are in addition to more than $5 million in funding for 59 previously announced community stewardship projects that are helping to restore the health of the lake.

For further information about The Lake Winnipeg Basin Stewardship Fund, please check the following link: http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=D7134110-1

We are friends of the osprey!

By Marcelo Kawanami

Distribution of osprey in Canada

Today I would like to share with you an interesting organization from the Kawartha regionand its incredible work. Called Friends of the Osprey, it is a volunteer organization for the Kawartha Lakes region that focuses on the osprey, which is an indicator species for the health of the Kawartha Lakes environment.

Ospreys are very important as an umbrella species, which reflects the health of an aquatic ecosystem. Being the Kawartha lake region an important aquatic system for Canada, we can easily understand the importance of the ospreys for our ecosystem.

Picture1Ospreys are good indicators of the health and abundance of the fish stocks they hunt, and can alert us to the impending threats to that fish stock in the form of harmful pollutants such as DDT and DDE.

Friends of the Osprey work we do involve osprey nest building, workshops and visits to elementary schools to teach young people about the importance of the osprey. If you want to learn more about this amazing organization, please visit their website: http://www.friendsoftheosprey.org/index.html