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Calendar Species Spotlight: July Gosling!
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Calendar Species Spotlight: July Gosling!

This blog was written by guest blogger Tina-Louise Rossit  What’s black, white and brown, and maybe more Canadian than maple syrup? If you guess the Canadian Goose, well, spot on! Now here’s 4 fun facts you probably didn’t know about our lovable geese! #1 Did you know you’ve most likely mistaken the Cackling Goose for the Canadian Goose? But it’s only because they’re virtually identical! The difference is seen is their size and vocalizations. The Cackling goose is tiny compared to our Canadian goose, and whereas the Canada goose has a familiar honking call, the Cackling goose impressively sounds like an old lady laughing at a very funny joke. Have a hear here to check out the differences: Canadian Goose: [audio mp3="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CANGOO_1.honkingofseveralgeese_KYle_1.mp3"][/audio] Cackling Goose: [audio mp3="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CACGOO_1.callsofseveral_AKkc_1.mp3"][/audio]   #2 V is not for victory! The familiar V formation in the sky we see each spring and fall actually has a cool scientific purpose for this choice of letter! In a V formation, the geese synchronize their wingbeats from one other to catch the uplift eddies from the goose in front. This will efficiently save physical energy for their long-distance migrations. (So, I guess it is like a victory?) What’s more, is that this formation has amazed engineer and behavioural scientists for decades, even inspiring the flight mechanics for man-made aircraft. #3 Contrary to popular beliefs, Canadian geese do not naturally eat bread! (Shocker, I know). Actually, all birds don’t naturally eat bread. It’s quite bad for their digestive systems just like junk food every day is bad for ours. Canadian geese are herbivores. They like grasses, leaves, sedges, seeds, grains, aquatic plants and fruits (apparently blueberries are a winning favourite). In addition, they will occasionally add in a juicy aquatic insect and/or aquatic invertebrate. #4 Canadian geese are pretty family-orientated! A male and a female will bond and mate for life, i.e monogamous. The pair will return to the same nesting area year after year. Usually this spot is where one of the parent themselves, hatched. Canadian geese represent a bird species that has both maternal and paternal care for their offspring, named goslings. Mom and dad will be very protective to the point of being quite aggressive to anyone, or thing, that seems like a threat to their goslings. A family sticks together often walking in single file with mama as lead, goslings in the middle, and papa in the rear! What a beautiful sight. And there you have it! Time to share these fun facts at your next party! (Sure to steal the limelight!).

Right Whales closer to the brink
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Right Whales closer to the brink

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] Twelve highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whales have been killed in the past month in the Gulf of St Lawrence and U.S. eastern seaboard by ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement. Unfortunately, the global population of these whales is only 500. Nature Canada applauds the decision by the Government of Canada to slow ships to ten knots (19 km/hour) in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence where the whales have been frequenting this summer. Clearly this decision will not be enough to reverse the decline of this species. First, the decision applies only to a small part of the range of Right Whales, and not to other important habitat such as the Bay of Fundy. Second, other threats to Right Whales such as oil spills from tankers, oil and gas drilling, seismic blasts and ocean pollution such as toxics and plastics garbage remain unaddressed. Nature Canada has been an active intervener in the Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain, and Energy East primarily to ensure that the impacts of these proposed oil pipeline and tanker projects on marine birds and mammals are well-understood before decisions are made. Nature Canada has joined the conversation and you can too-visit the Government of Canada’s Let’s Talk Whales to learn more. https://www.letstalkwhales.ca/  

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Celebrate World Water Day!
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Celebrate World Water Day!

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator Samantha Nurse, Website and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] Water is essential to life. It supports billions upon billions of living things, sustains vital ecosystem functions, provides habitat for hundreds of thousands of species of aquatic flora and fauna, and offers unparalleled recreational opportunities for those of us looking to connect with nature. Today, people in every part of the world are taking part in the international celebration of World Water Day, and we think you should too! The theme of this year’s World Water Day is wastewater with the slogan "Why waste water?". Be sure to check out the official website to learn about wastewater and how we can reduce and reduce it in our homes. In Canada, we’ve extended the celebration of World Water Day to an entire week of water learning and water loving. People across the country are organizing events of all kinds to bring people together to share their stories, to increase awareness and to help people understand the true value of water. Check out the Canada Water Week website for event listings – with so many things being planned, there’s bound to be an event in your area! Image of a tree beside waterIf you’re curious to know just how much water you use, try out the Water Use Calculator, or go on over to the Water Footprint Network’s Water Footprint Calculator. We also have a few ways that you can reduce your water intake throughout your home in some tips below.

Tips to Reducing Use of Water

  • When planting a garden or landscaping a lawn, be sure to plant native trees and bushes. They’re naturally adapted to your specific climate, and are much less dependent on constant watering to survive and flourish.
  • Use rain barrels to collect water runoff that you can use to water your lawn or garden. This helps to reduce your use of treated water and can lessen the burden on municipal stormwater infrastructure by collecting and reusing water that would otherwise be nothing more than surface water runoff.
  • Invest in fixtures such as low-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, and faucet aerators. This can significantly reduce the amount of water you use in your home – bathroom use accounts for 65% of all indoor water use!
  • Soak your dishes in warm water and soap before washing them, and don’t leave the water running when you wash them.
  • Rinse your fruits and vegetables in a bowl of water rather than under the tap, and use the water that is left in the bowl to water your plants.
  • Take shorter showers – even cutting down your shower time by 2 minutes can have a huge impact on your overall consumption of water.
This is by no means a comprehensive list – far from it! There are thousands of ways that you can reduce your use and become water-wise. Have any great suggestions or tips on how to save water? Share with us through Facebook or Twitter. And Happy World Water Day!
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Ice Shaking Up the Environment
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Ice Shaking Up the Environment

Last week residents in Ontario and Quebec were waken up at night from loud booming sounds. What was the cause of this? Well, you may not believe it but it was from ice! Ice or frost quakes, as they are called, are when crashes occur from the breaking up of ice. These quakes are scientifically known as cryoseisms, and they are caused by water in the ground expanding at cold temperatures. Once the water expands, the ice and ground below cracks and crumbles causing loud noises. Not only are there loud noises, but these ice quakes can even shake the ground. In Ottawa, Nature Canada's staff member Julia Gamble said "At first it felt like snow or ice was cracking and sliding off my roof.  I worried about my new car on the driveway getting damaged.  It happened again and I sort of felt panicked as though someone was on the roof or meteors or parts of a plane were striking it." Another staff member, Ted Cheskey also heard these loud noises from his home. "As I was woken from a sleeping state, I am not sure exactly what I experienced, but my recollections are that there was a loud cracking/rattling noise that sounded like tree branches scraping across the roof" Ted commented. "It was nothing like the popping sounds that the house makes when it adjusts to the colds, but I might even describe it as a sort of “swoosh” sound". Similar noises were also reported in Toronto last January where the temperature dropped suddenly to about -23C overnight. At that time, Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, indicated that a wet December month coupled with sudden cold temperatures makes it an ideal time for frost quakes.  It was noted in a previous article that he said, “It’s the perfect storm for these ice quakes or frost quakes. It’s sort of like nature yawning and groaning.” He also pointed out added that people are more likely to hear the noises at night as sound carries further. As you can see, ice can surprise us with its capabilities and it important that we study ice. Why? Because ice has the ability to provide us with information on the environment around us. Ice is a large indicator of climate change in various regions, and scientists dedicate their time to studying its movements. By studying the movements of ice, it informs scientists with how the Canadian ecosystem is changing. Would you like to help monitor these changes in our ecosystem? If so, join IceWatch today! This program allows anyone to learn about and record ice in their own neighbourhoods! IceWatch For more information on the previous ice quakes, click here.

No Bull: Native Trout Threatened in Alberta
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No Bull: Native Trout Threatened in Alberta

The bull trout (salvelinus confluentus) is a salmonid, specifically a char, and Alberta’s official provincial fish. Native to northwestern North America, bull trout of Alberta are listed as a threatened species according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada and as a vulnerable species under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. A recent Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development blog post estimates that there are only a total of approximately 20, 000 bull trout remaining in the province. That population estimate alone might not set off alarm bells to the casual reader, but when you consider that the Alberta Government’s fish stocking program planted 1, 667, 406 rainbow, brown, and brook trout (or roughly 83 times the total number of native bull trout) into local water bodies in 2014 alone, the significance of the estimate is infinitely more apparent. According to the Alberta’s Species at Risk Program “Bull Trout Conservation Management Plan 2012 - 2017,” bull trout have suffered a 33% reduction in historical range and 78% of the identified core management areas are vulnerable to extirpation, with 6% already considered extirpated. The report also states that where bull trout recovery has occurred, it has been mostly due to angling regulation changes such as the province-wide zero retention limit and localized bait bans. This leaves the province’s highly active resource extraction and development industries as the most substantial hurdle to bull trout survival and recovery. trout from above by Cory WilalrdBull trout can be distinguished from other char by the lack of dark markings on the dorsal fin (as appears in the non-native brook trout), or the lack of a deeply forked tail (as found in Alberta’s only other native char—the lake trout). Bull trout tend to be a dark grey to olive in colour, with yellow to red coloured spots, white leading edges on their fins, and a large head in proportion to their bodies when compared to other salmonid species. There are two main variations of the bull trout. “Resident” bull trout are the smaller of the two and remain in the same stream for their entire lives. “Migratory” bull trout, on the other hand, move throughout watersheds, lakes, and the ocean in coastal populations. Migratory bull trout tend to get much larger than resident bull trout and can achieve weights of over 10kg, while resident bull trout rarely reach half of that size. Bull trout are slow to mature and have exacting habitat demands, especially when spawning, and this has led to a number of complications leading to their decline in recent years. Competition from non-native brook trout threatens populations in many river systems, with hybridization being a major concern, and pressure from native lake trout has proved to all but completely displace bull trout in circumstances where they are forced to compete, such as the creation of Abraham Lake with the construction of the Bighorn Dam on the North Saskatchewan River in the 1970s. The increased warming and sedimentation of the headwaters spawning areas of bull trout due to logging, oil and gas exploration, and recreation use has also played a significant role the decline of the bull trout. bull trout poacher sign by Cory WillardThe outlook isn’t all bad for the bull trout, however. The recent official designation as a threatened species will hopefully usher in some changes in protection and management of its fragile aquatic territories. Recent regional plans have also acknowledged that increased recreational education and enforcement is necessary to stop the degradation of important habitat. As is so often the case, the bull trout is another example of the conflict between economic and ecological concerns and, hopefully, future changes to headwaters management will provide some protection to this amazing fish. Living in the coldest, cleanest, and clearest waters, bull trout are an integral indicator species of fresh water quality. They are worth protecting. For, as stated in The Fishes of Middle and North America published in 1896, “no higher praise can be given to a Salmonid than, to say it is a charr.”


Cory Willard has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Calgary and an M.A. in English Rhetoric and Communication Design from the University of Waterloo. He is an avid fly fisher and outdoorsmen and is particularly interested in how outdoor activities can physically and spiritually bond people to places and turn them into ecologically aware environmental defenders. You can connect with Cory on his blog http://corywillard.wordpress.com or via twitter @_cgwillard

Preparing your waterfront property for winter
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Preparing your waterfront property for winter

Image of a lake in autumn
With the last long weekend of summer now just a distant memory, some of you will be preparing your waterfront properties for the cold weather ahead.
We have a slew of helpful tips and how-to's that will guide you through the process of setting up and stowing away items on your property in an environmentally friendly way.
Check out our handy resource, called 'Living by Water' to learn what you can do to prepare for runoff, snow removal, wildlife, plumbing, leaves and more.

From Toxic By-product to Recycled Material: Mine Waste as a Revenue Stream – Part Two
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From Toxic By-product to Recycled Material: Mine Waste as a Revenue Stream – Part Two

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320"]Image of mine trailings Mine tailings by David Dodge[/caption]

Guest blogger José Luis Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez shares his experience of working in the mining industry in the Canadian arctic. He explores an interesting alternative to storing mine waste in natural or man-made containment ponds that has had success in an Arizona mine. Read Part One of this story.And now for the conclusion of this story. Remember where we left off? I was telling you about how metal mining companies can turn their toxic waste into a revenue stream through a practice called “upcycling”.
Here’s a quick recap. Upcycling is the practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value. Upcycling is an emerging, small, disaggregated industry that is full of innovation and is growing fast. It is upgrading a waste item to something better that can be used or sold for a profit.
For example, plastic debris floating needlessly in three oceans could become gasoline, diesel, kerosene, or light crude oil. Waste cooking oil will turn into biodiesel, and mine tailings will produce autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) building materials such as blocks, and roof and wall panels.There are no barriers to upcycling that cannot eventually be solved for it to become a widely used practice in mining. A change in industry attitudes, initial investment as part of a company’s sustainability strategy, government incentives, and closer collaboration between industry and communities are all part of a recipe for successful upcycling.
In the future, the intention of mining companies to make a profit and to make life better for metal users (i.e., everyone) , will be a harmonic intention that is integrated or combined in nature. This is another way to say, create a win-win situation. There will be no need to sacrifice a lake to achieve the goals of making a lot of money.
With a harmonic, integrated, holistic approach, and an upcycling mentality, cooperation between industry and government could see regulatory loopholes to pollute Canada’s lakes with toxic waste, like Schedule 2 of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations, replaced with valued conservation solutions.
Communities that are directly and simultaneously affected and benefited by a mining operation could join with government to invest in the conservation of any water body proposed for use as a tailings pond. They could do this by funding the construction on the mine’s site of a tailings detoxifying plant and another facility called a “tailings-to-Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC)” plant. I’ll get to AAC in a moment…
Mining companies generally like to focus on mining rather than new initiatives, so what would their interest be to collaborate or support building these or other value-added plants on their property? You will see below. But first, let’s talk cement.
Among all the environmentally hazardous materials in the world, cement is somewhere in the top among the most destructive. Every tonne of cement manufactured causes the direct emission of 0.8 tonnes of CO2.Mining can combine cement and unwanted, abundant mining tailings  to make concrete, particularly autoclaved aerated concrete. Already the Phelps Dodge Casa Grande, Arizona Copper mine tailings were used in AAC products with some limitations because the silica content was not ideal.This would reduce the amount of cement required to make concrete, and it would re-purpose tailings. Because tailings use displaces cement use, it also reduces the need for cement production from non-renewable resources.
Cooperation from the cement industry to promote the use of mine tailings as aggregate in AAC could also save lakes from becoming tailings ponds, and other water bodies from contamination, resulting in fewer disturbances on the environment, employment for more people, and the manufacturing of a useful product – all while reducing our collective carbon footprint.
Because I’m still translating from mining reality, these ideas sound expensive, not proven; they’re tree-hugging and pipe-smoking hippie talk. From the mining mindset, the push for implementing alternative disposal solutions to submerging tailings in water bodies needs a solid base on an economic reason.
That is when human reality kicks into mining gear.
The money fueling the lake conservation, and the cleanup and upcycling operations will not come from donors and donations, instead it will come from investors who are attracted to the idea of making a return on their investment and helping to conserve the lakes and other water bodies in the mine claim.
The investor behind the tailings detoxifying plant, which is a necessary piece of this puzzle, gets a return on investment  through the recovery of the trace metals contained in the tailings.
The investor behind the tailings-to-AAC plant makes money from multiple revenue streams;
1.    Selling the AAC products to the market;2.    Selling all the conservation attributes that a conserved lake/water body has to offer, including recreation, eco-brokerage, ecologically-friendly aquaculture, and agriculture;
CO2 emission reduction derived from replacing tonnes of cement with mine tailings in the AAC production. Selling the carbon savings from the AAC products to offset the carbon footprint of the mining project and of the cement company.3. There are some limitations as to where the type of tailings upcycling described above can be implemented, and material transportation costs, tailings detoxification  and metal recovery profitability, concrete quality and other factors have to be examined. Notwithstanding, it is this sort of technological innovation to reduce, reuse and  upcycle waste that separates stakeholders’ and key employees’ mindset from environmental compliance to business value.
Who knows, in the near futurer we may be reading headlines about a federal or provincial decision to give a harmonic, eco-effective, integrated, holistic mining project the green light, saying that avoiding environmental damage more than balances wealth, community prosperity and job creation.

Water Footprint of the Metal Mining Industry
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Water Footprint of the Metal Mining Industry

This 2nd annual Canada Water Week, we are asked to discover our respective water footprints. At the outset it seems pretty straightforward, right? But as you have no doubt learned by perusing the CWW interactive infographic, the true water footprint of many of the foods we consume and products we buy is hidden – and very complex. For example, did you know that 10% of all water withdrawn in Canada is used in the manufacturing sector? Manufacturing includes many complex steps to turn raw materials into finished products, among other things. And what if you consider how much water is used in the extraction, processing and refinement of each of the raw materials used? Well that’s probably a lot of additional water – especially when it comes to raw materials such as metals. [separator headline="h2" title="Metal Mining's Water Footprint"] Many metals are found in mineral-containing rocks called ores that occur in the earth’s crust, so they are not readily accessible. After they are mined, ores must therefore be processed using massive volumes of water and chemicals to effectively extract the desired metals. Given the tiny amounts of desired metals contained in most ores, more than 95% of all the material mined can become waste. When combined with the wastewater from the processing extraction stages, the leftover ore material – which was initially ground into fine particles – becomes slurry called “tailings”. As you can imagine hundreds of millions of tonnes of water-diluted tailings are generated from Canada’s mines each year (http://www.miningwatch.ca/two-million-tonnes-day-mine-waste-primer). So many metal mines necessarily have a massive water footprint, even if some of the water is recovered from tailings over time. Given the importance of many metals to modern society and our global economy, perhaps this massive water footprint is justifiable? Maybe, but sadly the respective water footprints of some important metals like copper, gold and zinc are getting even bigger due to some provocative policy loopholes in Canada and other countries. [separator headline="h2" title="Meet Schedule 2"] It’s a little-known, seemingly harmless list of natural water bodies that’s buried in a part of the federal Fisheries Act called the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. The water bodies listed in Schedule 2 are actually government-authorized dumps for metal mine tailings. That’s right – toxic, contaminant-rich mine tailings are deliberately dumped into those water bodies. Schedule 2 was added to the 2002 Regulations at the 11th hour as a way to deal with several water bodies that had been used by historic metal mines to dispose of their tailings. Unfortunately for Canada’s waterscapes and the people who love them, the Schedule 2 list was not just meant to “deal with” some radical accidents of history. That’s right – despite government reassurances that the list was a special circumstance, additional natural water bodies have been added over time. Since 2002, Schedule 2 has grown to 19 water bodies where metal mining companies are now permitted by law to dump their toxic waste. So what was/is the true water footprint for metal coming from some of Canada’s metal mines? Regardless of the outcome, once a mine dumps concentrated, toxic mine waste into a water body, it has “used” the entire water body. Therefore, it’s easy to see how a metal mine exploiting the Schedule 2 loophole have far larger water footprints than those that do not. [separator headline="h2" title="Other Options"] You are probably asking if there are other options for metal mine tailings disposal. Yes there are other options, but they tend to cost more and are not always as ‘convenient’ as existing water bodies. There is also a rational explanation for why tailings should be ‘stored’ or ‘impounded’ under a ‘water cover’: by preventing exposure of the reactive tailings to oxygen, the risk of dangerous acid-mine drainage (AMD) and contaminant leaching is greatly reduced. But water cover is not the only method, and it can be achieved using constructed storage areas instead of natural water bodies. The metal mining industry suggests that Schedule 2 is intended only for exceptional circumstances where no other tailings disposal alternative is plausible. If that’s the case, then why does it appear that 1 in every 6 metal mines in Canada is using the Schedule 2 loophole? It makes me think of a passage from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax: “ ‘Look Lorax,’ I said. ‘There’s no cause for alarm. I chopped just one tree. I am doing no harm. I’m being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed. A Thneed’s a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!’ ” The question is, where do the exceptions stop? Nature Canada and other members of the Canadian Nature Network, alongside experts like MiningWatch Canada, are increasingly concerned that the metal mining industry is “normalizing” the use of Schedule 2; the more metal mines that exploit this loophole, the easier it becomes to do it. Additionally, the public consultation process around Schedule 2 proposals is neither transparent nor inclusive enough. The same can be said of the official habitat compensation plans metal mining companies must have approved by Fisheries and Oceans Canada to offset fish habitat loss due to Schedule 2. [separator headline="h2" title="So what can you do?"] Simply tell other Canadians – including Canada’s decision-makers – about how much you love Canada’s iconic waterscapes and why you want to see them stay natural and wild. You can do this now by signing Canada’s first Love My Lake Declaration. Show your love for Canada’s waterscapes this Water Week! And tell your friends to join the chorus! After all, we are incredibly lucky as Canadians to be stewards of enormous volumes of water – water we share with other people, other nations, and countless other organisms.
You can learn more about the Schedule 2 loophole in federal environmental policy at Nature Canada’s Stop Wasting Our Lakes campaign page (http://stopwastingourlakes.ca/). You can see the Schedule 2 list here (http://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2002-222/page-15.html#h-49) and you can learn more about mine waste here (http://stopwastingourlakes.ca/wasting-lakes/how/learn-mine-waste/).Happy Canada Water Week!

Declare Your Favourite Lake or Water Body by Signing the Love My Lake Declaration
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Declare Your Favourite Lake or Water Body by Signing the Love My Lake Declaration

As lakes across Canada started to phase from water into ice earlier this month, I asked if any of you has a favourite lake or water body. I also mentioned that Nature Canada is introducing the first national Love My Lake Declaration. Well now I'm back to invite you, your friends and family, your co-workers and your fellow freshwater-lovers to sign it! The Declaration represents a list of people from coast, to coast, to coast (and beyond!) who want to declare their love for Canada's lakes and other (fresh)water bodies. Simply fill out and submit the form below and voilà, you've made official your love of Canada's aquatic environments - in all their wondrous and valuable forms.
Last week I shared my fervor for two Canadian waterscapes: Frozen Ocean Lake in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia and Big Trout and Trout Lakes in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park - and I've already added them to the Declaration. But let's not 'dam' the enthusiasm for waterscapes there... add your favourite lake or water body now!So don't click away until you've had a chance to sign the Declaration below! Check back soon for an update on how many Canadian waterscapes have been listed.
Canadians love their waterscapes, and here's your chance to tell us which lake or water body in Canada is special to you and why. Simply fill out the form below to add your name to the national  Love My Lake declaration. Fields marked with * are required
* Name:
*
* Postal Code:
*
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*
*
Please leave this field empty

Do you have a favourite lake or pond?
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Do you have a favourite lake or pond?

Ice formation, Stan Wojtaszek
With Fall well underway, Canadians are saying "see you soon" to lakes and ponds all across the country for yet another winter. Swimming, paddling, fishing and visits to the lakeside cottage have, among other things, been put on hold for awhile. But now is a great time to reflect on the many ways that lakes and ponds help us connect to nature throughout the year; how they are part of our experience of the 'true north, strong and free'. And I can't forget all the opportunities lakes offer for pond hockey, ice-fishing and skating during the winter months!
Canadians love their waterscapes, it's pretty much a fact. Saskatchewan-based author Allan Casey explores the almost intrinsic relationship Canadians have with lakes and other water bodies in his 2010 Governor General's Award-winning book Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada. Through a series of encounters with several of Canada's lesser-known but nonetheless well-loved lakes, Casey explains how lakes are an integral part of the Canadian experience. In the opening chapter he writes:
"Like a lot of Canadians, I have been drawn irresistibly to lakes my whole life. Access to pure lakes is fundamental to my quality of life in my home and native land. I love them all." (from p.2)
That excerpt resonates with me in many ways. I didn't grow up on a lake, nor did I grow up with a lakeside family cottage or taking annual paddling trips or attending summer camp. But I did grow up with fond memories of lots of time spent at lakes and ponds, giving me a great appreciation of them as accessible water bodies. For me lakes were not the ocean, which in my experience on the Bay of Fundy was an all-at-once powerful, beautiful and merciless body of water. Lakes were by no means innocuous in my mind, but they were more palpable, more enjoyable - they were more fun.
With my training in environmental science and biology, lakes came to mean even more to me and my experience as a Canadian. Lakes are so much more than just bodies of water or habitat for "fish". You can read all about lakes as habitat and how to promote healthier human and wildlife habitat along Canada's shorelines at The Living By Water Project. You may also be interested in a report our own Ted Cheskey recently co-authored, called Birds At Risk: The Importance of Canada's Boreal Wetlands and Waterways.
Since expanding my perspective on lakes, I've become an avid paddler (whenever I get the chance) and I love exploring lakes in search of birds, fish, crustaceans, freshwater molluscs, dragonflies and other invertebrates, submergent and emergent plants, solace, recharge... you name it. And now as a parent I have the opportunity to see lakes through my daughter's eyes. I look forward to our first paddling trip together, or the first time we skate on a wide open pond. We had lots of fun this summer exploring lakes in baby-steps (literally) and finding out how fun it is to get Mummy and Daddy wet.
Do I have a favourite lake in Canada? Absolutely! I love a waterscape called Frozen Ocean Lake in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia. I have fond memories of introducing good friends to open water paddling on that lake, and the back-country campsites are amazing! I also love Big Trout and Trout Lakes in Ontario's Algonquin Provincial Park. And I'm always glad to expand this list!
So, do you have a favourite lake or pond? If so then stay tuned to our blog. Why? Because we're starting Canada's first 'Love My Lake' Declaration - a list of people who want to declare that Canada's lakes are special to them. Check back soon for more details on how you can get involved!

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