We have actively participated in education, research, monitoring, and sustainable development for almost 20 years! This year was exceptional across all five of our program areas.
Education & Outreach
An incredible 54 events this year were hosted by our team and were attended by over 2,500 participants, and we joined dozens more hosted by partners! Connecting with residents, cottagers, and visitors and sharing information about this special place is an important part of our work as a Biosphere. Highlights this year included our very first Turtle Open House with over 250 attendees, a free Seed Swap, and Biosphere Walks like Geology Rocks! Miki & Jiimaan, our “reptile ambassadors” accompanied us to events and helped teach participants about local species at risk.
We visited 28 classrooms across the region this year with our Lessons-in-a-Backpack program and reached over 700 children! Popular lessons this year have included “If Teeth Could Talk” and “Winter is Coming.”
Georgian Bay Anishinaabek Youth (GBAY) connected with hundreds of Indigenous youth this year. Highlights include:
- A five day hide tanning camp, a collaborative effort with Magnetawan First Nation, which brought together GBAY members, high school students, and special guests for an unforgettable outdoor learning experience.
- Beading sessions were held in Wasauksing and Shawanaga First Nation, where youth received beading kits and guidance.
- GBAY and GBB co-hosted an Indigenous Art Show where twelve local artists showcased their art to hundreds of participants including beadwork, paintings, photography, and more!
This year saw the return of Mowin Mondays! We learned new Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) words with GBAY members Oscar and Dawson. Discover how to pronounce the Great Lakes, pollinators, and more on Instagram @gbanishinaabekyouth. Chi Miigwech Oscar and Dawson!
Lands & Waters
Road Ecology Surveys
Four roads were surveyed for reptiles by biologists from spring to fall. Over 2,000 reptile observations were recorded that help to identify mortality “hot spots” where future mitigation strategies could be used. Species at risk like Hognose Snakes, Fox Snakes, Eastern Musk Turtle, and Massasauga Rattlesnakes were all recorded.
Best Management Practices
We provided Best Management Practices (BMPs) training to five municipalities and over 100 of their staff. The training teaches municipal staff BMPs for invasive species, wildlife interactions, and species at risk – like how to safely move a turtle or snake across the road, and what to do if they come across an injured turtle or a turtle nest.
Turtles Egg Rescue
It was our 4th year rescuing turtle eggs from construction, incubating them, and releasing the hatchlings into wetlands. In total 1,705 eggs were collected, bringing our four year total to 8,900 eggs! All eggs were categorized, weighed, kept at specific temperatures, and once hatched specific protocols followed to ensure their health.
We partnered with Laurentian University on a research study evaluating road fencing design effectiveness. This 2-year study will help determine whether fencing effectively reduces mortality at identified hotspots, if it helps direct reptiles towards safe crossings, how reptiles interact with the fence, maintenance needs, and more.
State of the Bay Release
We published our third edition of State of the Bay this summer and distributed 10,000 copies! The magazine provides an overview of the health of eastern Georgian Bay, sharing information about key issues and threats to water, wetlands, and wildlife, weaving Anishinaabek perspectives throughout. Read the report to understand the changes scientists have observed and what Indigenous perspectives can help us learn. Find it online at stateofthebay.ca.
We hosted ten bioblitz events this summer where hundreds of species were recorded! A bioblitz is a community science event where people come together to discover local plants and animals and record their findings. Participants of all ages brandished frog nets, bug nets, buckets, and binoculars, to help us record species like Blanding’s Turtle, Four-Toed Salamander, and a Yellow Banded Bumblebee!
We had a busy year hosting climate events!
- Our Regional Climate Action Plan (RCAP) was successfully launched in May with an event attended by over 100 people! The RCAP is a document that will help guide greenhouse gas emissions reduction across the communities located in eastern Georgian Bay.
- August’s Sustainable Transportation Event was a huge success! Over 300 people came out to test drive electric vehicles (EVs), learn from industry experts, and discuss with owners the ins and outs of owning an EV.
- We held four EV webinars with help from guest experts on topics from Electric Vehicles 101 to Dispelling Myths, with hundreds of people tuning in!
We coordinate the regional Integrated Community Energy and Climate Action Plans (ICECAP) initiative. This year, four municipal ICECAP members created and adopted their Corporate Climate Action Plans. These plans provide a series of actions in the areas of buildings, transportation, waste, water and wastewater that can be taken to reduce GHG emissions produced by municipal operations.
We helped coordinate and maintain 75 plots of community gardens within Parry Sound. Three times a week our garden staff collected produce donations from five community gardens and delivered them to other charities and food programs. There were a lot of generous gardeners this year – we were able to donate over 350 lbs of vegetables, herbs, and fruit!
Pollinators are important to local ecosystems and there are several pollinating insects in the Biosphere that are at-risk, including the Monarch Butterfly and the Yellow Banded Bumblebee. This year we maintained 20 of our “Pollinator Patches” full of native plant species across the region, from Pointe au Baril to Port Severn. We also held a Monarch tagging event in Port Severn and Honey Harbour where families helped tag Monarch Butterflies so that they can be tracked by researchers to help their populations.
None of this year’s activities would be possible without our generous supporters. Charitable donations are the reason that we can do fieldwork, connect with people of all ages in our communities, and make a difference.