Cultural practices have always been an important part of Springwater Park

April 18, 2017

Lots of talk of celebrating 150 years; nice to see a Barrie Advance article covering action to preserve the methods of co-operation:

First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students learn about canoe-building at Springwater Park
Shane MacDonald

Canoe building: A group of about 20 First Nation, Metis, and Inuit secondary students from Barrie, Midland and Beausoleil First Nation learned how to build a traditional birch bark canoe at Springwater Provincial Park over the course of a week. April 13, 2017. Shane MacDonald/Metroland

A group of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit secondary students from Barrie, Midland, and Beausoleil First Nation got a chance to build a traditional birch bark canoe at Springwater Provincial Park over the course of a week.

The students spent four days at the provincial park learning from local artist and Haudenosaunee carver Josy Thomas about building a birch bark canoe, a practice that is being more and more uncommon.

Zak Hajjaoui, a First Nation, Métis, and Intuit student advisor at the Simcoe County District School Board, helped organize the canoe-building project.

“We’re trying to hold on to as much culture as we can,” he said. “The more we hold onto the knowledge, the more we know who we are as a people.”

Most canoe builds like the one the students worked on take two to three weeks. They’re doing it in four days.

It’s no easy task.

“You appreciate how much work our people put in back in the day,” said Shanice Costain, a Grade 11 student from Barrie North Collegiate Institute.

Students said they enjoyed being outside, the hands-on aspect of the build, and meeting new people.

“It’s a chance for me to learn some leadership skills and it’s a chance for me to learn more about who I am,” said Justin Kennedy, a Grade 10 Georgian Bay District Secondary School student.

Thomas, the canoe builder, said the first canoe he ever built was with his grandfather when he was about 12 years old, and he has been building them ever since.

The most important thing he learned building his first canoe?

“Patience,” he said. “The whole entire canoe is just patience.”

He says making a canoe feels good and brings people together.

“I think its important for them to do it because it’s a dying trade,” he said of the students, noting that he knows of only eight other canoe builders in Canada who still make the traditional birch bark canoes. “That’s quite limited. If it’s not carried on, it’s going to disappear.”

Once completed, the plan is to use the canoe for outdoor education at the Simcoe County District School Board.

http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/7242562-first-nation-m-tis-and-inuit-students-learn-about-canoe-building-at-springwater-park/

 


Bacher knows his trees, says Elder Danny Beaton, Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation

April 15, 2017

Dr. John Bacher is an award-winning environmental author, speaker and consultant.

Life long resident and environmentalist Dr. John Bacher investigates the deforestation devastation, which occurred in Centennial Park, St. Catherines, Ontario. Photo credit: Daniel Nardone

Elder Beaton says he should be listened to about unnecessary deforestation in parks.

St. Catharines Standard
April 12, 2017

Bacher knows his trees
Letters to the editor
Danny Beaton, Turtle Clan Mohawk Nation

I’ve been Dr John Bacher’s friend and co-worker for 30 years promoting environmental education and environmental protection.

We were honoured in June 2016 when Bacher was asked by Huron County to serve as an expert in a clear-cutting case and the county’s tree-protection bylaw. Bacher is also known throughout Simcoe and Dufferin counties by farmers and environmentalists for his knowledge. He is respected throughout Ontario by Maude Barlow and Elizabeth May, leaders of Council of Canadians and the Green Party of Canada for his wisdom and endless work for Mother Earth.

Bacher has been a leader for Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society for 30 years or longer. The list goes on and on for his love and energy in defending Niagara from misguided developers.

His book Two Billion Trees and Counting: The Legacy of Edmund Zavitz — Zavitz held the position of chief forester of Ontario, deputy minister of forests and director of reforestation — is a masterpiece.

Dr. John Bacher (r) received the Ontario Professional Foresters Association’s Edmund Zavitz Award “in recognition of significant contribution to forest conservation in Ontario”, from Executive Director, David Milton, May 2014.

When Standard reporter Karena Walter wrote her recent story regarding Centennial Park tree-cutting, quoting Bacher as saying the trees were native species, were not invasive and were a mix of ages including some very young trees, he should be listened to.

Some of the trees were providing shade for an intermittent stream. He said the trees in Centennial Park are in forested parkland which is large enough to provide habitat for wildlife like wild turkeys and the great blue heron.

The city should leave part of the park as a natural forest. The Manitoba maples, willows and poplars are being cut down as a preventive measure.

Who do you believe when Bacher says this is wrong as the animals, birds, insects and plants need this forest?

Please help Bacher protect the farmland and forests before all are killed.

Download a pdf here.

 


A petition to assist Elder Danny Beaton, Mohawk Turtle Clan

April 5, 2017

For over 3 decades, an outstanding award-winning environmentalist.

If you’d like to help a key person in the successes of Site 41, MegaQuarry and Springwater Park,

please sign the Change.org petition here.


Outdoor learning and teaching workshop at Springwater Park in Midhurst

April 4, 2017

Singing in the rain, The Barrie Examiner, April 3, 2017

Text:

Stephanie Williams, who is part of the Enviro Venture Outdoor Education Leadership class at Nantyr Shores Secondary School in Innisfil, teaches a bench full of attentive young children during the Singing in the Rain outdoor learning and teaching workshop at Springwater Provincial Park in Midhurst on Saturday.

The event featured hands-on workshops and presentations exploring topics such as school gardens, mindfulness, inquiry in the outdoors and literacy and math in the outdoors for kindergarten to Grade 8 teachers.


Elder Danny Beaton brings teachings and goodwill to Ontario Lieutenant Governor General’s reception.

March 30, 2017

A Queen’s Park reception was held on February 27, 2017 to honour the great work that the Rotary HIP (Honouring Indigenous People)  Program does.

Ontario Lieutenant Governor General Elizabeth Dowdeswell and Elder Danny Beaton Mohawk Turtle Clan

HIP is a charity that educates Canadians about indigenous issues and assists schools in First Nations communities.

Elder Danny Beaton.

 

Chief Leo Friday of Kashechewan First Nation.

 

Garry Glowacki, director of The Bridge Prison Ministry, LGG Dowdeswell, Elder Beaton, Chief Friday, John Andras HIP board and Gerald Lue HIP.

 

Elder Danny Beaton.

Photos by Michael Hudson


Treaties and The Truth and Reconciliation Commission: toward a respectful understanding

March 27, 2017

Sharing Turtle Island: An Indigenous Project

Current Issues: Jeff Monague, former Chief Beausoleil First Nation and Springwater Park Warden

St. Thomas’ Anglican Church, Shanty Bay

Tuesday April 11, 2017

Thanks to AWARE Simcoe News.


Natives Are Defending Ontario Forests, John Bacher PhD and Danny Beaton

March 21, 2017

Another original article by Dr. John Bacher:

JohnBacherPhD.ca

March 21, 2017

 

Natives Are Defending Ontario Forests

Dr. John Bacher (PhD) and Danny Beaton

 

(l) Dr. John Bacher and Danny Beaton, Niagara Council 2016, Photo: Carla Carlson

Our Mother Earth is protectively robed in a cloak of beautiful forests, but in southern Ontario they are threatened by urban sprawl. Most of the remaining forests away from the northern taiga bogs and the rocky Canadian Shield are wetlands that farmers have gained the wisdom to understand are unsuitable for agriculture. These vital wildlife refuges are now threatened by a policy review that has escaped coverage in the mainstream media, outside of the Niagara Region.

The cornerstone of public policy in Ontario, whose concepts have emerged from the United States’ Clean Water Act and subsequent battles by environmentalists in the courts, is protected achieved from the wetland policy mandated in 1992. It was achieved following a process triggered by the New Democratic Party, (NDP) government of Ontario, initiated by the previous Liberal government.

The core of the wetland policy is that once it achieved a scoring of 600 points, a wetland is considered “provincially significant”, and therefore legally prohibited from development and what is technically termed, “site alteration.” Apart from having plant species that thrive in wet environments, what pushes generally the point score to the needed threshold is the presence of species at risk.

The wetland policy was one of the achievements by the NDP government when it was intensively consulting with native peoples on needed environmental reforms. During this time the respected Iroquois Confederacy Chief, Arnie General, would complain about the need for better mileage allowances, although he tried to economize through getting around in a mini two seat car.

During the early 1990s when the wetland policy was being developed Danny Beaton a Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, worked closely with General and other environmentally concerned native leaders such as Norm Jacobs. This experience stood put him in a good position, when in 2015 brave public servants sent alarm signals privately to environmentalists that two disturbing changes in public policy were being made to open up southern Ontario’s wetland forests to developers.

The two changes that were being proposed to open the gates to developers were to the Conservation Authorities Act and the Provincial Wetland policy. Currently wetlands are evaluated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. (MNRF). The policy change was to change the Conservation Authorities Act to permit the staff of municipally appointed Conservation Authorities, subject to influence from developers, to evaluate wetlands. The other change was to allow currently protected provincially significant wetlands through having them destroyed by developers if compensation in the form of what was called in a provincial consultation paper, “bio-diversity offsetting”, was made.

In September 2015 Beaton journeyed to Newmarket, where the consultation on the Conservation Authorities Act was taking place with environmental groups. Beaton’s inspiring words denouncing the firing of conservation authority staff who had worked to protect wetlands woke up the environmentalists present. This discrediting of proposed alterations to the conservation legislation had the impact of developers putting even more pressure on the province to implement bi-diversity offsetting.

Developers targeted the 500 acre Thundering Waters Forest in Niagara Falls for what they termed a “pilot project” in bio-diversity offsetting. The old growth predominately oak forest is a refuge for a number of endangered species. These include three species of bats, the rare Black Gum, the Wood Thrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Chimney Swift, Monarch Butterfly, the Nine Spotted Lady Beetle and the Snapping Turtle. The forest is rich in vernal pools that provide critical habitat for obligate species, such as the Blue Spotted Salamander, and the Wood, Chorus and Grey Tree Frogs. It also contains rare Buttonbush and Rufous Bullrush communities.

On April 12 Beaton went to the Niagara Falls City Council to rescue the threatened Thundering Waters Forest. He spoke about the dangerous precedent that was attempted to be set at Thundering Waters, which could spread destruction to forests throughout Ontario.

Danny speaks about the sacredness of Creation and Mother Earth at Niagara Falls City Hall Council, 2016, Photo: Sandy Devih Heeralal

Beaton’s words helped to inspire an Oneida resident of Niagara Falls, Karl Dockstader. He mobilized his extended family in Niagara Falls to take part in the struggle to save the Thundering Waters Forest. Dockstader also subsequently played a major role in mobilizing native leaders in the struggle on both sides of the Niagara River.

Dockstader played a key role in organizing on July 7, 2016 in front of the City Hall of Niagara Falls a rally by the Indigenous Solidarity Coalition of Niagara. Here native leaders who took part included Celeste Smith, Allan Jamieson, Lester Green and Kelly Frantastic Davis.  Smith, who is of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida of Grand River, called for a “moratorium on the development of the Thundering Waters Forest until a clear, transparent, public process can decisively establish a full social, environmental and economic benefit of this forest remaining completely intact.”

In his many writings in defense of the Thundering Waters Forest Dockstader penned the moving essay, the “Life Cycle of a Niagara White Oak Tree.” The essay is a tribute to the tallest and oldest tree discovered in the threatened forest. It is estimated by an expert, a Mohawk ecologist of the Turtle Clan, Dr. Barry Warner, to be 250 years old.

Dockstader wrote how, “Almost 250 years ago then Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Johnson stood only a few miles” from the now great oak, when it was just a seedling. Then in the Treaty of Niagara of 1763 Dockstader explains, Johnson “planted the seeds for a covenant of peace that became formative in the country now called Canada. This agreement, the Treaty of Niagara, which came on the heels of the Royal Proclamation, laid the foundation to formalize the importance of Niagara as a traditional land of peace, strength and integrity. Johnson understood better than any of his contemporaries that the only path to peace was by including the principles of people original to the land. Those legally affirmed principles of land stewardship-such as equal access to resources like water and air for all living things-now tower over the Western cultural appetite for endless exponential growth.”

Beaton and Dockstader woke up the residents of Niagara and a few leaders of environmental group. It is to be hoped that their message of the urgency to protect threatened forested wetlands and the wildlife that they depend on is heard more widely.


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