Thanks for checking out the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Newsletter, a quick and easy way to learn about recent developments, initiatives, research and events.
MABR Community Course: The Biosphere Region in Your Backyard
We're excited to announce that we'll be launching our first community course about the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region on September 26 from 1-3pm!
Discover the UNESCO-designated region where you live, work and play. Join us for an engaging workshop that includes short presentations, stunning photo and video footage, fun activities and a ‘world café' style discussion. We look forward to seeing you there!
Current Projects by the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region
Research Institute (MABRRI) at VIU
MABRRI Students Created Twin Pollinator Hotels
MABRRI student researchers constructed two pollinator hotels to help attract native pollinating insects. A pollinator hotel is essentially an elevated wooden box, with bundles of sticks and other materials placed in the center; holes of varying sizes are drilled into the materials allowing for suitable nesting habitat for insects. The hotels are designed to attract pollinators to areas where there is a noticeable lack of pollinator activity. Since the structures play an important role in providing ecosystem services such as pollination, their placement in natural areas can help to increase pollinator populations. Improving populations of bees and other pollinating insects was the main goal behind the project because of their importance to the health of ecosystems and communities contained within the MABR. Increasing public awareness to the important role pollinators have on our ecosystems was another focus of the project. MABRRI intends to install these two “hotels” in permanent locations within the biosphere region to monitor whether their presence will increase pollinator populations and productivity.
The Nanaimo River Estuary is not exactly within the boundaries of MABR, but staff from MABRRI are using their field skills to assist in an eelgrass mapping and identification project in this estuary. The project involves ground-truthing the location, type, and extent of eelgrass first by foot for the areas that are accessible to researchers in chest-waders, and then by kayak for those areas where deeper water conditions permit access. The team is also working with other partners (Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Nanaimo Port Authority, the Ministry of Transportation, and Aquaparian Consulting) to add to the data obtained through scuba diving, the use of sonar, and via drone flyover. The data will be knitted together into a comprehensive analysis of the current location and health of eelgrass, which is an important keystone species in estuaries. The MABRRI Team will use the same research protocols in the estuaries of the MABR.
MABR is now a member of UNESCO's EuroMAB Science Sub-Committee!
At the recent European Man and the Biosphere (EuroMAB) Conference in Estonia, researchers from MABRRI volunteered to complete an important project for the Science Sub-Committee. Staff are assembling a database of published literature on European Biospheres - both academic and grey literature - that will enable researchers to identify gaps, select new research areas, find researchers/institutes with similar interests, locate relevant articles, and build on the research already completed across the 289 European Biospheres. Researchers from MABRRI will be presenting on creating a Science Network with their colleagues from two European research institutes at the March 2016 World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru.
Why EuroMAB, you ask? Canada is included in this conference based on UN directives to divide the earth's surface into regions.
MOU renewed between Vancouver Island University and the City of Parksville
On August 19th, Vancouver Island University (VIU) and the City of Parksville renewed their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the co-management of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR). VIU Provost David Witty and Parksville Deputy Mayor Mary Beil (above) represented the partnership at a small celebration to mark one year since VIU and Parksville began co-managing the biosphere region. We also took this opportunity to recognize the many students who have contributed momentum, new ideas, and exceptional work to the projects managed by the MABR Research Institute (MABRRI).
Guests included Chief David Bob of Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose) First Nation, Chief Michael Recalma of Qualicum First Nation, Mayor Teunis Westbroek and Councillor Neil Horner of the Town of Qualicum Beach, and representatives from the Regional District of Nanaimo, Island Timberlands, Milner Gardens and Woodland, former board members of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Foundation, as well as VIU Faculty and students.
Declaration of our Guiding Principles for Collaboration with First Nations
With key partners gathered on August 19th, the MABR made a public declaration of the nine key principles that guide the MABR's collaboration with First Nations. These principles were developed with the oversight of Chief David Bob of Snaw-Naw-As First Nation and Chief Michael Recalma of Qualicum First Nation.
As a UNESCO biosphere region, MABR should complement the interests of the First Nations; not compete with them. To that end, all institutional partners will be directed by these Guiding Principles in their MABR-related work. Please read our Guiding Principles here!
Water Conservation in the Biosphere Region
The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) plays an important role in monitoring drinking water and watersheds, and in educating the public about water conservation. Julie Pisani, the RDN's Watershed Protection Program Coordinator, speaks with Shaw TV's Hilary Eastmure, about the drought that we've experienced in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region and beyond since May of this year.
If you live in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region and have a neighbour who's an exceptional water saver, nominate them for the RDN's Weekly Water Champion Contest, ending September 4th.
Thanks for reading! Our next newsletter will be published in October.