MABR Newsletter | June 2015
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Thanks for checking out the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Newsletter, a quick and easy way to learn about recent developments, initiatives, research and events.

A New Name: Changing "Reserve" to "Region"

There's been a lot of discussion both at the international and national levels about the possibility of changing "biosphere reserve" to "biosphere region." This is an interesting conversation at the international level because in some languages, the word 'reserve' doesn't have the same negative connotation as it does in Canada.

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere partners are in favour of this change in terminology, and if you look carefully, you may notice that we've started using "region" in recent communications. We're in the midst of changing the words on our website and social media pages and still getting used to calling ourselves by a new name. We hope that you'll join us in this "unlearning" of old habits. 

Yours Newly,
Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

MABR in Estonia for EuroMAB 2015

In the third week of May, Monica Shore and Dr. Pam Shaw headed to Haapsalu Estonia for the EuroMAB 2015 conference. EuroMAB is a network of nearly 300 European and North American biosphere reserves that are part of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme. The EuroMAB network gathers every two years for a conference in different biosphere regions.

Representatives from UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme Secretariat, directors of national biosphere reserve associations and individual biosphere reserve managers, coordinators and researchers attended EuroMAB 2015. For four days, plenary sessions, workshops, regional excursions and networking took place. By the end of the week, we were brought up to speed on recent initiatives within the network, had visited the West Estonian Archipelago Biosphere Reserve, and connected meaningfully with our peers, building the social capital that is necessary for the successful existence of any sizeable network or organization.  

Below: Monica and other biosphere reps put their best foot forward and give Estonian traditional dance a try; JP Messier (Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association, Chair), Monica Shore & Pam Shaw (MABR), Helgi Pollo (West Estonian Archipelago Biosphere Reserve), Tammy Dorward & Cathy Thicke (Clayoquot Biosphere Trust)
Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region had the privilege to lead a workshop on Cultural Heritage and Indigenous Knowledge within Biosphere Reserves with Tammy Dorward and Cathy Thicke from Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, and with Helgi Pollo from the West Estonian Archipelago Biosphere Reserve. Monica, Pam, Tammy and Cathy are all members of the EuroMAB Indigenous Working Group, which also includes Rebecca Hurwitz from Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, Eli Enns, member of the Canada Man and Biosphere Committee, and Larry McDermott, a member of the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and Executive Director of Plenty Canada. We work together to look at how Indigenous protocols, practices and ways of knowing can be better honoured and integrated into biosphere reserve management and project development.

Key takeaways from our Workshop:
  • The word "Indigenous" has different meanings in different countries;
  • Cultural heritage and Indigenous knowledge are not celebrated or supported as much as they could be in individual biosphere reserves;
  • Cultural education is lacking in our primary and secondary education system;
  • We need to make the time to develop deep partnerships and trusting relationships with Indigenous Peoples;
  • We need to ensure that cultural heritage is kept alive through current practice (dance, music, traditional skills and crafts, food preparation) in all nations;
  • We need to ensure that youth and newcomers have access to knowledge about cultural heritage.

National Aboriginal Day | June 21st

Speaking of Indigenous knowledge, did you know that National Aboriginal Day is this Sunday across Canada? Click the image below for more information about this special day and how it connects to other important national initiatives.
If you know of any National Aboriginal Day events that are taking place in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, please share them on our Facebook Page!
We're on Twitter!
We like birds, photography and regular engagement so we figured it made good sense to start tweeting.

This ptarmigan to the right posed for local photographer Peter Rothermel on Mount Arrowsmith several years ago.

Tweet us @MountArrowBR
Follow us here

Adventure Blog

We're just a tad excited by the new adventure blog on our website. With camera in hand, our summer student researchers have been out in the field, getting familiar with the many amazing places in Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. Our goal, through the blog, is to share a piece of the adventure with you and to let the world know what a precious place this is.

Find stories, stunning photos and useful tips, then get your hiking boots on and head out on your own adventure. And then... tell us about it and share photos @MountArrowBR!
Check out the Adventure Blog here.

Current Research

MABRRI (the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute at Vancouver Island University) hired four student researchers for the summer. Graham, Ryan, Sarah and Mike have been moving MABRRI's research agenda forward with great energy and team spirit. Four main projects are underway, with the guidance of MABRRI Director, Dr. Pam Shaw.

Below: Monica, Graham, Sarah, Mike & Ryan (front)
State of Environment Report (SOER)
An SOER is like a report card of environmental health. Our student team has been exploring best practices for State of Environment Reporting with the goal of identifying a suitable model for monitoring environmental indicators within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. Indicators can include anything from water quality to waste production--things that are based on external pressures caused by human activity. An SOER would enable us to set sustainability targets for the region, working with partners and community members to develop possible solutions.
Blue Carbon Project
We've been looking into the carbon storing capacity of eelgrass in local estuaries and how this ecosystem service might be incorporated into more planning and policy in BC. Our goal is to try and find incentives for protecting these important ecological areas, such as receiving carbon credits for preserving eelgrass areas.
Mount Arrowsmith Weather Station & Snow Pillow
Just last week, our team helped scout the location of a new weather station and snow pillow that'll be installed on Mount Arrowsmith in August and ready to use next winter. These instruments will help us gather climate-related data (precipitation, temperature and snow pack) in the upper Englishman and Little Qualicum watersheds. As a result, we'll gain a better understanding of the impacts on climate change, be able to forecast water supply and potential flooding, and monitor fire weather with greater accuracy. This project is a collaboration between the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), Island Timberlands, TimberWest, and the Arrowsmith Water Service, which includes the RDN, the City of Parksville and the Town of Qualicum Beach.
Pacific Way
We recently completed a literature review of some of the different ways of conducting business and meetings in the South Pacific. The next step is to work with First Nations and other community members in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region to create a new model for decision-making that inspires collaboration and ensures that all voices are heard.

Double AGM: Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association (CBRA) & Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCU) | June 4-6 in Ottawa

Monica Shore attended this double AGM on behalf of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. The theme of the AGM was "Nurturing Culture(s) to Bridge Divides: So What? Now What?," which tied in very nicely with the work we did at EuroMAB in Estonia a few weeks earlier.
Takeaways from the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association AGM:
  • There are now 637 biosphere reserves in the world network;
  • The networks that connect biosphere reserves nationally and internationally provide us with the potential to make meaningful impact on a regional and global scale. We need to stay connected and identify more opportunities to work together;
  • Each biosphere reserve has its own governance model and areas of strength. This diversity at the management level provides opportunities for biosphere reserves to learn and share best practices with one another;
  • There is currently no federal funding for biosphere reserves; now, more than ever, we must turn to new models (e.g. social enterprise, regional partnerships) to sustain the movement.
Below: Monica Shore with Éric Malka & Geneviève Poirier-Ghys from Réserve de la biosphère Mont-Saint-Hilaire; Monica, Christian Hart from Réserve de la biosphère Lac-St-Pierre; Megan de Graaf from Fundy Biosphere Reserve and Geneviève Poirier-Ghys from RB Mont-Saint-Hilaire.
Takeaways from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO AGM:
  • In her opening remarks, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada, addressed the importance of working on the small things that make a big difference in the long-term. Her call to action was informed by her 2014 Massey Lectures on Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship. Find out more about the lectures here.
  • Culture can unite and also divide us. "Lack of opportunity or willingness to engage with each other can lead to cultural misunderstandings, prejudice, exclusion and insecurity. In this decade of cultural rapprochement, we believe it is essential to engage in positive and open dialogue." (CCU AGM Call to Action, 2015).
  • "An appreciation of the diversity of cultures provides a catalyst for achieving unified societies. Thus, our societies must nurture and embrace the rich variety of cultures, spiritualities, beliefs and practices that bring people together and provide them with meaning, self-worth and dignity." (CCU AGM Call to Action, 2015).
Watch "Digital Stories of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region"

In our April newsletter, we told you about the upcoming launch of our Digital Storytelling Project. The final video features a compilation of stories that share people’s diverse connections to the landscape within the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. Thanks to VIU undergraduate students Vanessa Marquez, Hans Liu, Jennifer Perry, Dominique Klees-Themen and Doug Wortley, and to Sociology professor Dr. Sylvie Lafrenière for their incredible work! Watch the video here.

Digital Stories of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region: Diverse Perspectives
Digital Stories of the MABR
We're continuing to build a Community Organization Directory for the MABR. To learn more, or if you'd like your organization to be included in this directory, please CLICK HERE and complete the simple online survey. Once we have a sufficient amount of entries, we'll be ready to publish!
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