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MABR Newsletter | June 2016
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Thanks for reading the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region newsletter, a quick and easy way to learn about recent developments, initiatives, research, and events.
NEWS
TODAY!  NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY IN CANADA
This beautiful image, copyright of Prince's Charities Canada & Birch Hill Equity Partners (www.ourchildrensmedicine.ca), is a reminder of the vibrancy and strength of Indigenous cultures in Canada.

It has been one year since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released its preliminary report. Earlier this year, author Jennifer Manuel from Duncan BC challenged Canadians to read the TRC's summary report by Aboriginal Day (today). Download the summary report here and put on your reading glasses; there are still many hours before the day's end!

Another interesting question was posed by Jeff K. Ward in a Globe and Mail article published last week; Ward asked Canadians to consider how designating National Aboriginal Day as a statutory holiday could be considered an act of reconciliation, an opportunity for advancing the TRC Report's 94 calls to action, and a chance to educate Canadians about Indigenous culture, knowledge, and perspectives.

Wishing you a celebratory and reflective National Aboriginal Day!
INTRODUCING THE NEW MABR LOGO
The MABR's brand has been professionally refreshed by Lisa Hemingway, owner and creative consultant of Backyard Creative, who selected the MABR for her 2016 Good Neighbour Award. Here is a glimpse of the old and new logos, side by side. 
The rebranding process was prompted by several high-level goals; one was to better represent the commitment to collaboration that's at the heart of the biosphere reserve mandate (more than one human); another was to enliven the MABR's identity by using colour, shapes, and fonts that reflect and attract a broader audience; a third goal was to change the word 'reserve' to 'region.' We'll be rolling out the brand gradually over the next year as new materials are created. We hope you like these changes!

Backyard Creative is a boutique graphic design studio that works with companies who share a commitment to environmental, social, economic, and cultural sustainability. More about Lisa and Backyard Creative.
FRIDAY JULY 29: INVITATION TO MABRRI'S ANNIVERSARY BBQ
You are invited to join our team in celebrating the 2nd year anniversary of VIU's Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute (MABRRI).

We'll be hosting a casual and festive community BBQ at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park in Picnic Shelter S-1. Drop by, say hi, share some food, and play some outdoor games. We'll provide a BBQ that all may use so bring a picnic lunch and something to grill! (RSVP not necessary. Open to all.)
NEW PROJECT COMING TO THE MABR: 'AMAZING PLACES'
We're thrilled to announce that Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism has received funding from Destination BC to partner with the MABR on the launch and development of the Amazing Places Project in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region. The Amazing Places Project is a UNESCO biosphere reserve initiative that is unique to Canada. The project engages the public in an interactive nomination process with the goal of selecting 10 trails and natural spaces that will become known and promoted nationally and internationally as our region's Amazing Places. Read more...

What you need to know:
  • The nomination period for the MABR's 10 Amazing Places will be from September 10th to 30th; it will be highly publicized. Be sure to participate!
  • Find regular updates about the Amazing Places project here.
  • VIU Sustainable Leisure Management graduate student Michelle Harnett has been hired as the lead coordinator of the project, working with MABR Coordinator Monica Shore and Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Executive Director Blain Sepos. Welcome Michelle!
The Amazing Places Project started in New Brunswick at the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and has expanded to three other biosphere reserves in Ontario.
UPDATE ON RESEARCH AT MABRRI
MEET THE SUMMER STUDENT RESEARCH TEAM
From left to right, Nelson Lovestrom, Ashley Van Acken, Mike Anderson, Kayla Harris, Amanda Jefferies, and Ryan Frederickson are working as Research Assistants for MABRRI this summer. Read about them here. If you haven't already met them in the field, they'll be eager to meet you at the BBQ in July.
WHAT THE RESEARCH TEAM IS WORKING ON THIS SUMMER
COLLABORATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
MABRRI is creating a mobile application that will be available to all residents and visitors in the MABR. This application will allow users to contribute to a collaborative mapping database containing information and photographs regarding flora, fauna, disturbance or other environmental features in the region. This tool will be used to increase knowledge-sharing in the MABR and to allow for exploration of issues and patterns of change that become apparent in the data collected.
LAKE MONITORING IN THE MABR
The MABR is home to many spectacular lakes that provide habitat for an abundance of flora and fauna. A couple of these lakes are also used as water sources for human consumption, while others are part of major river networks that eventually enter the Salish Sea. Through long-term monitoring the quality of the fresh water in these lakes will be measured helping to inform the current states of these local lakes. 
WETLAND MAPPING IN THE REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO
A partnership has been formed between the RDN’s Drinking Water and Watershed Protection program and Vancouver Island University that supports academic research by MABRRI on local water-related topics over the next 5 years. The 2016 research plan includes regional wetland mapping and monitoring, among other topics of interest such as how wetlands contribute to the fresh water system through ground water recharge, natural filtration and other naturally occurring processes.
EELGRASS MAPPING IN THE MID-ISLAND ESTUARIES
The Englishman River and Little Qualicum estuaries are vital habitat for many species. Eelgrass mapping provides a measure of current health of the estuaries, as eelgrass is a source of shelter, habitat, spawning grounds, food, protection, and nutrient cycling within these rich ecosystems.
 
Find regular updates about MABRRI projects on the
research institute's website.
GUEST SPOTLIGHT
RESEARCH IN MICROPLASTICS IN SHELLFISH IN THE MABR 
As part of his Master’s thesis, University of Victoria student Garth Covernton is doing a comparative study on the impact of microplastic pollution on shellfish in British Columbia in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the BC Shellfish Growers Association and the Vancouver Aquarium in the Salish Sea.
One of the areas that Garth is looking at is along the border of the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, in Nanoose Bay. He’s collaborating with a shellfish farmer in Nanoose Bay and using the Nanoose Bay Recreational Shellfish Reserve as one of his sample sites. Garth has planted approximately 50 Manila Clams and 50 Pacific Oysters at both sites, which he’ll leave for the summer and collect in September.

 Although Garth is an M.Sc. biology student at the University of Victoria, much of his work takes place at Vancouver Island University’s Centre for Shellfish Research with his co-supervisor, Dr. Sarah Dudas, Canada Research Chair in Shellfish Aquaculture Ecosystem Interactions. In September, he will process the samples at VIU to determine the abundance and type of microplastics in farmed and wild shellfish and their environment and if there are regional differences. In collaboration with the Vancouver Aquarium, Garth will also be able to determine the type of plastics found. The team is collecting data in several other sites with approximately 1200 clams and 1200 oysters planted in total. We’ll keep you posted on the results!
 
Some tips from Garth as to how we can all help to avoid the “spill” of microplastics:
  • Don’t buy cosmetics that have microbeads. Look for the words polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), or polymethlyl methacrylate (PMMA);
  • Avoid buying fleece and clothing made with synthetic materials like polyester; thousands of fibres get released in the sewage system (aka ocean) when washed. Our systems are not set up to deal with such tiny pieces of plastic;
  • Help keep garbage out of the ocean;
  • Use less plastic;
  • Remember that everything is interconnected and that all roads lead back to ocean. 
Garth started his M.Sc. in January at the University of Victoria and is co-supervised by Dr. John Dower and Dr. Sarah Dudas. For more about the Ecological Interactions Research Program, please visit www.ecologicalinteractions.com.

“Understanding the interactions between human activities and the ecosystem in which they occur is vital to ecological knowledge and the development and maintenance of sustainable industry and recreation in the marine environment.” - Ecological Interactions Research Program at VIU 
REPORTING BACK SINCE OUR APRIL NEWSLETTER
2016 AGM OF THE CANADIAN BIOSPHERE RESERVE ASSOCIATION
The 2016 AGM of the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association (CBRA) was hosted by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO in Winnipeg this past April. Two new biosphere reserves were welcomed to the Canadian network: Tsa Tué BR in the Northwest Territories and Beaver Hills BR in Alberta. Members of the 18 sites discussed three broad themes: the periodic review process that biosphere reserves undergo every ten years, a national funding strategy for the Canadian network, and the significant role that the national network can play in supporting and modelling reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

At the AGM, MABR Coordinator Monica Shore was elected 2nd Vice-Chair on CBRA's Executive Committee. She will play an active role in developing the Canadian network's internal and external communications.

MABR 2016 BIOBLITZ UPDATE
Over 80 people showed up to identify species and connect with nature for the first annual Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region BioBlitz at VIU's Milner Gardens on April 17th, the final day of the 2016 Brant Wildlife Festival. This was a local citizen science event, in which teams of community volunteers and VIU students worked together to identify plant and bird species in the area. All of the information collected from the day was compiled into a species inventory, which will be compared to future years' BioBlitz data and provide a snapshot of biodiversity in the region. This event was part of the Brant Wildlife Festival and was supported by Vancouver Island University, The Nature Trust of BC, and Milner Gardens & Woodland. Read more...
Moving forward, our goal is to host a BioBlitz each year that will eventually expand to include several locations within the region.

Thanks to all who participated in making this event a success!
LAKEKEEPERS WORKSHOP UPDATE
At the end of April, MABRRI hosted a two-day BC Lake Stewardship Society Lake-Keepers workshop for that involved an enthusiastic group of students, VIU faculty, MABRRI Research Assistants, and community members. Read about how it went in this news article.
Thanks for reading! Our next newsletter comes out in August.
 
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