Rural Landowners get close to the Earth with Lunch and Learn session

CORNWALL – Rural residents from SDG, Prescott / Russell, and Akwesasne are banding together for a uniquely focussed Landowner Stewardship Lunch and Learn session on Thursday, March 22 (10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) at South Stormont Township Hall in Long Sault. This event invites local residents to get together with their country neighbours, engage with special guest speakers, and access program information that focusses on land and water stewardship all while enjoying a free lunch. “Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Connecting to Lands & Forests” is this year’s Lunch and Learn theme and the focus will be on the sustainable and time-honoured ways of care-taking lands and forests.

For the past few years several rural conservation agencies and programs have partnered to host an event where great discussions are held on issues that connect to and resonate with rural residents. All this takes place around some great locally grown and sourced food. Those coming together to coordinate this year’s event include Alternative Land Use Services Program (ALUS), the St. Lawrence River Remedial Action Plan (RAP), both the Raisin Region and South Nation Conservation Authorities, and the S.D. & G. chapter of the Ontario Woodlot Association (OWA). Guest partners this year include subject matter experts from Mohawk and Algonquin nations as well. First nations and rural residents are often those amongst us who are seen to be most closely connected to the earth. They have the potential to play significant roles, not only as caretakers of the earth but as mentors modelling sustainability to the next generations.

Along with the free meal, this year’s Lunch and Learn provides some great food for thought. Raisin Region Conservation Fish & Wildlife Biologist and ALUS Coordinator Brendan Jacobs says, “These Lunch and Learn Sessions are a great opportunity to connect and share valuable information with each other as well as to learn new information from our guest speakers.” He adds, “We are also mindful of obtaining good locally grown food. With that in mind, this year we are pleased to have Jambel Cuisine from Maxville cater our lunch.”

Several sessions during the day will focus on the practical value of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and how following legacy practices can make a positive difference on the land and in our forests. Forestry experts Chris Craig from South Nation Conservation and Larry McDermott from Plenty Canada will address their respective involvement with the land and forestry procedures that integrate their invaluable Indigenous traditions with western science. Curtis Lazore from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environment Program will follow suit by presenting from a traditional Mohawk perspective further explaining Haudenosaunee cultural influences. The afternoon will feature Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry alumnus and Climate Change expert Gary Neilsen who will discuss how fluctuating environmental patterns are affecting the migration of tree and plant species. Agroforestry specialist Giulio Neri will speak to the environmental as well as practical value of nut trees and wind breaks. Jessica Dolan, PhD, an environmental anthropologist and ethnobotanist, will round out the day by speaking about what she has learned from different Indigenous communities concerning environmental responsibilities and relationships with respect to land and community.

Participation is free, however, there is limited space for 70 guests so please RSVP by March 16 by calling Raisin Region Conservation Authorityat (613) 938 – 3611 or by e-mailing Josianne Sabourin to reserve your seat at josianne.sabourin@rrca.on.ca.

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