Cornwall — The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) is extending a special invitation to the public from both sides of the St. Lawrence River to join in on activities and an information exchange that focuses on the health of the River and the importance of her wetlands. On Saturday, February 2, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) Environment Program is hosting a World Wetlands Day event. This day is dedicated to honouring the importance of wetlands worldwide. People often equate wetlands with a wasteland ;a place to be drained, filled in, burnt off and re-purposed and yet wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. Sadly, scientific studies show that close to 70 percent of Canada’s wetlands have been badly degraded or disappeared since 1900.
River partners are coming together to share the importance of wetlands in this fun-filled, family friendly educational event at the A`nowara`ko:wa (Big Turtle) Arena (Cornwall Island) from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. next Saturday. The River Institute is pleased to be just one of the many groups joining with MCA for this free event. In this part of the world, the mighty St. Lawrence River (or Kaniatarowanenneh “Great River” in Mohawk), runs through every part of our daily lives. Wetlands are an important part of the River ecosystem. Event Coordinator Tyler Sunday says, “World Wetlands Day promises to be lots of fun for the entire family and will include lots of hands on activities for all ages.” He adds, “A special Kid’s Station will showcase the “Paddling Puppeteer”, Glen Caradus from Peterborough with shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., wildlife arts and crafts, a snowshoe expedition, as well as a fish I.D. fishing pond”.
Henry Lickers, Environmental Science Officer with the MCA says, “This river and her wetlands are the history and heart of the Mohawk People”. With this in mind, presentations and interactive exhibits from MCA and their partners will focus on a variety of River related topics including some of the many species of fish and wildlife that live in and along her shores and within wetlands like the Snye Marsh. Special guests include Thousand Islands National Park, The International Secretariat for Water, Cornwall Lunker Club, and Raisin Region Conservation Authority. Along with all of the hands on displays and exhibits there will be free food, coffee, snacks, giveaways and door prizes, including a kayak.
“We all have a common interest in the health of the St. Lawrence and how wetlands affect our watershed. Wetlands influence the health of our environment and in turn each one of us and our families,” says River Institute Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Ridal. “We are grateful to the MCA for this opportunity to share in this message and look forward to participating in World Wetlands Day.”