experimental lakes area

How Now, Nature?

Courtesy of Wikipedia user: Bogdan

Courtesy of Wikipedia user: Bogdan

This week seems to be a lot about how we interact with, and understand nature. From the tenuous future of the Experimental Lakes Area, to a Stand Up For Science Rally, to learning how to make your dinner from an unlikely source…your local pond, Terra Informa is ready to get elbow deep and explore.

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Experimental Lakes Area Finds a New Owner

1968 was a watershed year for the study of  water management in Canada. It was in the spring of that year that the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada set aside a sparsely inhabited region of Central Canada, containing 46 small, deep and pristine lakes for the scientific study of the causes, effects, and control of water eutrophication.

The area was given a mysterious, slightly disturbing name: The Experimental Lakes Area. But in the 46 years that the ELA has been in operation, the scientific community has insisted that the area is integral to our understanding of how to effectively protect our water ecosystems.

It makes sense then,  when a decision was made by the federal government to defund the project, that scientists from around the world condemned the decision.

Matt Hirji talked with David Schindler — the founding director of the ELA — and Maggie Xenopoulos a professor at Trent University on what’s at stake.

Stand Up for Science

On September 16th, thousands of scientists and supporters around Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, took to the streets to defend public funding of basic research.

Their banner: Stand up for Science.

And they have a message for Canadians:  investing in good science and sharing the results makes good policy.

Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke to Dr. Katie Gibbs on the day of the protests. She’s one of the directors of Evidence for Democracy, a group of science experts, science communicators and citizens around the country behind the demonstrations.

Links: Evidence for Democracy , David Suzuki speaks out at Vancouver Rally (Georgia Straight)

Girl Gone Wild: Cooking Cattails

On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, wildlife documentarian Jamie Pratt took Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips out to cook up some cattails from her family’s backyard pond.

Links: Girl Gone Wild Documentaries, Cattails: A Survival Dinner (Eat the Weeds)

What’s Happening

The City of Edmonton’s Speaker Series presents a talk on solar energy. Learn about the present state and future development of solar energy in Canada. Get details on solar initiatives, rebates, training and certification programs. Happening Thursday, September 26th, 7 pm at MacEwan University.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is headed up to Whitehorse on Friday. The film screening will feature wild, high adrenaline mountain sports films from skiing and snowboarding to kayaking and climbing. That goes down at the Yukon Arts Centre, 7:30 pm on Friday, Setember 27th.

Share the Road is hosting Ontario’s first Youth Bike Summit. 120 high school students and 80 adults will meet up in Toronto on October 6th & 7th to make Ontario a more bike-friendly place for young people. Following the summit, participants will receive ongoing mentoring and support from Share the Road as they engage in cycling advocacy in their communities. Overnight accommodations are available, as well as limited travel subsidies.

Nova Scotia’s Ecology Action Centre is hosting a bikeway planning and development workshop. Velo Quebec will help provide participants with an understanding of the key steps involved in bikeway development. Learn the basics of planning strategies, design, analysis, and safety. There will be two workshops, one for Sydney and one for Halifax, on October 7th and 10th respectively.

Save The Experimental Lakes, Return To Slave Lake, and more!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Well, while the rest of you folks have been enjoying the reveleries, we’ve been hard at work preparing this week’s show. To celebrate Canada’s greenest holiday, we’ve pulled a story out of the archives that will help you identify the budding greenery in your own backyard. And like a people overcoming adversity, our correspondent shares the story of Slave Lake two years after the devastating wild fire swept through. Finally, they’re no Fighting Irish—but Save The ELA is mounting a vigorous fight to restore funding to Canada’s world famous Experimental Lakes Area by the end of the month. Here’s hoping for a St. Patrick’s Day Miracle, on Terra Informa.

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Photo by Flickr user esagor

Photo by Flickr user esagor

Slave Lake: The Sky Was On Fire

Slave Lake, Alberta. About two and a half hours north of Edmonton. In May of 2011, tragedy struck when a raging inferno rolled through part of the town. Nearly 2 years later, Slave Lake resident Kyle Muzyka shares his story, along with some stories from Len Ramsey’s book, “The Sky was on Fire,” a book about the struggles of the residents of Slave Lake during that time.

Len’s book is available both online, by mail and at Audrey’s Books in Edmonton.

Save The Experimental Lakes Area

I bet you don’t know the reason why there aren’t any phosphates in our detergent, do you? Well! It’s all because of a Canadian research facility up in northern Ontario. The Experimental Lakes Area is facing incredible change. Less than a year ago, the government announced it was cutting funding to this internationally recognized research centre on March 31 of 2013. If there’s no money, there’s no research. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart spoke with Britt Hall from the Save ELA coalition to find out more.

For more information on what you can do to help keep this world-renowned site running:

ID Cards for Plants

  • Have you ever wondered about which plants are indigenous to the area you are living in?
  • What are the different uses for the plant and what are the plant’s names?
  • What has contributed to the dwindling of indigenous species of plants in some areas and what are the impacts?

In this conversation, John Bradley Williams and Jennifer McMullen tell Terra Informa about a set of Indigenous plant identification cards that they have both taken part in creating. The cards identify a number of plants on the unceded Coast Salish Territories of Vancouver Island. From our archives, Annie Banks asked John Bradley and Jen to describe the cards and the ideas behind their creation.

Cards are available on Etsy; or for pick up and purchase at the Saanich Adult Education Centre.

What’s Happening

Join Terra Informa at Latitude 53‘s third Winter Salon. We will present stories on the theme of “Cold/Warmth” alongside Anthony Goertz, Body Habitat (Lily Gael & Lisa Wells), and Anya. Thursday, March 28th at 7pm (McCauley School – 9538 107 Avenue).

Cold Recall: Roald Amundsen’s Reflections from the Northwest Passage. Running at the Royal Alberta Museum until April 28, 2013.

David Janzen’s Transfer Station. Running at the Art Gallery of Alberta until June 16, 2013.