The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) and the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) were joined by close to 100 people from both sides of the Kaniatarowanenneh – the St. Lawrence River – during a celebration of World Wetlands Day held on February 25 at RRCA’s Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in South Glengarry.
“We are honoured to host this event in partnership with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Environment Program” said RRCA General Manager, Richard Pilon. “Cooper Marsh is part of one of the most significant wetlands in Ontario. It’s a perfect spot to celebrate World Wetlands Day.”
The event was opened by MCA’s Keri Horne-Burns, who recited the Ohen:ton Karihwateh:kwen – the Words that Come Before All Else.
“Also known as the Thanksgiving address, these traditional words help us to better understand, protect, and enhance our natural environment,” said Horne-Burns. “We’re thrilled to see so many people coming together to learn about the many benefits wetlands provide to our communities.”
The event also served to kick off the 60th anniversary celebrations of the RRCA’s establishment in 1963.
“Conserving and enhancing our local wetlands is a key part of RRCA’s work to protect people, property, and the environment,” said Richard Pilon. “Wetlands encourage biodiversity, replenish and filter our water supply, help fight climate change by storing carbon, assist with flood control, and provide opportunities for people to spend time in nature.”
Throughout the event, RRCA and MCA staff offered free snowshoe rentals and guided tours around the Marsh. By deciphering animal tracks, learning winter tree ID and traditional plant uses, and exploring the Marsh’s various natural features, visitors were able to immerse themselves in this environmentally significant Conservation Area.
After warming up inside the Marsh’s Visitors Centre and enjoying hot beverages and traditional Mohawk food, visitors were able to deepen their knowledge of wetlands and biodiversity through a variety of interactive educational exhibits by MCA, RRCA, South Nation Conservation, Ontario Power Generation, Parks Canada, the Cornwall and Area Birding Club, and the River Institute.
“I loved it!” said five-year old Phoebe Paquette, who particularly enjoyed learning about local turtle species and how to identify preserved invertebrates with the help of a microscope.
Frequent partners in conservation initiatives, MCA and RRCA have been actively involved in protecting and restoring local wetlands for decades, to the benefit of the area’s environment, wildlife, and communities. For more information visit rrca.on.ca or contact (613) 938-3611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.