The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s (MCA) Environment Program and the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) are inviting communities from both sides of the Kaniatarowanenneh – the St. Lawrence River – to join them for a celebration of World Wetlands Day on Saturday, February 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the RRCA’s Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in South Glengarry.
“World Wetlands Day is an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness about the many ecological, hydrological, and other benefits provided by marshes, fens, bogs, and swamps around the world and in our own communities,” say Caroline Doroshenko, Project Coordinator for the RRCA’s Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project. “We’re thrilled to be hosting this event in partnership with MCA at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area this year.”
Visitors dropping in at the Marsh’s Visitors Centre during the free public event will be able to learn about Cooper Marsh and other wetlands through a variety of interactive displays and activities by local environmental organizations, enjoy tasty traditional Mohawk dishes, venture out on guided snowshoe tours around the Marsh, and have a chance to win several wetland-themed prizes. The day’s event will also kick off 60th anniversary celebrations of the RRCA’s establishment in 1963.
“This is an ideal day for communities to come together in appreciation of our shared environment and the importance of wetland conservation,” says Kayla Sunday, MCA’s Environmental Services Manager. “Wetlands act as natural filters by capturing pollutants, serve as green infrastructure to mitigate both drought and flooding, and encourage biodiversity by providing crucial plant and wildlife habitat as well as sanctuaries for migrating species.”
For local Indigenous peoples such as the Mohawks, wetlands have also traditionally served as sources of medicine, food, and supplies for activities like making cordage, weaving mats, and even building old-school fish traps.
Frequent partners in conservation initiatives such as the Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project, 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.
The Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project is a multi-year effort to protect and enhance the Marsh’s rich biodiversity through habitat planting and enhancement, invasive species control, biodiversity monitoring, and outreach. This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Nature Smart Climate Solutions Fund, a Government of Canada’s Department of Environment and Climate Change program in partnership with Conservation Ontario. Funding for the project was also provided by Ontario Power Generation.