In this newsletter (click to jump):
LPWBRF Annual General Meeting

Date: Thursday, October 20th, 2016 at 7:00pm
Location:  Walsingham Women's Institute Hall, Walsingham, Hwy 59
Light refreshments will be provided.
Guest Speaker: Mr. John Ayre, local lawyer/historian 

The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation has been fortunate in securing Norfolk County resident John Ayre as our guest speaker for our 2016 AGM. John recently conducted extensive historical research on the French Sulpician Priest Rene de Brehant de Galinee’s five month sojourn in the Port Dover and Long Point area over 340 years ago. John’s engaging presentation will delve into the insights De Galinee provided on the flora and fauna of the Long Point natural environment of that time.
Backus Woods - New Addition to Biosphere Core Area
Special Announcement at Carolinian Canada AGM

by Shirley Rothery, LPWBRF Board Chair
 
"It is my pleasure to speak at the annual general meeting of Carolinian Canada on behalf of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation.

The United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization – UNESCO – designated the Long Point area a World Biosphere Reserve in 1986. To receive a designation from UNESCO as a World Biosphere an area must meet two major criteria:
1. It must have a legally protected area of international ecological significance,
And  
2. It must be able to demonstrate that the local community is actively collaborating on the conservation of biodiversity and pursuing sustainable community development.
 
There is a colourful history that caused the Government of the day to offer Long Point for sale in the 1850's and on May 4, 1866 a group of wealthy duck hunters purchased the entire Long Point spit (15,000 acres). They formed  – The Long Point Company and managed and conserved the area.  Thanks to the Company’s good management the Long Point spit maintains its ecological integrity and is probably the best example of a functioning coastal ecosystem in the world. In the late 1970’s the Long Point Company donated the eastern half of the spit to the people of Canada. This portion, that forms the core of our Biosphere, is now managed by the Canadian Wildlife Service as the Long Point National Wildlife Area. Regrettably due to the very fragile nature of this core area, public access is restricted.
 
Biospheres have three parts:
A core, with little or no human disturbance;
A buffer zone, in which human development takes place with as little disturbance of the natural environment as possible;
And a zone of cooperation, where ideally residents appreciate and support the objectives of the Biosphere.
 
The majority of conservation activities and sustainable community development in World Biospheres occur in the “Zone of Cooperation” or the area where people live, earn a living and raise their families. In our area that is the watershed of Long Point Bay.
 
To ensure continued membership in the world network of biosphere reserves every 10 years world biospheres are subject to a rigorous Periodic Review process. The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation had to demonstrate in 2001 and again in 2011 that our community is continuing to actively collaborate on biodiversity conservation and sustainable community development. Fortunately, this has been an easy task, due to the many active conservation and community development agencies and organizations in Norfolk County.
 
Our area hosts national organizations such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Alternative Land Use Services Canada, Bird Studies Canada and regional organizations such as the Carolinian Canada Coalition, as well as  many local organizations and agencies, with interests in:  waterfowl, fisheries, forests, wetlands,  savanna conservation, sustainable agriculture and nature in general, all working  diligently to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to Norfolk County.
 
As previously mentioned, the core area of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve is a very fragile ecosystem and access by the general public is restricted, for good reasons.  We are therefore delighted to be making today's announcement that will add an area to the Biosphere's core that can be visited and enjoyed by the public.
 
With the unanimous support of Norfolk County Council and the Long Point Region Conservation Authority Board of Directors, and the support of the Long Point Country Chamber of Commerce, Simcoe Chamber of Commerce, Port Dover Board of Trade, and Delhi Business Improvement Area,  in partnership with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, I am pleased to announce the addition of Backus Woods, owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, to the core area of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve. It is extremely exciting to us that UNESCO has recognized the ecological significance of Backus Woods and agreed to it's addition to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. There are currently 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries around the globe.
 
Backus Woods is the crown jewel of Carolinian Forests in Canada. It has been well stewarded by the Backus family since the late 1790's and is preeminent among the many natural heritage treasures in Norfolk County.
 
I am confident that all sectors of Norfolk County and the Long Point Biosphere  Reserve - conservation, agriculture, economic, cultural, and social - will continue to work together to improve the quality of life for residents of Norfolk County, and for generations to come."
Shirley Rothery, LPWBRF Board Chairperson (left) and Kristen Bernard, NCC Southwestern Ontario Program Director (right) announce the addition of Backus Woods to the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve's core area at the Carolinian Canada AGM, July 8th, 2016.
Read the news story from the Simcoe Reformer here!

Backus Woods Now Part of the Core Area of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve

By Wanda Backus-Kelly
Courtesy of the Port Rowan Good News

In the early 1600’s, French missionaries visited the Long Point area and wintered in what has become present day Port Dover. Their diary accounts from the time period record the visitors as referring to the Long Point area as the ‘terrestrial paradise of Canada”. Since that time, this area of South Western Ontario has become home to one quarter of Canada’s population, and one quarter of Canada’s species at risk. Dianne Saxe, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, opened with these startling statistics at the beginning of her presentation as keynote speaker at Carolinian Canada Coalition’s Annual General Meeting held earlier this month at Backus Heritage Conservation Area.  

Saxe spoke on the role an environmental commissioner plays in helping to improve government compliance with the Environmental Bill of Rights, noting that “environmental protection is too important to be left to government and within the government, too important to be left to the Ministry of Natural Resources.” She stressed that everyday people can and should have a role to play in environmental monitoring, which can help the government support green infrastructure in the Carolinian Life Zone.  

Saxe’s message was well received by those in attendance, including local dignitaries Mayor Charlie Luke of Norfolk County and MPP for Haldimand Norfolk Toby Barrett. Also on hand to bring greetings were Dave Beres, Vice-Chair of Long Point Region Conservation Authority, and Paul General, Manager of Six Nations Eco-centre.  

The message of the keynote also had particular importance given a special announcement made that day from another group in attendance, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation (LPWBRF). Joining with Nature Conservancy of Canada, the LPWBRF was pleased to announce that Backus Woods has been added to the core area of the biosphere reserve. United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated biosphere reserves have three components – a core area that has legal protection, and a buffer zone and a zone of cooperation, which are essentially the watershed of Long Point Inner Bay. The many excellent conservation initiatives by organizations and agencies, landowners and farmers in the buffer and zone of cooperation, has been formally recognized by UNESCO in response to a recent 10 year Periodic Review of the Long Point Biosphere.  

Shirley Rothery, chairperson of LPWBF, gave a brief background about the designation of the Long Point World Biosphere and outlined the purpose of maintaining a biosphere reserve. Dating from the initial designation in 1986 by UNESCO, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve forms part of what Carolinian Canada describes as “the Big Picture”, which encompasses 140 core habitats in the Carolinian Zone of south western Ontario, according to the Carolinian Canada website. These core habitats are important to sustain healthy wild and human communities. When groups like Nature Conservancy of Canada and the LPWBRF work together, linking of such special habitats can occur, which leads to the protection of watersheds, landscapes and ecosystems.  

Kristen Bernard, Program Director of Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), noted in her address that “conservation is seldom an individual effort,” and that the alignment between NCC and LPWBRF would allow both groups to “collectively create a zone of sustainability”.  

For LPWBRF’s part, Chair Rothery pointed out that the core area of biosphere - the Long Point National Wildlife Area – has restricted access for good conservation reasons. Adding Backus Woods to the core area of the biosphere allows the group to continue to carry out their mandate, part of which is to ‘show commitment to continuing to collaborate to maintain biodiversity”. 

Happy Anniversary for the Long Point
World Biosphere Reserve!

On May 28th, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve (LPWBR) celebrated its 30 Year Anniversary with a ‘sold-out’ Gala at the Backstage Capitol in Delhi.

Brian Craig, President of Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation, welcomed 130 guests of like mind and spirit to recognize the people and the place, the achievements, and the future of this UNESCO designated organization.

The evening included a delicious catered dinner by Chrissy’s Catering of Tillsonburg; a very successful silent auction made possible by generous donations from our community and beyond; and a live auction resulting in 4 local people looking ahead to an African Safari Vacation!

The highlight of the evening was the premiere release of ‘Striking Balance Documentary Series – the Long Point Episode’.  Lock3Media of Brantford - Zach Melnyk, cinematographer and Yvonne Drebert producer, created the complete series about Biosphere Reserves in Canada, which will air on TVO in the fall of this year.

The current Board of Directors of the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation values the support and participation of so many in our community - in the past, the present and into the future. Indeed this is the reason we are able to celebrate 30 years!

 

Things that last – last for a reason.

Thank you for your donations:
Jack Worton
David Okines
Steve Burnett & Associates
Jan Everett
Shirley Rothery
Felix Barbetti
Fred Jonckheere
Norfolk County
Laurie Nigh
Diane Salter
Inga Hinnerichsen
Vortex Canada
Lighthouse Festival Theatre
Madeline Wilson
Tillsonburg Flying School
Turkey Point Provincial Park
And all others who contributed.
Long Point Causeway Improvement Project: Completion
The Long Point Causeway Improvement Project is slated for completion this fall thanks to funding from Environment Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the US National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Project is a community-based initiative that began 10 years ago as of next month (October).

The planned work includes the installation of up to 1,800 meters of exclusion fencing and two of small terrestrial culverts along the Causeway north of Big Creek. This construction will be funded with $156,000 from Ontario’s Species at Risk Stewardship Fund and another $135,000 from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk.

With this new funding, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation has raised $2,744,000 for this project to date. Of this amount, Norfolk County taxpayers have contributed about $65,000, less than two and a half per cent of the total.

Other work to be completed this fall includes the installation of a second large aquatic culvert under a contract awarded by the County last year to Bre-Ex Construction Inc., of London.  This culvert will be located at the north end of the Causeway. As well, local dredging contractor Jim Granger has been retained to excavate connecting channels from the aquatic culverts to open water areas within the Big Creek Marsh.

The $350,000 in funding for this additional work and related activities is provided by Environment Canada’s National Wetlands Conservation Fund and the NFWF’s Sustain Our Great Lakes initiative. Local contractor Steve Armstrong and his crew, who have installed and maintained all of the exclusion fencing since 2008, will also construct the new fencing north of Big Creek.

In other good news, the Project recorded a reduction in reptile road mortality of almost 80 per cent in 2015.  Only 53 turtles and snakes were found killed by vehicles on the road, compared to 248 in 2008 when first fencing was installed. Similar results have been recorded so far this summer.

In a deputation of Norfolk County Council in early September, Project Coordinator Rick Levick made the following comments:
“This citizen-initiated project has made Norfolk County a recognized leader in the science and practices of road ecology and sustaining biodiversity. We have raised nearly $3 million that has been used to create employment and purchase goods and services in this community whenever possible. And our success in significantly reducing the annual slaughter of turtles and snakes on the Causeway has drawn positive comments from both local residents and visitors to the area”.
The Newest Amazing Places in Norfolk County and the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve
 
The Amazing Places program highlights locations within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. Locally it is led by the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve in partnership with Norfolk County. Since 2015, the expansion of Amazing Places has been made possible by funds from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

Amazing Places were nominated by the public to connect people to nature, and is developing a route with community partners to encourage people to get outside and experience Norfolk and Long Point landscapes through our Amazing Places.
 
Each Amazing Place will be linked to interpretive information that reveals secrets and interesting stories about these places, giving you an entirely unique perspective - and a Google map gives you all the geographic information you need to plan your trip. The website visitamazingplaces.ca has received over 500,000 views on social media.
 
As the project grows, it will encourage more people to get out and explore the Amazing Places in the Biosphere, highlighting unique species, ecology, cultural history and views that depict the character of the region. Photo contests, school educational programs, and special events are all planned, as well as expansion of the website, visitamazingplaces.ca

“We are happy to partner with the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation in announcing the newest Amazing Places and are especially proud to have Delhi’s own Quance Park and Mill be recognized. Residents and visitors will benefit from the Amazing Places program which is spread throughout the region”, stated David VanDeVelde , President Delhi District Chamber of Commerce.
 
Todd Knechtel, Superintendent Parks and Facilities, Community Services Norfolk County stated “We are excited to have Quance Park and Mill designated as one of the newest Amazing Places. The project will help people know they have reached a significant location in this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and help visitors follow their bucket list of places.”
 
“Amazing Places is focused on improving access by developing and promoting areas that can handle visitor traffic,” said Patti O’Reilly, project coordinator. “The goal is to highlight these gems in our own backyard and bring visitors from around the world. We are extremely pleased to have expanded the program with the addition of the 2016 Amazing Places.”
 
In celebration of the Amazing Places, we are launching an “Amazing Selfie Contest” #amazinglongpoint, running from September 13th to October 31st. We encourage people to get out and explore our Amazing Places this fall. Check out our websites visitamazingplaces.ca or longpointbiosphere.com for details and your chance to win an Amazing Norfolk experience.

Our newest Amazing Places are: 
Backus Woods: One of the highest quality old growth hardwood forests in all of Ontario and the best remaining example of the Carolinian Life Zone .
 
Big Creek National Wildlife Area:  Is an essential staging, feeding and resting habitat for over 390 species of waterfowl and other migratory birds passing through the Long Point area during migration; a 2km trail through the marsh is accessible on the Hwy 59 causeway.
 
Canada’s First Forestry Station:  The interpretive Centre features the history of this magnificent area and is at the entrance to the Forest Capital Trail and an additional trail for Canada's 150th celebration which features 100 year old white pines and other native species.
 
Joe Csubak Viewing Area: Whether it’s first thing in the morning or a late sunset, this is one of the most picturesque vistas of the Inner Bay of Long Point. The constantly changing light and seasons make this a truly unique spot in Norfolk County and a must see for residents and visitors alike.

Port Dover Harbour Museum: The Port Dover Harbour Museum preserves the town’s history and marine heritage.  Visit an authentic net shanty and learn about the commercial fishing industry.  Discover shipwrecks, tales of heroism, board the wheelhouse of a 1912 lake freighter and more!

Port Rowan Wetlands:  Against traditional actions, the former sewage lagoons were converted successfully into a functioning wetland which serves as a riparian buffer to downstream tributaries and Lake Erie. The alternative use of land creates an innovative, first-of-its-kind project with numerous ecological and cultural benefits.
 
Sutton Conservation Area: The restoration of Sutton Dam has provided several natural functions through better surface and ground water quality, more coldwater fish habitat and homes for wildlife. It is a landscape that supports healthy living.

Quance Mill and Park: The Park highlights the beauty of the Big Creek River Valley as it meanders through the Town of Delhi. The mill and river were critical in the establishment of Delhi. Big Creek is a significant waterway resource for the migratory route for the Rainbow and Brown Trout. Big Creek Valley serves as a natural habitat for many native birds and animals. 

Waterford Heritage and Agriculture Museum:  WHAM exhibits the rich and diverse history of Waterford and its surrounding communities through engaging permanent and temporary displays. It is home to the Norfolk County Agricultural Hall of Fame and is located on the Norfolk Trails system.

Last year’s pilot project named 10 Amazing Places in the Long Point Biosphere area including: Backus Heritage Conservation Area, Black Bridge – Waterford Heritage Trail, Bonnieheath Estate Lavender & Winery, Deer Creek Conservation Area, Long Point Bird Observatory, Long Point Eco-Adventures, Long Point Provincial Park Beach, Lynn Valley Trail, Sand Hill Park, and Whistling Gardens.

Annual Fundraising Summary

The Biosphere Board of Directors was again successful in our fund raising efforts this year.

Our second annual plant sale in May brought in $1447 - thank you again to all who donated plant material, and to our Chairperson - Shirley Rothery - for her hard work to ensure all of the plants were sold.

Much to the Board's surprise the Biosphere even generated an additional $1200 on our 30th Anniversary Gala event ticket sale. But the real winner for the year was the Silent Auction held at the Gala; it generated over $7000!  We are very grateful to everyone who donated items for the auction, to all who bid, and to those who were successful in their auction purchases. We are particularly appreciative of Mr. Rick Levick and DonnaMae Cowan who took the live auction into a "bidding battle" for the South Africa Photo Safari trip (donated by Trevor Shaw, Owner of Zulu Nyala Group), resulting in the unexpected sale of two trips!

Thank you to our members, sponsors, and partners for their continued contributions to the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve through financial donations and in-kind support.

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