Visitors head out on a guided snowshoe adventure during last year's World Wetlands Day event at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area.
SDG COUNTIES, Ontario - The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s (MCA) environment program and the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) and its partners are inviting communities from both sides of the St. Lawrence River to join in a celebration of World Wetlands Day.
Events take place on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the RRCA’s Cooper Marsh Conservation Area in South Glengarry.
“We’re thrilled to once again partner with MCA to celebrate and raise awareness about the benefits provided by marshes, fens, bogs, and swamps around the world and in our own communities,” said RRCA communications specialist, Vincent Pilon. “Being part of one of the most significant wetlands in Ontario, Cooper Marsh is a worthy site to host this event.”
Visitors dropping in at the Marsh’s Visitors Centre during the free, family-friendly 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 free hot chocolate and refreshments by a campfire, venture out on guided snowshoe tours around the Marsh, and have a chance to win several wetland-themed prizes. The event will also highlight recent improvements at the Marsh accomplished through the Cooper Marsh Biodiversity Project.
“This is an ideal day for communities to come together in appreciation of our shared environment and the importance of wetland conservation,” said Melanie Alguire, MCA’s environmental educator. “Wetlands clean our water 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 of Akwesasne, 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 people.
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.