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Living Lakes Canada Gathering: Day One

Posted on May 22, 2012
Written by Kerry Freek

Amid challenging times for federal programs and local initiatives, this afternoon’s doom and gloom factor was noticeable.

Opening Living Lakes Canada’s members-only meeting, Global Nature Fund’s executive director Udo Gattenlöhner discussed Canada’s presence (or lack thereof) on the world stage. With such abundant resources, Canada should be a role model for the world, he said. “I thought Canada was an environmental paradise,” he admitted. “I was astonished to learn that problems [with lakes that] we have in Europe are possible in Canada. Destruction of wetlands, eutrophication–how could that be?”

Despite these remarks and similar ones from members about challenges with funding and community building, Living Lakes members took time to share some great success stories from their regions. There’s the Lake Friendly Project. BCLSS’ monitoring program that encourages community science. Nature Canada’s I Love My Lake campaign. Lake Windermere’s Sister Lake program. The list goes on.

In the evening, a reception marked the official opening of the conference and success continued as a theme. Filmmaker Paul Kemp (“Save My Lake,” featured on CBC’s The Nature of Things) shared the impact of his team’s documentary. “Can a film change the world?” he asked. “No, but it can be a catalyst.”

Following an inspiring reading from Governor General Award winner Allan Casey (Lakeland: Ballad of a Freshwater Country), the Lake Winnipeg Foundation celebrated Dunnottar mayor Rick Gamble’s tireless work on behalf of Lake Winnipeg with the presentation of the Alexander Bajkov Award. As the dark clouds of the afternoon began to clear, Tom Axworthy of the Walter & Duncan Gordon Foundation took note of the changing atmosphere.

“The essence of Living Lakes is that we don’t give up the hope that we can make a difference,” he said as he presented the award to Gamble. “Never give up the faith.”

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