Protecting Mother Earth requires a new consciousness that brings together Indigenous traditions and knowledge systems with western science and conservation practices. This one-hour session will highlight the initiatives of four partner organizations aimed at building cross-cultural understanding, literacy and relationships as a foundation for collective action.
Since 2016, Plenty Canada, Walpole Island Land Trust, the Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences Program at Trent University and Ontario Nature have been hosting gatherings, undertaking research and engaging and supporting youth leaders to create an ethical space for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. This session will focus on two of their current projects, the Youth Circle for Mother Earth and a series of gatherings on protected areas.
The session will feature a panel of youth and organizational leaders who will discuss their hopes, plans, challenges and accomplishments. It will also include the screening of a video highlighting the insights and wisdom of Indigenous leaders and youth, from a 2018 gathering on Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas. The audience will have an opportunity to interact with the panelists and learn more about how they can support or become involved in collective conservation efforts developed within a framework of reconciliation and based on a shared acknowledgement that humans are one species among many who share the Earth with the rest of Life. This new consciousness provides greater connection to all species leading us to more ethical relationships and a clearer sense of our responsibilities immediately and for at least seven generations.
Dr. Larry McDermott, Plenty Canada
Dr. Larry McDermott – Oomsee (Big Night Owl) – is an Algonquin elder from Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and executive director of Plenty Canada. Larry is currently a member of numerous organizations including the International Indigenous Forum for Biodiversity the Canadian Environmental Network, UNESCO, and the Ontario Recovery Strategy for the American Eel. A former three-time mayor and long-time council member of Lanark Highlands, Larry was the first chair of the Rural Forum of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, was a commissioner for the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and was on the Ontario Species at Risk Public Advisory Committee. Larry received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Guelph.
Clint Jacobs, Natural Heritage Program
Clint Jacobs is Anishinaabe from Bkejwanong (Walpole Island First Nation) on the north shore of Lake St. Clair. He is part of the Natural Heritage Program team that implements numerous initiatives relating to conservation and is also the founder and president of the Walpole Island Land Trust. Walpole Island Land Trust is the first First Nations land trust incorporated and registered as a charity within Canada. Its goal is to enhance the ability to conserve and protect ecologically significant habitats and species at risk within the Bkejwanong territory.
Anne Bell, Ontario Nature
Anne Bell is the director of Conservation and Education programs at Ontario Nature since 2007. She holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies and has over 20 years of experience working as an environmental educator, researcher and advocate.