July 2015

Explore Muskoka on the August Long Weekend for a Chance to Win!

August Long Weekend ContestShare photos with us of you or your family exploring the beautiful outdoors of Muskoka on the August long weekend for a chance to win one round of golf for four (4) at the Windermere Golf & Country Club!

Simply tag MWC in your photo on social media or email us your photo:
   Facebook: @muskokawatershedcouncil
   Twitter: @muskokawatershd
   Email: info@muskokawatershed.org

Contest Opens: Friday, July 31st at 3:00 pm
Contest Closes: Tuesday, July 4th at 3:00 pm

For a 2nd draw entry, LIKE MWC on Facebook or FOLLOW MWC on Twitter!

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, July 4th.

Good luck!

Muskoka Becomes a Blue Dot Community!


Muskoka Becomes a Blue Dot CommunityAt Muskoka District Council on July 20th, following a presentation by local Blue Dot supporter Steve Cairns, councillors passed a resolution supporting the right to a healthy environment for all Canadians, including:
(a) The right to breathe clean air;
(b) The right to drink clean water and to consume healthy food;
(c) The right to access nature;
(d) The right to know about pollutants and contaminants released into the local environment; and
(e) The right to participate in decision-making that will affect the environment.

Volunteer Spotlight:
GEOFF ROSS, Chair of MWC Policy & Research Committee

Volunteer Spotlight: Geoff RossGeoff Ross moved to Muskoka in 2010 after a career as a Professional Engineer developing water and air pollution control standards and programs with Environment Canada. He holds degrees in Engineering and Physiology and his work included control of coal-fired power plant emissions contributing to acid rain, smog, climate change and other major air issues.
Geoff represented Canada in technical work under the United Nations Commission for Europe and participated in negotiating the Ozone Annex to the Canada/United States Air Quality Accord. He is a past President and member of the Executive of the Skeleton Lake Cottager’s Organization, and devotes his spare time to carpentry, sailing, paddling, curling, XC skiing, singing and tennis. Geoff joined the Muskoka Watershed Council in 2012.

Thoughtful and driven in his work, Geoff agreed to answer a few questions for us and outline his interest in Muskoka Watershed Council:

Muskoka Watershed Council (MWC): How did you first hear about us?
Geoff: I saw advertisements for the Muskoka Summit on the Environment. Attendance at the Summit was really my introduction to MWC.
MWC: What made you want to volunteer with MWC?
Geoff: Again, at the Muskoka Summit on the Environment it quickly became obvious that this was a well-run organization doing some very good work. Having recently retired to Muskoka, where I had been vacationing for more than 30 years, I was very sensitive to the importance of protecting the unique natural qualities of Muskoka. After a career in environmental protection, I knew that MWC was well-positioned and doing the right things to accomplish that, and that it included an exceptional group of volunteers to work with.
MWC: What MWC projects are you involved in?
Geoff: My main focus thus far has been updating the Power Generation Position Paper and chairing the Policy & Research Committee. For the future, there are a number of good projects that I would like to devote more time to, including, for example, the potential impacts of climate change and development, as well as a program on reducing the amount of waste packaging that we must deal with in Muskoka.

We are very grateful for Geoff's extensive contribution to MWC’s recently released Power Generation Position Paper and thank him for his time and energy given to that and other key Muskoka Watershed Council projects. MWC also congratulates Geoff and his wife on the recent arrival of their first grandchild, Felicity.
START Muskoka Turtle Project
Power Generation Position Paper
Love Your Lake and Win Contest

Busy Summer So Far!

It's been a busy summer so far for MWC and FMW staff and volunteers. Starting in June with National Paddling Week and continuing through to the end of the summer, below are some highlights from the events we have attended or organized so far.

Citizen scientists gathered in the Community Room at Gagnon's YIGs in Bracebridge on June 4th to learn about the FrogWatch program from amphibian guru Caroline Konarzewski. Each attendee received a package with ID sheets and a frog call cd, as well as training on how to use the new FrogWatch website.

Paddle Around the Bay

FMW Development Officer Lyndsie McGregor took part in the Paddle Around the Bay event on Muskoka Bay in Gravenhurst on June 7th as part of National Paddling Week. The event was organized by the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre and included displays and speakers. Check out Facebook for more Paddle Around the Bay photos.

Steve Cairns - Taking to the Water Lecture

Steve Cairns, Assistant Professor at Nipissing University, talked (and sang) about the importance of water at the Taking to the Water: Personal & Group Exploration Environmental Lecture on June 11th at Nipissing University in Bracebridge.

Guided Paddle

Participants head out from Bowyer's Beach in Bracebridge on a guided canoe trip led by Greater Opportunities at the PAUSE for a PADDLE event organized by FMW as part of National Paddling Week on June 14th. Muskoka Paddle Shack provided the equipment for the canoe trip and also brought various canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards for people to try.

Hap Wilson

Hap Wilson, from Eco Trailbuilders, shares his "10 Best Canoe Tips Ever" at the PAUSE for a PADDLE event organized by FMW as part of National Paddling Week on June 14th.


Little Patricia has fun trying out the canoes brought by Muskoka Paddle Shack at the PAUSE for a PADDLE event organized by FMW as part of National Paddling Week on June 14th.

Check out Facebook for more PAUSE for a PADDLE photos.

FMW 2015 AGM

Friends of the Muskoka Watershed held their 2nd Annual General Meeting at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary on the beautiful day of June 19.

Dr. Norm Yan, Chair of FMW, was in Italy at the time of the meeting but that didn't stop him from virtually delivering his "Norm's (not-so) Crazy Ideas" presentation, which included 5 ideas on improving environmental protection in Muskoka. Watch Norm's presentation on our YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQg-gIvdhMw.

Thank you to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary team for hosting us and teaching us more about the important work that you do! Learn more about Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary at http://aspenvalley.ca/aspen/.

Also, thank you Pita Pit - Bracebridge for catering our event with your delicious and nutritious wraps!

Another thank you to the guests who made their way to Rosseau for this fun day. We hope to see you again for the next Annual General Meeting!

Nuit Blanche North 2015
MWC participated in the 5th Annual Nuit Blanche North event on July 11th in Huntsville.

Thank you to Edge of the Woods Theatre/Nuit Blanche North and Algonquin Outfitters for helping us share watershed health information. The event was an absolute blast!

Kelsey with a Foxsnake

Kelsey from Scales Nature Park uses an Eastern Foxsnake to show identification characteristics during an Advanced Reptiles at Risk Workshop hosted by MWC and the District of Muskoka on July 21st.

In addition to learning about identifying all of the snake, turtle and lizard species found in Muskoka as well as their threats and conservation issues at the Advanced Reptiles at Risk Workshop held July 21st, participants had the opportunity to become familiar with these species by handling them. This unique opportnunity was a highlight of the workshop!

Report Snake and Turtle Sightings with the
Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas

Ontario Reptile and Amphibian AtlasReptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at-risk.
The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a citizen-science project that tracks distributions and spatial trends of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. The goal of the project is to increase the collective knowledgebase of reptiles and amphibians while engaging non-scientists of all ages and abilities in nature study and conservation.

Sightings can be reported online at http://www.ontarionature.org/protect/species/herpetofaunal_atlas.php or through the new app available for apple and android devices.

Why I Love My Watershed

Recently, FMW held a contest and to enter, you simply had to tell us why you love your watershed. We had some fantastic entries that serve to remind us all how lucky we are to call the Muskoka River Watershed home!
 “I love my watershed because…there is no other place in the province as unique and beautiful as our Muskoka Watershed. The abundance of wildlife here is amazing! It is not difficult to capture our friends walking, crawling, swimming or flying on camera. It is a tranquil place to just sit and be still. It is the perfect place to be one with nature. We are so very blessed to have the Muskoka Watershed as our home!”

– Sharon Pattinson

Love Your Lake in Muskoka
The Carbon Conversations

Species at Risk Spotlight

Thamnophis sauritus
Status: Special Concern
 Eastern Ribbonsnake by Scott Gillingwater
There are 42 Species at Risk in the Muskoka-Parry Sound area, including the Eastern Ribbonsnake, a small, slim, timid snake often mistaken for a Gartersnake.

Learn about this species at risk, where you're likely to find it in Muskoka, and how you can help protect it and its habitat in the Species at Risk Factsheet.
Living in Cottage Country Handbook
If you haven't already got your copy of the Living in Cottage Country handbook, look for it at your local Chamber of Commerce, municipal office, or real estate broker. You can also drop by our office at 16 Robert Boyer Lane in Bracebridge to pick up a copy for just $20!

Events Calendar

  • August 7 - The Carbon Conversations organized by Trent University. Abbey Gardens, Haliburton. $35.
  • August - Beaver Workshop and Lecture. Details to be announced.
  • September 11-13 - Muskoka River X. The world’s longest single day expedition paddling race at 130 km in 24 hours. River Mill Park, Huntsville.
  • September 17 - Environmental Lecture Series. Bottom-dwelling invertebrate communities in Muskoka’s Lakes and Rivers (and implications for biomonitoring) by Chris Jones. 7 pm. Location TBA.
  • September 18 - Muskoka Watershed Council Meeting. Features an update on the START Muskoka Turtle Project by Scales Nature Park. 1 pm in the Council Chambers at the District of Muskoka office, Bracebridge. Public welcome.
  • October 10 - Great Muskoka Paddling Experience. A fun racing experience for canoes, kayaks & stand up paddleboards for all levels of participants. Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge.
  • October 29 - Environmental Lecture Series. Power Generation by Geoff Ross. 7 pm. Location TBA.

MWC is always looking for volunteers to help us champion watershed health. Please contact us today to learn about current volunteer opportunities!

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