Bras d'Or Lake Talks
After a successful launch of World Oceans Day in 2015 we are
pleased to announce the addition of the Bras d’ Or Lake TALKS. This
forum is for interested parties to gather to share stories,
possibilities and affects about the health of the World’s Oceans, the
well-being of our coastal communities, and what enhanced role the Bras
d’Or Lake, Science, Research, Education and can and should play in
addressing these concerns.
“I spent most of the day at the wharf and saw a lot of families with
children walking out to and back from the ship. While I think the
program in the parish hall was great. I think there is a real potential
for having a festival atmosphere at the wharf. I know the wind certainly
put a damper on things in terms of activities at the wharf. A big tent
next year might help with cover. Anita and Ben were fantastic. The
canteen and face painting were great additions. Some cover with more
hands-on children’s activities would really give it that festival feel.
“ - NS Highland Village
“That was one grand event in Iona yesterday. Congratulations to all, and
Thank You! “
- Member, Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association
“A big "thank you" and "congratulations" for such a wonderful event
yesterday. Please pass on our appreciation to all the volunteers that
made this happen! “
- Chair, Bras d’Or Biosphere
“It was a great day! The talks were great and having the ship there was
an asset that needs to be considered for the next one.” – Teacher
“Wonderful event! An article will be posted in the “Trident” - a RCN
east coast military news publication that is not only available on bases
across Canada but usually can be found in the adjacent communities as
- Platoon Warrant Officer, JPSU Nova Scotia , Dept. of National Defence
With the support of our Event Partners we will launch our inaugural Bras
d’ Or Lake TALKS – a gathering of concerned citizens along with
scientists and community leaders to discuss emerging issues and
opportunities that pertain to the Lake as an extraordinary salt water
ocean estuary – as was clearly outlined by Tim Lambert, retired DFO
scientist – our key note speaker as last year.
Beauty, Science & Culture meet at the Barra Strait in the
Bras d’Or Lake TALKS - ADAPTING to CHANGE in CANADA’S INLAND SEA
The Bras d’Or Lake estuary and its watershed, while nearly pristine
compared to many other coastal ecosystems, is changing at an
accelerating rate as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century.
Water temperatures have been typically warmer, and winter ice coverage
dramatically reduced, over the past three decades. Shorelines have also
experienced greater erosion from storm impacts (e.g. Spectacle Island,
off the Washabuck Peninsula in St. Patrick's Channel, is now mostly
Other variations, with less obvious links to global climate change,
include the arrivals of invasive species around the turn of the last
century, such as the Green Crab and MSX parasite, which wiped out much
of the oyster production in the estuary and largely removed the
quintessential Bras d’Or Lake oyster from the menus of North America’s
Economic activity associated with oyster farming has been greatly
diminished, and recovery is a slow process. Similar patterns of decline
have also been evident in other fisheries and economic activities in the
Bras d’Or Biosphere (now a Reserve in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere
We cannot place a lid over these waters to exempt them from species
invasions, ocean acidification or further effects of global warming. But
we CAN enhance our resilience to such changes, by taking the time and
making the effort to better understand and communicate the changing
status of this inland sea and its many coastal communities.
While doing so, it will be crucial to learn from local efforts in
ecosystem-based science and community-based management, as well as from
those in other jurisdictions also adapting to climate change.
The 2016 Bras d’Or TALKS, envisioned as the first in an ongoing series
of dialogues amongst the people of the Bras d’Or Biosphere, will feature
stories of evolution and adaption in terms of its ecosystems,
communities and cultures since the end of the last ice age through the
periods of colonization.
want input from our audience as well as invited speakers!
We are pleased to have a list of distinguished panelists
- Fred Baechler (Hydrogeologist, EXP)
- Dan Christmas (Senior Advisor, Membertou)
- Jim Foulds (Chair, Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve Association)
- Lori Kennedy (Co-Founder, Louisbourg Seafoods)
Our Keynote Speaker: Matthew McCandless
Founding chief executive of International Institute of Sustainable Development
(IISD) -Experimental Lakes Area. Matt’s primary responsibilities are with the
administration and operation of the world’s only whole-ecosystem freshwater research
facility. This involves oversight of research and field station operations,
administration, human resources, and fundraising.
Each panelist will inspire the round table discussion by speaking to one
or more of the key topics.
With intent to inform, inspire and encourage the next generation, the
TALKS will be accessible to teens, adults, nonscientists, scientists and
educators, with affordable fees for each made possible through our
This year's theme is ADAPTING to
CHANGE in CANADA’S INLAND SEA. You will hear about, and enter
The State of the Ecosystem: The Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere, in contrast to
most other large estuaries in North America, is in excellent condition.
The challenge is to maintain ecological integrity while also enhancing
economic productivity. This is a happy position to be in, but we need to
first have an accurate baseline and rigorous metrics of change so we can
apply a precautionary approach to development. We also need the right
The Need for Adaptation: Several attributes of the watershed, estuary
and their interaction at the shoreline are already changing with the
climate, and this is expected to accelerate through the remainder of the
century. Some of the changes will have negative, and others positive,
effects on ecosystem processes and the goods and services they provide
to us and the other members of the Biosphere. We need to anticipate
these changes and develop strategies for adaptation that strike a
balance of ecologic and economic priorities. Both prediction and
adaptation to climate change require knowledge, skills and attitudes
that we need to acquire proficiency in.
The Opportunities for Development: The current human population of the
Biosphere is less than half what it was a century ago, and the average
age exceeds 46 years (well past the reproductive optimum). The challenge
of sustainable development here, therefore, requires strategies that
differ from those applicable to more typical situations of continuous
population growth and inter-generational balance. We must envision
alternative futures for the Bras d’Or Biosphere, and create scenarios
for adaptation to both environmental and societal change.
The Roles of Research and Education
Few would disagree that this century’s major environmental problems stem
from continuation and aggravation of issues which, currently, do not
receive adequate policy attention and/or have not been researched
sufficiently. Education – in all forms: experiential, formal,
place-based, biophilic, etc. – is essential, but not sufficient, to
meeting all the challenges summarized above; the 2016 Bras d’Or TALKS
and proposed ‘Aros na Mara Centre for Marine Research and Education’
will play pivotal roles in this crucial endeavour.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we
– Albert Einstein
• What questions will you have for our speakers and panelists?
• What new approaches do you think are necessary to ensure vitality of
Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere?
• What will you take away, as action items, to help implement?