Ex­am­in­ing the ecosys­tem

Bras d’Or Watch Field Day ex­pected to at­tract sev­eral hun­dred par­tic­i­pants

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - BY JULIE COLLINS Lake and its shore­line. “We are go­ing to do this ev­ery year,” Hatcher said. “This is just the first time, and based on what we learn we can make changes so it is a lit­tle eas­ier for peo­ple. We get nu­mer­ous in­quiries from peo­ple who may n

Or­ga­niz­ers of the first-ever Bras d’Or Watch Field Day are pre­pared for up­wards of 200 par­tic­i­pants at six sites along the Bras d’Or Lake.

The event will take place on Satur­day, July 18.

“We won’t know un­til peo­ple show up, but at the Ben Eoin site they fig­ure they are go­ing to get at least 100,” said An­na­marie Hatcher, ad­junct pro­fes­sor at Unama’ki Col­lege, Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity.

“The main pur­pose is to set up a net­work of cit­i­zens and visi­tors with sci­en­tists that are ac­tu­ally work­ing in the Bras d’Or.”

Bras d’Or Watch is a cit­i­zen­based mon­i­tor­ing pro­ject of the Bras d’Or Lake Bio­sphere Re­serve As­so­ci­a­tion.

There will be two sci­en­tists at each site that know about the ecol­ogy of the area and will be able to an­swer ques­tions and show peo­ple some of the im­por­tant com­po­nents of the ecosys­tem.

The Bras d’Or Watch Field Day will in­volve sam­pling of sev­eral ecosys­tem prop­er­ties on the lakeshore and in the shal­low wa­ters of the Bras d’Or Lake.

“These types of ac­tiv­i­ties are use­ful in look­ing at long-term changes in cli­mate. To bet­ter un­der­stand how global cli­mate change might im­pact the Bras d’Or Lake, we are ask­ing cit­i­zens to help in ob­serv­ing, test­ing or record­ing var­i­ous as­pects,” Hatcher said. “They can also just fol­low along and see what is in­volved.”

She added that the re­sults of these ob­ser­va­tions will help to de­velop a “re­port card” on the eco­log­i­cal health of the Bras d’Or

Hatcher, who has had ex­pe­ri­ence in of­fer­ing sim­i­lar events like the Bras d’Or Watch Field Day, is con­fi­dent this will en­gage peo­ple.

“The more peo­ple un­der­stand their ecosys­tem, of­ten the more will­ing they are to pro­tect and to look af­ter it for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” she said. “The plan is to hold it at this time ev­ery sum­mer, which seemed to work out for the six sites. We are look­ing at ex­pand­ing and do­ing it another sea­son as well, but that is in the fu­ture.”

Hatcher said it is im­por­tant that chil­dren who par­tic­i­pate are ac­com­pa­nied by an adult.

“We have ac­tiv­i­ties de­signed for chil­dren, but only with adult su­per­vi­sion. “

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