December 2020

Wellington Water Watchers
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At the confluence of rivers, peoples and their stories.

We would like to start this newsletter by acknowledging that the City of Guelph, where the 2Rivers Festival takes place, is situated within the Dish with One Spoon Treaty Lands  between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. Here in these river valleys we have learned that the Attawandaron or neutral peoples were also among the original stewards. We’d like to recognize the enduring presence of Aboriginal peoples on this land and the history of the First Nations peoples and neighbouring First Nation, Métis and Inuit. Today there are a wide number of Indigenous peoples who call this territory home under the Haldimand Tract Treaty with the Mississaugas of New Credit.
We want to express solidarity with the 88 First Nations communities in Ontario currently under drinking water advisories.

2Rivers Festival Current Events

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary!

We are very excited and proud to announce that this little festival of ours will be celebrating our tenth year for our 2021 2Rivers Festival. The vision of this festival is to connect our community with the beating heart here - our 2 beautiful rivers. We proudly showcase local organizations doing great work in our community in imagining an offering to bring their supporters to engage more with these local rivers.

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2020 Festival Online

We protect what we love, and this festival is designed to help us fall in love with our rivers over and over again.

 

If you'd like to become a member of the Steering Committee, email us at tworiversfest@gmail.com!
And follow 2RiversFestival on Facebook and Twitter!
💧💧💧💧💧

 

Upcoming Events

Get in the holiday spirit and help us raise funds for the 10th Annual 2Rivers Festival!

Get your tickets today for the Good Lovelies’ Virtual Christmas Tour, streaming live on December 12th at 7PM for Guelphites and Water Watcher friends! A portion of all ticket sales from the Guelph show will be donated to the Water Watchers to support our water protection and advocacy work, including the 2Rivers Festival.

This may be the only year where you can tune in to a Good Lovelies Christmas show wearing pajamas — holding a glass or two of “Christmas cheer” — and where you can sing along at the top of your lungs without getting funny looks from strangers!

All jokes aside, now more than ever, it’s more important to connect as a community, so let’s join together to share in holiday favourites, original songs, and those famous three-part harmonies with the Good Lovelies! Make sure to invite your friends, family, and neighbours to join you in celebration from the safety of their homes and stay tuned for updates from the Water Watchers on different ways to make the evening even more special.

We also invite you to use this opportunity to gather virtually with your coworkers or supporters to celebrate the holiday season responsibly with food, music, and holiday cheer.

We can’t wait to celebrate and sing along with you on December 12th!

 

A Request for Action to Protect our Conservation Authorities

Ontario's Conservation Authorities are at risk.  The provincial government recently tabled omnibus budget measures Bill 229, Schedule 6 of which proposes fundamental changes to the Conservation Authorities Act and to conservation authorities role in land use planning.

The Canadian Environmental Law Association have created an action alert page on our website that contains our preliminary analysis of Bill 229, and other resources about the value of Conservation Authorities.  Watch this page in the coming days for more information about how to protect our Conservation Authorities.

 

Nature on Our Banks

Where Do Frogs Go in the Winter?

Late November 2020

Featured Process:  Frogsicles   

Quite soon, buried in shallow soil beneath leaf litter, some frogs will turn into frogsicles.  As the temperature plummets, Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers, among others, fill their cells with glycerol, a natural antifreeze derived from sugar.  This allows more than half the water in a frog to freeze, without disrupting cells, tissues or organs.  Breathing and heartbeat stop as they become little blocks of ice, which can thaw and become active againin as little as an hour. 

Other Happenings:

  • At this time of year bat species such as the Little Brown Bat are also moving into safe areas like caves and mines for their long winter hibernation. Many people feel that bats are creepy and scary but in reality these amazing creatures are nature’s superheroes of insect control.  Their immense appetite for flying pests such as moths and mosquitoes helps support a healthy environment by reducing the need for insecticides.

  Invasive Alert!

  • Unfortunately, North American bat species are under attack by a nasty and fast-moving invasive microbe. White nose syndrome is caused by a fungus that originated in Europe known as Pseudogymnoascus destructans (formerly Geomyces destructans).  This fungus grows and thrives in the humid cool conditions of the caves where bats gather.  Researchers believe the fungus interrupts the hibernation process by irritating the skin. This causes the bats to awaken and use their fat reserves, leading to starvation and death. White nose syndrome was first found in eastern Canada (first row, second map) in 2010 and has quickly ravaged bat populations in NB, NS, Quebec and ON to the point where three of our most common bat species (Little Brown Bat, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bat) are now endangered. There are now reasons for optimism.  Bat numbers are increasing in some of the caves where White-nose was first discovered, perhaps an early sign that bats can adapt to the disease.  However, it has now been found in Washington state, 2100 km further west than previously found, as well as in Newfoundland and Manitoba, supporting the notion that people can spread the syndrome.  It is up to all of us to help protect these remarkable flying mammals. Report unusual bat sightings like daytime flying in winter.  You could also take action by building and installing a bat house that creates summer habitat for these night creatures who provide us with free pest control services!
  • Now that most of the leaves are down, basketball-sized leaf balls are very evident in some trees.  These are actually squirrel nests (Red or Eastern Gray), and are called dreys.  They are lined with shredded vines and grasses, and may have a floor of twigs.  Here’s a view in cross-section.  Squirrels will also utilize cavities in trees, adapt old crow’s nests or even use large bird boxes.  Red Squirrels will also burrow underground, often in a scale midden (note the burrow entrance) that they produce by shredding cones to get at the seeds.  By doing this in the same place, year after year, a midden builds up.  If you go quietly enough through the woods, you can often hear Red Squirrels tearing these cones apart with their teeth.  Squirrels are active all winter, hunkering down only in the worst weather. 
  • Migrating Bald and (more occasionally) Golden Eagles are arriving in the Kawarthas, and may visit your area as well.  As northern lakes and rivers freeze, these birds are forced south to look for food.  Areas of high deer populations attract eagles, as they will scavenge on carcasses.  They will also feed on fish and ducks, or ducks either frozen in new ice, or unable to take off across it.  A good place to look for eagles is you local dump early in the morning.                                                                                                                        
  • American Crows are migrating.  Look for flocks high in the sky, moving towards the southwest.  The crows will gather to form massive roosts at this time of year.  From late November until March, hundreds of thousands of crows may gather in your area each evening until spring arrives and they go back to their home territories to start the nest-building and breeding process. For some hypotheses on why crows do this, go here and scroll down a bit.  American Crows are fairly easy to identify and their intelligence is legendary, going back literally thousands of years.  Try this activity for Primary and early Junior students, based on Aesop’s Fable, “The Crow and the Pitcher”, and see if the fable holds true.                                                                                                                     
  • Enjoy the first snows (you probably have some time ago!)  Snowflakes come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the atmospheric conditions where they formed, and as they made their way to the ground.  Go outside during a light snowfall, and catch flakes on jacket sleeves or mitts (but perhaps not tongues), and look at them through a magnifying lens.  Here’s a great site about snowflakes – you can even watch snowflakes grow.  Activities for kids can be found here.                                                                               
  • The moon is near Mars to the southeast at nightfall of the 24th-26th.  The Summer Triangle continues to shine. Look high in the western sky after sunset.
 

Updates from Wellington Water Watchers

Nestle´ should give wells in Wellington County back to community

The Water Watchers joins more than a dozen organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland, led by grassroots groups in communities that have been fighting Nestlé’s water extraction for years in writing to Nestlé CEO Ulf Mark Schneider to demand that the company return the Aberfoyle Complex and four other  of particularly controversial water sources to the public prior to any sale.

The letter marks the launch of a global campaign -- Nestlé’s Troubled Waters -- to pressure the company, potential buyers, regulators and lawmakers to see the ownership of these water sources revert to the public trust.  

You can sign the petition here.

The Waterloo Record published this article, outlining the demand.

The Ohneganos Haudenosaunee grandmothers and youth water committee has verbally expressed they would like the Nestle plant in Aberfoyle returned to Six Nations to provide restitution for illegally removing waters without consent. Giving the Aberfoyle complex to Six Nations, a water insecure community is an appropriate act of reconciliation and the details of the transfer can be resolved by appropriate public parties.

Donate

We Protect what we Love. If you support the work of the Water Watchers (Love = celebrating precious groundwater through hosting the 2Rivers Festival and similar celebrations. Protect = our advocacy work), please Consider making a donation. We are currently seeking monthly donors to help us establish a consistent base for our work.

You can also make a $250+ donation and receive a tax receipt or make a donation of less than $250 - both are greatly appreciated!


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Click here for your tax deductible donation


Follow Wellington Water Watchers!
Facebook:@thewellingtonwaterwatchers
Twitter:@wwaterwatchers
Instagram: @wellingtonwaterwatchers

Ontario Greenbelt Alliance

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Across the Greater Golden Horseshoe developers and land speculators are lobbying local governments to put sprawl-style development on precious natural areas, farmland, and water sources.  

TAKE ACTION NOW!

www.greenbeltalliance.ca

 

Other ways to Help...
Doing the work to safeguard our water requires all hands on deck. We are all Water Watchers! 

Please give of your time or money generously. Make us stronger. Make us more powerful. And let’s defend our waters together.

If you are richer in time then money, please volunteer!
If you are richer in money than time, please donate!

Make sure you follow the 2Rivers Festival on Twitter @2RiversFestival and Facebook @2RiversFestival!
For our waters,

 

Wellington Water Watchers · Canada
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You can also keep up with 2Rivers Festival on Twitter or Facebook.

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  • Beth Shier
    published this page in Newsletters 2020-12-01 16:51:15 -0500