February 2017 Newsletter

  • Published on Feb 14 2017 |
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News and events from CPAWS Ottawa Valley for February 2017


Interview with Pascal Bredin and Constance La France - Paddling from Quebec to the Arctic Ocean in support of wilderness conservation!

How did you get involved in CPAWS?
We found out about CPAWS through friends who did a similar expedition and were involved with CPAWS. We are currently planning our own expedition from Quebec City to Inuvik, Northwest Territories this summer. We are working with CPAWS OV to help promote our expedition but also raise awareness for nature and the environment. We hope to use our expedition as a way to reconnect with nature and inspire others to get out in a canoe!

Tell me about your expedition?

Our expedition is called La remontée des sources. We will start canoeing in Quebec City when the St. Lawrence River melts and finish in Inuvik, Northwest Territories before the rivers freeze in October. We will paddle an average of 40 km per day, for roughly 180 days. At 19, we will be the youngest to go across Canada in one season. Our mission is to reconnect with nature and raise awareness of how to live in harmony with nature.


We have a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/canoe7000km/about/?ref=page_internal) and a website (https://laremonteedessourcesen.wordpress.com/) for anyone who wants to follow us on this epic journey! We want you to be able to have a window into our mind, see what we are planning to bring, where we will be going and to follow us once the expedition is taking place. 

What kind of planning goes into an expedition like this?

There is no end to planning an expedition like this. Right now we are primarily working on funding and food. We are looking for funding opportunities to help us with expenses., Yyou can help by donating to our GoFundMe page (https://www.gofundme.com/sign-in?redirect=%2Fdashboard%2Fla-remontee-des-sources). Funding will go towards equipment, food and to help us document our experiences. We need a lot of equipment and food to last us from April when the ice melts in Quebec City to October, when the rivers start freezing in Inuvik. We are currently working on buying and dehydrating all our food. We hope to pack 3 weeks of food into one barrel that we will carry with us. We will send other barrels ahead so we don’t have to carry 7 months of food all at once!

Is there anything that worries you about the expedition?

There is nothing really that worries us but we are a bit concerned about acting poorly around bears, particularly Grizzly bears. I (Pascal) only had one experience with a bear. A small bear once started running toward our group. I had to scare it away by lighting some birch bark on fire. We hope to see bears again, but in the distance and not up close.

What are you most excited about for this expedition?

We are really excited to see the changing landscapes as we paddle west, spend time in nature and meet new people. We also really want to find a huge tree!

How long have you been canoeing?

We have been canoeing since before we could walk! We have been canoeing together since we were 11, about 8 years! Together we’ve taken short trips of a few days to long trips of a few weeks. We’ve canoed mostly in Ontario and Quebec. Lac du Poisson Blanc, Point Comfort and Algonquin Park. This expedition will be the longest and most challenging yet!

What are you doing now?

We both recently finished CEGEP (a college in Quebec) in the Natural Sciences. We work at camp Air-Eau Bois, an outdoor camp where we lead snowshoeing trips, canoe, cut wood, etc. It is a very physical job that we hope is preparing us for our upcoming expedition.

What is your favorite way to connect to nature?

We both love being quiet in nature and canoeing is definitely a favorite!
Pascale - I enjoy going out into the forest alone to meditate and have a conversation with a tree.
Constance – I like going on solo canoe trips. I have gone out on a few expeditions by myself, mostly on Lac du Poisson Blanc. My mom doesn’t like when I go out on my own though!


Lean more about our Education program!

CPAWS OV has started a new Education Program (link: http://cpaws-ov-vo.org/campaigns/elementary-school-programs ), giving everyone the opportunity to experience nature and inspire a desire to protect it. Our Education Program is all about connecting people to nature. There are often barriers between people and nature, including a lack of transportation, not knowing where to go to find nature, anxiety around wilderness safety and how to react to wildlife. With our free Education Program we hope to help people overcome these barriers and allow them to personally experience the many benefits of nature. We are still developing and expanding our programming, but our focus is currently on schools, youth and new Canadians. We lead guided walks, hikes and snowshoe hikes but we also host outdoor educational experiences and give presentations inside the classroom.

Our hikes are a signature feature of our Education Program and one of the best ways to learn about nature. Each of our hikes are catered to the group based on age, knowledge and ability. We have led hikes, walks and even snowshoe hikes with people of all ages. On our hikes, we help identify trees, plant species and animal tracks. We often bring bird seed on our school hikes to feed the birds and teach students how to be quiet and calm in nature so that birds will land on their hands. Children are often apprehensive around the birds, but once one bird lands on a brave student’s hand, everyone wants to take part! Feeding birds can be a powerful way to connect to nature.

Games are another great way to demonstrate complicated biological processes like predator-prey dynamics, identifying animals and to have fun. One of the more popular games is Oh Deer! Oh Deer! This game teaches students about animal life cycles and what animals need to survive. If you would like to have your own game of Oh Deer! Please check out the rules at the bottom of this page.

CPAWS-OV is also partnered with a community health center and has focused programming for youth at risk. We have obtained specific funding to help equip these students with necessary winter gear such as hats, mitts and scarves. We have taken them on our signature hikes, gave a classroom presentation, and are planning a series of fun and engaging activities including winter survival where students learn to build fires and make shelters, and a camping trip once school ends. Many of these students have experienced many “firsts” with us including seeing deer, being in a forest and soon to be camping.

While our emphasis is on youth, we are also building programs to help bring adults closer to nature. We have connected with Algonquin College and have given presentations about CPAWS, conservation, and animal identification to new Canadians. We hope to expand our programming soon to include seniors.

If you would like to know more about our Education Program (http://cpaws-ov-vo.org/campaigns/elementary-school-programs) please contact our Conservation Biologist, head of the Education Program, Elena Kreuzberg at ekreuzberg@cpaws.org

Oh Deer!

Larger groups are best for this activity. You will separate the group into two. ¾ will be needs including food, water and shelter. The other 1/4 are the animals. Have the two groups face away from each other. Everyone on the needs side gets to pick whichever need they want to be and can start making the motion for that need. Water is putting their hands over their mouth. Food is making circular motions on their stomach, and shelter is making a roof over their head with their arms. Everyone on the animal side can pick any animal they would like and can start acting like that animal. They must choose whether they are hungry, thirsty, or in need of shelter and make the motion that corresponds.

When the group leader says go, both groups face each other and the animals try to find their need. The catch is that the animals need to work for their need, like in nature, so the needs can run away. It’s like a game of tag.  If an animal catches its need, it turns the need into an animal. If an animal doesn’t catch a need, they die and become a need. This game occurs in several rounds, each lasting 3-5 minutes. After a few rounds, you will see a fluctuation in the number of people in each group. The change for numbers in the animal group can be related to wildlife populations and survival.   

Join us for our hikes and other fun and educational events this winter!

Welcome to our very first CPAWS OV monthly Newsletter! 2017 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for CPAWS OV. On January 29 we had our very first hike of 2017 and on February 5 we hosted our first information and outreach table at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Upcoming Events:

Discovering Mud-Puppies (http://cpaws-ov-vo.org/events/discover-mud-puppies) at 7:00pm on February 24, 2017 with Dr. Fred Schueler. We will meet at the Brigadoon Restaurant in Oxford Mills so Dr. Schueler can introduce us to this unique creature before leading us outside to find some of these nocturnal animals in their natural habitat.

Sunday February 26, 2017 will be our monthly hike. This month we will hike the Jack Pine trail (http://cpaws-ov-vo.org/news/join-us-for-our-next-hike) in the National Capital Greenbelt and explore the Stony Swamp area. We will be leaving from parking lot 9 off Moodie Drive.

Snowshoe under the stars (http://cpaws-ov-vo.org/events/snowshoe-under-the-stars) on Saturday March 11, 2017. Come see the forest from an entirely different perspective and learn about our nocturnal wildlife. We will explore some interesting trails and landscapes that are usually closed to the public, followed by a campfire, hot chocolate and some little dessert treats on the top of a local mountain before heading back to the starting point. 

CPAWS OV is hosting its very first Café Scientifique on Monday March 13, 2017 at 7:00-9:00pm. Join us at the Fox and the Feather for a drink and a bite to eat as we explore and discuss science issues that are of concern to everyone. Soren Antosz will be our local expert who is currently working on the makeitarealpark.ca campaign with a discussion on Gatineau Park, its conservation and use.

To register for any of these events or for help organizing a carpool, please contact Jesse at jlever@cpaws.org.

Help CPAWS OV Grow!

CPAWS OV wants to hear your ideas! If you have an idea for an event, an outreach opportunity or you just want to get involved, please e-mail Jesse at jlever@cpaws.org.  We would love to hear from you!