Credit: Valerie Courtois, Canadian Boreal Initiative
If you’re a regular returner to this blog you are likely aware that while we support bird conservation in almost every instance, our particular focus and passion is the preservation of Canada’s boreal forest. This (we think) is for good reason: the boreal is one of the world’s largest and most important breeding grounds for migratory birds. Between 3 to 5 billion migrants–from raptors and waterfowl to shorebirds and songbirds–flood south out of the boreal every fall to find suitable wintering habitat. This winter habitat may be anywhere from the United States down to the southern part of South America.
But birds aren’t the only ones who live in the boreal or benefit from its protection. Mammals of all sorts of shapes and sizes call the boreal home, including bear (brown and black), moose, caribou, beaver, wolf and wolverine. There are abundant populations of freshwater fish and, somewhat infamously, lots of insects. It’s also home to more than 600 Aboriginal communities who have lived off the land for thousands of years.
Because the majority of Canada’s boreal is rural and far to the north, it can be difficult for many to visit. So whenever we get the opportunity to hear from people who reside or spend significant time in the boreal, we should listen.
That’s exactly what the Small Change Fund, a Canadian grassroots networking organization, wants us to do. They recently featured the boreal as one of their special campaigns. As part of this, they featured a special “Voices of the Boreal” teleconference with four distinguished and amazing guests to share their stories about the boreal and their work to better protect it. They also feature a special Action in the Boreal section where you can find ways to donate to or help individual causes within the boreal.
The four special guests of the teleconference are:
- Ginger Gibson, Small Change Fund Advisor and Director of the Firelight Research Group (specializes in Aboriginal issues and mining)
- Valerie Courtois, Small Change Fund Advisor and Aboriginal Advisor for the Canadian Boreal Initiative (specializes in Aboriginal land resource management)
- Justina Ray, Small Change Fund Advisor and Director of Wildlife Conservation Society Canada (specializes in forest ecology and carnivores)
- Stephen Chapman, Land Use Planning Coordinator for Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (specializes in Aboriginal land use planning)