Please join us in celebrating Mother Earth! The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) Environment Program is hosting our fifth annual World Wetlands Day event in the heart of Akwesasne’s wetlands, Snye (Tsi Snaihne).

We are extending a special invitation to our friends and partners, as well as the public from both sides of the Kaniatarowanenneh (St. Lawrence River) to join in on this fun-filled, family-friendly, educational event. We wish to share knowledge and to connect with the community through various informational booths and activities that focus on the health of the River, the importance of her wetlands, and our roles and responsibilities within the ecosystem. It is time to put the ‘We’ back in ‘Wetlands’ by re-establishing our relationship with the environment, and by becoming caretakers and advocates for the protection and enhancement of wetlands.

World Wetlands Day is dedicated to honouring the importance of wetlands worldwide. Wetlands are often equated with a wasteland; a place to be drained, filled in, burnt off and re-purposed, and yet, wetlands are vital for human survival. Wetlands are among the Earth’s most productive and biodiverse environments, which support the survival of countless plant and animal species. Sadly, close to 70 percent of Canada’s wetlands have been badly degraded or disappeared since 1900.

Here, the mighty Kaniatarowanenneh runs through every part of our daily lives and wetlands are an important part of the river ecosystem. Event Coordinator and MCA-Environment Program’s Fish and Wildlife Technician, Jacey Hall says, “World Wetlands Day promises to be lots of fun for the entire family and will include lots of hands on activities for all ages.”  

Abraham Francis, Environmental Science Officer with the MCA-Environment Program says, “The River and her wetlands are the history and heart of Akwesasronon.”

With this in mind, presentations and interactive exhibits from the MCA Environment Program and their partners will focus on a variety of river-related topics, including some of the many species of fish and wildlife that live in and along her shores and within wetlands. Special guests include the River Institute, the Eastern Ontario Water Festival, Thousand Islands National Park, the Great River Network, and Seaway Valley Divers. We are hoping to host the “Paddling Puppeteer”, Glen Caradus from Peterborough again this year, as well as a snowshoe walk lead by Iakwa’shatste Youth Fitness and Thompson Island Cultural Camp. There will be free food, giveaways, and door prizes.

The River Institute is also pleased to be just one of the many groups joining with the MCA Environment Program for this free event.  “We all have a common interest in the health of the St. Lawrence and how wetlands affect our watershed. Wetlands influence the health of our environment and, in turn, each one of us and our families,” says River Institute Executive Director, Dr. Jeff Ridal. “We are grateful to the MCA-Environment Program for this opportunity to share in this message and look forward to participating in this fifth annual World Wetlands Day event.”