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Watershed workshop promotes awareness

Workshop - Beth Lorimer, left, and Jan Sherman offered a Reconciliation in the Watershed workshop on Oct. 28 in Puslinch.  Photo by Jaime Myslik

Watershed workshop promotes awareness

by Jaime Myslik

CRIEFF - A recent workshop in Puslinch took on the topic of local watershed education.

The Oct. 28 workshop, entitled “Reconciliation in the Watershed,” was hosted by Kairos Canada at Crieff Hills Retreat and Conference Centre in Puslinch.     

“The workshop is ... introducing people, if they don’t already know, to their watershed,” said Kairos ecological justice program coordinator Beth Lorimer.

“Getting a better understanding of where they live within an ecosystem and not just a city or a town, that they live within this bigger system that’s supporting life, like the water and all the natural elements and the people that live in that area.”

The event also featured representatives talking about issues in the local watershed.

“It could be resource extraction, it could be overuse, depletion of the water table, various things that could kind of impact on the health of the water and the health of ... living things in the watershed,” Lorimer said.

In addition to talking about water, the ecosystem and land, Lorimer said the conversation would be centred around indigenous rights and reconciliation.

“Have an understanding of (they’re) the first peoples in the watershed and the sharing of the knowledge that they were the first protectors of the watershed and continue to take a leadership role in advocating for the health of water,” Lorimer said.

“So, it’s kind of bringing all of those pieces together.”

Jan Sherman, an Anishinaave culture keeper, story teller, drummer and singer, was on hand to help facilitate the workshop.

“I’ve been asked if I would do a welcome and a small water ceremony to help ground people, bring spirit, heart, body and mind together for the experiences they’re going to have today,” she said

“And then at the end of the day they’ve asked if I would facilitate a sharing circle so people can debrief a little bit about what they’ve heard.

“My intention is to get them to share one thing that they’re going to do immediately to help make a healthy change for the water.”  

Similar workshops have taken place in Nova Scotia, London and Regina.

“We’re kind of moving around and going where we feel there’s a need for the conversation and people are interested in coming together to talk about it,” Lorimer said.

The workshop included discussions, group work activities, presentations about local issues, meditation and reflection on what was learned throughout the day.

Lorimer said each location seems to have its own unique issues.

“There’s seems to be threads kind of running through them and that seems to be a willingness that talking about water and talking about the natural environment seems like a really nice way to work through issues of reconciliation,” she said.

“Kind of brings us back to some basics of understanding the history of the land across Canada and across Turtle Island, like North America.

“And just having a better understanding of where we live, how that impacts our relationships with others and then kind of seeing how that plays out in terms of how we care for the environment and water.”

Sherman explained water is vital and doesn’t belong to anyone.

“It’s here for all of us and we have to really start thinking carefully about the choices that we’re making with our water as far as looking at it as a commodity or resource,” she said.

“It’s not a resource in the way that I understand it. It’s a living entity and it needs to be respected and taken care of.”

She said it’s important to remember that the human body is 70% water.

“We’re not just doing this for ourselves while we’re on this Earth,” she said.

“I think of seven generations of children coming after you ... they’re going to need fire, water, earth and air as well.”

 

November 10, 2017

 
 

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