Occupy Winter & World Snow Day activities in Riding Mountain

Occupy Winter – Jan. 19 & 20, 2013  Occupy Winter- Moon Lake Poster

Join other Canadians and celebrate Occupy Winter – We ♥ Our Fourth Season all across Canada January 19 and 20, 2013. At Riding Mountain National Park, there will be events. PLEASE NOTE: You can CLICK on and download all of the posters on this post at larger size.

LEARN MORE: Interview with Celes Davar about Occupy Winter.

  • January 19, 12:00 Noon   all afternoon at Moon Lake in Riding Mountain National Park
  • January 19, 7:00 PM (Wasagaming picnic shelter behind the Visitor Centre): A special potluck supper and night snowshoe out to Clear Lake to experience the night sky and stars of Riding Mountain’s dark skies with Buzz Crowston. SPECIAL TREAT: Grandview singer-songwriter and Home Routes performer/host Kayla Luky will be on hand to sing a new song dedicated to Occupy Winter.Occupy Winter Evening Program poster
  • January 20, 10 AM – A snowshoe adventure at Mt. Agassiz. Meet at Agassiz Park Lodge, McCreary
  •  January 20, 11 AM – all afternoon. World Snow Day, Wasagaming (Clear Lake) at the Friends of Riding Mountain Learning Centre.

Over 4,000 Canadians have either joined or been invited to take part in Occupy Winter (Facebook Event), and more than 900 people have signed a national petition requesting Parks Canada’s CEO Alan Latourelle and the Minister of the Environment Peter Kent to please consult with Canadians and restore winter services in all national parks. Winter services (the four

th season) were eliminated from Parks Canada operations as a result of the last federal budget.

Occupy Winter is an opportunity to request Parks Canada to:

  1. Reverse the policy shift (2012) that created most national parks as three-season national parks, rather than four season.
  2. Consult Canadians about what we would like to see for winter services at each national park.
  3. Understand and recognize that winter is a distinct season and part of our national identity. We celebrate winter as community, families, and travelers. And, we do that in our national parks.

What can you do?

  • Sign the national petition to Parks Canada CEO Alan Latourelle and Environment Minister Peter Kent – SIGN THE PETITION to Restore Winter Services and Four Seasons to all national parks.
  • Ask your MP to represent a formal petition from your community to the House of Commons requesting Parks Canada to rescind the three seasons designation.

World Snow Day at WasagamingWhat are the Issues?

Radio Interview (CDKM, Dauphin) with Manitoba’s Celes Davar (who operates who explains what Occupy Winter is about and why Parks Canada’s decisions to shift national parks to three seasons affects us all. This is not good decision-making on the part of Parks Canada.

The following are important aspects of this policy shift that we are asking Parks Canada to specifically assess and take action on:

  1. Parks Canada has created a policy shift, without consultation with Canadians, that is not consistent with how Canadians use and value our national parks in winter. Recommendation: Reverse the decision to establish three season national parks. Establish a consultative process with Canadians across the country and with local stakeholders to determine how best to re-establish winter services in each national park.
  2. Canada is a country that is distinctly northern, has snow, and has a rich and long tradition of cross-country skiing, watching wildlife, snowshoeing, and various winter events and activities in our national parks throughout the winter months. Recommendation: That we use this distinct geographic and market positioning as part of how we promote the Fourth Season (winter) as a time for healthy exercise and lifestyle, winter tourism, appreciation of Canada’s nature and wildness in winter, and active community celebrations of our national parks in winter. The benefits will include new revenues, new marketing opportunities, and a sustainable educational program.
  3. Our national parks are iconic Canadian places for healthy outdoor activity including self-propelled forms of winter activity and recreation (skiing, snowshoeing, skijoring). Recommendation: Establish a core level of park staff and associated operating funds to create, deliver and market winter recreational services, education, interpretation, and winter science and environmental monitoring. Invite this core group of park staff to collaborate with local community tourism businesses and organizations to explore unique ways that each national park can partner to create and deliver these services with community partners. Empower each park manager to establish appropriate funding and staff for developing collaborative strategies with external partners.
  1. Our annual park admission fees include access to trails, facilities, and winter services that Parks Canada has been providing to us. Access to these winter services was included within the calculation of admission fees to each national park for which each park user pays. Recommendation: Continue to include the costs to provide winter services within park admission fees. Additional revenues in winter should be used to help offset budgetary deficits.
  2. It is very important to recognize that winter visitors are very different from summer park visitors. They are people who love winter sports, skiing, snowshoeing, or wildlife viewing. They are some of the strongest supporters of our national parks, and include urban enthusiasts, as well as many residents from surrounding communities next to national parks who frequent winter trails. They advocate for each national park. Winter visitors come in smaller numbers and they come for very different experiences than summer visitors. Recommendation: Because winter offers Parks Canada a different opportunity to market winter as a distinct season, collect revenues, acknowledge local supporters and advocates, and partner with local tourism businesses to offer “the quintessential winter experience in Canada”, include winter as a distinct season of programming and activities for all national parks.

Response requested:

We ask that the CEO for Parks Canada Alan Latourelle, each national park Superintendent, and the Minister of Environment respond to the above petition and the five actions we have identified in consultation with Canadians. We ask that this consultation and revised decision-making be conducted before June 1, 2013, and that Parks Canada communicate their decisions publicly.

Spring returns to Riding Mountain

As we turn the corner to Canada’s traditional “May long weekend”, we are finally experiencing spring. Warm temperatures in excess of +20C are bringing smiles to people’s faces. My wife is in the garden planting potatoes. And, me..well, I am out taking photographs of local wildlife, identifying birds, and being alert to new species moving through. Here is a short video about wildlife and birds that you might see in the spring, around Riding Mountain National Park. You’ll see some neat footage of buffleheads, Canada lynx, and spruce grouse.

Moving forward in the war against climate change

Every once in a while,

I see something that really inspires me and makes me want to share it with as many people as possible. With the failure of any kind of comprehensive climate change agreements in Copenhagen last December, many of us were looking for what the next steps could possibly be to address climate change, given the failure of governments.

I have come to the realization that any substantive responses to global climate change are going to come from ordinary citizens, local communities, and the leadership of visionary businesses. Political leaders are driven by political imperatives that are at odds with the time-table for climate change.

In this short, animated film, you will see some inspiring history and solutions for our next steps within which we will be participating in a new low carbon economy. View this and be inspired.

Three practical things emerge for me, from this film:

  1. It’s up to us – not governments, to lead in the war against climate change.
  2. Technology offers us new ways to collaborate and share solutions.
  3. We have the technology and the solutions – we can create the change. Let’s just do it!

My Experience With Nature

Blue-winged teal Riding Mountain National Park

Blue-winged teal swims in marsh pothole

My name is Amanda Walker and I am from Minnedosa Collegiate in Manitoba (Canada) spending the day learning about Earth Rhythms for a Career Preparation course with my school. Today, I had the pleasure to view the nature  and wonderful sights of Riding Mountain National Park. I spent the day with Earth Rhythms president, Celes Davar. This afternoon Celes took me on a wild adventure as we toured the wonderful park, and on our way we were gifted by seeing many of Manitoba’s wildlife citizens. We saw many birds such as “Ring-necked ducks”, “Green-Winged Teals”, “Great Blue Herons”, and Canada Geese, a sight for everyone to enjoy.

Canada goose on nest_Riding Mountain National Park

Female Canada goose hides on nest

Our day made me understand a lot more about nature and appreciate all that beauty Manitoba has to offer. For example, we viewed many of the ponds that surround the park and took time to discover the wildlife among them. I realize that even on a cloudy day in April, Manitoba still has so much to show for itself and that shouldn’t be taken for-granted by anyone; especially those who are honored to live here.

I realized that you can return here many times, seeing wildlife in new places and under different lighting conditions. For example, the evening light on a white-tailed deer feeding in early spring is a site that is quite common within the park.

-By Amanda Walker, Minnedosa Collegiate

Valdy-A smile, many songs, and a whole lotta wisdom

Valdy Home Routes House Concert, Onanole, ManitobaValdy skated into Onanole, stayed a night, delighted 48 odd fans, went for a walk, and blew out the next morning to Ashern, where 58 fans were delighted.  As Tim Cameron, the Ashern Host on this Home Routes House Concert Yellow circuit shared with me recently, “this man should get the Order of Canada“. I agree.

When we sat down over our morning coffee before he departed for Ashern, Valdy had a few really neat things to share…He speaks of his red shoes, continuity, and traditions and why “top down” won’t work. He has, through his travels, seen the seasons changing, lands changing under human hands, and honestly addresses some of our collective deficiencies in ways that are thoughtful and full of caring. He gives us his many years of experiences as a performer, and as a craftsman … Music has power in the hands of such a man.

I hope you enjoy this wonderful interview with our Canadian bard.

Rarely do you find a troubadour whose songwriting skills, mastery of the political sphere, sheer talent in musicality, and self-effacing manner come together into songs that you can’t help singing.

For almost two hours, we sang, laughed, and were treated to songs that took us into the heart of the most human of situations – from “That’s An Odd Way to Do Things” about the police working east side Vancouver to help the down-trodden, to his classic “Yes I Can”, or the delightful tribute to the very ordinary people on our planet “Stars”, this man can tell stories like very few others. In doing so, you feel like you are a canoe that’s being portaged…somewhat handled, definitely not dropped, and moving through a country-side that is full of quintessential Canada.

The business advantage – acting on Climate Change

We’ll bring you quick snaps and video and other tips as the next few weeks of Climate negotiations at COP15 with more than 90 countries from around the world begin to grapple with setting emissions targets, setting up a global fund for mitigating climate change impacts, and many other global actions.

Here is a good video that brings the vision of corporate executives and game-changers to the fore. Businesses that change their operating policies to mitigate climate change and reduce their carbon footprints will also be the beneficiaries of a major economic fortunes.

Folk history with Cara Luft

It is one thing to entertain. It is another to educate. But, when a good songwriter and musician bring a sharp focus to both entertain and educate, you are in for a treat. Cara Luft did just that last night at her Home Routes House Concert in Onanole, Manitoba. Having been raised in a home in Calgary, where folk-singing was part of the family repertoire, Cara was exposed to traditional British folk-songs, the songs of family friend James Keelaghan (who has since moved to Winnipeg, and won Juno), and many other styles and genres of music. Her guitar playing and songwriting started at an early age.

Cara Luft Performs at Home Routes House Concert in Onanole

Just before Cara left for Ashern, Manitoba, another stop on her Home Routes house circuit this November (2009), I asked Cara to respond to a few questions about her artistic performance last night with about 35 people present for a Friday night in Onanole. I am sure that you’ll be delighted with some of her reflections in her interview below.  Enjoy!

West End Cultural Centre Canada’s greenest music venue

Main concert venue at WECC

Main concert venue at WECC

What does that mean – Canada’s greenest music venue ?  Since when does responsible environmental policy meet the music industry in terms of venues, infrastructure and building operations?

Does this mean that the building is painted green on the outside, or that a smart approach integrating sound business management with sound environmental policy has been achieved?

Listen to the artistic director of Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre as he weaves a fascinating story – Dominic Lloyd Interview about this west end cultural facility and its connection to community, its restoration as a viable and relevant community performing arts venue (particularly music), and the innovative use of environmentally sound management practices that have reduced its carbon footprint.  This is leading edge stuff.  Someone nominate them for an award – they are going after LEED Silver in Canada as a performing arts venue.

Small concert venue at WECC - seen through re-used glass windows

Small concert venue at WECC - seen through re-used glass windows

Thanks Dominic – I’m looking forward to hearing Harry Manx at the West End Cultural Centre on October 27.  Tickets are available through the Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store.  You’ll notice that I said that the Harry Manx concert is through the Winnipeg Folk Festival, but the performance is at the West End Cultural Centre.   This is part of their revenue strategy.  There are two concert spaces (one large, one small)

Diseased elm processed and used as flooring in the restored West End Cultural Centre

Diseased elm processed and used as flooring in the restored West End Cultural Centre

that are available for rent for a variety of community and public events.   Creating spaces for community that are culturally relevant, smart examples of business operations, and wonderfully rich in artistic diversity.  Great to see!

Fascinating NASA time lapse video of cryosphere

NASA has recently updated parts of their time lapse satellite tour of the earth’s cryosphere, using state of the art computer animation.  Below is an excerpt from their press release…

“The term cryosphere refers collectively to the portions of the earth where water is in solid form, including snow cover, floating ice, glaciers, ice caps, ice sheets, seasonally frozen ground and perennially frozen ground (permafrost), according to the NSIDC.

The Tour of the Cryosphere 2009″ combines satellite imagery and state-of-the-art computer animation software to create a fact-filled and visually stunning tour that shows viewers the icy reaches of Antarctica, the glacier-pocked regions along the Andes Mountains, the winter snows of the American West, the drifting expanse of polar sea ice, and the shrinking Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland.”