Nature Conservancy of Canada and Village of Dorchester representatives attend Delaware Bay shorebird festivals
Staff from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Village of Dorchester Mayor JJ Bear and Councillor Wayne Feindel attended popular shorebird festivals in Delaware Bay, USA, last weekend to learn how to blend conservation and tourism.
Delaware Bay is where shorebirds such as the endangered red knot stop to feed on their spring migration to the Canadian arctic. The red knot and other shorebirds, such as the semipalmated sandpiper, later stop in the Bay of Fundy on their return migration south.
Both Delaware Bay and the Bay of Fundy are Sites of Hemispheric Importance in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN), an international conservation organization.
While in the US, NCC New Brunswick staff Denise Roy and Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier met with representatives of The Wetlands Institute, WHSRN and the town administrator of Middle Township, New Jersey. The goal of the trip was to find ways to enhance the visitor experience at NCC’s Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre and at the annual Dorchester Sandpiper Festival.
“We saw some great examples of conservation-based tourism at the Wetland Institute Spring Shorebird and Horseshoe Crab Festival and at the DuPont Nature Centre’s Peace, Love and Horseshoe Crab Festival. Organizers are engaging visitors of all ages in hands on, interactive programs that are not only educational, they are fun,” said Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier, manager of NCC’s Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Interpretive Centre. “These are examples of the kinds of activities we can do here in New Brunswick, where we have a front-row seat to one of the most remarkable spectacles of migration in the world.”
Every summer, with a peak period in August, tens of thousands of semipalmated sandpipers and other migratory birds stop to rest and feed at NCC’s Johnson’s Mills reserve and locations around the Bay of Fundy on their long journey from the Canadian Arctic to South America. Many of these shorebirds are facing population declines due to threats such as climate change and habitat loss. Festivals celebrating shorebirds are increasingly seen as important to raising awareness of their plight and developing conservation solutions.
NCC staff were able to attend the Delaware Bay festivals thanks to funding from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, a tri-national organization through which the governments of Canada, Mexico and the United States collaborate on the protection, conservation and enhancement of North America’s environment.
The group spent four days in the United States as part of planning for the Dorchester Sandpiper Festival and the 30th anniversary of the Bay of Fundy Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped protect 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares), coast to coast. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has conserved more than 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares) in Atlantic Canada.
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