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 a popular shorebird festival in Delaware Bay, U.S., last weekend. The festival was an opportunity to learn how to integrate 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 migration south.
Both Delaware Bay and the Bay of Fundy are Sites of Hemispheric Importance under the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) WHSRN is an international conservation organization.
NCC staff Denise Roy and Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier also met with staff from The Wetlands Institute, WHSRN and the town administrator of Middle Township, New Jersey. The goal of the trip was to find ways to enhance visitors’ experiences at NCC’s Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Reserve and Interpretive Centre, as well as 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 the DuPont Nature Centre’s Peace, Love and Horseshoe Crab Festival,” said Kerry Lee Morris-Cormier, who manages NCC’s Johnson’s Mills reserve. “Organizers are engaging visitors of all ages in hands-on, interactive programs that are educational and fun. These are examples of what 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 arrive to rest and feed at NCC’s Johnson’s Mills reserve. They stop here, and at locations around the Bay of Fundy, while on their long migration 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 important ways to raise awareness of the birds’ plight and the need for conservation.
NCC staff attended the Delaware Bay festivals thanks to funding from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Under this tri-national organization, 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.
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