We live in an age of social media, mass communications and cell phones buzzing with content 24 hours a day. The Land Between is attempting to bring landowners, hunters, loggers, hikers, anyone who has a love for and stake in the land they live, work, or play in to get together in person to talk about what is happening to the land around us.
Knowledge Circles are being held this month in four locations in the region covered by The Land Between, a charitable organisation devoted to the well-being of a large region of Eastern Ontario that is located in between the rich farmland of the St. Lawrence Basin and the granite of the Canadian Shield. (see below) Knowledge Circle events are being held over the next few weeks. Events are being held in Buckhorn, Gravenhurst, Madoc (November 4) and Verona (October 28) all during the time between the end of gardening season and the beginning of deer hunting season this year.
“It has become clear that governments do not have the capacity or the inclination to look at what is on the ground, on the local landscape, in order to protect what is there and to deal with the effects of climate change on the habitat that people live and work on every day. The idea behind the Knowledge Circles is for the people who have the knowledge to get together and share information with each other,” said Leora Berman of the Land Between.
The Saturday events run from 10 – 4. The Land Between is an organisation that is 50% controlled by First Nations peoples, and has developed a partnership with the Curve Lake First Nation, and the Knowledge Circle events will be facilitated by Berman and Shane Taylor from Curve Lake. The day will include an opportunity to record insights from participants and a lot of time for discussion.
“The people who work with the land know our land intimately. They’ve seen the numbers of animals on roads, animals hatched, and those harvested. They have witnessed changes to our soil, water, and wildlife habitats that are causing big problems for everyone living on the land. To find solutions to these problems, let’s call on our most experienced allies: farmers, hunters, anglers, loggers, beekeepers, gardeners, kayakers, and hikers” said Berman.
Berman said that after the first circle, which was held in Gravenhurst last weekend, “there was amazing feedback. People were grateful to have a forum to share their concerns, and new contacts and friendships were made.”
(When traveling throughout Ontario, you will encounter large known ecosystems such as the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Canadian Shield and further north, the Boreal Forest. But what lies between these areas? An “ecotone” is an area of transition containing elements from the ecosystems it borders, but also having features that are entirely unique.
The Land Between is a complex ecotone, between the Canadian Shield and St. Lawrence Lowlands, and is characterised by low relief exposed granite to the north side and “stepping stones” of limestone plain along the south side. Small and connected lakes and wetlands between these dry open ridges and patches of cool shaded forest are the patterns of this unique natural system.
The physical character of The Land Between, as an ecotone, is shaped by fundamental transitions in: Geology; physiography; climate; and elevation. Therefore The Land Between is located in a unique plant hardiness zone; has its own growing degree days; has its own amount of frost free days, has the highest mineral diversity in Ontario; the highest percentage of shoreline to area than anywhere in the province; and the only rock barrens in Ontario. Generally the landscape has less than 15cm of soil cover. The lack of soils, together with the abundance of connected fresh water, and the starker climate make this landscape easy to damage. Pollution and disruption here is far reaching and long lasting.
Ecotones are also areas of high biodiversity. Biodiversity results from the number of food web interactions: Higher biodiversity means more species are interacting within the food web. High biodiversity is important for healthy and functioning ecosystems. Higher biodiversity translates into more capacity to withstand climate change and to maintain ecosystem functions, and therefore greater wellbeing for people - source thelandbetween.ca/geography)