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Monitoring the impacts of climate change with Brunswick House First Nation

Monitoring the impacts of climate change with Brunswick House First Nation

  • 4 min read

Beth Wright, Water First’s Communications Assistant, reflects on her trip to Chapleau as part of a climate monitoring and training project for the Mountbatten Reserve.

The Brunswick House First Nation (BHFN) Lands and Resources Department was seeking information on the impacts of climate change after the community noticed changes to their lands and waters over the last few decades. In June 2022, Water First partnered with BHFN to create a climate monitoring plan for the Mountbatten Reserve to track those impacts. My colleagues Cory Savage and Tanya Sackaney from our Environmental and Indigenous Schools Water Programs began the project by identifying six survey sites on six different lakes in Mountbatten and providing hands-on training to a three-intern team of young Indigenous adults from BHFN.

That first trip in June laid the foundation for the project. The team placed monitoring devices called water loggers into the lakes to track water level changes over the summer, and the team of interns — Santana, Paradise and Shawn — dedicated two months to sampling those waters to better understand and prevent the effects of climate change.

While I did not attend this first trip, I would be in Brunswick House a little over two months later to help facilitate a communication and data analysis workshop when Water First returned for the second part of the program. 

The purpose of the second trip in late August was to organize the data collected by the interns and prepare a presentation for the BHFN community based on their findings. Cory guided the interns through the process of downloading and graphing data from the water loggers and assisted in reviewing the results to identify potential causes and action plans. Throughout the week-long visit, we also shot videos of the interns speaking about the work being done. Later, we would edit the footage into an opening video for the community presentation. 

At the end of the week, Santana, the lead intern on the project, gave an exceptional presentation. She described the different tests the team had performed and shared the results of those tests to a room full of eager BHFN residents. The community reception was overwhelmingly positive. I heard so many thoughtful questions and responses to the work from a community that is passionate about the preservation of their waterways. After the opening video I even heard a woman behind me whisper to someone, “It could almost make you cry the work these kids put into this.” It was an extremely proud moment for the entire Mountbatten climate monitoring team.

While I did not attend this first trip, I would be in Brunswick House a little over two months later to help facilitate a communication and data analysis workshop when Water First returned for the second part of the program. 

The purpose of the second trip in late August was to organize the data collected by the interns, and prepare a presentation for the BHFN community based on their findings. Cory guided the interns through the process of downloading and graphing data from the water loggers, and assisted in reviewing the results to identify potential causes and action plans. Throughout the week-long visit, we also shot videos of the interns speaking about the work being done. Later, we would edit the footage into an opening video for the community presentation. 

At the end of the week, Santana, the lead intern on the project, gave an exceptional presentation. She described the different tests the team had performed and shared the results of those tests to a room full of eager BHFN residents. The community reception was overwhelmingly positive. I heard so many thoughtful questions and responses to the work from a community that is passionate about the preservation of their waterways. After the opening video I even heard a woman behind me whisper to someone, “It could almost make you cry the work these kids put into this.” It was an extremely proud moment for the entire Mountbatten climate monitoring team.