This past October, Water First collaborated with Matachewan First Nation to deliver a series of educational workshops at the local school and a tree-planting field trip in the community.
Students in the Indigenous program at Kirkland Lake District Composite school joined those from the First Nation to plant pine and cedar seedlings in a community garden, as well as a cedar hedge on the shore of Turtle Lake to reduce erosion into the water. Before the kids began their tree-planting, an Elder performed a smudging ceremony and gave a short teaching about the history of the area’s local plants and vegetation.
Water First has worked previously with Matachewan First Nation to restore a traditional walleye spawning shoal in Beaver Lake. After the shoal was successfully rebuilt, signs were installed to both acknowledge the funding for the project as well as to provide facts about walleye, how to tell if a fish is male or female, and the impact of over fishing during spawning time. Leveraging the opportunity created by the fish facts sign, the community created an educational walking trail nearby with signs providing information about the boreal forest and native plants & animals.