Little Stories

SPRINGWATER VESPRA LIONS

Using funds raised through their annual Duck Race, the Springwater Vespra Lions Club presented a cheque to the Seasons Centre for Grieving Children. Duck Race proceeds this year also went to support the Barrie Literacy Council and the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation. In the picture from left to right are Lion Ken Ground, Lion Ian Ashton, Courtney McFadden from the Seasons Centre and Lion Al Mills.

 

Black History Month

January 31, 2020 - Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement in celebration of Black History Month:

"Tomorrow marks the beginning of Black History Month. This is a time to honour the legacy of all Ontarians of African descent, past and present, and their remarkable contributions to our province's history, culture, and social fabric.

We join the African and Caribbean community across the province in remembering and recognizing the many achievements of Ontario's Black leaders. Their accomplishments are inspiring the next generation of young Black leaders to help shape a prosperous and thriving future for Ontario.

Black History Month also offers us an opportunity to heal wounds and shine a light on the injustices committed against the Black community. Racism and intolerance have no place in Ontario. Our strength as a province comes from our diversity and inclusiveness, and we will continue to build an Ontario free of discrimination and hate. From leaders in business, athletics, the arts and research to trailblazers in public service like Lincoln Alexander and Addie Aylestock, their tireless work on anti-racism has broken down barriers for all visible minorities.

I encourage everyone to participate in the many events celebrating Black History Month in their communities across the province and learn more about the incredible contributions made by Ontarians and Canadians of African descent — because Black history is our history."

 

Georgian Village celebrates opening of Village Market

Midhurst/February 18, 2020 – Georgian Village, 101 Thompsons Road, Penetanguishene, the County’s Long Term Care and Seniors Services facility located in Penetanguishene in partnership with the Karma Project, is excited to celebrate the grand opening of the Village Market on February 26, 2020 at 11 a.m.

The Village Market aims to close the good food gap by increasing the distribution of and access to fresh, healthy and affordable food for vulnerable populations by offering an affordable market at Georgian Village. This project has received funding support from the County of Simcoe’s Social and Community Investment Fund and aligns with the Karma Project’s mission to foster and promote an inclusive, diverse, sustainable, and community-owned local food system through education, co-operation, leadership and creativity.

The Village Market will be open to the public on the last Wednesday of each month, with the exception of September and December, and will begin with fresh fruits and vegetables. For more information on the Village Market, follow @thekarmaprojectinc on Facebook or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 705-506-8899.

 

Provincial Fair Convention

Several members of the Flos Agricultural Society, as well as our Ambassador Rori Valender, attended the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies (O.A.A.S.) annual Convention in Richmond Hill.

More than 1100 delegates from across the province, representing over 220 Fairs, gathered to learn from each other about ways to make each of our Fairs better & more enticing to our Communities. Seminars and panel discussions on such topics as bio-security, retention of Volunteers, regulatory matters, and youth involvement were well attended. A Trade Show allowed everyone to be able to connect with over 50 different entertainers, and vendors of various fair-related products all in one location.

Our Ambassador, Rori, took part in a dedicated program with over 70 Fair Ambassadors. Leadership and personal development seminars were part of the program. Provincial Director Linda Murray and Elmvale Fair’s Matt Garwood were both quite involved in this event.

Elmvale Fair was honored to have 2 of its local exhibitors win District Competitions, which made them eligible to compete at the provincial level. Janelle Lambie’s hand-quilted quilt and Rachael Lange’s butter tarts were entered in the Provincial Competition, against the winners of the other 14 Districts across Ontario. Julie Parnell’s entries in the Provincial Photography Competition brought home prize money in 5 categories. CONGRATULATIONS to all of our valued exhibitors.

Plans are already underway for the 160th edition of the Elmvale Fall Fair, Thanksgiving week-end 2020.

 

Family Day at the YMCA

YMCA celebrated Family Day with free activities across Simcoe/Muskoka

Barrie, Ontario – February 13, 2020 – In celebration of Family Day, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka celebrated by opening its doors to the community on Monday, February 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This FREE open house featured various activities for the whole family in seven YMCA locations across Simcoe/Muskoka.

“The Y is the perfect place to spend Family Day! Whether you’re looking to spend time with toddlers, teens, grandparents or friends, it’s a great opportunity to unplug, celebrate good health and wellbeing, and connect with friends and neighbours,” says Karen Pulla, Vice President, Health, Fitness and Aquatics, YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka.

Activity highlights for each YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka location included:

The Barrie YMCA featured a fun-filled day of arts and crafts, wheelchair basketball, open gym and swim, family ‘Swim to Survive’ program and a lifesaving sport demonstration.

The Collingwood YMCA ran exciting programs throughout the day including family swim, family basketball, and open gym!

Family Day at the Gravenhurst YMCA started with a pancake breakfast! People spent the day at the Y enjoying activities such as family volleyball, family basketball, parent & tot play, family swim and a Magic Show for the whole family to enjoy!

The Innisfil YMCA invited you and your family for a free community gym and swim and an opportunity to take part in a family ‘Swim to Survive’ program.

The Midland YMCA family fun included family gym and swim and a kids craft zone!

The Orillia YMCA’s schedule was packed with exciting family programs for all ages including open swim and gym, family Bootcamp, family Pickleball, family Cardio, family Stretch and more! They had a  scavenger hunt, crafts and boards games for kids of all ages!

The Wasaga Beach YMCA was excited to participate once again in Snowman Mania, where families enjoyed a fun-filled day of activities for parents and children of all ages!

YMCA Family Day activities were FREE and open to everyone in the community

About the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka

The YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is a charity dedicated to building healthy communities.  We are committed to nurturing the potential of children, youth and families, promoting healthy living and fostering social responsibility within the community. We serve 1 in 5 people throughout Simcoe County and District of Parry Sound and Muskoka. In keeping with our commitment to inclusiveness and accessibility, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka offers financial assistance to those unable to afford program fees, including thousands of children and youth who experience YMCA camps and programs each year. For more information, please visit www.ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca

 

Minesing Central Public School

It has been a busy start to 2020 here at Minesing Central. We have celebrated Family Literacy Day, participated in 100 Day activities, grooved with Groove Fit, watched a Barrie Colts game and drained threes during basketball intramurals. 

We also had our 9th annual school-wide Winter Carnival last week and everyone had a blast! Students from all grades bundled up in their warmest clothes and participated in several outdoor activities. Gladiator, the obstacle course, the relay races and snow soccer were some of our favourites. It was nice to see students of all ages working together in teams and enjoying the winter weather. Thank you to our student leaders and French teachers for organizing this fun event.

In January, the Social Action team helped educate our school about ending the stigma related to mental health and illness. The Bell Let’s Talk initiative raises awareness about these issues and offers support to people who need help in this area. They challenged us as a school to stay mentally healthy through participating in physical activities like yoga and to speak up for mental health.

Our whole school also got the opportunity to participate in Rocks and Rings. This is a program that introduces the sport of curling to students without being on the ice. We learned the rules of curling and got to use indoor curling equipment to play games and relays in the gym. Thank you to Curling Canada for this unique experience.

Students in grades 4-7 have been busy for the past few weeks preparing their TED Talks. These presentations encourage students to communicate to others how they would change the world for the better. We had the school wide competition as well and a wide range of topics were presented, such as Poverty, Teamwork, Education, Pollution and Kindness, just to name a few. The students spoke passionately about the issues we face today and presented some engaging information and world-changing ideas. We were challenged to make the world a better place to live for everyone. Well done, Minesing!

Max L. and Connor L. - Minesing students

 

The Springwater Libraries

Musical Wednesdays

Come out for some musical fun with this informal group of players/singers.  Bring your instrument on Wednesdays at Midhurst Branch.  The first Wednesday of the month from 2pm-4pm all other Wednesdays 1:30pm-3:30pm.  Suggested donation of $2 per session.  This is a drop in program with no registration required.

Mom/Daughter Craft Club

Sign up early for this popular and fun monthly crafting night. This month’s theme is BYO Teeshirt and socks.  Thursday February 20, 6pm-7pm at Midhurst Branch.  Cost $5 per participant per craft.

Author Talk: Vanishing Barns

Cathy Walton is with us to chat about her book on Vanishing Barns in Springwater Township through pictures and stories from our local farming families.  Friday February 21, 3pm at Midhurst Branch.  Light refreshments will be served.  Registration required.

Alzheimer Society Dementia Program

This program is centered around the topic of “Building Communities for People Living with Dementia”.  Thursday February 27, 1pm-2:30pm at Midhurst Branch.  Cost: FREE.  To register please contact the Alzheimer Society at (705) 722-1066.

Volunteer Income Tax Program

Book your appointment and file your individual taxes up to $30,000, two person or family taxes up to $40,000.  Appointments will be held on Thursdays 1pm-4:30pm and Saturdays 10:15am-3pm.  Our first date for appointments is Thursday February 27.  For more information please see our website.

Aromatherapy Bracelet Class

Traci MacCabe is here to help you make your own bracelet with lava beads, stones and an essential oil.  Adults and tweens welcome.  Thursday March 3, 6:30pm Midhurst Branch.  Cost $15 for the first bracelet, $10 for a second bracelet.  Registration required.

Candy Sushi for Adults

Have a blast with your friends making a plate of candy sushi.  Tuesday March 10, 6pm at Elmvale Branch.  Cost $5.  Registration required.

March Break Programs

It’s a shmorgasboard of fun at your library this March Break so be sure to register for those programs you won’t want to miss!

Monday March 16: Lego WeDo - Register for your session at Midhurst Branch (parent participation required) Session 1: 1:15pm-2pm or Session 2: 2:30pm-3:15pm.  Cost Free.  Shamrock Suncatcher drop in craft at Elmvale Branch, 2pm.  Cost Free.

Tuesday March 17: EarlyON at Elmvale Branch 9am-4pm.  Lego Building Challenge at Elmvale Branch 10:30am-12noon drop in.  “Snowday” at the Midhurst Branch!  We’ve got a shredded paper room for all ages to enjoy with no mess in your own home!  First come first serve for 30 min time slots 11am-6pm.  Shamrock Suncatcher drop in craft at Minesing Branch, 2pm.  Cost Free.

Wednesday March 18 Make your own Placemat at Midhurst Branch from 11am-12noon or 2pm-3pm, registration required.  Cost Free.  Frozen 2 Movie Matinee at Elmvale Branch, 1pm Cost $3 for popcorn and a bottle of water.  DIY Monster Bookmarks at Minesing Branch, 2pm-4pm, drop in.  Cost Free.

Thursday March 19 EarlyON at Elmvale Branch 9am-4pm.  Bumbling Bert and his Magic Show at Minesing Branch, 2pm.  Be sure to come early to save your seat!

Friday March 20 EarlyON at Midhurst Branch 9am-12noon.  Storytime at Elmvale Branch 10:30am with Kaitlyn!  Popcorn Day at Midhurst Branch 11am-1pm for a snack, a game and a poppin’ craft!  Lego WeDo - Register for your session at Elmvale Branch (parent participation required) Session 1: 1:15pm-2pm or Session 2: 2:30pm-3:15pm.  Cost Free. 

Seniors Travel Log: The Magic of Africa

Jennifer Anaka will share her stories and pictures of her trips to Africa including Cape Vinelands Region, Kruger National Park, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls.  Monday March 23, 2pm at Elmvale Branch.  Registration required.

 

This year, Food Freedom Day in Canada was on February 8.

Food Freedom Day, which was coined and calculated by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), marks the date the average Canadian will have earned enough income to pay for their grocery bill for the entire year.

It takes 39 days for the average Canadian to earn enough money to pay for their food for the year.

CFA calculates Food Freedom Day by taking Canadians’ total expenditure on food and beverages and dividing it by the total Canadian household disposable income to create a percentage. CFA then determines what this percentage of the year is, by day. In 2019, Canadians spent 10.9% of their disposable income on food and beverages, which equates to 39 days, or February 8th.

Food Freedom Day also serves as an annual reminder that as Canadians we are fortunate to have access to an abundance of fresh, healthy, safe and affordable food choices.

Ontario’s farmers are leaders in innovation and adaptation. This is evidenced not only in the way we embrace technology, but also the farm practices we use to ensure that we are competitive, sustainable and profitable – not just for 2020, but for the future generations that farm after us.

Many Ontario farmers have invested significantly in environmental stewardship initiatives to mitigate the impact of climate change, that also provide positive long-term benefits to our water, soil and air quality. Conservation tillage, using cover crops in rotations and planting wind breaks are activities that the farming community has largely embraced. These actions demonstrate our ongoing commitment to not only improving soil health but also to sequester carbon to help address climate change concerns.

The Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) is working to ensure farmers and the agri-food industry are recognized, and fairly compensated for their work to mitigate the effects of climate change. On-farm stewardship activities have been generating carbon offsets for many years. OFA is particularly focused on raising awareness throughout the industry and all levels of government about the positive contributions agriculture makes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Current carbon pricing policies are intended to provide economic disincentives to carbon emitters to encourage a reduction in their emissions, but little is being done to compensate those who already follow practices to sequester carbon and reduce emissions. Because there are currently no replacements for fossil fuels for agricultural production, the current carbon tax system cannot drive conservation efforts on farms, it serves only to reduce already thin farm margins. OFA along with our provincial counterparts will continue to advocate with provincial and federal governments to ensure farmers are fairly compensated and incentivized for driving necessary environmental enhancements to address climate change.

Adoption of precision agriculture tools across the industry have helped to manage water resources in cropping systems, and result in the most accurate, efficient use of fertilizers and crop inputs in our history. While Ontario farmers have embraced the adoption of farm practices to improve the environment and reduce the impact of climate change, there are areas where we can do more. Precision agriculture tools offer some of the latest, most advanced technology for field crops and livestock management systems, but we shouldn’t let the adoption rate be limited by the availability and reliability of broadband and cellular coverage in rural Ontario. Reliable, affordable broadband access to rural and remote areas of Ontario, is critical to enable more farmers to incorporate these environmental benefits to their everyday practices.

Tree planting, planting wind breaks and proper woodlot management are also environmental practices farmers use to improve our environment, air, water and soil conditions. Many Ontario farms have woodlots that, when managed properly, can offer significant environmental benefits. These benefits include carbon sequestration, reduced soil erosion and watershed and wildlife habitat protection. As part of our pre-budget submission, OFA has asked the provincial government to expand the current Farm Forestry Exemption provisions within the Assessment Act to incentivize more farmers to retain and manage their on-farm woodlots.

OFA continues to advocate for the positive role agriculture has in addressing climate change and recognition of the contribution farmers are making to mitigate environmental impacts. We’re fortunate to have a leading voice at the decision table with government. OFA President Keith Currie was appointed to the Ontario Advisory Panel on Climate Change in November 2019 and is one of 10 members of the group. Keith’s role on the panel will ensure agriculture is part of every conversation and decision, and most importantly, acknowledged for our ongoing role in managing climate change.

 

Elmvale and District

Lions Club News    

At our meeting of February 12 we were pleased to receive our District Governor, Lion Jamie Jones. Lion Jamie brought us news on happenings within Lionism in our district and indeed, worldwide.

2020 represents the 100th anniversary of the first Lions Clubs in Canada. As such, individual Clubs are encouraged to celebrate this significant milestone with a goal to plant 100,000 trees. We will be fleshing out our plan to share in this initiative.

By way of a membership update, we were made aware that Lion membership ranks now constitute 33% females. This is a significant advancement in Lions goal to be totally gender and cultural diverse across our worldwide membership.

Lions are the largest member organization in the world.

Each year the Governor has a project for which he/she attempts to heighten awareness and raise funds. We were pleased to present Governor Lion Jamie with a cheque for $1500 which will go toward his goal to raise $28,000 for accessibility ramps for four cabins at Camp Ooch. Camp Ooch is a privately funded charity that brings laughter and joy to kids affected by childhood cancer, providing Community In-hospital and overnight camp programs

Also during his visit, District Lion Jamie, honoured and presented Lion Fred Eros with a Reflections Award. Lion Fred was recognized because he truly leads by example and inspires others by living the Lion’s Motto “We Serve”. Congratulations to Lion Fred!

Submitted by Lion Rick Webster

 

Hillsdale Highlights  Alissa Shanahan

  • Reminder of Open Air Burn: There have been numerous times over the past few weeks where I have been driving home through a fog of smoke, so I thought I would remind Hillsdale-ites of the open air burning that is still happening.  Western Mechanical are removing trees and having open air burns on their property at 2145 Flos Road 4 East from now until March 31st (where they have to stop due to Migratory Bird Regulations). Please be advised that if you see or smell smoke in this area, that it is a controlled burn.
  • Sidewalk Litter: As I walk around the neighbourhood, I am very thankful for the Township crew who are doing a great job at keeping our sidewalks cleared and sanded during this odd “winter of extremes” (as it seems). My kids and I have been noticing, however, that many people are not bringing their Barrie Advance newspapers inside, and the sidewalk plow is churning them up, leaving lots of litter along sidewalks. This is a gentle reminder to please bring your paper in as it is easier to pick up and move now, than when it’s in a million little pieces.
  • Community Rink: Once again, our community rink is up and running! Thank you so much to the volunteers who make this happen; it is truly appreciated! While the rink is open seven days a week, please remember that we do have skating only times (as in, no hockey).  They are 5:00-7:00pm every Monday-Friday, and from 2:00-4:00pm on Saturdays, Sundays, and Statutory holidays. A sign with these hours is posted as a friendly reminder.  Please remind your children of these hours so that everyone can utilize the rink (that is, it is not JUST a hockey rink). 
  • Hillsdale Community Recreation Association (CRA): The Hillsdale CRA meets the fourth Wednesday of each month at the hall at 7:00pm, and the next meeting will be Wednesday, February 26th.  Come out to have your input heard about our community, and get involved as much (or as little!) as you wish!

The “Hillsdale Highlights” is a community news update, so please feel free to contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any information you would like the community to know about! Follow the official Hillsdale Community Recreation Association on Facebook for details about upcoming events and social gatherings at “Hillsdale Community Group.”

 

Wyevale News

Happy birthday wishes go out to Hillary Hall, Grace Caston, Maddalena Beleskey, Freddy Pantrey, Connor Smith, Robert Hall, Logan Moreau, Grace Handy, Heather Ashworth, Mark Marcellus and Deanna Woods.

Bid euchre is on Friday afternoons at 1 p.m. in the church basement. Adults $2.50 with a light lunch & prizes. Winners from February 7th were: 1st Kitty Burnett, 2nd Roslyn Maurice, 3rd Lois Bertram. Winners from February 14th were: 1st Evelyn Minty, 2nd Pat Boyle, 3rd Ed Hammett. All welcome.

On Tuesday February 25th there will be a pancake supper at the church from 5-7 p.m. Adults $5 and children are free. Tickets at the door. All are welcome.

Youth Group – Children Grades 2-6 – meet every other Friday. Next meeting is Friday February 21st at the church.

The Congregation of St. John’s Anglican Church 242 Darby Rd. Waverley extend an invitation to all to join them at 10 a.m. on February 26, Ash Wednesday.

March 1st is the First Sunday in Lent. First Friday in March is Women’s World Day of Prayer. March 8th is International Women’s Day. The Craft Corner at Wyevale Untied Church has been postponed until Fall.

MacMillan Order Forms are now available at the church or from any member. All orders are due in by March 29th and will be delivered by April 7th.

Anyone with news items for the paper, please call me and leave a message at 705.527.5274.

 

ANTEN MILLS NEWS  by Dennis Gannon 

 Three major events occurred this past weekend and we hope that you participated and enjoyed them.

First was Valentine’s Day when roses, chocolates and delicious meals were purchased, enjoyed and consumed.

Then on February 15, we celebrated the National Flag of Canada Day. 55 years ago the flag we carry and display with pride at our homes and businesses, on our luggage and vehicles was adopted. A quick look around our community and you can see that many homes share the pride of being Canadian and display our national flag with honour.

On Monday it was Family Day, a statutory holiday that was proclaimed in 2007 and came into effect the following February.

Hopefully you were able to celebrate all 3 of these important days with the ones you care about. 

Spring officially comes on March 19 this year at 11:50 PM so the official season of winter is winding down. It won’t be too long before the ground gets bare and the days much longer. In fact by the end of this month, we have gained almost 3 minutes of daylight each day. Daylight Savings Time is March 8 this year and many will be looking forward to seeing longer days along with some warmth.

There is not much to report on this week so from the “A History of Vespra Township” book and other knowledge, some interesting facts about our community.

The older or original section of Anten Mills has some thought provoking and perhaps unique names. The homes were built in two subdivisions, that being the Scott subdivision and the Glen and Irene Wagner subdivision.  The tract of land where our homes are built was a Pinery. Described as a picturesque area, with lovely pines where children loved to play and it was an ideal location for picnics. 

The property was owned by Lawrence Scott who operated the general store at the top of the hill along Horseshoe Valley Road. Leo McLaughlin who was the postmaster and operated the post office at the bottom of Horseshoe Valley Road purchased the property in April of 1950. 

In 1952 the first lot was sold and the first house of the Scott subdivision was built at what is now 14 Lawrence Avenue. Conceivably 4 families have lived at that location in the almost 70 years, the longest being Stella and Percy Muir. The street names of Lawrence and Luella came from the Scott family and Lawrence Scott is also remembered for donating the property on which the Anten Mills Community Park is located. 

Lawrence Scott also sold property to Glen and Irene Wagner. The Wagner’s amassed 36 acres from various owners for which 47 lots, 3 underdeveloped blocks and their residence was planned.

The street name of McLaughlin comes from the first purchaser of the property James McLaughlin who paid the handsome some of $42.17 back in 1897. Ghibb is the first initials of Glenn, Heather, Irene, Brad and Brenda Wagner.  The book, A History of Vespra Township is really a great compilation of stories of our community and is still available from the township office.

For those who enjoy playing euchre, a reminder that every Thursday night the game begins at 7 PM at the community centre and all are welcome.

There is no Community Recreation Committee meeting in February and the next meeting is on March 13. 

Please feel free to send your announcements and news to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.​. 

 

Teen Angels Provide Survival Backpacks to Homeless

Mary Nason, left and Mara Pettit, right, from Angels with Backpacks collect backpacks filled by students from GBDSS

Students from Georgian Bay District Secondary School helped to fill nine survival backpacks with supplies for local homeless during the cold winter months. The packs are filled with hats, mitts, clothing, toiletries, and snacks. Various classes in the school volunteered to help fill a backpack and then the students raised another $700 to finish purchasing the needed supplies. The backpacks are then given to the Angels with Backpacks organization and delivered by Street Outreach to those in need on the streets this winter.

Tim Jenkinson,   Teacher GBDSS

 

Grass Carp lurk where politics muddies the waters  By Kate Harries Springwater News

There’s a chance that one of the greatest threats to the health of the Great Lakes can be turned back, the Wasaga Beach Men's Probus Club heard last week. 

But progress towards stopping a  Grass Carp invasion has been hard-fought  and tortuous, said Mary Muter, chair of the Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation, displaying photographs of the huge fish being held proudly aloft by U.S. anglers.

“The Americans love these fish because they (the Americans) have wiped out so many of their native fishery, they think these are fun to catch,” she told club members at their monthly meeting. 

Muter does not consider the Grass Carp an interesting sport fish, because they don’t move, they just get reeled in as dead weight. But the payoff comes with the boost to the ego, when the angler hoists the 50-pound monster for a photo op - after which it has served its purpose and is released back into the water.

The Grass Carp is one of four species of Asian carp the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed to be introduced in the 1970s to control algae in aquatic farms on the Mississippi River. Voracious and invasive, they can lay waste to all the plants in a wetland, eliminating native fish species habitat.

In 2018 Muter attended a Toronto meeting of the International Association for Great Lakes Research. One of only two Canadians at the $1,000 registration event, she was “appalled” to discover that staff from the Ohio and Michigan departments of natural resources and Michigan State University were doing “research” into the Grass Carp - catching the fish, equipping them with tracking devices and releasing them back into Lake Erie.

Grass Carp are now reproducing in two of the lake’s tributary rivers, the Sandusky and Maumee, and can be found in Lake Erie but are not believed to be “established,” only “present” there.

The researchers tracked the fish they released to the northwest corner of Lake Erie, but admitted that they were unable to find about a third of their subjects and assumed they had died.

“That’s unacceptable,”Muter said. “I said, you have no grounds to assume that they have died. Many of them may also have swum up into Lake Huron.”

And in fact, the following year, in 2019, nine Grass Carp were found for the first time in Lake Huron. 

Muter was outraged at the role played by the state and university scientists who - instead of working to stop the menace, were studying it. And getting well paid to do so.

The battle lines were drawn.

“Our organization went to the wall on this,” Muter said. 

“It was not easy,” she explained, because Michigan State University was getting $1 million from Washington for this research and was sharing the money among other agencies, including the US Fish and Wildlife service.

Georgian Bay Great Lakes Foundation launched a petition calling on the US EPA and the states of Ohio and Michigan to undertake a full-scale eradication program.

Muter reached out for support in her campaign to a number of organizations and agencies. One of the first she turned to was the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. They refused to become  involved. “They said, oh we have to be careful, we can’t say anything because Ohio and Michigan DNR, those are our partners on the south side of the Great Lakes.”

She also got in touch with another “big Ontario organization that gets a lot of money from the provincial government and I said, are you people going to speak out on this?” She was told the organization would have to talk to their partners, US Fish and Wildlife. Some days later, she was told the organization would not be pressing for meaningful action on the Grass Carp threat.

Contacted after the meeting, Muter declined to name the organization.

Last fall, Muter went to a State of Lake Huron conference in Saginaw, Michigan, and spoke out there, saying, “we want an eradication program. we want it to begin now, we want this research to end.”

Unknown to her, while she was speaking, a US congressman walked into the conference. Dan Kildee, a Democrat from Michigan, spoke after her, to announce that the House and the Senate had just approved $1 million to eradicate Grass Carp from the Great Lakes.

“I was so happy to hear that.”

When she went to thank him, Kildee told her that years earlier, he had biked from Sarnia to Tobermory. “He said, you have a beautiful country, you’ve got pristine water, pristine wetlands you’ve still got a native fishery…. If I was a Canadian and I was here at a meeting like this, I would be standing up at the front saying, what the hell are you Americans doing? Why don’t you get rid of these fish?”

The $1 million appropriation will go to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, a bi-national organization with appointees from the US and Canada, which is preparing now for how it will reverse the Grass Carp invasion this summer. 

In an interview, Muter said she feels there’s a chance the invader can be eradicated from the Great Lakes “if they do it aggressively.” This is the first in a two-part series on the Great Lakes. Next issue: The fundamental unfairness of discharges from Lake Superior. 

 

Indulge in a sweet treat on National Cupcake Day to help animals in need

National Cupcake Day is upon us again and you’re invited to sprinkle the love for animals in need.

The Ontario SPCA Midland & District Animal Centre will be transformed into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory on Monday, Feb. 24, with mountains of cupcakes to go along with the river of chocolate and gumballs. Willy will be there with one of the Oompa Loompas to introduce animals available for adoption!

This fundraising initiative by the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has raised over $3.5 million since it started in 2012 for the animals in need across Canada. 

You can also host your own Cupcake Day party by registering at nationalcupcakeday.ca. Simply supply some delicious treats and then invite your co-workers, friends, family or neighbours to attend your party in exchange for a donation to the Midland & District Animal Centre. Parties can be held anywhere, and on any day in February.

For more information about National Cupcake Day and how you can get involved, visit nationalcupcakeday.ca.