A successful St. John River Summit!
The inaugural St. John River Summit was held on June 21st and 22nd at the Hazen Park Centre, on the banks of the river in Oromocto. As part of the WWF Living Rivers Initiative on the St. John River, the event brought together members of the community to learn, discuss, share and experience the river.
The Summit included a number of unique components: a trade fair that highlighted some of the good work being undertaken by a variety of organizations and agencies throughout the watershed; presentations which provided context and background; an open forum discussion where participants were invited to share stories that connect them and one another to the river; and participants got to experience the river in a canoe or kayak.
The presentations on the natural and cultural features, the science, and an update on the Living Rivers Initiative from the summit are worth looking at. The presentations and the information they contain contribute to our collective understanding of the river and help to inform the discussion about a healthy river.
A number of people who participated in the open forum discussion identified the need for improved dialogue and connections within and along the St. John River. This is supported by the Social-Ecological Inventory project that was undertaken by Brock University. The study identifies who is doing what and where as it relates to river health and provides a snapshot of the social network of the actors involved in the St. John River system.
We are co-hosting community gatherings with the Maliseet Nation Conservation Council in the Maliseet communities along the Wolastoq over the coming weeks. Keep an eye on the MNCC website for further details. This introduction to the project is an opportunity to engage the Maliseet and surrounding communities in a dialogue about our connections with the river and its overall health as we work towards an action plan for the St. John River. All events are open to the general public. I look forward to seeing you at one of the stops along the river.