Reflecting on water’s power in the last weeks of summer

Sara Carter writes about why she loves the water of Georgian Bay. Sara is a volunteer for the Communications Committee for Georgian Bay Forever. To share your passion about the water of Georgian Bay and inspire others, please contact communications at heather.sargeant@gbf.org.
Remarkably, it's the last week of the summer and we've been thinking and talking a lot about water the last few days. Maybe it's because of the images of hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods it left in its wake in Texas but it seems like we've never been more aware of the sheer power water can wield over just about everything and everyone.

Water Power

In stark contrast to the clamouring, murky flood waters in Houston, our beloved water of Georgian Bay has, this week, taken on even more beauty, if possible. We find ourselves even more grateful for its clear, crystal blue and turquoise colours, its gentle lapping at the rocks as we fall asleep. The fresh, invigorating feeling of jumping in on a hot afternoon and the glass-like reflection on still, silent nights. Like many late August days, the last week has taken on a haze of melancholy as we prepare to leave our peaceful island to return to city life.

Sunset Georgian Bay

As always at this time of the year, we reflect on what we've done and learned and I marvel at how the boys have grown and changed in this enriching environment. A few weeks ago, we traveled to the historic Ojibway Island to see the Aquabot, a mobile van brought over on a barge filled with aquatic animals and brought over on a barge that travelled across Canada this summer from the Vancouver Aquarium.

Learning at aquarium

The boys enjoyed touching sea urchins and starfish but what really captured their attention was the volunteers telling them about whale teeth and turtle shells and showing them the devastating effects of plastic in our waters. A photo of a deceased bird, its open stomach full of various pieces of household plastic, horrified them and all of us adults, too. "No more plastic bottles at the cottage!" they cried and who can argue with that?

Manitoulin Georgian Bay

This past week, I took them to Manitoulin Island for a camping trip and while visiting Bridal Veil waterfall, my youngest ventured a little too close, right under the falling water. I called for him to come back but before I could scold him realized he was proudly holding up two empty water bottles. "I had to get these out of the water, Mom!" he replied.

While fishing with their cousins, one of the boys had an usual catch--a piece of discarded wood covered in quagga mussels. "Cool!" they thought, until I explained what they were and how they threatened the other creatures in the water and their habitats. How can we get rid of them, they asked. "Shall we catch them all on our lines?" Not an easy feat, I explained.

One way to help protect The Bay, is to understand where these creatures are, and how they are impacting the ecosystem. Georgian Bay Forever is working with the University of Guelph to catalogue all the aquatic creatures in Georgian Bay, including invasives like quagga mussels, so that it will be easy for scientists to see how fast they are multiplying and how eating the food of native species' impacts and impairs the food chain. Once completed, this information can be used to better understand the impact of invasives and how to limit their proliferation.

As we balanced the realities of keeping our water safe and clean, we realized that the small things we do can make a difference, especially when everyone adopts the responsibility of guarding the Bay. But we also need the help of scientists, specialists, and organizations like Georgian Bay Forever, to protect the most important and beloved part of our experience --- the water of the Bay.

Guardians of the Bay

You love Georgian Bay, so do we! Georgian Bay Forever is a charity that works to protect the water of Georgian Bay. Please help us protect The Bay, by donating today at this online link.

To learn more about what we do to protect the water, please visit our 2016 annual report, or read more about us at www.gbf.org.

Related Info Links:

  • GBF is building an aquatic library with DNA Barcoding. Learn more.
  • What you can do to stop invasive species. Info from Invasive Species week.
  • Quagga mussels. More info .
  • Microplastic pollution. More info .
  • Intro to Sara Carter and how she came to love Georgian Bay.