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Indigenous Perspectives on Biodiversity Offsetting: Trent Hosts Important Environmental Conference

By Trent University staff
Trent University Daily News
October 28, 2016

Delegates from First Nations communities across the province, and representatives from government, industry, and environmental organizations gathered recently at Trent for a conference focused on exploring the challenges and opportunities in biodiversity offsetting.

“Trent’s beautiful campus was an ideal backdrop to the discussions,” explains Dr. Dan Longboat, director of the IESS program at Trent. “Camp Kawartha’s Environment Centre provided an environmentally conscious venue for the event and local food providers offered local, sustainable meals for conference participants. We wanted to ensure our event had the smallest environmental footprint possible and hosting at Trent University made this possible.”

Trent University’s unique Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences (IESS) program collaborated with Fleming College, Ontario Nature, Plenty Canada, and Walpole Island Land Trust to host the two-day conference which provided time and space for participants to network and share knowledge, while enjoying the unique Trent campus. Following the first day, a Traditional Feast was hosted in the Gathering Space in Gzowski College with the evening ending in the tipi where participants sat around the fire and told stories. Participants rekindled old relationships and built new ones as they engaged in dialogue on how to best protect biodiversity in Ontario.

Biodiversity loss is a serious environmental issue impacting First Nations’ ability to practice traditional activities like gathering food, medicine and materials for cultural activities. Participants agreed that the event provided much needed time to learn more about the work other First Nations have been doing in protecting biodiversity as well as hearing from government representatives about their priorities in protecting biodiversity across the province.