Science writer Loren Eiseley once said “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”. In a purely scientific light, water means life for all living things. That’s pretty magical on its own, but for many, the emotional connection to our water bodies is a spectacle in itself.
Across Canada, and across the planet, we experience meaningful connections with the lakes, rivers, and oceans that surround us, and many of us spend time and effort protecting them. At Environmental Defence, we’ve been working hard to safeguard Canada’s freshwater; including protecting the health of Lake Erie from harmful algae blooms.
Lake Erie provides so much – drinking water, ecological services, economic and recreational opportunity – but it also has a deeper emotional connection to many, which is harder to represent in stats and figures That’s why, last year, we helped to launch the first ever #WeAreLakeErie day on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to create a space where people can share their own personal connection.
Last year, on August 28th, we heard from people across the country on why they love Lake Erie, and what the lake means to them. We were so inspired that this year, in honour of #WeAreLakeErie Day, we’re excited to share a few of our own stories for you to enjoy! I hope to see you do the same on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter on August 28th.
As the Blue Flag Program Manager, I have had the privilege to visit many parts of the Canadian Lake Erie shoreline and I have seen some beautiful places as a result. From our Blue Flag beaches (Port Stanley, Port Glasgow and Port Burwell), to our certified marina (Colchester Harbour), I’ve seen communities coming together to steward their shoreline and manage them to the highest environmental standard. Ashley, the Water Program Manager at Environmental Defence has spent countless hours protecting Lake Erie as part of our Freshwater Program, but has also spent many in a wetsuit, surfing at Crystal Beach. But it’s not just the water-folks at Environmental Defence that love Lake Erie! Below are a few stories from our staff, from many different departments, who are celebrating #WeAreLakeErie day.
“I was born in Port Colborne, Ontario and grew up a short drive away from Lake Erie. Some of my earliest childhood memories include swimming at Lake Erie’s beaches. My dad would take us to Nickel Beach or Skerkston Shores on summer afternoons when we were kids. As a teenager, Long Beach, near Wainfleet was always the place to be. I have spent countless summer days and nights at the beach; swimming, playing volleyball and connecting with friends. Lake Erie will always have a special place in my heart, and this year my family returned to our roots to spend a family cottage weekend near South Cayuga, this time with a new addition – my niece Sloane’s first trip to Lake Erie.” – Patrick DeRochie, Climate & Energy Program Manager.
I remember going to Port Dover back in 2010 with my family (which means around 20 people!). We drove from Hamilton early in the morning to beat the crowds and grab a spot on the beach. After hours of splashing – and being splashed by – my cousins and laying on the sand, we explored the town. We ate fried perch and chips, roamed the shops and just had some great family bonding time! It’s a memory that will never be forgotten.
“As a kid, I remember visiting towns along the Lake Erie shoreline, either to get ice cream and explore or to go camping at the provincial parks. I loved exploring the shores and swimming at the Lake’s many beaches. Now, I get to have even more experiences with my daughter; camping and exploring Lake Erie. Sharing these moments with her has been wonderful and I look forward to creating more memories on Lake Erie in the future.” – Casie McGonegal, Executive Assistant
“I love the North Shore of Lake Erie because of its unique landscape and ecology. Unlike Lake Ontario with its mega cities, towns and suburbs, Lake Erie’s human settlements are speckled along the shore so lightly that they provide hopscotch destinations on a road trip. Each is unique but none will overwhelm you. Overall the feeling hearkens to what much of Ontario would have been like when most of us lived in rural areas: quieter, greener and slower. Lake Erie especially stands out ecologically and, despite a century and a half of agriculture, nature still creates abundance here. A multitude of plant and animal species, most seen nowhere else in Canada, explode from every woodlot, coastal marsh and creek valley. The richness of plant smells hangs in the thick summer air and cicadas and tree frogs make you want to find a hammock on a wide front port and nap the weekend away, by the water.” – Tim Gray, Executive Director
As you can see from the heartfelt stories above, team members from all of our issue areas and departments have their love for Lake Erie in common. On #WeAreLakeErie day, join us and share your story. Together we can amplify the message that Lake Erie is important and worth protecting for generations to come.
Want to do more to support the lake we love? Sign the petition to ask the Ontario Government to act to reduce harmful algae blooms.