Eco conference returns after four-year hiatus

An organizer of the upcoming eco conference is encouraging everyone to take stock of what’s happening around them.

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“People get so busy they don’t often take the time to look around and see what’s happening to our environment,” Bruce Hill said on a winter day when the temperature reached 10 C. “Now, more than ever, I really think we need to pay attention to the changes that are happening.

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“That’s one of the reasons we’re holding this conference, to give people an opportunity to learn more about what’s happening around them.”

Organized by the Brant Rod and Gun Club, the eco conference returns March 2. It will be the 10th conference and the first after a four-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re really pleased to be able to bring this back and we’ve got a lot great speakers line up,” Hill, who, along with conference chair Doris Myke, organized the event. “They’ll be covering a range of topics including the giant hogweed and local water ecology.”

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Admission is free and runs from 8:30 am to 4 pm at the rod and gun club, 54 Henderson Road, Brantford. The conference usually attracts between 75 to 100 people and has a capacity of 125.

Following registration, the conference will begin with welcoming remarks by Myke, rod and gun club president Jason Flinders and local elected leaders.

John Kemp will talk about his giant hogweed mitigation project followed by a coffee break and tour of the club’s fish hatchery.

A resident of St. George, Kemp started the mitigation project in 2018 to slow the spread of the noxious plants found along the banks of the Grand River. The giant hogweed is a noxious plant, an invasive species that hurts the ecosystem and is a risk to human health

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Other speakers include Greg Balch, an Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters fur harvester, and Larry Mellors, vice president of Trout Unlimited Middle Grand Chapter, speaking about local water ecology at 11:45.

Educational opportunities will be the focus after lunch featuring Garth Pottruff of Grand River Rafting, Ellie Joseph and Jay Bailey of Two Row on the Grand, Tara Carpenter of Grand River Outdoor Wilderness Education and Leanne Gauthier-Helmer of Fanshawe College in Simcoe talking about adventure expeditions and interpretive leadership. T

Other speakers include Scott Puillandre, a director of Trout Unlimited Middle Grant Chapter, who will talk about the Landon’s Creek project.

Grant Linney, a volunteer for Climate Reality Canada, will speak about how those who love the outdoors need to fight climate change.

Hill said the event will included displays from several groups including Grand River Rafting, Brantford Nature and Brant Tree Coalition. As well, participants will have a chance to tour the club’s shooting range.

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