Recently, I worked with Parks Canada to promote their speaker’s bureau and work that they are doing. Several members of Parks Canada were in New Orleans last week to attend the George Wright Society biennial conference.
While we weren’t able to garner as much publicity as we would have liked, one of the speakers bureau members – Denyse Lajeunesse – spoke at Tom Sherry’s Conservation Biology class in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University about Canada’s parks, bio-diversity and species at risk. (They have a Dr. Darwin there even!!)
I learned a lot I didn’t know about Canada’s parks including that camping is on the decline, in part, because many new Canadians come from backgrounds where living in tents may have been part of an unhappy experience, rather than the fun experience it was for me as a child. We used to camp across the country when younger, and then set up a tent in my parents backyard for fun.
I also learned a lot about species at risk, and the success Canada is having rebuilding populations of endangered animals.
There was also a Parks Canada booth set-up to provide information about the work that is being done.
2011 is the 100th anniversary of Parks Canada. So there was also cake presented by the President of the George Wright Society board. Parks Canada is the oldest national park service in the world!! Go team Canada!!
The CEO of Parks Canada and the US National Parks Service spoke at a plenary on the future of parks. Both spoke about some amazingly innovative programs that are taking place across both countries to draw attention to both the wildlife aspects of parks and historic sites (which fall under the purview of parks). In New Orleans for example, Jean Lafitte park includes the Wildlife Preserve in Lafitte, the French Quarter and the Chalmette Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815, where for some reason the US thinks it won the War of 1812.
I also took Parks Canada folks on tours of the areas hardest hit by Katrina. They were able to see firsthand some of the devastation that continues here, as well as the impact of environmental degradation in Bayou Bienvenue.