CBRA’s Fall 2023 National Gathering

What does it mean to operate as a biosphere region (BR)? How do these independent organizations contribute to a national network? To answer these questions, the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) brought together representatives from 17 Canadian BRs, as well as staff from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), for its 2023 Fall National Gathering.

Organized by CBRA in partnership with the Charlevoix Biosphere Region team, the meeting took place between November 2nd and 5th 2023 in the scenic Baie-Saint-Paul (QC). CBRA extends a huge thank you to Julie Campeau and her Charlevoix BR team for the local hosting support. The event brought over 30 people together, with each BR contributing their own stories, challenges, and ideas on how to improve CBRA’s work.

The event’s main objective was to delve into in-depth conversations to review CBRA’s governance framework, foster peer-to-peer learning exchanges, provide opportunities for networking, and identify ways to showcase the BRs at the national level. Communications, regional collaboration, pathways to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and CBRA’s impact on the network were also among the discussed topics.

“The National Gathering serves as an opportunity for the network of 19 biosphere regions to come together for peer-to-peer learning, networking, time on the land, and seeing first-hand how our host, in this case the Charlevoix Biosphere Region, operates in their local context. There was a lot of knowledge transferred, lessons learned and laughs shared. We discussed the many scales within CBRA – local, regional, and national – as well as the many themes involved in being a biosphere region,” said Kate Potter, CBRA’s Executive Director.

Participants left inspired and reinvigorated, carrying the resolve to make a meaningful impact through their contributions, both locally and to the national network.

A day to discover Charlevoix

Closing the gathering, participants were invited to a field trip to two of Charlevoix’s natural wonders: the Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie National Park and the Port-au-Saumon Ecological Centre, where they learned more about the region and the biodiversity conservations initiatives taking place there. The group also visited the Charlevoix Astrobleme Observatory to learn about the geological formation of the area, derived from the impact of a meteorite over 400 million years ago.

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A photo of boats at Alma Warf in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Region.