The Steering Committee

The Community Nominated Priority Place project is administered by a Steering Committee. This committee ensures the overall delivery of the CNPP project and coordination with other groups, including communication and promotion of the designation and program.

Membership of the Steering Committee consists of an appointed individual from the founding applicants (Georgian Bay Biosphere, Magnetawan First Nation, Shawanaga First Nation, Georgian Bay Land Trust) and also includes Wasauksing First Nation (founding advisor).

An ex officio membership is provided to Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) the primary funder.

Steering Committee Members

Georgian Bay Biosphere

Georgian Bay Biosphere Mnidoo Gamii logo.

The Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBB) is an inclusive and dynamic organization that builds capacity for regional sustainability in eastern Georgian Bay. Established in 1998, the GBB is a non-profit registered Canadian charity governed by a Board of Directors with an administrative office located in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada.

In 2004, the Biosphere’s grassroots nomination document was accepted by UNESCO as it met strict criteria for designation as a world biosphere. Biospheres receive no funding from UNESCO nor from Canada, but rely on charitable donations, government grants and contracts to deliver our collective efforts. The GBB is a non-profit registered Canadian charity.

Sustainable communities can only be achieved by working with other groups and organizations committed to the same goals. The Biosphere’s work necessitates creating partnerships, building networks, facilitating dialogue and coordinating programs with others. The organization works with regional partners to protect the environment, create vibrant communities, and support a healthy economy by building capacity through education and culture.

The Biosphere’s goal is to help inform, educate, facilitate and provide leadership where it is needed. This is achieved by taking a balanced perspective to understand the “big picture” of activities that support conservation and sustainability in the region.

Georgian Bay Land Trust

Georgian Bay Land Trust Logo

The Georgian Bay Land Trust is a registered charity dedicated to protecting wilderness lands along eastern Georgian Bay and the North Channel, through strategic conservation planning, land securement, stewardship, research, and education. The Land Trust currently protects 64 ecologically significant properties stretching from Port Severn to the North Channel, totaling over 7,500 acres.

The Georgian Bay Land Trust’s properties protect a range of wetlands, forests, rock barrens, and islands, which provide key habitat for 50 species at risk. They also provide sites for scientific studies in collaboration with universities and fellow conservation organizations, including the Motus Wildlife Tracking System (used to study migratory birds and insects), at-risk snake and bat monitoring, and more. The Georgian Bay Land Trust’s public-access properties also provide 1400 acres of recreational opportunities for communities and host educational events for all ages.

Magnetawan First Nation

Magnetawan First Nation logo

Magnetawan First Nation is a signatory to the Framework Agreement within the Robinson Huron Treaty territory. Located in Britt, ON, the First Nation is transected by the Magnetawan River. The Department of Lands, Resources, and the Environment, works closely with both leadership and community to facilitate the development of programs, outreach, and research. The Chief & Council, Elders, and community are strong supporters of the land management, stewardship, and conservation work, as well as the approach of incorporating all knowledge systems.

Since 2012, the Department of Lands, Resources, and the Environment has been intensely monitoring populations of reptiles, amphibians, and other animal species. The collection of baseline data and land-based knowledge will help to weave all ways of knowing into management and adaptation planning. Knowledge and data collected on MFN contributes to both a land-use plan and Environmental Management Plan, which will allow the development of laws to protect species, resources, ecological systems, and traditional land uses.

The overall goal of this work is to help restore habitats, sustain species at risk, maintain traditional ways of life and resources on our territory, and enhance monitoring to create an inclusive research program. It is the Department’s hope to serve as an example of the benefits of combining western and Indigenous science, while building partnerships to ensure the sustained protection of lands and resources for seven generations and more.

Shawanaga First Nation

Shawanaga Anishinabe First Nation logo

For time in memorial, Shawanaga First Nation members have been caretakers of the land, water, and air. SFN governs its reserve Land and resources under the SFN Land Code. Consultation guidelines, Environmental Management Plan, Land Use Plan, and Shawanaga Landing Master Plan, have all been developed and plans are in place to develop an environmental protection and law regime.

SFN operates a walleye hatchery, initiated because of community concern after a decline in the walleye population. Community harvesting guidelines were introduced to support the population and ensure sustainable future harvesting. Work is underway to expand the hatchery.

A Species at Risk Program was established to foster an environment where the community can co-exist with species at risk using a two-eyed seeing approach. A significant part of this project includes increasing community education and participation on species programs, as well as mitigation and monitoring.

One component of the Species at Risk Program is the Lake Sturgeon Project, a partner project with the Georgian Bay Biosphere. After observing a knowledge gap around declining populations of lake sturgeon, an endangered and culturally significant species, this project is led by traditional and community knowledge to complement and aid monitoring of sturgeon.

SFN is working to create an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area on Shawanaga Island. The island is within the Traditional Territory of SFN and is home to culturally significant species. The project aims to balance responsible use of the land and protection of Shawanaga Island for the next seven generations for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Wasauksing First Nation

Wasauksing First Nation logo

Wasauksing First Nation, Parry Island Indian Reserve #16, is located on Georgian Bay in Lake Huron, adjacent to the Town of Parry Sound, Ontario. It is surrounded on all sides by water and is accessed from the mainland via a year-round one lane swing bridge. 

The Lands and Natural Resources Office, under the Public Works Department, is responsible for the overall daily operations and management of WFN’s lands and natural resources, through the planning, organizing, directing, implementing, and evaluating of the Land Code and the Community Development Plan.

WFN has a profound connection with the akii (lands) rooted in respect for the spiritual value of the Earth and the gifts of the Creator. WFN has a deep desire to preserve our relationship with the akii and maintain the balance of life seven generations into the future. In order to uphold this responsibility, WFN must be an equal partner in the control and management of the Island.

The main goal of WFN’s is to carefully balance the conservation, restoration, and sustainable development of WFN’s lands and natural resources, in keeping with traditional values and beliefs (Anishinaabe Way of Life) for the benefit of citizenship and future generations.

The mission is to oversee the application of the Land Use Plan, and to develop and implement appropriate by-laws, rules, and regulations regarding the development of lands and resources on Wasauksing First Nation, so as to maintain this relationship with the land and kinaa eh gwuk sii yung (all that surrounds us).