The March monthly speaker was Louise Gratton who came with 35 years experience working in ecology and conservation, including 12 as Science Director of Nature Conservancy Canada, Quebec region. She has worked with federal and provincial agencies, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, promoters, and landowners across Quebec. Louise is a founding member and acting secretary of the Appalachian Corridor and has been on the board of Two Countries, One Forest from its inception. Both organizations focus on the protection and sustainable development of the Northern Appalachians ecosystems. Her talk was described in advance publicity as follows:
The Northern Appalachians are one of the most intact temperate broadleaf forests in the world. However, well-established farms, increased second-home development, and new roads threaten to fragment this extraordinary region into a series of disconnected ecological islands. In 2008, Wildlands Network, Two Countries One Forest, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations identified a set of landscape linkages that are essential for regional-scale movement of wildlife and to maintain ecological processes between large blocks of habitat. A network of partners was convened to share information and mobilize action in those linkages. Two of these critical linkages are found in Quebec: The Northern Green Mountains and the Three Borders. Conserving and restoring connectivity is a challenging undertaking, but according to scientists it is the best way to mitigate the impacts of habitat fragmentation on wildlife populations and biodiversity.
Naturally, BPQ thanked her for her interesting presentation – we were delighted to receive the following reply:
It was a great evening with a wonderful audience. I could see the interest and spark in their eyes. A huge change from when I present to municipal councils, industry or other stakeholders when, although there is always sympathetic individuals in the group I feel I can focus on, I mostly get disinterested stares, annoyance if not obvious resentment. I still do it, for there may be just one person in the audience that may be a future ally for conservation.