First Nations youth camp
By Mike Small
Louie Lake given a clean bill of health for 2012 thanks to local First Nation youth!
This summer Pukaskwa hosted a camp for local First Nation youth between the ages of 11 and 15 in the Park's backcountry at Louie Lake. The camp was a joint effort between the park and the local communities of Pays Plat, Pic River, Pic Mobert and Michipicoten First Nations. The purpose was to connect local First Nation youth with their environment through outdoor experiences, activities, and cultural/traditional teachings.
The camp was not only an opportunity to educate youth about the value of protected areas, but also showed the environments vulnerability when it comes to things like invasive species. Campers learned about four potential invasive species in the area—Spiny Waterflea, European Common Reed Grass, Rusty Crayfish and Round Goby. They were taught some basics about each species; what effects they have on the environment, how they are introduced, and what we can do to prevent or fix the problem.
© Parks Canada
Armed with this information, plus some basic techniques in species identification and how to collect samples, the 12 youth were let loose to search out invasive species. The result? Louie Lake appears to be safe from invasive species, for now. In future, Pukaskwa plans to continue monitoring for invasive species as part of its long-term monitoring program.
The best way to mitigate against the deleterious impacts of invasive species is to detect and eradicate them before they become established. So if you're ever in Pukaskwa and think you see one of these species, please report it to the park right away!