Connect and Protect – Guelph, Ontario

by | Oct 17, 2022 | Connect & Protect | 0 comments

Connect and Protect – Guelph, Ontario
By Sara Jose – SWAT Crew Member

On September 24th, 2022, Trout Unlimited Canada, in partnership with Brown Girl Outdoor World (BGOW) hosted the final event of a three-part program located within southern Ontario. Titled Connect & Protect, the goal of this program is to provide space for Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities, and allies to connect with and protect nature, in a space where these communities are otherwise underrepresented.

Convening at Marden Park located in Guelph, Ontario. The morning began with learning about the importance of protecting our cold-water resources and the negative impacts of the slowing, over widening, and sedimentation of these cold-water streams. Next, the SWAT crew from TUC led an activity creating a sediment mat using donated old Christmas trees, wood stakes, twine, and mallets. Although the sediment mat was built in a dry area, the area gets flooded in the spring, and the mat will help catch sediment and stabilize the banks then.


Connect & Protect

Participants with their newly built sediment mat.


During lunch, participants had the opportunity to connect with each other and share more about their experiences with nature. As well, the group heard from Guelph’s BIPOC Outdoor Gear Library (BOGL), and learned about borrowing from BOGL, common outdoor gear, their setups, and their uses. Following lunch, Demiesha Dennis from BGOW discussed the importance of having more people from Black, Indigenous, and racialized communities involved in conservation work. As well, what the word conservation can mean to different communities, and the intentional and strategic approaches to address the lack of inclusion within the space of conservation.

Following the talk, Demiesha Dennis, and Shelly Vo from BGOW led an introductory fly-fishing lesson. Participants learned how to set up their rods, how to tie a fly to a line, and how to cast. Other topics covered included water temperatures and fishing, water safety, and regulations. After everyone had the opportunity to practice casting on land, the group headed over to the pond located at Marden Park to practice their new learned skill by casting into the water.

This final event was an immense success, with a total of 22 participants, our largest group yet! A very special thank you to Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for funding this program, and to Parkbus’s NatureLink program for transporting participants to and from Marden Park. As well, to Merrell, Claire Kemp Creative, Reddington, and Grand River Conservation Authority for providing prizes and park passes to participants. Finally, a huge thank you to Brown Girl Outdoor World for your help and continued work in changing the representation and lack of inclusivity within conservation.


Connect & Protect

Participants getting ready to fly fish in the water.


Trout Unlimited Canada is a nonprofit, charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.