Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Currents of Change: Inspiring, Creating, Transforming

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Forest Therapy Walk

The practice of Forest Therapy was founded through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides, based in California. The founders of this mindful, healing and connective practice were inspired by the Japanese practice of “Shinrin-yoku” which translates as “forest bathing”.

Cataraqui Conservation was the first Conservation Authority to offer a Forest Therapy Program and have an accredited Forest Therapy guide on staff who was trained through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides in 2016. The program has been acclaimed by participants across a wide demographic spectrum, and all Forest Therapy walks fill up fast.

We believe the popularity of these walks is because Forest Therapy is far more immersive than a simple 'walk in the woods.’ The program is an intentional immersion in the natural environment to allow participants the opportunity to slow down and get in touch with their senses. By slowing down and getting out of focusing on their busy minds it allows participants to renew their relationship with themselves, each other and nature. A Forest Therapy walk is a slow, connective experience lasting about two hours and no more than one kilometre with special invitations and sharing circles along the way. Invitations allow participants to connect in whatever way feels right to them. There is no right or wrong way to partake in invitations and sharing; all is welcome. You might find participants sitting, standing or even lying down at different points throughout the walk experience. The benefits of this practice are multifaceted for both one’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well being.

Everyone can benefit from Forest Therapy Walks such as, but not limited to, people recovering from illness, youth, active military, veterans, people coping from loss, students, professionals, parents, people looking to better their mental health, first responders and seniors. Anyone who is looking to de-stress, slow down, heal and connect with nature.

Thus far in 2019 alone, more than 200 area residents and school children have benefitted from both public and private Forest Therapy Walks, which have generated more interest in the benefits of nature and the connection to protect it as well as promoting another significant role of Cataraqui Conservation within the broader community.

To learn more about Cataraqui Conservation’s Forest Therapy program visit

This blog post contributed by Katrina Furlanetto, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, 
General Manager, Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World

It can be hard to plan for change. Some changes you see coming, while others catch you off guard. This year’s conference theme, Currents of Change – Inspiring, Creating, Transforming, is very much in the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world”. We challenged speakers to share how they are adapting to change, and they delivered. November’s program is full of examples of innovation and collaboration from conservation authorities, municipalities, Indigenous communities, private sector, environmental groups, and others. The takeaways you’ll gain from the case studies, research, and stories will have you looking at your projects and programs with a fresh eye.

Gain perspective in the session titled The Only Constant is Change, by hearing how conservation authorities and watershed management have evolved over 80+ years of changing political, economic, social, and environmental climes. Then look to the future by taking in presentations on how technology is changing the way we work – including new applications for drones and remote sensing, real-time monitoring, interactive websites, eDNA, and the “internet of things”.

In a time of fiscal restraint, demonstrating the impact and value of our work is essential. In the Measuring Impact session, hear how a municipality is using Key Performance Indicators to keep its climate change programs accountable. Then learn how three conservation authorities are using Return on Investment metrics to build the business case for ecological restoration projects. Other speakers are sharing the results of evaluations of technologies and practices in fields ranging from nutrient management to green infrastructure.

Ultimately, our ability to navigate the shifting currents of our time may depend on our ability to find common ground. In Un-complicating the Complicated, discover how to transcend polarized positions, simplify scientific messages, and update marketing messages. Case studies throughout the program illustrate how to engage familiar and unfamiliar demographic groups in everything from outdoor education to citizen science and stewardship. Two sessions share how municipalities, conservation authorities, and others are advancing reconciliation with Indigenous communities through conservation.

This year’s Latornell program reflects the challenges we’re all facing this year. Scan the preliminary program yourself, and you’re sure to find sessions that will inform, educate, and inspire.

This blog post contributed by Jan Ivey, Grand River Conservation Authority, 
2019 Latornell Conservation Symposium Vice Chair

Monday, 3 June 2019

The Ripple Effect – Latornell Leadership Award Nominations Wanted

Leadership isn’t about being at the top. True leaders are driven by passion and purpose, causing a ripple effect through their words, actions and relationships with others to motivate and inspire those around them to cause change for the better.

The environmental sector is blessed with many leaders; it’s a natural fit when the preservation of our natural environment is often juxtaposed against economic growth and other human interests, requiring passionate and caring people to dedicate their personal and professional time towards the things that foster healthier and more sustainable interactions and practices.

This year’s theme, Currents of Change, emphasizes the rapidly changing world that we are living in; where technology is advancing our understanding of the world around us, and how humans both influence – and are influenced by – the natural resources that our existence depends on. Environmental leaders are at the forefront of collecting, synthesizing, and communicating information to expand our understanding of ecology, flooding and erosion hazards, climate, natural resource management, restoration, and many other specialized areas in the environmental sector. These students, community leaders and professionals are the backbone for healthy watersheds, and recognition of their contributions is an important component of our annual symposium through the Latornell Leadership Award.

We’ve been recognizing our Leaders and Pioneers at the Latornell Conservation Symposium since 1999, and past recipients have ranged from students to retirees, from all corners of the province. We value the work these professionals and volunteers are doing and we want to thank them. But we need you to tell us who they are. The deadline for nominating someone for the 2019 Latornell Leadership Award is June 28, 2019. You can find all the information and nomination forms on the Latornell website at

This blog post contributed by Moranne McDonnell, Toronto and Region Conservation,
2019 Latornell Leadership Committee Lead

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Growing Through Changing Times

It is often said that the only constant in life is change. With this in mind, I’m pleased to announce that the 26th Annual Latornell Conservation Symposium theme is “Currents of Change : Inspiring, Creating, Transforming”. This theme is timely in that change is happening in all facets of our lives now with greater frequency and speed. Economic, social, environmental and political changes are ever present and highlighted through technology and social media. While change can be negative, it can also be an immense positive enhancement, a way to look at things in a different light, re-examine, re-tool and move onto the challenge at hand.

The 26th Latornell Conservation Symposium will highlight how we adapt to change in our work and how adapting to change helps the people involved with conservation and our communities move the environmental yardstick forward. Through keynote speakers, presentations, case studies and tours, this year’s conference will highlight conservation programs and projects with a focus on new collaborations, new ways of working, communicating the science, Indigenous perspectives and traditional knowledge, inspirational stories, social sciences and behavior change.

The Latornell Conservation Symposium is an annual event. The forum provides an opportunity to learn from each other and provides a forum for practitioners, students, academics, politicians, and non-government organizations to network and discuss challenges and opportunities in the conservation field. It is an opportunity for you to highlight what exciting program or project you are working on or simply how you work towards conservation in an ever changing environment. It is a challenging time but the conference is an exciting opportunity to understand how change impacts on our lives, careers, programs and projects through inspiration, creativity and transformation.

We are very excited about this year’s symposium and we hope that you and your colleagues are just as excited and respond to our call for presentations. The Latornell Conservation Symposium website and newsletter provide a range of details on this year’s symposium and topics and how we adapt and benefit from change. Submit your proposals via the website and we are looking for presentations, workshops, training and tour proposals.

To stay up to date on all the Latornell Conservation Symposium details, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in November

Scott Peck,
Latornell Symposium Chair

Blog provided by the 2019 Latornell Chair, Scott Peck