My Watermark is the Ottawa River, Ontario.
As President of Blue Fish Canada, the other week we took Meredith Brown of Ottawa Riverkeeper, and a whole bunch of other stakeholders who have a commitment or make a living from the Ottawa River, down to the river for a fishing trip. We brought everyone together, caught a few under utilized fish, and had a celebratory dinner right there on the shoreline.
We got some good advice from the Cooke Lab at Carleton University, we brought a chef from the Whales Bone Restaurant, and we cooked it all up over an open fire. We picked from the water a few real nice one-and-a-half pound Walleyes – not the breeders or the babies, but the ones that there’s lots of. Just enough to feed the crew. And we supplemented this with all sorts of wild forage from the shoreline: mushrooms and wild carrots, all cooked over an open fire. And then we ate it with our hands!
I served out all the food and said, “everything we are eating here came from the river or from the shores of river”. To really appreciate it, you have to touch it, feel it, smell it, and explore it with all senses before you put it in your mouth. After that, you will really have a strong connection with nature and the Ottawa River.
I think the big takeaway is when you bring all these stakeholders down to the river, they have more than just a meal, but a shared experience with the river; and that’s so important because it connects people to the river for life. They will forever remember that spot along the shoreline and will work to protect it so future generation can enjoy the river as well.