THUNDER BAY – For the first time in Northwestern Ontario, an Environmental Conference focusing on First Nations communities and hands-on workshops will be held in the region. The Matawa Environmental Conference for Northern Ontario (MECNO) will be hosted in the city of Thunder Bay from October 26th through till October 28th at Fort William Historical Park.
MECNO will offer remote and road access First Nation communities with an opportunity to participate in hands-on environmental workshops designed by experts.
The major topics to be discussed over the three day event, includes environmental assessments, land and water management, source water protection, mining and exploration, fuel handling and contaminated sites.
Matawa First Nations Environmental Technologist Sarah Cockerton says; “There are many common environmental concerns facing Northern Ontario First Nation communities that will be addressed and discussed at this regional event. With the recent increase of mineral exploration and activity in First Nations territory- environmental issues surrounding industrial development is a major concern for First Nations.”
Workshops will be conducted at MECNO that specifically focus on the Ring of Fire, an area that holds some of the wealthiest mineral potential in Canada. Cockerton continues; “Workshops were specifically designed to provide delegates with information that will assist them to better prepare their communities for development in the Ring of Fire. One workshop in particular, takes participants through the process of environmental assessment- a process used to mitigate negative impacts associated with proposed projects.”
More than 150 delegates are expected to participate in MECNO. Anyone interested in the topics being explored are encouraged to register. The registration deadline is October 8th, 2010. More information is available on the Matawa First Nations website at www.matawa.on.ca.
Cockerton says; “There has been an overwhelming amount of support for this conference from the environmental industry. That indicates to me, that there is a large demand to provide this type of forum. With their support we are able to provide very informative presentations and workshops.”