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Who We Are

We work with our First Nation partners to support community conservation programs.



Mission
Turtle Island Conservation partners with First Nations communities to preserve cultural and natural landscapes.

Vision
Preservation of First Nation Ways of Knowing will be utilized to preserve Traditional Knowledge to guide communities for generations to come.

Chi Miigwetch Nya:wen Kowa
Many thanks!

On behalf of The Toronto Zoo,
The Turtle Island Conservation Partnership
and our generous funders'. We thank you for sharing in our vision!

Please feel free to contact us at turtleisland@torontozoo.ca

BACKGROUND



Toronto Zoo shares the hopes and goals of First Nation Partners in our commitment to the preservation of wild life and wild places for those yet to come. The Turtle Island Conservation Partnership at the Toronto Zoo partners with First Nations communities to incorporate Traditional Knowledge into turtle and wetland conservation programming.

The intention of this partnership is to bring together Keepers of Traditional Knowledge (TK), Elders, First Nations community members and Turtle Island Conservation team members to support community cultural and natural history priorities incorporating Traditional Knowledge while building awareness with non-Aboriginals.

The program employs First nation youth and is guided by a First Nation advisory group. All Teachings and Knowledge remain with our partner communities who provide guidance on its use.

Our Objectives

  1. To foster respect for self, community, Mother Earth and the Creator
    • Link First Nation community, youth, knowledge keepers and Elders
    • Preserve and respect Traditional Knowledge and ceremony
  2. To recognize and record significant landscapes valued by First Nations communities.
    • Ways of Knowing Guide will facilitate sharing of community knowledge
    • Valuing landscapes, teachings, and community history to preserve Traditional Knowledge
    • Create knowing Sacred Spaces and Special Places cultural map
  3. To integrate traditional ways of knowing with western science to monitor, protect, respect and restore landscapes.
    • Provide opportunities for youth to value the sciences
    • Utilize school resources to develop culturally relevant survival skills
  4. To integrate language, art and crafts to sustain traditional ways of knowing and living.
    Share knowledge, language and outreach resources

    For example:
    • Turtle Island Creation story
    • 13 Moons lunar guide to seasonal practices
    • Thanksgiving address
    • Wampum Belt teachings
    • Seven Generations as basis for Youth/Elder dialogue
  5. To facilitate understanding of diversity of First Nation culture and ways of knowing among non-Aboriginals.
    • Use Toronto Zoo to deliver First Nations message as a "meeting place"
    • TIC outreach to schools/communities
    • Provide opportunity for First Nation youth to celebrate Traditional Knowledge

Educational Resources



The educational resources we produce preserve knowledge inherent in language based resources to promote Stewardship and Conservation especially of Species at Risk
  • We explore the relevance of Traditional Knowledge with regards to teaching about living sustainably with our environment and the importance of connecting with the land (and its inhabitants) on spiritual, emotional, physical and mental levels in order to guide our practices and actions.

Please take a look at our NEW Educational Bundle called "Walking with Miskwaadesi & A'nĂ³:wara". This comprehensive document has been compiled and written to complement "The Ways of Knowing Guide Earth's Teachings".

Resources available :

  1. Species Identifiers (Mohawk & Ojibway)
  2. Frog Call CD (Mohawk & Ojibway)
  3. The Ways of Knowing Guide Earth's Teaching
  4. Turtle Crossing Signs
  5. Walking with Miskwaadesi curriculum
  6. Totally Terrific Turtles presentations with wetlands study
  7. 13 Moons Calendar

Outcomes


  • Turtle Island outreach to First Nations schools and communities
  • The Ways of Knowing Guide Earth's Teaching
  • Educational Bundle curriculum-based resource to focus on youth and Elder relationships
  • Community cultural landscape "map" that identifies special places to increase awareness of local environment and spirit of place, guide community planning and preserve Species At Risk (SAR)
  • Language preservation
  • Cross cultural understanding

Creating Awareness

  • Outreach presentation to First Nations communities - this is where TIC team members share the "Totally Awesome Turtles" presentation, help to establish dialogue between youth and Elders, and contribute to awareness, value and understanding of Traditional Knowledge
  • Language-based Species At Risk identifier guides
  • Translated First Nation language support materials in Mohawk and Ojibway
  • Teacher curriculum-based Educational-Bundled resources
  • Turtle Island Conservation (TIC) webpage www.turtleislandconservation.com

Promoting Environmental Studies in First Nation Communities

  • Surveying and monitoring Species At Risk
  • Wetland conservation
  • Turtle Conservation
  • Turtle Tally Program
  • Turtle Monitoring
  • FROGWATCH Program
  • Frog calls and traditional teachings CD