and they make some people happy especially when they come back year after year to nest in their boxes.
Margot H. tells a funny story that when she was a young woman, visiting friends in the Eastern Townships, she found out that Blue Birds were in fact real birds and not just cartoon characters or part of a fairy tale. She learned that they were becoming rarer and rarer as their habitat was disappearing. In conservation terms their status was in serious decline. This pretty little bird was unhappy.

Later in life Margot and her husband began to build Blue Bird nesting boxes. For the past 20 years they put out the boxes annually in the Spring and took them in and to clean and store them in the Fall.
Each box is numbered and sits in a particular position. Margot has created her very own Blue Bird Way. She takes notes after each season when cleaning the boxes to keep track of who visited each box.
Thanks to people like her, the Eastern Blue Bird has seen a slow return to healthy numbers as its loss of natural nesting sites has been replaced by nesting boxes.
Would you like to build a Blue Bird nesting box?
Click here for the plans from La SLOE. 

This year, the Massawippi Foundation and the Massawippi Conservation Trust are celebrating their 10th anniversary. To mark the occasion, they are joining the global movement to improve agro-ecosystem resilience for sustainable production by launching a competition to award two agricultural producers with prizes of $10,000 each.
In setting out its 10-year vision for a green and prosperous Massawippi Valley, the council plans to expand its conservation areas to include a variety of other ecologically valuable land types.
“We believe that conservation must include…
how we use our land – we will advocate for agri-environmental farming practices to keep our soils healthy, preserve biodiversity, including insects, birds and plants, and protect waterways, thereby ensuring the health of our lake, our farms and their products; ultimately improving the quality of life for all who live here,” said Margot Heyerhoff, Foundation President.

The Foundation’s competition (now closed) will award an organic farmer with a $10,000 prize; another prize of the same amount will reward a conventional farmer. In both cases, the prizes will be awarded to farmers for their good practices to ensure the resilience of our agricultural ecosystem.

15 nominations have been submitted and are currently being reviewed by our experts.

The committee of the “Farm Agri-Environmental Leadership Award” is composed of 3 members:
Dr. Eric van Bochove, a member of the Board of Directors of the Massawippi Foundation and a resident of Ayer’s Cliff, holds a B.Sc. in Agronomy, a M.Sc. in Plant Ecology and a Ph. He has extensive research experience in the agri-environmental field, before becoming a senior staff member responsible for the scientific direction of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research and development centres. Recently retired, he joined our Board of Directors to continue his involvement in the community. LINKEDIN

Dr. Darren Bardati is Professor and Chair of the Department of Environment and Geography at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke. He is currently involved in the creation of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (SAFS) program and the development of the farm at Bishop’s. He has been teaching the Resource Management course and the Environment course in the Department of Environment and Geography since 1996. His research interests include agroecology and sustainable food systems, climate change adaptation and water management.

Stéphanie Durand, agr. is the third member of the committee. She currently works for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a research farm manager. Her responsibilities include human resources, management of feed production for the dairy herd: rotation, purchase of inputs, crop management. She is also the coordinator of the animal phases of research projects on dairy cows and pigs. She previously worked for the Club Agroenvironnemental de l’Estrie in consulting services for producers in the region. LINKEDIN

The Massawippi Foundation and the Massawippi Conservation Trust were created in 2011. They were born from the will of a very small group of citizens concerned about the possibility of development on the west side of Lake Massawippi that would cause irreversible damage to this precious environment including the lake’s watershed. The negative impact would be felt by both the community and wildlife. Today, the Board of Directors is composed of three members from that initial core group and new members from diverse backgrounds. All have a keen interest in the environment and in particular in the 5 municipalities surrounding Lake Massawippi.

They look forward to presenting the awards to the winners on September 1st.