Archive for September, 2011

Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Celebration

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Last weekend I had the pleasure to attend a celebration at the Highland Village in Iona where the beautiful Bras d’Or Lake was designated an official UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Biosphere Reserve.

The Bras d’Or Lake is a central part of our island… literally. The lake spans the center of Cape Breton, harbouring unique geology and being a rich resource to islanders for centuries.

Personally, I’ve grown up in and on the lake! My family has a cottage on the Bras d’Or (North-side East Bay) so every summer we moved there. I took swimming lessons in the lake, and I have kayaked , sailed, boated, and swam most of the gorgeous salt water. Consequently, no matter where I travel, I use the Bras d’Or as my measuring stick to all other competition – which is quite unfair I might add! Nonetheless, the Bras d’Or has a piece of my heart.

Aside from these obvious reasons to attend such an event honouring my favourite part of Cape Breton… I also attended to pay tribute to the people who have worked tirelessly to get the designation for the lake. First though, let me explain what a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve means.

A designation by UNESCO does not introduce new bureaucracy or regulations, but leaves the responsibility of protection of the lake to the surrounding communities. The communities surrounding the Reserve have to have shown termendous commitment to sustainability, as well as to ensured the promotion of a healthy environment, economy, society and culture. As the Canadian Commission for UNESCO explains,  Biosphere Reserves are “living laboratories of sustainable development, where local communities choose to take the challenge to protect biodiversity while fostering economic and social development”.

The Bras d’Or Lake as a shoe-in, but for years volunteers worked hard to achieve the UNESCO status. Some of the volunteer groups included: Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI), Bras d’Or Preservation Nature Trust, Bras d’Or Stewardship Society, Bras d’Or Institute (at Cape Breton University), Pitu ‘Paq Partnership, and Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources.

In July, 2011 volunteers succeeded in their mission to make the Bras d’Or protected in the years to come, through becoming an official Biosphere Reserve. The celebration, therefore, was to celebrate the volunteers from communities around the lake, as well the legacy that this designation has created for future generations.

The celebration event was fabulous, with a diverse group of entertainers and many thoughtful speeches on preserving nature and culture.

The Stage

The Highland Village in Iona was also open to the public for free, where you could weave in and out of early settler’s homes, while taking in panoramic views on the Bras d’Or.

As a bonus, the sun was also shinning!

I made sure to snap a few gorgeous pictures for you amidst snacking on food, walking around the village, and volunteering to work the guest sign in. (It’s estimated almost 1,000 people attended!)

If you missed out on the celebration event, you can pay homage to the lake by taking a nice walk or hike around it during October. Perhaps you can do your own part by picking up any litter around it, or just by sharing it’s beauty with the people you love. (And when the warmer weather rolls around… next year… make sure to go for a swim!)

The weekend celebration reminded me of the values of nature and our responsibility to protect it.

How will you do your part?

For more information on the Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve, click here.

Frosh Week Recap

Monday, September 19th, 2011

It may be hard to believe, but we are officially starting our second week of school here at CBU.

For some of you, campus may feel just as new as last Monday. Okay, maybe by now you’ve staked out a table at the library or found where they sell coffee. (At least I hope you have!) For others, back to school has meant easing into a routine that you know well.

Whatever your case may be, one thing is for sure: don’t expect all of the excitement of Frosh Week! Sadly, all good things must come to an end… and Frosh Week is no different. I hope you got to enjoy the free food floating around, and had a chance to partake in some of the activities.

As a way to pay tribute to Frosh Week 2011, I’ve decided to share some of the Students’ Union’s snap shots from the week.


Grocery Bingo at the Pit

Softball tournament fun!

Man VS Food

Taste the World at the Pit. Featuring a selection of world cuisine

Enjoying the food at Taste the World

Some new CBU students checking out the Pit

More CBU students checking out the school!

It has certainly been a fun week for all students. I hear that the Frosh concert and the Headphone Disco were especially great as well. What were your favourites?

For more news on Frosh Week or other events happening with the Students’ Union, check out the brand new website at

Have a great second week at CBU!

Fall Favorites

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Welcome (back) to CBU!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but does it ever feel like Fall has arrived in the last few days; bringing with it school and a pile of orange and red leaves.

Fall doesn’t officially start until September 23rd, another 11 days away. However, the chilly breeze warrants my declaration that Fall has indeed arrived!

This season is definitely one of my favourites. Fall in Cape Breton is absolutely beautiful, so it’s easy to understand why I and so many others love Fall on the East Coast.

While Fall usually embodies a chill in the air and a desire to cuddle-up indoors, most Capers do the opposite. Instead of cursing the colder temperatures, we head to the outdoors to hike, drive or walk the gorgeous areas that surround us, fully enjoying the season.

Some of my other fall favourites are…

Hot Drinks. Coffee, tea, cider and lattes are all my favourite Fall treats.

Warm Wardrobe. Thick knit scarves and riding boots make me love this season all the more!

Snapping Away. Whether you’re driving the Cabot Trail or hiking Coxheath Mountain, take a camera to snap pictures of the lovely foliage around you.

Cozy Comforts. After a busy day outside or at school, it’s always nice to cozy up with warm food and blankets.

Enjoy your first day at CBU and the beginning of Fall in Cape Breton!

101 Things Students Should Know

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

With “back to school” in full motion, I thought I would share a list of 101 things CBU students should know before starting next Monday.

The list was previously published in the Caper Times with me, a few friends and staff members I know adding our own tips and tricks to make the most of the year ahead.


iPhone Apps I love

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

I’ve recently taken the plunge into iPhone world. While the price tag was not easy to swallow, I have been really happy with my phone and all of the cool apps you can download. I am still fairly new into the world of apps, but I have complied five of my favorites thus far.

5. Angry Birds

People are obsessed with this game, and I can see why. It’s fun, random, and will pass time for you if you’re waiting around for class or a meeting to start. The game situates around a group of angry birds who are mad at a group of pigs (?). The birds want to harm the pigs, even if that means exploding into a ball of feathers. Get it!

Price: Free, or Pro version:$ .99. (more…)