A Collective Vision for CBRA


From November 20-23, representatives of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves came together in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region on the east coast of Vancouver Island for a national gathering hosted by Kwalikum and Snaw-naw-as First Nations. The 2018 Fall Gathering of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) had two key objectives: Building ethical space between CBRA's board of directors and Indigenous Circle, and developing a collective and strategic vision for this important national UNESCO network. 

On the right, Tsumkwatun (Councilor Lawrence Mitchell, Snaw-naw-as First Nation) sings a song with his daughter (left) after hosting a meal for CBRA on behalf of the Nation.

On the right, Tsumkwatun (Councilor Lawrence Mitchell, Snaw-naw-as First Nation) sings a song with his daughter (left) after hosting a meal for CBRA on behalf of the Nation.

In a country as large as Canada, biosphere reserves are geographically, biologically, and culturally diverse, but all work toward achieving similar goals and addressing common challenges. CBRA's 2018 Fall Gathering was designed for board members, staff, and Indigenous hosts of Canadian biosphere reserves to share knowledge, hear individual stories of struggle and success, and build trust. Truth, reconciliation and co-leadership with Indigenous Peoples are essential for Canada's biosphere reserves to thrive with integrity.

The entire gathering was held in circle––large and small––allowing all 45 guests to speak and listen to each other. Participants learned about local First Nations customs around ceremony, such as welcome prayers, songs, dances, and gift-giving practices, making conscious space for Indigenous and western traditions of knowledge sharing to co-exist. Working in ethical space, a collective vision was communicated––a vision that will guide CBRA in its work to address national and global issues by supporting sustainable development, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and social justice.

Left to right: Monica Shore, CBRA Coordinator - Dr. Pam Shaw, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute - Chief Michael Recalma, Kwalicum First Nation - Gord Johns, MP, Courtenay-Alberni - Dr. Dave Witty, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, Ashley Van Acken, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

Left to right: Monica Shore, CBRA Coordinator - Dr. Pam Shaw, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute - Chief Michael Recalma, Kwalicum First Nation - Gord Johns, MP, Courtenay-Alberni - Dr. Dave Witty, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, Ashley Van Acken, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region

Gord Johns, Member of Parliament, joined the gathering for one of the evenings:

Thanks to Snaw-naw-as First Nation for their warm welcome on Thursday during the CBRA Fall Gathering in their territory. We're proud to have two biosphere reserves in Courtenay-Alberni and enjoy hosting the annual Biosphere Day on the Hill. Great comradery, food, dancing and singing. Congratulations both to the Nation and the CBRA for such a wonderful gathering and for such an important movement.

CBRA's new strategic plan will be launched in early 2019.

Members of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association’s (CBRA) Board of Directors and Indigenous Circle, as well as biosphere reserve staff and guests.

Members of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association’s (CBRA) Board of Directors and Indigenous Circle, as well as biosphere reserve staff and guests.

Canadian Biosphere Reserves make a splash in New York and Ottawa | Les Réserves de biosphère du Canada brillent à New York et à Ottawa

Our biosphere reserves showcase their important activities to decision-makers, at home and abroad.

Manicouagan Uapishka Biosphere Reserve (Quebec) by Marc Loiselle

Manicouagan Uapishka Biosphere Reserve (Quebec) by Marc Loiselle

Throughout the world, the 669 UNESCO biosphere reserves operate as an extensive network of cooperation to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which Canada has adopted. Biosphere reserves are, in fact, one of the main strategic tools to achieve the SDGs at the local level.

To learn more, read the entire article on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO website.

Nos Réserves de biosphère font connaître l’importance de leur action aux décideurs, ici et à l’étranger.

Partout dans le monde, les 669 Réserves de biosphère de l’UNESCO représentent un grand réseau de coopération qui favorise l’atteinte des Objectifs de développement durable des Nations Unies – objectifs dont le Canada appuie la mise en œuvre. Elles sont en fait l’un des principaux outils stratégiques pour concrétiser ces objectifs à l’échelle locale.

Pour en savoir plus, lisez l’article complet sur le site web de la Commission canadienne pour l'UNESCO.

G7 2018 Charlevoix

The Government of Canada takes concrete steps to reduce the environmental footprint of the G7 Summit

News Release

April 6, 2018

La Malbaie, Quebec—In an effort to limit the environmental impact of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, in June, the Government of Canada has entered into an agreement with the Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix to make this summit an environmentally responsible event.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, together with Jean Fortin, administrator of the Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphere de Charlevoix, today announced that the Government of Canada will invest $325,000 in various activities to reduce the G7 Summit’s environmental footprint and to draw from the Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère’s expertise in terms of environmental responsibility and sustainable development.

One of the highlights of this agreement will be the planting of 100,000 trees on the Réserve de la biosphere de Charlevoix and on 13 additionnal Canadian biosphere reserves, from British Columbia to Nova Scotia to take place in May. This initiative will help replenish, restore or reforest sites chosen by the participating local communities, and to offset some of the greenhouse gases from the G7 Summit.

The Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix will also support Canada’s efforts to integrate good environmental practices into the Summit’s overall organization, supported by the Bureau de normalisation du Québec’s “sustainable event management” 9700 253 certification. Special attention will be paid to reducing waste, especially plastic.

Canada has made climate change, oceans and clean energy one of the central themes of its 2018 G7 Presidency. This collaboration is a concrete way of putting words into action.


The beauty of Charlevoix’s landscapes made it a natural choice for hosting the 2018 G7 Summit. It is therefore important that we limit our impact on the local environment. This is why we are working with the Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix, which will provide us with support and advice to ensure that the Summit is held in an environmentally responsible manner.
— The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
Through its environmental recognition program and its eco-consulting services, the Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix supports all organizations that want to improve their activities or practices that affect Charlevoix’s environment. This collaboration with the Government of Canada is an opportunity for our organization to provide its eco-consulting services in the context of a major event and to acquire new experience and know-how. It also raises awareness about the Canadian network of biosphere reserves and the UNESCO designation.
— Jean Fortin, administrator of the Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix and Mayor of Baie-Saint-Paul

Related Links


Global Affairs Canada - Summits Management Office
1-833-CAN-G718 (1-833-226-4718)
Follow us on Twitter: @G7

Le gouvernement du Canada prend des mesures concrètes pour réduire l’empreinte environnementale du Sommet du G7

Communiqué de presse

Le 6 avril 2018

La Malbaie (Québec) – Soucieux de limiter l’impact sur l’environnement de la tenue du Sommet du G7 à La Malbaie au Québec en juin prochain, le gouvernement du Canada a conclu une entente avec la Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix, afin de faire de ce sommet un événement écoresponsable.

Le ministre de la Famille, des Enfants et du Développement social, l’honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, a annoncé aujourd’hui, en compagnie de Jean Fortin, administrateur de la Corporation de la Réserve de la Biosphère de Charlevoix, que le gouvernement du Canada investira 325 000 dollars dans diverses activités qui permettront de réduire l’empreinte environnementale du Sommet du G7, et de mettre à profit l’expertise de la Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix en matière d’écoresponsabilité et de développement durable.

L’une des activités phares de cette entente sera la plantation en mai prochain de 100 000 arbres dans la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix et dans treize autres réserves de biosphères canadiennes, de la Colombie-Britannique jusqu’à la Nouvelle-Écosse. Cette initiative contribuera à végétaliser, restaurer ou reboiser des sites choisis par les localités participantes, en plus de compenser une partie des émissions de gaz à effet de serre liées à la tenue du Sommet du G7.

La Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix soutiendra aussi les efforts du Canada visant à intégrer de bonnes pratiques environnementales dans l’ensemble de l’organisation du Sommet, ce qui sera attesté par la norme Gestion responsable d’événement 9700 253 du Bureau de normalisation du Québec. Une attention particulière sera accordée à la réduction des déchets, y compris un usage réduit du plastique.

Le Canada a fait des changements climatiques, des océans et de l’énergie propre l’un des thèmes centraux de sa présidence du G7 en 2018. Cette collaboration est une façon concrète de lier la parole aux gestes.  


La beauté de ses paysages a fait de Charlevoix un choix tout désigné pour accueillir le Sommet du G7 de 2018. Il est donc important pour nous de limiter l’effet de notre passage sur l’environnement local. Voilà pourquoi nous travaillerons de concert avec la Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix, qui nous offrira son soutien et ses conseils pour assurer que le Sommet se tienne dans le respect de l’environnement.
— L’honorable Jean-Yves Duclos, ministre de la Famille, des Enfants et du Développement social
Via son Programme de reconnaissance environnementale et ses services d’éco-conseil, la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix accompagne toutes les organisations désireuses d’améliorer leurs actions ou leurs pratiques touchant l’environnement de Charlevoix. L’actuelle collaboration avec le gouvernement du Canada offre l’opportunité à notre organisme d’exercer ses services d’éco-conseil dans un cadre événementiel d’envergure et d’y quérir une expérience et un savoir-faire nouveau. Il permet aussi de faire connaître le réseau canadien des réserves de biosphère et de cette désignation de l’UNESCO.
— Jean Fortin, administrateur de la Corporation de la Réserve de la biosphère de Charlevoix et Maire de Baie-St-Paul

Liens connexes


Affaires mondiales Canada - Bureau de gestion des sommets
1-833-CAN-G718 (1-833-226-4718)
Suivez-nous sur Twitter : @G7fr

CBRA's Pathway to Canada Target 1 - En route vers l'objectif 1 du Canada avec l'ACRB

***En français plus bas***

CBRA has been funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to assist with the identification, recognition, and reporting of Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECMs) within and in proximity to biosphere reserves. The OECM concept emerged in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2011 Strategic Plan and appears in both Aichi Target 11 and its Canadian equivalent, Target 1, which states:

By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial areas and inland water, and 10% of marine and coastal areas of Canada are conserved through networks of protected areas and other effective area-based measures.

Last week, staff, board members, and Indigenous delegates from across Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves met in Ottawa for a briefing on OECMs. Presentations were given by Nadine Crookes, co-chair of the National Steering Committee for the Pathway to Canada Target 1, Danika Littlechild and Eli Enns, co-chairs of the Pathway’s Indigenous Circle of Experts, Larry McDermott, the Algonquin Elder associated with the Pathway’s National Advisory Panel, and CBRA staff and consultant Monica Shore and Kate Potter. 

Indigenous delegates gathered for a special meeting on how CBRA can move forward in the spirit and practice of reconciliation through this project and in its everyday operations. The group crafted a document called CBRA’s Indigenous Circle Statement - “Making a Promise.” A 5-7 minute documentary is also being produced with reflections from Indigenous delegates and will be broadcast online in June. 

For updates on CBRA’s OECM project, follow CBRA’s Facebook Page. To learn more about the Pathway to Canada Target 1, visit http://www.conservation2020canada.ca/the-pathway/

CBRA staff, volunteers, and Indigenous delegates gathered in Ottawa from February 20-22, 2018

CBRA staff, volunteers, and Indigenous delegates gathered in Ottawa from February 20-22, 2018

L’Association canadienne des réserves de la biosphère (ACRB) a été financée par Environnement et Changement climatique Canada (ECCC) pour aider à l’identification, la reconnaissance et la déclaration d’Autres mesures de conservation efficaces par zone (OECM) à l'intérieur ainsi qu'à proximité des réserves de la biosphère. Le concept d'OECM est apparu pour la première fois dans le plan stratégique 2011 de la Convention sur la diversité biologique (CDB) et se retrouve dans l’Objectif 11 d’Aichi, de même que dans son homologue canadien nommé « Objectif 1 »:

« D’ici à 2020, au moins 17 % des zones terrestres et d'eaux intérieures et 10 % des zones marines et côtières du Canada sont conservées au moyen de réseaux d’aires protégées et d’autres mesures de conservation efficaces par zone. »

La semaine passée, le personnel, les membres du conseil d'administration ainsi que les délégués autochtones des 18 réserves de la biosphère canadiennes de l’UNESCO se sont réunis à Ottawa pour discuter des OECM et du rôle de l’ACRB par rapport à l’Objectif 1 du Canada. Des présentations ont été effectuées par Nadine Crookes (coprésidente du Comité directeur national de l'Objectif 1), Danika Littlechild et Eli Enns (coprésidents du Cercle autochtone d’experts de l’Objectif 1), Larry McDermott (aîné algonquin associé au Comité consultatif national), Monica Shore (employée de l’ACRB) et Kate Potter (consultante de l’ACRB).

Les délégués autochtones se sont rassemblés lors d'une rencontre spéciale afin de regarder comment l’ACRB peut aller de l'avant dans l'esprit et la pratique de la réconciliation, tant à travers ce projet qu’au cours de ses opérations quotidiennes. Le groupe a rédigé un document intitulé « Déclaration du cercle autochtone de l’ACRB: engagement solennel ». De plus, un documentaire de 5 à 7 minutes incluant les réflexions des délégués autochtones est en cours de réalisation et sera diffusé en ligne en juin prochain.

Pour des mises à jour du projet sur les OECM de l’ACRB, veuillez suivre la page Facebook du réseau. (Insert link) Pour en savoir plus sur l’Objectif 1 du Canada, visitez http://www.conservation2020canada.ca/enroute/



Project Manager


About Canadian Biosphere Reserves

Canada's 18 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BRs) are leaders in creating vibrant, healthy, sustainable communities across Canada, while conserving the country's natural and cultural heritage. As model regions and dynamic learning sites for collaborative projects of all kinds, BRs strengthen and celebrate Canadian values and action national priorities including climate change adaptation and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Our 18 sites are situated within the traditional territories of over 50 Indigenous communities. Spanning an area of 235,000 square kilometres, Canadian BRs play an important role improving the quality of life of the 1.2 million Canadians who live and work within their boundaries.

The Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association (CBRA) is the national network of Canada’s 18 BRs and a Canadian registered charity.

About the Project

CBRA has been successful in securing grant funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) to deliver the 2017-2020 project to advance the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada. The focus of this project will be on Canada’s Target 1 and will seek to identify BRs potential role in satisfying the requirements of Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs).

CBRA is well positioned to advance the achievement of the 2020 Biodiversity Goals and Targets for Canada, especially Canada’s Target 1 with regard to their potential role in satisfying the requirements of Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs).

Through this project, CBRA will seek to explore, define, and structure this Target 1 role across the Canadian network of BRs, with the potential of adding millions of hectares to Canada’s present inventory of protected lands. The model will incorporate meaningful engagement and collaboration with Indigenous communities, as exemplified in other sites across Canada, in the process of establishing BRs that could qualify as OECMs now and into the future.

Project funds will strengthen CBRA and the national network of Canada’s BRs via coordinated administration and support including the planning and delivery of national annual general meetings, enhancing networking for existing BRs and guidance for proposed BR’s, and engagement with CCUNESCO, MAB Canada and UNESCO. This project will also demonstrate implementation of the Lima Action Plan and sharing with the international BR network.

About the Position

Over the next 2.5 years, the PM will be primarily responsible for managing and implementing the ‘Pathway to Canada Target 1 in Canada’s 18 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (2017-2020)’ project as funded via Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Concurrently, the PM will be expected to strategically assess the potential of CBRA and to build capacity to implement the strategic goals and objectives of the organization by working with the board and volunteers. The PM will also provide governance and administrative support to the organization.

CBRA’s long term goal is to re-establish capacity as a national network. The PM position may lead to an Executive Director position leading the national organization and networking Canadian BRs. For the right person, this current employment opportunity may be a bridge to this long-term leadership position.

Scope of work

1) Project management

  • Effectively build on our partnership with ECCC through management and delivery of the 2 ½ year work plan and pre-approved budget.

2) Sustainable funding development and financial management

  • Leveraging current funding including identifying other funding sources, developing potential projects, submitting proposals and maintaining records and related documentation.

3) Coordination, planning and management

  • Supporting CBRA’s secretary in preparing material to be used by CBRA such as agendas, briefing books and minutes for CBRA meetings in collaboration with CBRA Executive Committee;
  • Establishing CBRA ad hoc committees and new working groups related to the project;
  • Seek opportunities to develop other national and international projects with CBRA and BRs;
  • Support CBRA’s collaboration with, and input to, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO concerning BRs.

4) Communication

  • Presents the organization and its mission, projects and BRs in a strong and positive light to relevant stakeholders;
  • Works with Executive Committee to maintain media relations and ensures co-operation with key federal, NGO, corporate and other and national/international organizations that share the interests of BRs;
  • Develops and oversees CBRA communications material including website and print materials.

5) Staff and/or subcontract project resources

  • As related to the ECCC project, effectively manage the resources of the organization according to CBRA policies and procedures that fully conform to current laws and regulations,

Skills and Experience

  • Knowledge of national, provincial/territorial and international conservation and protection opportunities including the UNESCO biosphere reserve designation;
  • Knowledge and background related to Canada’s Pathway to Target 1, OECM’s, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), and relevant MEA’s;
  • Experience working with Indigenous communities and partners to deliver and incorporate the mandate of sustainable development, biodiversity conservation and reconciliation;
  • Leadership experience with a non-profit or member association, government or academic setting;
  • Minimum five years of management or coordination of a major multi-stakeholder or national program or network;
  • Successful long-term fiscal resource planning including fundraising
  • Budget and financial management experience;
  • Contract/staff management skills and experience;
  • Strong communication skills; and
  • Demonstrated success working in a team environment and with volunteers, all levels of government and academia.

Bilingual Status

The PM is required to be functionally bilingual in reading, writing and verbal communication.

Location of work

The location of work may be negotiated with the potential to establish a home office preferably located in one of the 18 BRs in Canada. Proximity to Ottawa will be considered an asset. Official record keeping capacity will be required.


University-level education related to environment and/or sustainable development with 5 years’ experience or demonstrated equivalent experience preferably in the BR network.

Personal Suitability

  • Ability to work independently, exercising initiative while maintaining team relationships;
  • Ability to adjust to changing deadlines and demands while maintaining Board approved project schedules;
  • Ability to work with high-level stakeholders (e.g., senior government, foundations);
  • Strong leadership skills and demonstrated strategic thinking;
  • Excellent organization, interpersonal, public speaking/presentation, reporting and communication skills;

Term of Employment

This term employment opportunity is subject to continued funding and currently scheduled to be completed March 31, 2020. This position is subject to a 3-month probationary period.

Reporting Relationship

The PM reports to the Executive Committee of CBRA through the Chair.


Salary will be negotiated in the range of $65,000 - $70,000.


Interested candidates should submit their CVs with a cover letter and three references by 4:00 p.m. November 8, 2017 by e-mail to:

 Jean-Philippe Messier, Chair, Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association


While we appreciate all submissions only those selected for interviews will be contacted.

Day on the Hill for Canada's UNESCO Biosphere Reserves | Journée sur la colline pour les Réserves de biosphère canadiennes de l'UNESCO

***En français plus bas***

On May 29, 2017, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association hosted a special Day on the Hill in Ottawa. The goal was to allow Members of Parliament, Senators, and staff to discover the important role and contributions of Canada’s 18 UNESCO biosphere reserves. 

This was a non-partisan event, co-organized with the support of Members of Parliament Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor (New Brunswick: Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, Liberal), Gord Johns (BC: Courtenay-Alberni, NDP), and Robert Sopuck (Manitoba: Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, Conservative).


The day culminated with a special reception, hosted by Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole, Bruce Stanton, MP. Over 100 MPs and Parliamentary Secretaries attended the event. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about how this unique network of UNESCO sites contributes to biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and reconciliation. The reception also featured sustainably crafted edibles from Canada’s biosphere reserves.


Le 29 mai, la Commission canadienne pour l’UNESCO et l’Association canadienne des réserves de la biosphère ont organisé une journée spéciale sur la colline du Parlement, à Ottawa. L’événement a eu pour but de permettre aux députés de découvrir le rôle important et l’apport des 18 réserves de biosphère de l’UNESCO au Canada.

L’événement non partisan est organisé avec le soutien des députés Ginette Petitpas Taylor (Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, Parti libéral), Gord Johns (BC-Courtenay-Alberni, NPD) et Robert Sopuck (Manitoba-Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, Parti conservateur).

La Journée sur la colline de l’Association a terminé par une réception où les députés et les autres agents responsables ont pu apprendre davantage sur la manière dont ce réseau unique contribue à la protection de la biodiversité, au développement durable et à la réconciliation. La réception a mis aussi en vedette des produits comestibles créés de façon durable et provenant des différentes réserves de biosphère. Plus de 100 députés et secrétaires parlementaires ont assisté à l'évènement.

A View of Tsá Tué BR | Une vue de la RB Tsá Tué

In a February 2017 Canadian Geographic article entitled Photos: Life inside the Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve, photographer Angela Gzowski shared her experience shooting within the Deline community in the Northwest Territories. The photos are stunning and they provide an intimate glimpse into the life, nature, and culture in the world's first Indigenous-led biosphere reserve.


Dans un article publié ce février dans le journal Canadian Geographic intitulé Photos: Life inside the Tsá Tué Biosphere Reserve, la photographe Angela Gzowski partage son expérience lors d'une séance photo avec la communauté Deline dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest. Ces magnifiques photos offrent une vue intime sur la vie, la nature, et la culture dans la première Réserve mondiale de la biosphère qui est uniquement dirigée par une communauté autochtone.



Tribute to Fred Roots | Hommage à Fred Roots by CBRA Chair, Jean-Philippe Messier

***En français plus bas***

Our CBRA family and the broader Biosphere Reserve community just lost one of its most influential contributors, a founding father and a pioneer. 

At the age of 93, Dr. Fred Roots passed away unexpectedly and peacefully on October 18 2016, at his home in East Sooke on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.  

His legacy to UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and to everything he has been involved in, here and abroad, is without comparison. 

After earning his PhD at Princeton, he joined Britain’s Scott Polar Research Institute and was chief geologist on a three-year international expedition to Antarctica that found the first evidence of the global phenomenon we now know as climate change. It was only the start. Since then, his life has been an unbelievable addition of polar expeditions, discoveries, major scientific input (over 300 scientific papers and reports), conferences (including one attended by Albert Einstein!), game-changing involvement and so on. He inspired and impacted so many people and organizations over his life, and will continue to do so. 

Fred created the Canadian MAB programme in the late 1960s, chaired it for decades and was still corresponding with us on a regular basis until his final days. He represented our country for so long at the UNESCO MAB International Coordination Council that the Chairman was used to say «Fred» instead of «Canada» in his statements. We can truly thank him to have such a network of 18 biosphere reserves across this country today. 

As recently as last March, Fred was honoured with the highest award of The Explorers Club — the Explorer’s Medal. Just so you can appreciate in which category he plays, previous winners include Robert E. Peary, Roald Amundsen, Neil Armstrong, Sir Edmund P. Hillary… 

His loss is such a shock as he was literally letting us think he was immortal. Even at over 90 years old, he was aboard the last 2 Students on Ice’s Arctic expeditions, taking part of all the hikes, workshops, giving interviews, tireless at explaining and educating youth, working on a new paper until late at night and giving a talk about it next morning. The energy of Fred Roots was just out of this world. 

You can get to know more and listen to him here: 

On a more personal note, I would like to say that Fred had a crucial role in making me feel truly inspired about MAB when I entered into this Biosphere endeavour. He had this skill and dedication to transmit passion. He wrote in Manicouagan’s designation review that «Biosphere reserves are the main tools with which UNESCO can fulfill its responsibilities on the ground, to help us understand what is happening to us, to our planet, and to demonstrate how to live more sustainably». His words are still fuelling the whole team. 

We now have to continue the journey with him in our minds and hearts. 

On behalf of CBRA, we’ll miss you Fred! 


Notre famille CBRA et la grande Communauté des Réserves de biosphère viennent de perdre l’un de nos collaborateurs les plus influents, un de nos pères fondateurs et un pionnier.

À l’âge de 93 ans, Dr Fred Roots est décédé de façon inattendue et paisible, le 18 octobre dernier à son domicile de East Sooke, en Colombie-Britannique.

Son héritage au programme MAB et à tout ce dans quoi il s’est impliqué, ici comme à l’étranger, est tout simplement énorme.

Après avoir obtenu son doctorat de Princeton, il a rejoint la Scott Polar Research Institute de Grande-Bretagne comme géologue en chef d’une expédition internationale de trois ans en Antarctique, qui a trouvé les premières preuves des phénomènes mondiaux que nous appelons maintenant les changements climatiques. Ce n’était que le début. Depuis, sa vie a été un cumul incroyable d’expéditions, de découvertes, de grandes contributions scientifiques (plus de 300 articles scientifiques et rapports), de conférences (dont une en présence d’Albert Einstein!), d’implications décisives et ainsi de suite. Il a inspiré et touché tant de gens et d’organisations au fil de sa vie, et continuera de le faire.

Il a créé le programme MAB canadien à la fin des années soixante, il l’a présidé pendant des décennies et correspondait encore avec nous sur une base régulière. Il a représenté notre pays pendant si longtemps au Conseil international de coordination du MAB de l’UNESCO, que le Président avait l’habitude de dire «Fred» au lieu de «Canada» dans ses déclarations. Nous pouvons vraiment le remercier d’avoir, aujourd’hui, un tel réseau de 18 RB dans ce pays .

Aussi récemment qu’en Mars dernier, Fred a reçu la plus haute distinction du «Explorers Club», soit la Explorer Medal. Juste pour que vous puissiez apprécier dans quelle catégorie il évolue, les gagnants précédents incluent Robert E. Peary, Roald Amundsen, Neil Armstrong, Sir Edmund Hillary...

Sa perte est un choc énorme. Il nous avait littéralement laissés croire qu’il était immortel. Même à plus de 90 ans, il était à bord des 2 dernières expéditions de Students on Ice en Arctique, prenant part de toutes les randonnées, ateliers, donnant des entrevues, infatigable à expliquer et éduquer les jeunes, travaillant sur un nouveau document jusque tard dans la nuit et donnant une conférence à ce sujet le lendemain matin. L’énergie de cet homme était tout simplement inexplicable.

Vous pouvez en savoir plus et l'écouter ici:

Sur une note plus personnelle, je voudrais dire que Fred a joué un rôle crucial dans mon engagement envers le MAB quand je suis entré dans le circuit. Il avait le talent et le dévouement pour transmettre la passion. Il a écrit dans l’évaluation de la désignation de Manicouagan que «Les réserves de biosphère sont les principaux outils avec lesquels l’UNESCO peut remplir ses responsabilités sur le terrain, afin de nous aider à comprendre ce qui se passe pour nous, pour notre planète, et pour démontrer comment vivre de manière plus durable». Ses paroles alimentent encore toute l’équipe.

Nous devons maintenant continuer le voyage avec Fred dans nos esprits et nos coeurs.

Au nom de CBRA, Fred, tu vas nous manquer!