Freshwater Future Weekly: May 19, 2023

This week: Freshwater Future Joins Patagonia at 50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago; Georgian Bay Town Looking for Bi-National Support to Oppose Ontario’s Bill 23; PFAS in Pellston, MI: Cancer and the Odawa Nation; Join Us for Upcoming Water Watchers & Wellness Sessions; “Chonkosaurus” Snapping Turtle in the Chicago River
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Freshwater Future Joins Patagonia at 50th Anniversary Celebration in Chicago

Freshwater Future was happy to be a part of the Patagonia Chicago celebration event last Saturday. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and subscribed to our e-news. Your engagement and discussions about water issues and unwavering enthusiasm for making a positive impact are inspiring. Congratulations to the winner of our subscriber drawing for Patagonia wear: Jisang Y. of Chicago!

(Left: Patagonia team member Amber Ray and Kristen Haitaian, Freshwater Future’s Program Co-Director, chat at Patagonia’s Chicago store event on May 13th. Right: Delighted store customers display their Freshwater Future water bottle sticker.)

Georgian Bay Town Looking for Bi-National Support to Oppose Ontario’s Bill 23

The Township of Archipelago, a small town on eastern Georgian Bay is raising concerns over the impact of Ontario’s the More Homes Built Faster Act (called Bill 23) on the health of the Great Lakes.  Bill 23 removed local authority and weakened environmental protections, especially for wetlands and parks. The township is asking all Great Lakes mayors to express opposition to the Bill and its multiple impacts on environmental planning and controls in the province of Ontario. Opposition and advocacy around Bill 23’s significant removal of environmental controls in Ontario is increasing – Is your community impacted by Bill 23? Please share your concerns or stories about how your community is being affected here.

PFAS in Pellston, MI: Cancer and the Odawa Nation

Andrea Pierce, co-founder of Michigan’s Anishinaabek Caucus and citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (LTBB), mourned her mother, Mary Burkes, on the steps of Michigan’s capital at World Water Day this year. One of LTBB’s beloved elders, Mary was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer, a disease associated with PFAS poisoning, in December 2021 and walked on in September 2021. Freshwater Future worked with Pellston High School students to test water in the village for PFAS in 2019, discovering high levels in several wells, which then drew the attention of the state confirming PFAS contamination in the aquifer. Under the sink or point of use filters have been provided to residents, but there is concern about exposure from bathing and other uses. The Village of Pellston received a grant from the State of Michigan and is studying alternative water supplies. Stay tuned for opportunities to take action on this important issue.  Check out the information, news, and resources on PFAS on our website.

Join Us for Upcoming Water Watchers & Wellness Sessions

Water Watchers & Wellness sessions are designed to help grassroot environmental and community group leaders grow their leadership and reach their goals, while taking time for mindfulness, movement, and self-care. These sessions happen on the fourth Thursday of every month, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm ET. Next week’s session will be on nonprofit incorporation. Sign up for our sessions here!

“Chonkosaurus” Snapping Turtle in the Chicago River 

In a river that was historically polluted with sewage and shipping, restoration efforts have led to a huge ecological success story – Check out this video of the biggest snapper we have ever seen here! (Content warning: expletives used to describe Chonkosaurus in the video.)