The town of Churchill, Manitoba voted yesterday by a margin of 58% -42% to end the process of artificially fluoridating it’s drinking water supply. The three -year campaign by a group called Churchill No -Fluoride culminated with the victory in the town-wide plebiscite. Mark Brackley the founder and driving force behind the grass-roots initiative began this quest three years ago and was ecstatic with the result. In a Facebook posting from Churchill mark expressed his gratitude to all who supported the choice; “I want to personally thank all of you who came out for your health, you are amazing people that have decided to take back your power of choice. I’m proud of you Churchill. You have  made history.”

Churchill polar bear.

Fluoride is bad!!!

With the vote finished, the results will now be in the hands of city council and they will most likely set a date for the official end to the fluoridation process. Go to the Churchill No fluoride page on Facebook for reactions from local Churchillians and further information on the issue.

As for the wildlife out on the land, who do drink fluoride -free water. the sightings continue at a good pace.Following a few days of blowing rain in Churchill,Natural Habitat Guide Sue Zajac arrived yesterday with her group as the precipitation began changing to light snow. On the tundra the following morning, snow caused the polar bears to become somewhat more active …often wandering about the tundra rather than napping incessantly. Both Sue’s and Guide Elise Lockton’s groups came upon three bears out at Halfway point on the coast in and around the rocky outcrops enjoying the view of the Hudson Bay. The tundra lodge area is starting to pick up in numbers as well as Sue’s group settled in on three or four big male polar bears scattered around the facility. Later the rover wound along Christmas Lake esker and viewed a smaller bear in the spruce trees resting. As the group headed back over the purple and maroon splotched Fall landscape a bear nearer to the launch-site bid them farewell for the day…quite a full one at that. With the snow falling the colors of the tundra will fade to white soon.

Churchill,MB Fall colours.

Ed Bouvier photo.

Guide Paul Brown and his group had some excellent polar bear sightings as well as a regal gyrfalcon out at Bird Cove. With the winds subsiding a bit some of the raptors of the region will be able to get back in the sky to hunt.

Guide Sandra and her travelers were out spotting bears in good numbers for this time of year. Still experiencing some of the winds, the bears were slightly less active this day on the tundra. A big male bear near the lodge was chewing on a hat from a lodge patron whom the bear apparently lost a bet with. Hey, if they can devour a caribou carcass and eat an entire seal, I’m sure a little wool from a sheep won’t do too much damage to their digestive system. The group had lunch far out in the CWMA by the large stone inukshuk….mutton stew perhaps? More like some fine sandwiches and exquisite soup prepared by chef Noel back in town. Just being out on the serene , raw landscape is a feeling that will stay with one forever. With only the sound of the wind and the flowing contour of the tundra the mind can let go of everything else.

Aside from the resident polar bears out around the tundra lodge, this past week  has been a exciting time for Fall birding on the Northern tundra. Guide Bonnie Chartier was with her group on the lodge sharing her extensive knowledge of the regions birds. Starting on October 13  a gray gyrfalcon was chasing snow buntings in and out of the willows.  A little farther out toward the inland road travelers were treated to many flocks of Rock & Willow Ptarmigan. Past years the numbers have not allowed for really large groups of these birds to be sighted. More  like smaller mini-flocks. Very cool.  Especially when they are walking in front of the rover as the huge machine is trying to pas through.a weird dichotomy of sorts in this wild land.

The group viewed  37 Brant Geese of Oct. 15th and a good number of black-bellied Plover, a few greater yellow legs as well as some Dunlin, Baird’s, and white-rumped Sandpipers still hanging on to the extended season. Numerous ducks are still around as Mallards, long-tailed ducks, red-breasted mergansers, pintails and common eiders showed themselves to the group. Tundra Swans floating lazily on one of the many thermakarsts were apparently still enjoying the Northern climate.  The other highlight on October 16 was a Pacific Loon flying over Gordon Point…..a  “very cool and a late report”‘ according to Bonnie.
Bears have lurking around town over the past week or so. Cracker shells from Conservation Canada officers have been ringing out over by Northern Nights Lodge and behind the town complex. Exercise safety when walking around town and near the outskirts.

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