News Archive

RMBR 2019 General Meetings

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Meetings for 2019 

  • January 31, 2019 – Annual General Meeting
  • March 28, 2019 – General Meeting
  • May 30, 2019 – General Meeting
  • July 25, 2019 – General Meeting
  • September 26, 2019 – General Meeting
  • November 28, 2019 – General Meeting


Upcoming “At the Farm Gate” Market’s 2019

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

Help us make the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve region more sustainable and known for its unique local flavour.

To learn more about the At the Farm Gate Market, click here.

“At the Farm Gate” Spring Market

     Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the Onanole Recreation Centre in Onanole, Manitoba from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Click here for a printable poster.

To book your table or for more information, contact Valerie at [email protected] or call 204-636-2085.






Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Contributes to Local Economy

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Funding cuts affect ability to deliver programs

Erickson, Manitoba, February 5, 2014 – Biosphere reserves have the capacity to work with municipalities to build prosperous, vibrant and sustainable communities. They provide access to the United Nations’ vast research and project management resources. Imagine being able to tap into the knowledge base and capacity-building power of 621 biosphere reserves around the world, 16 of which are located in Canada. That is the opportunity that the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve (RMBR) provides to the 15-member municipalities that surround Riding Mountain National Park.

“Biosphere reserves play a crucial role in generating knowledge about how natural systems work and about how to maintain resilient ecosystems which contribute enormously valuable ecological services,” explained Valerie Pankratz, RMBR executive director. “At the same time these ecosystems can be used in sustainable ways to create income, employment and wealth.”

Since receiving biosphere designation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1986, RMBR has been involved in numerous projects that cross municipal boundaries to deal with complex issues like the Bovine Tuberculosis (TB). Since 2003, RMBR has facilitated the TB Stakeholders Advisory Committee (TB SAC) which has been an important link between cattle producers, hunters and outfitters, and the government agencies working to eradicate Bovine TB from the Riding Mountain region.

Other initiatives include education programs in water stewardship like “Living by the Water’s Edge,” a how-to manual for home and cottage owners living along waterways and lakeshores. RMBR has also created and curates the Native Species Garden at their Erickson office which provides information about planting and preserving native species of plants and trees. It also helps raise awareness about efforts to halt the spread of invasive species.

Growing the local economy

The “At the Farm Gate” program hosts three markets per year in communities around the park where producers and artisans have access to new customers and an ever growing legion of loyal repeat clients. Shopping locally has multiple benefits: money spent on these products stays in the regional economy; the craftspeople and farmers access new markets and revenue; and it provides a boost to the area’s tourism sector.

Caching Riding Mountain is another sustainable tourism initiative piloted by RMBR. This annual GPS adventure quest sends participants on a 24-hour tour of the biosphere. Working with local partners, RMBR organizes stops at a variety of local attractions that visitors might not normally discover on their own, thus promoting the cultural resources and natural beauty of the area.

Scientific research is another component of the biosphere’s mandate. RMBR has helped facilitate numerous research projects including an elk movement study, as well as the introduction of innovative beaver removal techniques. They are also participating in projects looking at the effects of climate change, and invasive species.

Looking to the future

Today however RMBR finds itself at a crossroads. After nearly three decades, RMBR’s future is being threatened by a funding shortfall. The post-recession economic reality has meant that environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) are having to reinvent themselves in order to remain vital and effective.

Since Environment Canada’s funding agreement to biosphere reserves was cut in 2012, RMBR has been looking for alternative revenue sources.

A partial solution has been found through a contribution agreement with Parks Canada. They have agreed to pay some of the cost of a fund development plan whose goal is to make the Biosphere Reserve self-sufficient. This study and plan were well underway in 2012, but had to be put on hold after the federal budget cuts.

Reviving the fund development plan has injected fresh energy into RMBR. With its focus on maintaining biodiversity, healthy sustainable ecosystems, and vital sustainable communities, board members are eager to see that the untapped potential of this organization get used to help grow the economy and preserve local culture.

Preserving local history

“RMBR could coordinate a number of different projects like documenting oral histories in order to preserve the region’s stories of settlement, triumphs and tragedies, plagues, and disasters,” said board member Don Huisman. “Every municipality has a few sites and artifacts of local significance that could be catalogued, mapped and made known to a larger audience.”

Having this information available throughout the biosphere would be of interest to local residents and ex-pats originally from the area who have moved away. Knowing their local history helps bring communities together.

“Every municipality has a few interesting cultural heritage pieces,” explains Huisman who is also a councillor for the Town of Erickson, “The biosphere can be a link for all of these. For example, the last known building from the Whitewater POW camp is now a garage near Strathclair. The house of murdered park warden Lawrence Lees is now in Rossburn. Panels of wood made at Kippan’s Mill during the Depression exist all around the park. We can share that kind of information with the people who live here now, with those who have moved away, and with newcomers. Everyone has a piece of this history but if we put it all together we build a wonderful mosaic of our history and culture.”

Regional coordination during amalgamation

“The Biosphere Reserve has a lot to offer municipalities in the way of facilitation skills,” explains Ray Frey, chairman of RMBR. “RMBR can assist where there are contentious issues, especially cross-boundary, or as a result of amalgamation between municipal partners. Having an impartial third party chair a meeting helps keep the focus on needs and issues rather than emotions and history.”

Frey also noted that biosphere reserves are mandated to focus on sustainable development, environmental sciences, and cultural preservation. UNESCO provides support to biospheres for these activities through knowledge sharing and access to world experts in their fields. Many of these resources are out of reach for rural municipalities of 1000 or fewer residents, but the combined population of the region is 20,000 people, so sharing these assets at the biosphere level makes it more feasible.

European model

In Europe, public investment in biosphere reserves is significantly higher than in Canada. Governments there acknowledge the value of being in a biosphere reserve and invest on average $10 per person per year into theirs. In return, they make full use of their biosphere reserves’ capacity for conservation, development, communication, and logistical coordination. They have become Europe’s “laboratories of ideas” on questions of sustainable growth.

In the near future, RMBR board members will be asking member municipalities to consider supporting the organization through a contribution based on roll numbers.

“We could really help municipalities to grow. An investment in RMBR will pay dividends many times over,” explains Frey. “This resource has not been utilized to its fullest potential in the past. We invite the RMs to ask for assistance with their highest priority issues. We want them to be aware of what we can do for them.”

This is a critical time for RMBR. The activities mandated in their charter must be carried out in order to retain biosphere reserve status. Unfortunately, if RMBR were to lose its status, it will not get it back. Founders, board members and supporters of RMBR will be encouraging municipal leaders to support the organization and more importantly, to make use of its full potential.

Using the European experience as a blueprint, Pankratz acknowledges that their goals are big, but achievable.

“We would like RMBR to become known as an area dedicated to focusing on developing models for global, national and local cultural, biological ecosystem sustainability.”

For more information about RMBR activities in your area, visit or call 204-636-2085.

Celebrate World Snow Day!

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Get Outside and Play on World Snow Day!

Celebrate all things snow on January 20, 2013.

The RMBR is participating in World Snow Day by asking people who live and play in Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve to do something “Snowy” on January 20, 2013!

Come join us and Friends of Riding Mountain National Park to Fly your Kite (regular and traction) on beautiful Clear Lake, located in our core protected area Riding Mountain National Park, January 20, 2013 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and you will be entered to Win a great Snow Day Kite!

If you can’t make it out to Clear Lake, go out in the snow and fly your kite on January 20, 2013 and send us your best photo or short video of all the fun you’re having in Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve to be entered to Win a great Snow Day Kite!

To enter, email your photo or short video along with where your photo or video was taken in Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve and your name and address to [email protected] .

Check out the Starbucks video of folks flying these great kites!


RMBR General Meeting

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Next General Meeting Date: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve  – Erickson Office. 61 2nd NE, Erickson MB

Native Species Garden Booklets

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Are you interested in learning more about gardening with Native Species in the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve? We have just added two new Native Species Garden booklets to our website! Intended as a guide for the gardens planted at our Erickson office, these booklets include a variety of plant species native to the area.

The adult booklet includes detailed information and pictures of each of the plant species as well as some recipes for native species. For kids, we have added another booklet that provides basic information, pictures, a colouring page, a maze, and some fun facts!

To download your copy or to learn more about the RMBR Native Species Garden, click here.

Native Species Garden Online

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve has just launched a new page for our Native Species Garden! Three gardens were planted in the Summer of 2011 with more planned for the near future. The diverse and beautiful species planted in these gardens are all native to the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve and we hope that you will enjoy them as much as we do!

For more information, please visit the Native Species Garden page by clicking here.

2011 Photo Contest Results

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

We’ve just posted all of our entries to the 2011 Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Photo Contest. Thank you to all those who submitted their pictures, they were great!

Click here to view the pictures.

For more information on the 2012 Photo Contest, please click here.

Update on Bovine Tb Meeting

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Update on Bovine Tb in the Riding Mountain National Park Region

1:30pm to 3:30pm

Monday, December 5, 2011

McCreary Legion Hall

Presentations by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Iniativies (MAFRI), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Manitoba Conservation and Parks Canada

Everyone is welcome to come gather information and ask questions.

More more information, call Valerie at (204) 636-2085

Caching Riding Mountain Adventure Quest

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

7th Annual Caching Riding Mountain Adventure Quest

June 8th & 9th, 2013

Take part in the 7th Annual Caching Riding Mountain GPS Adventure Quest and discover the people, places and heritage of the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve, its core area, Riding Mountain National Park and the 15 Rural Municipalities that make up the area of cooperation. Travel through the 15,000 square kilometers of the Biosphere Reserve locating over 50 caches that have been placed by communities, individuals and businesses for this specific event.

Cache types range from traditional to virtual to commercial to activity, with points assigned to each depending upon their distance from the start location, difficulty and tasks involved. It is up to each caching team to decide where they want to go, how many caches they will go after, and in what order. Prizes will be awarded to those teams who collect the most points and make it back to the check-in area within the 26 hours allotted.

Starting point / Ending point:
Sportsman’s Park
(just south of Park Gates)

Who Can Participate?
This Geocaching Adventure Quest is open to all novice and experienced geocachers. All ages can participate, but those 16 and younger must have a guardian over the age of 21 on your team. Registration forms and entry fees must be received before June 3rd, 2013.


6th Annual Caching Riding Mountain Adventure Quest

June 9th & 10th, 2012

Are you looking to see the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve like you’ve never seen it before? Then the 6th Annual Caching Riding Mountain GPS Adventure Quest is the answer! Taking teams on a 26 hour long adventure throughout the Biosphere Reserve, this year’s Adventure Quest is guaranteed to take you to places you never knew existed. Whether you are an experienced or novice GPS user, this modern treasure hunt is fun for all ages!

If you are interested in participating in this year’s Adventure Quest or would like more information, please click on the Caching Riding Mountain link to go to the Caching Riding Mountain website! Online or mail-in registration is available and all registration forms must be received by June 5, 2012

For more information on the exciting activity of geocaching, please visit our Geocaching page.

If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at (204) 636-2085 or by e-mail at [email protected]

5th Annual Caching Riding Mountain Adventure Quest– June 11th & 12th, 2011 


To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Parks Canada, this year’s Adventure Quest took participants to 100 locations across the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve. Using handheld GPS (global positioning systems) and wits, eleven teams navigated their way to traditional, virtual, and activity caches scattered throughout the area.

First place was once again taken by Treasure Hunters, who returned to defend their title as number one!

Every year the Adventure Quest has different locations within the biosphere, the diverse landscape providing the perfect atmosphere to explore mixed terrains and see wildlife (one group spotted a moose cow and her triplets).

Please go to our Geocaching page to learn more about the exciting activity of geocaching. If you are interested in joining us please click on the Caching Riding Mountain link to go to the Caching Riding Mountain website!

If you are a business or organization interested in becoming an activity cache for the 2011 Adventure Quest, click for more information.

For more information call Valerie Pankratz

at (204) 636 2085 or

e-mail [email protected]