As the chant of the Friendship song drifted across the Bras d’Or Lakes on a rare sunny July afternoon, people shook hands in congratulations on the release of  The Spirit of the Lakes Speaks, a document created by the Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI).

CEPI members: Shelley Porter, Annie Johnson, Dan Christmas, René Lavoie, Lisa Young, Anthony Morris and Charlie Dennis

With a vision for the protection and sustainability of the Bras d’Or Lakes and watershed, the document is a “process plan” for people and government who work and live around the Lakes.

Lisa Young, UINR Executive Director and member of CEPI Management Committee, was in attendance. “It took some time to get here but it was well worth the wait. It’s been quite an experience working with the partners around the CEPI table. They are a dedicated bunch of people who are very generous with their time and knowledge. I personally feel very proud and privileged to have played a part in the development of a document that is as special and unique as the Bras d’Or Lakes.”

The CEPI process plan describes a way to work together to address environmental management issues around the Bras d’Or Lakes. Inspired by the medicine wheel and two-eyed seeing, the plan proposes seven guiding principles to help decision-making and action. These principles influence how decisions are made and actions taken:

We are part of nature, not the owners of her.

We will assist in healing previous damages.

We will consider the impact of our present actions on future generations.

We will pay attention.

We will cause no net loss of habitat.

We will work together.

We are accountable.

You can download The Spirit of the Lakes Speaks at

Presenters Mike MacKenzie, Jessie Helen MacNeil and Annie Johnson;Audience members review reportHandmade gift presented to friends of CEPI