In the summer of 2022, I was invited by biologist Alexandre Nicole to begin a long term project in tandem with the SCIRBI (Société de Conservation, d'Interprétation et de Recherche de Berthier et ses Îles), documenting the rewilding of two islands in the Lac St-Pierre region. The region, because of the diversity and richness of its wetlands, is a UNESCO biosphere reserve and has been designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The Îles aux Castors and du Mitan, which are the subject of this rewilding project, constitute a microcosm of the diversity found throughout the Lac Saint-Pierre region; 73% of their territory is occupied by a variety of wetlands, from the aquatic grass beds, to shrubby and arborescent swamps, including marshes and wet meadows.
These habitats are an absolute beauty to behold. Visiting the islands has become a ritual of sorts. I go to make photographs, but also to interact with nature through sight, smell, sound and touch. Walking here feels like going back in time, one when there were just more animals present, larger numbers as well as a larger diversity. It's an amazing place and I feel privileged to be able to act as a witness to its restoration. It is proof that if you just let it, life, in all its forms, will inexorably return.
We need these wetlands as much as they need us right now.