June 28, 2012

On May 22nd WBEA members gathered with the late Bertha Ganter’s family members, Fort McKay community members and elders at the Fort McKay Air Monitoring Station to celebrate Bertha’s memory by re-naming the station in her honor. The station is now officially called the “Bertha Ganter Fort McKay Community Air Monitoring Station” in recognition of Bertha’s dedication to environmental protection.

WBEA worked with Bertha’s family, the Fort McKay Sustainability Group, and community members in the TEK Berry Monitoring Group to properly honor Bertha and recognize her environmental advocacy work.

Community members gathered at the air monitoring station where a commemorative station sign, designed and carved by Shawn McClure, was unveiled. A memorial plaque made by Rick Grandjambe for the Elders’ Centre was also unveiled.

An opening prayer was said by Flora Grandjambe, and after hearing from the President of WBEA, Ann Dort MacLean, members of Bertha’s family, representatives of the Fort McKay Sustainability Group, and the Executive Director of WBEA, Dr. Kevin Percy, the celebration continued at Bertha’s camp where everyone enjoyed prayers, music from the Fort McKay drummers and a feast prepared by Evelyn Bouchier.

“I am so pleased to be here to celebrate my mother’s memory,” said Bertha’s son Stephen Ganter. “It was her dedication to environmental protection that helped make the air monitoring station a reality.”

Brenda Ganter, Bertha’s daughter, said, “She believed that one person could make a difference. And it was her voice that rang out through the community.”

WBEA would like to thank the community of Fort McKay, and Bertha’s family in particular, for the honor of renaming the Fort McKay Air Monitoring Station in recognition of Bertha. Bertha’s work with WBEA was invaluable, and it dovetailed with her lifelong interest in the environment. Her input and knowledge was much appreciated during the many years she participated on WBEA committees.

Tribute to Bertha Ganter:

“Bertha loved Mother Earth. She loved, too, the gifts Mother Earth shared with the people of Fort McKay including the land, the animals, the fish, the plants and the air that gives life. She worked tirelessly to protect these precious gifts. Thus this honour is greatly deserved. Well done, Bertha.”

Click to read the Red River Current Newsletter – June 27, 2012, featuring an article and photos from the renaming ceremony.

Bertha’s family members gather for a photo.

Dr. Kevin Percy, WBEA Executive Director, speaks to community members at the gathering.

Community members and kids enjoy the sunshine at the renaming ceremony.

Shawn McClure stands in front of the commemorative sign he designed and carved for the Air Monitoring Station.