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An Update: Neonics vs Bees, Birds and the Planet
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An Update: Neonics vs Bees, Birds and the Planet

This blog was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Nature Canada is thankful of the support that our Petition to ban the use of Neonics has received. By taking a stand against neonics, we can apply pressure to decision makers, and ensure Canada catches up to other places in protecting our birds and bees from harmful chemicals. The Save the Bees and Save the Birds movements have gained mainstream attention in the past few years, but governments, environmental groups and industry have been discussing the impact of pesticides on humans, plants and wildlife species for decades. Silent Spring, a groundbreaking book by Rachel Carson, was published in 1962 and highlighted the dangers of DDT for humans and wildlife alike. She presented evidence that linked DDT to health problems in humans, and severe declines in bird populations. This ultimately led to the ban of DDT for agricultural uses, and, since then, the many species that were severely impacted by its use, most notably peregrine falcons and bald eagles, have made dramatic recoveries. Now, four decades later, neonics (Neonicotinoids) have taken centre stage due to the harm they are inflicting upon bird and bee populations around the globe.


Numerous studies have shown that various neonicotinoids are contributing to the die-off of honeybees and other pollinators, like bumblebees. Four years ago, researchers at the University of Saskatchewan found that songbirds given small doses of imidacloprid lost weight and lost their sense of direction, preventing them from migrating south. Most recently, the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and Environment and Climate Change Canada showed that the harm caused by the use of neonics does not limit itself to bees or small birds. [caption id="attachment_37975" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo by Carla Radke[/caption] These scientists found nine detectable levels of neonicotinoids in the livers of 40 wild turkeys in Southern Ontario, thus raising the question about the breadth of the impact that these pesticides have on all wildlife species. In late April of this year, the European Union banned the use of three prevalent neonicotinoid that have caused harm to bees and birds. The 28 member states decided to build on a limited ban in effect since 2013 and completely ban their use by the end of 2018. Most recent to join the movement is Costco, a grocery store chain that has 600 stores in the United States and Canada. In May of 2018, Costco took a stand on insecticides, urging its producers to stop using neonics. They are now asking their suppliers of fruits, vegetables and garden plants to phase the use of these insecticides, and are seeking to partner with suppliers who share their commitment to pollinator health. As well, 232 global scientists published in the scholarly journal Science  on June 1, 2018, to "greatly restrict" the use of neonics around the world, writing an open letter to policy makers demanding action around neonics due to the threat they pose to pollinators and ecosystems. (Science magazine, June 1, 2018).
The Canadian Government is currently reviewing the use of neonics. Considering that even ingesting a small amount of neonics can cause songbirds to be impaired and unable to migrate, and has lead to the die-off of bees, this issue requires immediate action from the Canadian government. A big thanks to you, and thousands of other Canadians for signing our petition and standing together to ban neonics.  Please help strengthen our voice by sharing our petition today!

Support Nature Canada as we urge the government to follow the European Union’s lead and protect all our wildlife species from harmful chemicals!


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IBA Local Action Fund
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IBA Local Action Fund

[caption id="attachment_21694" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Ted Cheskey Ted Cheskey
Senior Conservation Manager[/caption] Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada are injecting new energy into the Important Bird and Biodiversity (IBA) program. Over the past 20 years, millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours of volunteer hours have been invested in protecting birds at Canada’s IBAs.  We are committed to keeping Canada’s IBAs as a centrepiece of our site-related bird conservation work. From 2008 to 2014, Nature Canada and in some cases First Nation partners, aimed to get an ‘on-the-ground” stewardship and advocacy presence in IBAs from local groups and individuals.  Over this entire period, Nature Canada and BSC have worked hard to protect Canada’s IBAs through outreach, advocacy with governments and industry, and mobilization of citizen scientists to monitor IBAs. A year into the new phase of IBA conservation work: the IBA Local Action Fund has worked to protect and conserve birds from coast to coast, including three in Nova Scotia, one in New Brunswick, one in PEI, one in Newfoundland-Labrador, three in Quebec, two in Manitoba and two in British Columbia. Thanks to the support of thousands of donors—Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada are working with local groups on specific projects to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem integrity. Here are a few features on how we are putting your membership to work protecting Canada’s birds!


[caption id="attachment_34523" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of Black Oystercatchers Black Oystercatchers[/caption] Laskeek Bay IBA, Charlotte BC Project: Fostering local champions to protect seabirds Summary: The Laskeek Bay Conservation Society has worked with local individuals to monitor and manage invasive predator species, namely racoons and rats, that are threatening breeding birds in the Laskeek Bay IBA. The Laskeek Bay IBA is a nationally significant breeding site for a multitude of seabird species, including Ancient Murrelets, Pigeon Guillemots, Black Oystercatchers, and Glaucous-winged Gulls. The Laskeek Bay Conservation Society will continue to develop environmental stewards and enhance local capacity to understand and support this IBA. [AnythingPopup id="209"]
[caption id="attachment_34524" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of Great Blue Heron by Jim Dubois Great Blue Heron by Jim Dubois[/caption] K’ómoks IBA on the Coast of British Colombia Project: Working with First Nations Guardian Watchmen on the K'omoks IBA. Summary: BC Nature has worked with First Nations Guardian Watchmen, who monitor & protect lands & waters on First Nations' territories along the Vancouver Island coast. The partnership has worked to identify shared bird conservation issues and lay the groundwork to integrate bird monitoring into current Guardian Watchmen stewardship programs. Both the K'omoks Guardian Watchmen and Haida Gwaii First Nations members have been engaged in this active stewardship program. [AnythingPopup id="211"]
[caption id="attachment_15193" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of a Burrowing Owl Burrowing Owl[/caption] Oak and Plum Lakes IBAs, Manitoba Project: Cultivating local leadership to protect a mosaic of habitats and species. Summary: The Oak Lake and Plum Lakes IBAs provides a unique mosaic of habitats on the northeast periphery of the Northern Great Plains. Oak Lake is part of the Eastern Mixed-grass Prairie Regional Priority Area, an area prioritized for its high biodiversity value, high concentration of Species At Risk, and its unique ecological/biological landscapes. These diverse habitats are home to a number of species that need protection. Nature Manitoba has worked with indigenous groups and non-indigenous communities to establish a caretaker and stewardship network for this IBA. [AnythingPopup id="212"]
[caption id="attachment_34525" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of a Red Knot Red Knot[/caption] IBAs of Manitoba’s Hudson Bay lowlands: Seal River Estuary IBA, Churchill and Vicinity IBA, Nelson River Estuary and Marsh Point IBA, Kaskattama River Estuary IBA, Manitoba Project: Monitoring Hudson Bay Coastal IBAs in Partnership with First Nations. Summary: Nature Manitoba has worked to engage local community members from Churchill and local First Nations in stewardship and monitoring on Hudson Bay coastal IBAs. The IBAs of Manitoba’s Hudson Bay lowlands are poorly known and susceptible to a range of threats from climate change to disturbance. This area is of high significance for many species including Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Pectoral Sandpiper, Black Scoter, Rusty Blackbird, Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit and Cackling Goose. The IBA Program is now recognized by a number of people living and working around Churchill and has raised awareness of this area for High Arctic shorebirds. [AnythingPopup id="213"]
[caption id="attachment_34526" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of a Semipalmated Sandpiper Semipalmated Sandpiper[/caption] Minas Basin IBA in Nova Scotia (Bay of Fundy) Project: Developing a Safe Shorebird Roost Site in the Minas Basin IBA. Summary: The food-rich mudflats of the Minas Basin IBA support over 100,000 Semipalmated Sandpipers in addition to tens of thousands of other shorebirds during fall migration. Because of its very high ecological value as shorebird stopover site, the Minas Basin is designated as both an IBA of global significance (Semipalmated Sandpiper is the primary IBA trigger species) and a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN) site of hemispheric importance. A number of beaches are primary high tide roost sites used by shorebirds in the Minas Basin IBA. Intense summer recreational pressures, particularly striped bass fishing, coincide with peak fall migration in August. Through community events and outreach to local recreational users, businesses and tourism operators this project is will on its way to creating safe spaces for roosting shorebirds. Next steps the partners hope to build a volunteer program to support the continuation of these strategies in future years. [AnythingPopup id="214"]
[caption id="attachment_34527" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of a Roseate Tern Roseate Tern[/caption] North Brother Island IBA, southwestern Nova Scotia, Universite Saine-Anne, Church Point, NS Project: Collaborative effort to protect the Roseate Tern breeding colony in the gulf of Maine. Summary: This is a collaborative effort between stewards from Université Sainte-Anne and long-time North Brother Island IBA steward to protect the Roseate Tern population on North Brother Island through habitat assessment and enhancement activities and human impact mitigation. In order to protect the North Brother Island IBA, the Roseate Tern and other species of conservation interest, the group has worked to experiment with different management techniques to protect nesting Roseate Tern from predators and habitat degradation. 35 active volunteers supported this stewardship work over the past year, 12 of which are new to bird conservation stewardship! [AnythingPopup id="216"]
[caption id="attachment_6102" align="alignright" width="320"]Image of a piping plover Piping Plover[/caption] Island Nature Trust IBA, PEI Project: Collaborative effort to protect the Pipling Plovers in the Island Nature Trust IBA. Summary:  Local groups worked to minimize human disturbance of tourism while educating visitors of the importance of the Island Nature Trust IBA and the Piping Plovers that breed there. The Island Nature Trust staff and volunteers developed conservation conscious training programs and educational materials to the community in order to protect the Piping Plovers. Building the capacity of local watershed groups and Mi’kmaq conservation groups will continue to build community awareness and support local decision-making that considers IBAs in the context of their ecological sensitivities. [AnythingPopup id="217"]
[caption id="attachment_29460" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of a Atlantic Puffin by Chris MacDonald Atlantic Puffin by Chris MacDonald[/caption] Point Lepreau and Maces Bay IBAs surrounding the Bay of Fundy, NB Project: Co-operative efforts to protect the Bay of Fundy from potential oil spills. Summary: The entire Bay of Fundy is of critical importance for the Atlantic Flyway, which migrating birds use in spring and fall as they travel between breeding and overwintering grounds.  With existing shipping and industrial activity and the potential of increased oil tanker traffic from the Energy East project, there is real concern about the impact of potential oil spills on birds and marine life.  As Energy East has demonstrated little interest in studying the impact of oil spills, Nature NB wishes to work with local partners to develop a strategy to increase awareness of the risks and impact of oil spills, encourage action at local IBAs and incite public insistence on protecting the environment upon which so many birds populations depend.  The groups have worked on implementing adequate safety measures to protect migratory birds and their habitat. [AnythingPopup id="218"]
[caption id="attachment_24800" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of a Bufflehead Bufflehead[/caption] Port L’Hebert and Port Joli harbours IBA, southwest shore Nova Scotia- Harrison Lewis Coastal Discovery Centre Society Project: Building a public campaign to create a new marine protected area that would protect coastal IBAs in Nova Scotia.    Summary: Nova Scotia local groups have worked to increase awareness in order to protect Port L’Hebert and Port Joli harbours IBA home to a number of species including Ipswich Sparrows, Piping Plovers, Green-Winged Teals, Norther Pintails, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads and more. By engaging local residents, fishers, the Mi’kmaq community, and local landowners, has worked with volunteers to work with Department of Fisheries and Oceans to protect the marine environment, bird life and biodiversity in these IBAs. [AnythingPopup id="219"]
[caption id="attachment_23621" align="alignleft" width="300"]Semipalmated Sandpiper Semipalmated Sandpiper[/caption] Ile aux Basques et les Razades IBA. rois-Pistoles, Québec. Project: Collaborative management action plans to protect Common Eiders on the Ile aux Basques et les Razades IBA. Summary: The “Societe Provancher d’histoire naturelle du Canada” with the collaboration of some partners, including scientists from universities, volunteers and environmental organizations, undertook research to inform management actions to preserve nesting species on the island. They wanted to find the best method to manage Double-crested Cormorants in order to preserve a small population of breeding Common Eiders as well as some shorebirds. Their habitats are strongly impacted by the increase in cormorant populations. Volunteers made a mapping of the vegetation of the Razade Islands for students to analyze. The Societe Provancher will continue to invite volunteers from previous years to continue their involvement in the project. [AnythingPopup id="220"]
[caption id="attachment_26228" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of a Snow Goose Photo from Flickr, Tony Battiste[/caption] Battures-de-Beauport IBA - Groupe d'éducation et d'écosurveillance de l'eau.   Project: Creating a community of concern for the Battures-de-Beauport IBA to protect Shorebirds. Summary: The “Groupe d’éducation et d’écosurveillance de l’eau” (G3E) created an educational program about the Les Battures de Beauport IBA called“1, 2, 3 ZICO!” project. The IBA is in a very heavily populated area with many sources of disturbance including industry, shipping, pollution and significant recreational pressures.  The area is known for its huge concentrations of Snow Geese and also as a stop-over for migrating shorebirds.1, 2, 3 ZICO (Zone Important pour la Conservation des Oiseaux – the French name for IBAs). The campaign was successful in raising awareness of the conservation issues affecting the IBA and the need for the development of solutions to protect the area among local residents and policymakers. [AnythingPopup id="221"]
[caption id="attachment_26191" align="alignleft" width="275"]Image of an Atlantic Puffin Atlantic Puffin[/caption] Witless Bay, Newfoundland Labrador Project: Engage local community in workshops to reduce human threats to Atlantic Puffin colony. Summary: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society Newfoundland-Labrador Chapter worked to protect the Atlantic Puffin colonies in the Witless Bay, IBA. For six years, CPAWS NL has worked within communities in close proximity of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve to rescue and release puffins and petrels who become stranded on the mainland because of attraction to artificial lights. Light attraction from the local town is a source of mortality for young birds. The CPAWS local chapter has worked on a community solution to this problem so that young Atlantic Puffins and Leach’s Storm Petrels are not victims of local lights. The project has worked to reduce human disturbance to nesting seabirds in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve IBA; to increase knowledge and engagement among local citizens in the stewardship of the IBA; to increase awareness of the IBA and its conservation needs among the general public and visitors to the region. [AnythingPopup id="222"]
[caption id="attachment_35184" align="alignright" width="200"]Image of a Common Murre Common Murre[/caption] Baie de Brador IBA, Ile aux Perroquets, Point Amour, and the Strait of Belle Isle IBA, Labrador:  Quebec Labrador Foundation (QLF) Project: This project has worked to improve local knowledge of the value of the Baie de Brador IBA, threats to its birds, and result in increased community engagement in IBA stewardship and support for the Migratory Bird and Sanctuary. Summary: Through meetings and workshops, the project worked to inform, guide, and motivate local leaders to reduce disturbance to the IBA and promote its ecological value. It worked to train youth to ID seabirds, prevent disturbance from boats, and conduct beach clean-ups. [AnythingPopup id="226"]
Habitat degradation, climate change, pollution, and human impact pose grave threats to Important Bird Areas and Canadians need to band together to protect these critical habitats and wildlife. The IBA Action Fund was created to give much-needed funding to protect hundreds of species of birds across Canada - and now you can help too! A gift today will be put to action to: • Protect Habitat from several threats • Save hundreds of species that call these IBAs home • Help on the ground efforts to maintain and conserve IBAs for generations [button link="https://netdonor.net/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1909&ea.campaign.id=76229" size="large" target="_self" color="red" lightbox="false"]Give a gift today![/button]

Tag, you’re it! – An update on Nature Canada’s new Save our Swallows initiative
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Tag, you’re it! – An update on Nature Canada’s new Save our Swallows initiative

[caption id="attachment_37736" align="alignleft" width="150"] Brodie Badcock-Parks, Nature Conservation Intern at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog post was written by Brodie Badcock-Parks, Nature Conservation Intern at Nature Canada. Aerial insectivores (birds that feed on flying insects while airborne, including swallows) are the most rapidly declining group of birds in Canada. Earlier this month, I returned from five days of very exciting fieldwork where, in partnership with Dr. Kevin Fraser of the University of Manitoba’s Avian Behaviour & Conservation Lab, we deployed 54 Motus tracking tags on Purple Martins along the shores of Lake Erie. This was Nature Canada’s fifth year conducting fieldwork to track Purple Martins, but it was one of the first opportunities for fieldwork as part of our exciting new Save Our Swallows initiative. This project, supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, aims to mobilize specific communities for the conservation and recovery of Ontario’s declining and at-risk swallow populations. The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a collaborative research project (operated by our partners at Bird Studies Canada) which tracks the movement of small flying organisms (like birds) across an array of automated radio telemetry receiver stations around the world. This is done with tiny, ultra-lightweight radio transmitters that broadcast a unique signal several times each minute. Consider the small radio transmitter (or Motus tag) like a backpack: first, we affix the backpack on the backs of Purple Martins before they begin their long migration down to Brazil for the winter. If during their journeys, these tagged Purple Martins come within range of one of the over 300 Motus receiver stations distributed throughout North and South America, the signal emitted by their backpack will be detected by the station. When detections across multiple stations are combined, we are able to map the journey of these incredible long-distance migrants across thousands of kilometers! [caption id="attachment_38053" align="alignright" width="225"] Adult female Purple Martin sporting a Motus tag & tracking band (© Brodie Badcock-Parks)[/caption] Purple Martins, the largest member of the swallow family, have been experiencing steep population declines since the mid-1980s[1]. It is estimated that the species is currently experiencing a decline of about 4.5% per year in Ontario. The reasons for this decline are complex but are likely due to a number of threats that occur between their North American breeding grounds and South American over-wintering habitat – which is why it is very important to learn more about their movements and behavior through migration-tracking research. Some other local threats to the population could be due to pesticide use, weather impacts due to climate change, or factors associated with their pre-migratory roosts. Our first set of Motus deployments this season was at Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (HBMO) near Amherstburg, Ontario. Over two days at Holiday Beach, we worked with partners from the Observatory, as well as from the Ontario Purple Martin Association to deploy 31 tags at the HBMO Purple Martin colony. We then traveled up to Sparta (near Port Bruce), where we deployed the remaining 23 tags. In total, we tagged 16 adults and 38 nestlings, including five complete families! One of the reasons for tagging complete families (i.e. both parents & all nestings) is to determine whether entire families migrate as a unit to their wintering grounds (like a long family vacation!) or if they travel separately. [caption id="attachment_38055" align="alignleft" width="254"] A 17-day-old Purple Martin nestling outfitted with a Motus tag (© Ted Cheskey)[/caption] Furthermore, it is our hope that the data that comes out of these deployments will provide more information regarding critical swallow roosts along the Southern Great Lakes. At the end of their breeding season, Purple Martins, as well as other swallows, will form large roosts (think of them like large dormitories) along Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, before they start their journey to the Northern region of Brazil. These roosts are largely a mystery in terms of their composition and dynamics, but one thing we do know is that they contain many, many swallows, including Purple Martin: some roosts contain thousands of swallows, while others contain hundreds of thousands - large enough to be detected by weather radar! Overall, Nature Canada’s trip down to Southwestern Ontario to deploy Motus tags on Purple Martins was a big success! It is our hope that through this exciting research, we can learn more about the life cycle of these declining species, as well as focus on ways that we can work together to save our swallows in Ontario.


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[1] Nebel S, Mills A, McCracken JD, Taylor PD. 2010. Declines of aerial insectivores in North America follow a geographic gradient. Avian Conserv Ecol. 5(2):1. [online] http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ACE-00391-050201

Squirrel! Can nature reduce the symptoms of ADHD?
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Squirrel! Can nature reduce the symptoms of ADHD?

[caption id="attachment_38322" align="alignleft" width="150"] Sherry Nigro[/caption] This blog post was written by Nature Canada guest blogger Sherry Nigro, and is the second in a series of blogs on the effect of nature on mental health. “Squirrel”. Anyone who has a dog knows that this single word will immediately distract them from whatever they were doing.  In fact, a lot of people find that they too, can be easily distracted, impulsive and inattentive, especially if they are tired or stressed.  The consequences can negatively affect academic and job performance, health and safety as well as relationships with others.  For approximately 5% of children and 4% of adults (conservative measures) these are symptoms of a neurodevelopmental illness called attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)[i]. Did you know that time in natural environments can help reduce inattentiveness and improve concentration?

How does it work

Much has been written about the attention restoration affect that time in nature has, since the theory was proposed by Rachel and Stephen Kaplan in the 1980s. It recognizes that periods of extended concentration (such as working on math problems), over stimulation (for example, urban environments) and even under stimulation, are draining and lead to mental fatigue, which in turn can make one easily distracted and unable to focus on the task at hand. In sharp contrast, being in a natural environment requires no intellectual effort, but provides a wrap-around multi-sensory experience.  And most significant, people feel a sense of awe, of being deeply engaged, of being fascinated by the surroundings, that has the most restorative effect.  Who among us has not looked up into a tree canopy with its dancing shades of green, or been mesmerized by water spilling over rocks, or watched a hardworking ant carry a trophy much bigger than itself, and not felt moved? And in turn, refreshed. Subsequent researchers have validated the findings that time in nature can improve attention as noted in a systematic review by Ohly et al, published by the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health[ii]. In addition to short term emotional effects that restore attention and focus, long term exposure to nature can affect brain development in children.  In research published earlier this year, Dadvand et al found that children who lived in urban neighbourhoods with "surrounding greenness" had larger volumes of grey and white matter and also showed better working memory and reduced inattention in cognitive testing[iii].

Reducing the symptoms of ADHD

People with ADHD may show behaviours such as daydreaming, being easily distracted from tasks, talking excessively, interrupting others, being unable to sit still, poor attention to detail and difficulty with multitasking[iv]. The burden is significant at a human and social level with estimates suggesting the cost of ADHD in Canada is 7 billion dollars per year[v]. So not surprisingly, researchers have looked at whether time in nature could improve the symptoms of ADHD. Frances Kuo and Andrea Faber Taylor published strong evidence in the American Journal of Public Health that demonstrated symptoms in children improved, even controlling for residential and individual variables[vi].  Recently, the Lawson Foundation, a philanthropic organization to support the wellbeing of children,  commissioned two systematic literature reviews, one[vii] by the Human Environments Analysis Lab at Western University (lead investigator Dr. Jason Gilliland, child health geographer), and the other by Dr. Robert Gifford, an environmental psychologist, and Dr. Angela Chen at the University of Victoria[viii] which supported the findings that time in nature improved symptoms of ADHD.  (Note that this is complementary to other treatment options such as medication and cognitive therapy).

Applying this to the real world 

It appears that time in nature can be restorative for children and adults, for those with ADHD and those who feel mentally fatigued.  This resonates for me; how many times has a walk in the woods provided clarity of thinking, better focus, and enhanced problem solving?  But a walk, while a great first step is not the only way to add greenness to our lives. This is the fun part.  Let your imagination go wild (many people with ADHD are highly creative, spontaneous, and energetic) as you consider ways to incorporate nature in your day.  Consider active transportation through a park, use natural scenes for wall coverings, take a picnic down to the beach.  Consider the greenness of the neighbourhood when finding a new home.  Schools, universities and workplaces can work to “naturalize” their properties with trees and water.  Green walls (with plants, not paint), and rooftop gardens are also ways to reduce mental fatigue through exposure to nature.  Why not share your ideas? So whether you are trying to make sure your hyperactive 10 year old adjusts to a new school, you are preparing for an exam, or had a heavy few days at work, spend some time to watch the clouds, be amazed by the texture of tree bark, and enjoy the antics of the industrious squirrel in the nearby tree.
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[i] Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada (CADDAC). Understanding ADHD- ADHD Facts- Dispelling the Myths.  Downloaded July 20, 2018 from http://caddac.ca/adhd/understanding-adhd/in-general/facts-stats-myths/ [ii] Heather Ohly, Mathew P. White, Benedict W. Wheeler, Alison Bethel, Obioha C. Ukoumunne, Vasilis Nikolaou & Ruth Garside (2016) Attention Restoration Theory: A systematic review of the attention restoration potential of exposure to natural environments, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part B, 19:7, 305-343, DOI: 10.1080/10937404.2016.1196155 [iii] Dadvand et al. 2018. The Association between Lifelong Greenspace Exposure and 3-Dimensional Brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Barcelona Schoolchildren. Environmental Health Perspectives.  Downloaded from https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wpcontent/uploads/2018/02/EHP1876. [iv] CADDAC. Understanding ADHD>In General> Symptoms. Downloaded July 20, 2018  http://caddac.ca/adhd/understanding-adhd/in-general/symptoms/ [v] CADDAC. Understanding ADHD>In General>Socioeconomic Costs.  Downloaded July 20, 2018 from http://caddac.ca/adhd/understanding-adhd/in-general/socioeconomic-costs/ [vi]  Kuo, Frances E., Faber Taylor, Andrea.  2004.  A Potential Natural Treatment for Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder:  Evidence from a National Study.  American Journal of Public Health.  2004 September: 94(9): 1580-1586.  Downloaded July 10, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448497/ [vii] Human Environments Analysis Laboratory. (nd) Children and Nature:  A systematic review.  Downloaded on July 10, 2018 from https://lawson.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Children-Nature-A-Systematic-Review.pdf [viii] Gifford, R., Chen, A.  2016.  Children and Nature:  What We Know and What We Do Not.  Downloaded on July 10, 2018 from  https://lawson.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Children-and-Nature-What-We-Know-and-What-We-Do-Not.pdf

Attention au coup de chaleur de l’été!
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Attention au coup de chaleur de l’été!

Attention à tous les propriétaires d'animaux de compagnie! Voici les gestes d’urgence à effectuer en cas de coup de chaleur En cas de coup de chaleur de votre de votre chat ou même votre chien, il faut absolument le rafraichir progressivement. Attention, à ne pas créer un choc thermique en le faisant passer brutalement du chaud au froid !

  • Dès que vous repérez un halètement excessif, placez immédiatement votre compagnon à 4 pattes au frais. Si le halètement ne diminue pas, faites-le examiner par un praticien.
  • A l’aide d’une bouteille d’eau fraîche ou d’un jet d’eau s’il n’en a pas peur, vous allez d’abord refroidir ses extrémités en commençant par la tête, puis les pattes.
  • Ensuite, enveloppez tout son corps dans une serviette humide afin de diminuer sa température corporelle.

Une fois qu’il est enveloppé d’une serviette humide, emmenez-le d’urgence chez le vétérinaire en mettant la climatisation dans la voiture.


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Interview of Dr. Brenda Kenny, Co-chair of Women for Nature
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Interview of Dr. Brenda Kenny, Co-chair of Women for Nature

[caption id="attachment_36747" align="alignleft" width="150"] Sharolyn Mathieu Vettese[/caption] Featuring Women for Nature member Dr. Brenda Kenny, Co-chair of Women for Nature. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Sharolyn Mathieu Vitesse. Sharolyn (S):  When reading about your outstanding accomplishments, and then when listening to you talk, you come across as someone who is down-to-earth, open, and inclusive, but I was intrigued when you mentioned that when working cooperatively, all boats rise with the tide.  How did you reach that conclusion? Brenda (B):  The opposite of that saying is the tall poppies syndrome where people are hesitant to speak out because they will be cut to size. In my experience, you get better end-results when listening to all interested parties.  There are some people who are really feisty with social activism – I’m not against that – but it doesn’t solve the problem.  We need a good way to work together, and challenge assumptions to get to what everybody wants to accomplish. [caption id="attachment_38071" align="alignright" width="300"] "Nature's future, our future, requires us to collaborate, innovate, and lead. We are working together to sustain biodiversity and heart-felt connection to nature across our great country." Dr. Brenda Kenny, pictured above, and Professor Ann Dale, Co-Chairs of Women for Nature.[/caption] S:  Can you give an example? B:  There is a group called the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) in Alberta.  It is consensus based and when it started, there were those who wanted zero emissions, and on the other hand were the emitting facilities saying that they would if they could, but the technology didn’t exist to do that.  What was actually achieved was a 65% reduction in 10 years by understanding all affected parties’ positions.  It depends on how you look at the numbers.  Look at costs and opportunities in different ways, and see ways to get there, including good regulation. What happened was that the government used the CASA targets to set clean air standards. This mandated companies to adopt the new technology to meet the new standard which resulted in energy reductions, reduced emissions, and operating savings. These are all positive impacts.  Some companies took it further, and are looking at opportunities to save money and reduce environmental impacts with waste recovery projects, and to sell the generated energy to the grid.  It goes to show how important it is to have open dialogues because how we get to the solutions is often not a straight line. S:  Has there been a cultural shift towards climate change? B: Yes, there has been a tipping point. Companies are signing on, and there are many, many willing partners.  Companies like Suncor and NAL Resources Management, which is owned by Manulife, are adopting new technologies to improve their extraction and business practices.  It is a very exciting time.  We can do things smarter as we transition away from high emissions to low emissions.  Less coal and fossil fuel and more renewable energy like wind and solar, is a big shift.  Also, improvements are a huge opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in new and unexpected ways. I think Canada is well-positioned and can have a huge role to help other countries be cleaner, and more efficient as well. S: You broke through the glass ceiling when you became the past president of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) for eight years.  What was that like? B:  I didn’t feel like I was breaking down barriers at the time.  I found it was crucial to have a woman’s voice at a senior level at a time when there were crucial discussions about environment and pipelines.  In that capacity, I travelled the country and met a lot of people to advance the national interest, safety, and environment.  It was a great time to be involved because the industry wanted to do more.  My leadership style is cooperative, so I enjoyed it at that time, as difficult as it was.  My approach was to focus on the outcome, and not on the dogma. [caption id="attachment_38015" align="alignleft" width="300"] Dr. Brenda Kenny thanks Women for Nature members at Parliamentary Reception.[/caption] S: As a pathfinder in a male dominated field, what advice would you have for women who want to follow in your footsteps? B:  My advice to young women is to never follow the career path that others set for you.  Only pursue what you want to do, and apply that because it will be a good fit for you.  Know yourself.  Don’t drift into something, but be where you want to put your heart, mind, and time.  If you want to live in a way that you can make a difference about what you care about, then you had better know what you are trying to do.  You may not meet your goal, but if it is a worthy cause, then it is time well spent. To be successful, you have to have the tools to be successful, but don’t fall into the women’s trap.  What that is, is when a job is posted, a man will apply and say, “I can learn”, whereas a woman will say, “I will learn first, and then I can apply”.  You need to be capable and ready for the challenge, but knowing that things are not going to be perfect. S:  Pipelines and oil companies are not known to care about loss of habitat, or their effects on the environment, and yet you care passionately about nature.  How were you able to connect the two? B:  I’ve asked this question many times.  I can’t back away from this.  2/3 of energy use is fossil based.  We are transitioning, and doing it quickly but we still need energy here, and energy needs are growing abroad.   It is about having the best possible protection for the environment while providing the product and services people need.  I’d rather be inside the circle, and having an impact to do that.  I care deeply about environment as do many in industry.  I know that standing outside of industry doesn’t have the same impact.  Having said that, it is important to actively bridge different viewpoints.  I try to look for the variances that will move things forwards.  Sometimes it is like being a conductor.  All I know is that we get smarter, better, and faster when working as a team.  For example, about 7-8 years ago, the pipeline industry started working cooperatively with each other regarding safety in the industry.  It was super powerful, but it happened by changing the whole conversation. S:  How do you view Women for Nature? B:  We are like Team Canada!  We have a diverse group of women from across Canada with a common interest, which is Nature. We have the network, and the passion If we want Canada to be great, we shouldn’t throw away what makes us Canadian.


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Rediscovering Nature in Your ‘Hood
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Rediscovering Nature in Your ‘Hood

[caption id="attachment_38005" align="alignleft" width="150"] Bob Peart, Chair of Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog was written by Bob Peart, who is the Chair of Nature Canada and the founding Chair of the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada. Bob is a committed advocate for protecting nature and has a life-long passion for sharing his love for nature and getting children and their families reconnected to the outdoors. This post was originally shared on the Children & Nature Network. Children and Nature Network is a global movement to increase access to nature so that children – and natural places – can thrive. The organization was founded by author Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” in his bestselling book, Last Child in the Wood, and is a tireless advocate of getting kids outdoors.


As you head out the door today to go to work, run errands or hike with friends, stop for a moment to think about your neighborhood. What does your neighborhood represent?  How important is it to you?

Now consider how your neighborhood and your concept of neighborhood has changed over the years.

I was raised in the 50’s and 60’s. My neighborhood was a street of 20-30 houses, a range of farmers’ fields, a nearby gravel-pit and a good-sized creek. Across the railway tracks was a large city park with baseball fields, picnic tables and a forest with trails. I’d leave the house and be gone for the day roaming around that neighborhood— running through the corn fields, building rafts and hunting for squirrels— and would often end up a couple of miles from my house. My mum and dad weren’t that concerned because I was a pretty good kid. I understood safety (even though I took risks). And if I was going to be late, I could just stop at a nearby house to call home.

[caption id="attachment_38006" align="alignright" width="300"] A female Cardinal, capture by Sandy Thompson.[/caption]

Of course, childhood looks a lot different now. Children today spend 90% of their time indoors. While I could identify most local plants and animals as a child, today most children can’t name the five most common birds. I rarely watched television; children today spend up to seven hours a day in front of a screen. As childhood has migrated indoors, our sense of neighborhood has changed drastically. Today, children often don’t know their neighbors. And they seldom even leave the safety of their backyard, never mind roam the neighborhood.

These trends continue despite increasing literature and knowledge about the negative effects of a lack of outdoor time on an individual’s mental, physical and spiritual health.

To counter this trend, Nature Canada has developed a program called NatureHood— or nature in your ‘hood. The goal of NatureHood is to connect urban children and families with nearby nature in their neighborhoods, right where they live. Working closely with local organizations across the country, Nature Canada’s NatureHood program provides children and families opportunities to explore, play and develop a long-lasting relationship with nature in their communities through a variety of nature-based activities and events. NatureHood aims to inspire children with a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature, and ultimately help to foster the next generation of nature lovers and future leaders to protect natural places.

Programs like NatureHood are increasingly important as people increasingly move into cities, where nearby nature is hard to find.

Imagine that, in thirty years, 80% of us will be living in urban landscapes, with most of us in mega-cities of 20 million or more. What will our connection with nature and our neighborhood be like then? Without a conscious effort, the connection to nature could be lost.

Nature conservation begins when we are young, in association with the neighborhoods where we grow up. We need to increasingly introduce urban children and families to nature-based activities close to home: in their ‘hood! It is essential that we promote urban parks and treed streetscapes. These outdoor activities will lead to a sense of belonging, perhaps a sense of neighborhood. The connection to nature brings a value set that respects the environment and the need to protect it, which brings with it the health-related benefits we all need, plus hope for the future.

It seems pretty clear that being outside in nature must once again become an essential part of our family dynamic and cultural identity.  There is perhaps no better place for that than in our local nature ‘hoods.


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Precedent setting ruling to defend Species at Risk: Western Chorus Frog
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Precedent setting ruling to defend Species at Risk: Western Chorus Frog

[caption id="attachment_37987" align="alignleft" width="150"] Andrea Lesperance, Student-at-Law.[/caption] This blog post was written by Andrea Lesperance, a Student-at-Law for Nature Canada. A fight to protect the Western Chorus Frog has resulted in a precedent-setting legal decision. This 2018 decision of the Federal Court has affirmed the Federal Government’s authority to issue emergency orders to protect the habitat of species-at-risk located on provincial lands. The decision affirms the federal government’s authority to protect at-risk species and their habitat and should future court decisions. This is important in a time where biodiversity, particularly species already at risk, are lost at an alarming rate.

What is the Western Chorus Frog?

The Western Chorus Frog is a small (approximately 2.5 cm long) brown, grey or olive tree frog with three dark lines along its back and one larger line on each side. It is is found in approximately 100 wetland locations divided into two populations: the Carolinian population of southwestern Ontario and the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence – Canada Shield population (GLSLCS) in regions of Ontario and Quebec. The GLSLCS population is threatened, mainly due to habitat destruction and fragmentation, particularly in suburban areas of southwestern Quebec. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzePgnIpUuk

What Legal Protections Have Been Put in Place?

In 2008, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) assessed the Western Chorus Frog GLSLCS population as Threatened. Subsequently, in 2010, it was listed as Threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). However, the strongest habitat protections afforded by SARA did not apply to much of the GLSLCS population because the relevant habitat did not lie on federal land. Thus, in 2013, Nature Quebec asked the Minister of Environment to issue an emergency protection order for the La Prairie population of Western Chorus Frogs under SARA. The Minister refused to make the recommendations and so Nature Quebec initiated a judicial review in Federal Court, seeking mandamus; an order to the Minister to make the recommendation. In its 2015 decision, Québécois du droit de l’environnement v. Canada (Environment), 2015 FC 773, the Federal Court set aside the Minister’s refusal as unreasonable and ordered her to reconsider the decision. The Minister undertook an extensive information gathering process and concluded there was imminent threat to the recovery of the Western Chorus Frog. Thus, in July of 2016, the Federal government issued an emergency order to protect Western Chorus Frog habitat in La Prairie, Quebec. The emergency order prohibited, among other activities, the construction of infrastructure, structure or barriers on approximately 2 km2 of partially-developed land in the municipalities of La Prairie, Candiac and Saint-Philippe, Quebec. The prohibitions were intended to prevent the loss and degradation of essential Western Chorus Frog habitat and prevent activities which could harm the species.

Legal Precedent and Implications

This decision was contested by a housing developer, Groupe Maison Candiac, who had previously received authorization from the province to build a housing development on part of the 2 km2 at issue. The developer applied to the Federal Court have the emergency order invalidated on the grounds that
  • (1) the provision of SARA which enables the Minister to, within the emergency order, prohibit activities on non-federal land, is outside the constitutional jurisdiction of the federal government, or
  • (2) the emergency order is expropriation without compensation, which is prohibited by s. 952 of the Civil Code of Quebec and the common law rule of de facto appropriation.
In the resulting decision, Le Groupe Maison Candiac Inc. v. Procureur General Du Canada, 2018 CF 643, the Federal Court rejected these arguments, finding that the section of SARA which enables the federal government to prohibit activities on non-federal land via an emergency order is a valid measure of criminal law, which falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government. The Court found that the relevant section of SARA:
  • pursues the legitimate public purpose of environmental protection first recognized in R v. Hydro-Québec, [1997] 3 SCR 213,
  • does not impinge on areas of exclusive provincial legislative jurisdiction, and
  • has the attributes of a criminal law regime.
Further, the FC held that the concept of de facto appropriation does not affect the validity of the emergency order because Parliament had provided for a compensation mechanism for the losses suffered as a result of the emergency order within SARA but limited its scope to extraordinary consequences. Congratulations to Nature Quebec! Without their initiative, the emergency order and resulting decision may not have come about. This recent decision is important for Nature Canada’s Greater Sage Grouse Case An emergency order has only been used to protect a species at risk twice since SARA came into force in 2002. An emergency order was issued in 2013 to protect Greater Sage Grouse habitat on Albertan provincial lands. The sage-grouse has been listed as an endangered species under SARA and the Alberta Wildlife Act for some time, but was afforded little protection under these mechanisms. Recognizing these shortfalls, Nature Canada wrote to then-Minister of the Environment Peter Kent, urging him to issue an emergency order to protect the Sage-Grouse and its habitat. On December 4, 2013 the federal government issued the Emergency Order for the Protection of the Greater Sage Grouse (SOR/2013-202). Now, the City of Medicine Hat and LGX Oil and Gas have applied to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the decision to issue the emergency order. The City of Medicine Hat and LGX Oil & Gas have requested that the Federal Court strike down the emergency order and the authorizing provisions of SARA on the basis that they are outside the federal government’s constitutional powers and so they unlawfully infringe on exclusive provincial legislative authority. It is clear, based on the Western Chorus Frog case, that the federal government has the authority to prohibit actions in important sage-grouse habitat in order to protect the species, because this falls under the legitimate public purpose of environmental protection.
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Expansion of Bruce Peninsula National Park
Andrea Lesperance,
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Expansion of Bruce Peninsula National Park

[caption id="attachment_37987" align="alignleft" width="150"] Andrea Lesperance, Student-at-Law.[/caption] This blog post was written by Andrea Lesperance a Student-at-law at Nature Canada. Parks Canada has reached an agreement to purchase the approximately 1300 hectare Driftwood Cove property directly North of Bruce Peninsula National Park on the Georgian Bay coast. The property will be incorporated into the Bruce Peninsula National Park and contribute to conservation of UNESCO’s Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, a 725 km corridor from Lake Ontario to the tip of Bruce Peninsula. The park expansion is a significant step towards protection of biodiversity, species at risk and their habitat in southern Ontario. The Driftwood Cove land is home to at least 10 federally-listed species at risk. One such species is the Massasauga rattlesnake; Ontario has listed its Great Lakes – St. Lawrence population (the population that resides in Bruce Peninsula) as threatened. Species at risk in the Park are managed in accordance with a Multi-Species Action Plan for Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park of Canada. Although no critical habitat is identified in this action plan, protection of habitat is the most important means of protecting at-risk species. Protection of habitat via creation or expansion of national parks also contributes to Canada’s goal to conserve at least 17% of its terrestrial areas and inland water and 10% of its coastal and marine areas through networks of protected areas by 2020. [caption id="attachment_37984" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo by Brandon Charles Xavier.[/caption] Bruce Peninsula National Park contains the largest continuous forest in southwestern Ontario and globally-rare ecosystems such as limestone barrens called alvars and cliff-edge forests. The expansion also adds many ecologically, geologically and culturally significant cave systems to the Park. The Bruce Peninsula lies within Anishinaabekiing - the traditional homeland or territory of the Anishnaabe of the Saugeen Ojubway Nation (SON) - contemporarily represented by the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation and the Sagueen Ojibway First Nation. The Bruce Peninsula National Park was created in 1987 and, since then, has been added to via 140 parcels of land. The land had been listed for sale at $20.6 million but Parks Canada will not release the final purchase price prior to the sale. Parks Canada will be making the purchase with financial support from the Bruce Trail Conservancy.


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Calendar Species Spotlight: July Gosling!
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Calendar Species Spotlight: July Gosling!

This blog was written by guest blogger Tina-Louise Rossit  What’s black, white and brown, and maybe more Canadian than maple syrup? If you guess the Canadian Goose, well, spot on! Now here’s 4 fun facts you probably didn’t know about our lovable geese! #1 Did you know you’ve most likely mistaken the Cackling Goose for the Canadian Goose? But it’s only because they’re virtually identical! The difference is seen is their size and vocalizations. The Cackling goose is tiny compared to our Canadian goose, and whereas the Canada goose has a familiar honking call, the Cackling goose impressively sounds like an old lady laughing at a very funny joke. Have a hear here to check out the differences: Canadian Goose: [audio mp3="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CANGOO_1.honkingofseveralgeese_KYle_1.mp3"][/audio] Cackling Goose: [audio mp3="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/CACGOO_1.callsofseveral_AKkc_1.mp3"][/audio]   #2 V is not for victory! The familiar V formation in the sky we see each spring and fall actually has a cool scientific purpose for this choice of letter! In a V formation, the geese synchronize their wingbeats from one other to catch the uplift eddies from the goose in front. This will efficiently save physical energy for their long-distance migrations. (So, I guess it is like a victory?) What’s more, is that this formation has amazed engineer and behavioural scientists for decades, even inspiring the flight mechanics for man-made aircraft. #3 Contrary to popular beliefs, Canadian geese do not naturally eat bread! (Shocker, I know). Actually, all birds don’t naturally eat bread. It’s quite bad for their digestive systems just like junk food every day is bad for ours. Canadian geese are herbivores. They like grasses, leaves, sedges, seeds, grains, aquatic plants and fruits (apparently blueberries are a winning favourite). In addition, they will occasionally add in a juicy aquatic insect and/or aquatic invertebrate. #4 Canadian geese are pretty family-orientated! A male and a female will bond and mate for life, i.e monogamous. The pair will return to the same nesting area year after year. Usually this spot is where one of the parent themselves, hatched. Canadian geese represent a bird species that has both maternal and paternal care for their offspring, named goslings. Mom and dad will be very protective to the point of being quite aggressive to anyone, or thing, that seems like a threat to their goslings. A family sticks together often walking in single file with mama as lead, goslings in the middle, and papa in the rear! What a beautiful sight. And there you have it! Time to share these fun facts at your next party! (Sure to steal the limelight!).

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