If you live on a lake, river or by the ocean, then you probably already know how lucky you are. (And you may hear me sighing as I sit in my little yard in the middle of Ottawa’s suburbia.) Having a home — or a cottage — by a body of water means wonderful sunsets, the call of loons, summertime fun on the waves…and shoreline maintenance. There are plenty of things you’ll want to do to protect your shoreline and safeguard the value of your investment, while saving time, money, and the environment.
Many, many years ago, a mentor suggested to me that it was all about “search image.” I am not talking about the internet, but rather an individual’s own internal system or ability to observe and process information to find what he or she is looking for. This probably relates to so many aspects of our lives . . . emotional, sexual, material, just about everything. Evidently this ability is refined for certain vocations such as detective work, but really the ability to notice and find what we are looking for is in some ways a reflection of our connection to the world around us. It is fair to say that everyone is different but also that there are patterns to… read more →
So you love birdwatching? But you’re starting to wince a little about the trains, planes and automobiles you use in your quest to complete your life list? Try carbon-free birdwatching. Check out this friendly competition that combines birding with a truly lighter carbon footprint. It’s called the Big Green Big Year, and the challenge is to compile a list that includes only birds you see within walking or cycling distance of your home or place of work. True, this does by definition mean you won’t be able to add that South American crippler species you’ve had on your list for ages, but then, the birds will thank you for it.
Congratulations to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, BC Nature and nature lovers in British Columbia. For years, naturalists have been working to protect the habitat of the Mountain Caribou. Thank you all for your great efforts. Today is a day to celebrate!
Sue (who works at Nature Canada here in Ottawa) has visitors at her front door! Robin fledglings (Turdus migratorius) have taken up temporary residence in a tree that stands in Sue’s front yard, overhanging her front deck.Says Sue: “The mother used a bit of fabric from one of our dog’s toys to construct the nest. We have watched as the robin parents protected the eggs and then the babies over a few weeks. The day of this picture, one of the two fledglings boldly moved to the edge of the nest and tested his wings. He never left the nest that day that I saw, but two days after this picture was taken they had flown the coop.” Here’s what… read more →
Every summer I spend a few weeks up in the Muskokas, spending as much time in, or on the waters of Big Doe Lake as I can. My uncle has lived on that lake his entire life, and I’m counting the days when I can flee the city and re-enter his world again. No doubt we’ll be going out in his boat, which reminded me of this green boater’s checklist, first published in On the Living Edge: A Guide to Waterfront Living. It’s a handy to-do list for those who want to go boating without harming the shoreline, waters or the wildlife within it. This handbook was published as part of the Living by Water project, which provides waterfront residents… read more →
Today is Parks Day, which means that hundreds of events are taking place across this country in our national parks, provincial parks, and historic sites. Most Canadians know national parks as places to vacation, camp, hike and canoe, but they are far more than just summer playgrounds. They are spectacular and serene landscapes that harbour globally significant wildlife populations and habitats of endangered species. And they continue to provide goods and services to us that are impossible to replace — clean air, water, and soil,for example. They also regulate climate and disease. And Canadians are apparently willing to do more to support parks. According to a University of Guelph study, 61 per cent of Canadian households are willing to contribute… read more →
Globe and Mail Reporter Mark Hume paints a bleak picture for North American birds this week: Read article. He specifies that 127 species of “neotropical migrants” – those species that migrate to or through the tropics to their non-breeding grounds – are declining. This should be a concern to us in Canada because most of our birds – over 90%, leave the country to go elsewhere during the non-breeding part of their annual cycle and a good chunk are neotropical migrants. The health of our forests depends on these birds, particularly for their role in eating defoliating insects. As noted in an earlier blog, the dollar value of bird predation in the boreal forest alone is at least five billion… read more →
Mark Dorfman, Nature Canada’s chairman of the board, just sent me this article called “The Currency of Nature,” from the online journal terrain.org. It argues that “the more sidetracked we get chasing possessions and the money to buy them, the poorer we become in other forms of wealth, such as connections with nature.” Author David Wann also notes: The truth is that humans used to value nature as the greatest and most sacred wealth of all, but now it’s being traded for convenience, comfort, and perceived security. In our current way of seeing the world, the environment is just a collection of problems; we won’t protect it until we correctly see nature as a collection of solutions. Here’s the link… read more →
What does the world sound like without any human noise? Apparently, it’s getting harder to answer that question, as human-made noise has infiltrated almost every corner of the globe. And it’s having an effect on the ecology of the planet. Human-made noises are disrupting communications between animals in nature. From Wired Magazine: “…animals divide up the acoustic spectrum so they don’t interfere with one another’s voices. He shows me a spectrogram of a wilderness recording, in which all the component noises are mapped according to pitch. It looks like the musical score for an orchestra, with each instrument in its place. No two species are using the same frequency. “That’s part of how they coexist so well,” Krause says. When… read more →