Reviewing a successful year for Nature Canada and looking forward
What does nature mean to you? As all of our members know, a huge part of our Canadian identity revolves around the nature experience and we have a responsibility to protect it, celebrate it and support it.
I am excited to be joining Nature Canada at such an exciting time – now more than ever it is becoming clear that we need to come together to conserve nature and protect wildlife.
After reviewing the 2016-2017 Annual Report, it is evident that Nature Canada is a wonderful community to join. Reflecting on last years accomplishments, I am heart warmed and motivated to know that it is because of our members, because of your support, that Nature Canada was able to do so much for nature and wildlife.
With each and every one of these successes comes an opportunity. An opportunity to engage more Canadians in the protection of nature and wildlife across Canada. I am so proud to know that our donors, volunteers, staff and community partners have accomplished so much in the last year and I am excited to build on that success.
- Ensuring the protection of Barn and Bank Swallows are finally listed as a threatened species under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) on March 17. Nature Canada will also continue to press governments to take conservation action on other species of swallow, including the Purple Martin, which is likewise showing worrying signs of population decline in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. One of the first shocking statistics I learned when I started here is that Purple Martins are declining at a rate of 5-7% per annum.
- The Important Bird Area Local Action Fund was built to support on the ground stewardship and community engagement to protect hundreds of species and critical habitat at 12 Important Bird Areas across the country. Looking forward, I am excited to see Nature Canada’s partners conserve these habitats, protect the species that live there and engage the community members to rally around their local IBAs. Our conservation team is looking forward to building these partnerships to engage more Canadians in bird the stewardship and conservation of these Important Bird Areas.
- In June, the federal government committed to specific reforms of environmental laws that were dismantled by the former government in 2012. Success is much closer on key Nature Canada proposals. Nature Canada will continue to advocate for stronger environmental legislation as the various bills wend their way through Parliament. We have a once-in-a-generation chance to make sure the Canadian federal government puts environmental laws in place in order to make sustainable, science-based decisions that will protect nature, wildlife and the health of all Canadians!
- Nature’s Canada’s Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives program is already achieving great success. Thanks to our program, 1500 owners have pledged to keep their cats indoors or under control which results in 24,000 bird lives saved. By engaging Canadians and working with municipal governments, we will be able to protect even more cats and birds.
- The NatureHood program continues to grow, connecting kids to nearby nature in 14 cities across the country. This past year, in thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada, NatureHood connected over 14,000 kids and families to nature in collaboration with our 13 regional partners through 246 public events (such as Bird Day events, Christmas Bird Counts for Kids and local nature walks) and outreach to 177 school classes. Instilling a passion and respect for nature in the next generation is essential in protecting and conserving nature and wildlife for years to come.