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“An interesting retirement”: Member Gordon Kelly’s adventures in forestry and duck banding
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“An interesting retirement”: Member Gordon Kelly’s adventures in forestry and duck banding

My family home was in Montreal, and my grandparents had a place in the Laurentians. It was 400 acres of woodland, but as a boy, I remember feeling like I could explore forever. So, I was brought up in two places. And I liked the wild better. I became interested in birds very early. At 13, in 1947, a friend and I found a local bird club, and we were the youngest members in history! Back then, there were rules about kids going to movies or lectures without an adult, so until we were 16 one of our moms had to come. I remember the thrill of going on field trips with experienced bird watchers, who helped me identify birds even just by song! At 16, I had a family member whose sister was married to a forester and I thought that sounded just amazing. I went for an interview when I was 16, but I couldn't be hired for a summer job until I was 17. I was hired that summer and sent to the farthest operation in the St. Maurice Division called Cooper Lake, situated at the headwaters of the Nottaway River which flows into James Bay. [caption id="attachment_33342" align="alignright" width="300" class="right "]Fall folliage in field next to the La Croche river Fall foliage in field next to the La Croche river. Photo by Gordon Kelly[/caption] It was my first time in the Boreal Forest. 1951, Virgin forest, and logging was just beginning. The black spruce...unbelievable. It was then I decided to become a Forester. In 1987, with my son, we purchased our woodlot of 225-acres. There were some red pine plantations on the property dating back to the early 1960s. We have since added another 225-acres for a total of 450 which we manage with my son and grandson who are also Foresters. I can't tell you what it means to me, to my family. It's the most beautiful place, full of memories and stories. And about 20 years ago back in 1996, not far from my house, I was walking on a trail near a swampy area, very overgrown. I noticed a pair of Wood Ducks. As I went exploring, I realized it was an old beaver pond, and that I could pull out some of the alders and other growth. One of my sons, who today manages migratory bird banding stations in the Yukon, at the time was learning to band at Long Point. Word spread and I was contacted by a biologist who asked me to start banding. [caption id="attachment_33345" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of Gordon Kelly releasing a Wood Duck Gordon Kelly releasing a Wood Duck[/caption] On average, we band 155 ducks per year, some that return. I had one last year that I banded five years ago! And one year we had 255 ducks! It's been an interesting and rewarding retirement indeed! Why do I support Nature Canada? Because education is so important. You see it mostly in the kids, but really so many Canadians don't get out in nature. We've become disconnected. We can't just continue to exploit nature without consequences. I'm a Guardian of Nature monthly donor, and I know that my regular support makes a difference. It means Nature Canada can get people more involved in nature, in making citizens and our governments more aware of the importance of nature conservation.

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Canadian Conservation Work Serves as a Role Model
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Canadian Conservation Work Serves as a Role Model

The World Parks Congress took place this past week in Sydney, Australia. This is the world’s largest event that brings focus to parks and protected areas around the globe. So how is Canada’s conservation different from everyone else? It is because Canada is home to a rare treasure, one of the largest still intact regions left - the boreal forest. Here is a short list of the top five reason’s Canada stands out in conservation: 1) One of the World’s Last Great Primary Forest: Canada’s boreal forest has an area of 1.2 billion intact acres, and it contains 25% of the world’s primary forests. There are more that 300 bird species, as well as being home to many large mammals such as grizzle bears and moose. The boreal forest even has an estimate of more than 208 billion tonnes of carbon stored, making it an important part of our ecosystem. 2) Indigenous Conservation Leadership Canada’s boreal forest has had some impressive conservation gains from those in Indigenous communities and government. These Indigenous communities have been the ones to launch some of the most signification conservations actions in relation to the boreal forest. 3) Very Large Protected Areas The protected areas in the boreal forest are large and they are important in the northern biodiversity. They allow species to roam without barriers and serve as a key habitat for long-distant migratory animals. 4) Provincial Government Vision and Leadership Our provincial government in both Ontario and Quebec has pledged to ensure that at least half of their northern lands are classified as protected areas. 5) Industry and Conservation Leaders Several industries have joined the First Nations along with Nature Canada and other leading conservation non-profits to come together in supporting the need of conservation in the boreal forest. Through a number of councils and frameworks, these groups have established a working relationship in order to advance on future conservation proposals. Canada is putting forth tremendous conservation efforts to protect the boreal forest and it’s time to celebrate that. To read more on Nature Canada’s conservation efforts in the boreal forest, click here. For the full article, click here.

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