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2017 Nature Inspiration Award
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2017 Nature Inspiration Award

[caption id="attachment_34859" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Sarah Cooper Sarah Cooper, Project Manager - Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives[/caption] Nature Canada’s Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives program is the proud recipient of the Nature Inspiration Award (Not-for-Profit Organization (Small and Medium) category) from the Canadian Museum of Nature! Huge thanks to the Canadian Museum of Nature for this recognition. And huge thanks to all our partners, supporters and especially our volunteers, for their outstanding contributions to our campaign on behalf of safe cats and safe birds. We couldn’t do it without you! The Awards recognize individuals and organizations that, through their work or specific projects, encourage Canadians to [caption id="attachment_22401" align="alignright" width="248"]Magnolia Warbler, birds, perch Magnolia Warbler perched on a branch.[/caption] • take an interest in natural history • create links with nature • contribute to the preservation of nature. Nominees are assessed against the following criteria: Leadership Must have demonstrated initiative in the fields of natural sciences, environment or nature protection at a local, national or international scale. Innovation Must have used novel approaches in the implementation of actions or programmes for the benefit of nature. Inspiration Must have encouraged other people or organizations to get involved for the benefit of nature. The Canadian Museum of Nature wrote, “Your application truly demonstrated how you encourage people to take an interest in natural history, create links with nature and show leadership in contributing to the preservation of nature.” Jurors cited are innovative, positive approach and our wide partnerships with nature organizations, cat-care organizations, and “even author Margaret Atwood."

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Nature Canada recognizes Lieutenant Governor of Alberta as newest member of Women for Nature and City of Calgary for their work to keep cats safe and save bird lives
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Nature Canada recognizes Lieutenant Governor of Alberta as newest member of Women for Nature and City of Calgary for their work to keep cats safe and save bird lives

CALGARY, AB—(March 19, 2017)—Nature Canada, Canada’s oldest national nature conservation charity, is hosting a reception tomorrow evening, Monday, March 20, 2017 to recognize the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, CM AOE, LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta as the newest member of its Women for Nature initiative. Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative brings together women of influence who choose to demonstrate their passion for nature and drive change. The reception is scheduled to begin at 4:30 pm at the Hotel Arts, 119 12th Ave SW, Calgary. Media are invited to attend the reception. As Canada approaches its 150th anniversary in 2017, Nature Canada aims to accelerate its positive impact on the natural world with the collaborative partnership of 150 women of influence including many from Alberta. “Nature Canada is delighted Her Honour, The Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta—a highly influential, respected businesswoman and a proud, longstanding member of Alberta's dedicated corps of community volunteers— is to become a Women for Nature,” says Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada. “Having Her Honour, The Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta as an advocate and role model for the important role nature plays will help us to protect our natural heritage and connect more Canadians to nature.” In addition, tomorrow’s reception also includes a presentation of Nature Canada’s inaugural Safe Cats Safe Birds Award to the City of Calgary for its progressive municipal policy that keeps cats safe and saves bird lives. “The City of Calgary’s Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw is a model for other municipalities to follow,” says Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada. “Our Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives national campaign asks Canadian cat owners to join a growing movement of people who keep their cats supervised if they go outdoors. Unsupervised outdoor cats are at considerable danger from collisions with cars, fights with wildlife, diseases and poisons and are responsible for an estimated 100 to 350 million bird deaths a year in Canada.” “It is an honour for The City of Calgary to receive Nature Canada’s inaugural Safe Cats Safe Birds Award,” says Naheed Nenshi, Mayor of Calgary. “Our approach focuses on accessible service and education that encourages responsible and accountable pet ownership. The result is a safe and healthy community for pets, and I’m proud of the work done by my colleagues at The City of Calgary to achieve this.” The Safe Cats Safe Birds Award aims to raise the profile of Canadian municipalities and their leaders who, as stewards of their local environment, make an important contribution to bird conservation by adopting animal control bylaws that specifically address and humanely control cats and their threat to birds. The Calgary bylaw requires both cat and dog owners to license their pets, and to keep animals from roaming at large. The bylaw is an important factor in Calgary’s success, but the strong public education campaign, the ‘I Heart My Pet’ rewards program and the promise to return licensed pets are motivation for pet owners, earning Calgary the highest compliance rates in the country.


For media comment please contact: Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada 613-314-8713 (cell) efast@naturecanada.ca For media assistance please contact: Janet Weichel McKenzie, Media Specialist for Nature Canada 613-808-4642 (cell) jweichelmckenze@gmail.com Media are invited to the reception which will take place from 4:30 to 6:30pm (speeches at 5pm) at Hotel Arts, 119-12th Avenue SW, Calgary, AB, T2R 0G8 For more information about Nature Canada’s Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives campaign visit catsandbirds.ca.  Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives is supported financially by:  Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fuller Landau LLP, The Crabtree Foundation, The Gosling Foundation, The McLean Foundation, and The Walrus. Cat and bird Images for media are available at http://catsandbirds.ca/images-for-media/ About Nature Canada Nature Canada is Canadian nature conservation charity. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network comprised of over 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country and with affiliates in every province. About Women for Nature Nature Canada‘s signature “Women for Nature” initiative raises awareness about the need to connect more Canadians of all ages to nature. The Women for Nature initiative is comprised of women from diverse sectors and backgrounds who come together to champion the importance of nature in the daily lives of all Canadians and to encourage more Canadians to connect with nature. Our founding members include women of influence such as Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, Senator Diane Griffin (Honorary Chair of Women for Nature), Her Excellency Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Madame Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, Minister Catherine McKenna and Margaret Atwood to name a few. Our members champion efforts to inspire youth and families to spend time in nature, to learn and experience our natural heritage and in doing so, ensure the health and well-being of our Canadian society. It also has a goal of being 150 Women Strong by Canada’s 150th anniversary.
Cat Myth Tips for Media Myth: Cats Need Freedom to Be Happy Fact: What cats need, besides food, shelter & veterinary care, is stimulation. Play is a natural substitute for hunting, and toys, window perches, cat TV and exercise all help provide cats with ample stimulation. Fresh air solutions include cat enclosures, ‘catios’, or walking them with a harness. Myth: It’s Natural for Cats to Hunt to Feed Themselves Fact: Hunting is a natural instinct, but pets don’t need to hunt to feed themselves. In fact, they hunt for stimulation, not sustenance. Letting cats roam freely puts them in danger from auto collisions, diseases, picking up parasites, toxins, or being attacked by other cats. If the number of cats allowed to roam freely continues to rise it will put bird populations at even greater risk. Myth: Bells Prevent Cats from Hunting Fact: Bells and bibs have proven effective in reducing the number of birds hunted by cats, but they don’t eliminate hunting entirely. A UK study compared the hunting of cats with no bells, cats with bells, and cats with an electronic sonic device. It found that cats equipped with a bell(s) captured 41% fewer birds, and cats equipped with a bib or sonic device caught 51% fewer birds. Myth: Cats are a Minor Threat to Birds in Canada Fact: Climate change and habitat destruction have a significant negative effect on bird populations, but the impact of other human-related activities cannot be overlooked. Environment Canada’s list of Bird Species at Risk increased from 47 to 86 between 2001 and 2014. Some species have declined by a staggering 90%. It is estimated that 129 to 433 million human-related bird deaths happen per year in Canada. Cats are estimated to account for 75% of those, or 100 to 350 million incidents. In comparison, window collisions cause an estimated 16 to 42 million bird fatalities per year. Nationally, 115 of 468 bird species have been identified as vulnerable to cats because of their nesting or feeding behaviour. Forty of these species are common in urban or suburban landscapes. Of note are reports issued by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) that have referenced cats as a risk factor in the recovery plans for at least 10 different bird species. By not letting cats roam unsupervised we can protect migratory birds and keep cats safe. It’s time to take the pledge! Visit: catsandbirds.ca or naturecanada.ca.

For the Birds Mission
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For the Birds Mission

We're delighted to announce a new partnership with Earth Rangers! With more than 150,000 members in every Canadian province and territory, Earth Rangers is the kids' conservation organization, dedicated to educating children about biodiversity, inspiring them to adopt sustainable behaviours and empowering them to become directly involved in protecting wildlife. Earth Rangers visited 1,125 schools in 2015, engaging more than 230,000 children in conservation activities. In addition to the school program, they have "Missions" that can be downloaded and completed at home.Image of For the Birds Missions are fun, tangible activities that always relate back to protecting animals. Earth Rangers’ members participate in more than 50,000 Missions every year, making a significant and positive impact on the environment and their local communities. The For the Birds Mission includes instructions for a DIY Bird Feeder and offers other tips to help birds. Nature Canada and Earth Rangers worked together to add information about how important it is to keep birds safe from cats, as well as how to avoid having birds hit windows. We're delighted to be working with Earth Rangers, and hope you'll check out the newly updated For the Birds Mission here!

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A Magical Night Out For Nature!
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A Magical Night Out For Nature!

On September 30th we held our inaugural Nature Ball, welcoming 300 of Canada's most notable nature friends and champions to the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, in support of our NatureHood program, an initiative that supports activities that help children and families discover nearby nature for the mental and physical benefits and engage them in the future protection of our efforts. This “magical night out for nature” honoured Madame Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Patron of the Nature Ball, as Nature Canada’s 100th Women for Nature. Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau speech highlighted some of her best memories in nature as a child growing up in the Laurentians and its positive effect on her. She shared a personal poem that connected deeply to our audience about the importance of appreciating and spending time in nature. [one_half] [caption id="attachment_29617" align="alignnone" width="300"]Image of Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at the 2016 Nature Ball[/caption] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_29618" align="alignnone" width="300"]Image of the Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Sophie Grégoire Trudeau taking the stage[/caption] [/one_half_last] Margaret Atwood, our featured speaker, spoke with wit and charm about her forthcoming graphic novel ANGELCATBIRD and its message of keeping cats safe and saving birds lives. Ms. Atwood generously donated copies of ANGELCATBIRD to each guest included in their gift bag that also featured African Black Honey products and a Woods sleeping bag kindly donated by Canadian Tire. [caption id="attachment_29620" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image of Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood at the 2016 Nature Ball[/caption] After enjoying a sustainable dinner, guests were treated to a musical performance by Chantal Kreviazuk, who shared with us select pieces from her sixth studio album Hard Sail. [caption id="attachment_29621" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image of Chantal Kreviazuk Chantal Kreviazuk at the 2016 Nature Ball[/caption] This night would not have been possible without the support of our bright and lively EmCee Marci Ien. The night ended on a high note as Sandy Sharkey loaned her energetic voice to our live auction. The most interesting auction item up for bid was the name-sake of a new character in future publications of Margaret Atwood’s ANGELCATBIRD series. Overall the Nature Ball garnered over $95,000 towards connecting more Canadians and their children to their nearby nature and shared the important message that wildlife and habitats in Canada is ours to protect and conserve, we must engage others in our journey and continuously advocate on behalf of nature. An enormous thank you to the Volunteer Ball Committee chaired by Sheefra Brisbin for their volunteer leadership and vision of the Nature Ball! [one_half]

    • Sheefra Brisbin (Chair)
    • Riad Mansour (Vice-Chair)
    • Henrietta Southam (Creative Director)
    • Sheila O’Gorman (Entertainment Director)
[/one_half] [one_half_last]
  • Niall Quaid (Production & Logistics Director)
  • Donna-Lee Brayton
  • Andrew Balfour
[/one_half_last] Special thanks to our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and all the staff at Fairmont Chateau Laurier who made Nature Canada’s inaugural Nature Ball such a success!
Canadian Tire Logo Woods-Logo North Star Logo Fairmont Logo TD Bank Logo Cadillac Fairview Logo Adventure Canada Logo

Click here to see our additional in-kind and Corporate Table leaders.

To see photos from this magical night, check out our slideshow below! Photography courtesy of Bente Nielsen. [rev_slider alias="NatureBall"] To see the event covered in the Hill Times, click here. To read more and see more photos, click here.
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An Interview with Fuller Landau, Corporate Sponsor of the Cats and Birds Campaign
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An Interview with Fuller Landau, Corporate Sponsor of the Cats and Birds Campaign

The requests for corporate sponsorships and charitable donations can be never ending, for many businesses. But with an obviously limited budget for charitable spend, corporate donors must be selective about where they allocate the money. We recently sat down with Mike Stoyan, a Partner at Fuller Landau LLP, to learn more about their philanthropic objectives and why they chose to sponsor Nature Canada’s Cats and Birds initiative. Nature Canada (NC): You likely have no shortage of options for corporate sponsorships and donations at Fuller Landau. Why did you choose to get involved with the Cats and Birds campaign through Nature Canada. Mike Stoyan (MS): As a mid-sized accounting, tax and business advisory firm, we receive many requests for corporate sponsorships and donations. Over the years, Fuller Landau has supported a number of causes – both financially and with many volunteer hours – in such fields as healthcare, education, the arts, and the environment. Margaret Atwood has been a long-time and valued client of our firm, and when we heard that she had become involved in the Cats and Birds campaign through Nature Canada, and was working on a graphic novel to promote the campaign, we got really excited. From our perspective, it was a great opportunity to show real support not only for Margaret and the arts, but for the environment as well. NC: What about the environment, in particular, pulls on your heartstrings?Image of mountains and forests MS: We are incredibly fortunate to live in such a geographically diverse country as Canada, with millions of acres of parks and wildlife habitats. It is our responsibility to make sure we protect it, and the environment in general. Every little bit helps, and while the cat and bird issue might seem trivial at first glance, the consequences of not addressing it could be devastating on a much broader level. NC: It sounds like you’ve done your research and really understand the underlying reasons behind the need to keep our cats indoors in order to protect birds. What surprised you most, when you were learning about the campaign? MS: I read a statistic, somewhere along the way, that Environment Canada estimates over 77 million birds are killed each year in Canada by pet cats. That number is shocking! It represents a huge threat to our natural wildlife, but is completely preventable. And it’s easy to imagine the snowball effect that this issue can have. When one part of the system is out of balance, everything else is at risk also. NC: Aside from your support for Nature Canada and the Cats and Birds campaign, how else has Fuller Landau demonstrated a commitment to nature and the environment? MS: At Fuller Landau, we were an early adopter in transitioning to a paperless office. Our client files are all stored securely online, so we can minimize the printing of hard documents, and unnecessarily wasting paper resources. It was a big step in the right direction. We have worked closely with the property managers at our office premises to advocate for energy efficiency, and have implemented stringent recycling policies across the firm. Whenever possible, our team is encouraged to carpool or take public transit to commute to/from work, and we have participated in a number of community revitalization efforts over the past several years. Every little bit helps, and we’re always looking for more ways to get involved and do our part. On behalf of Nature Canada and the Cats and Birds campaign, we extend a big thank you to our corporate sponsors at Fuller Landau. To learn more about them, visit www.fullerllp.com.

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How to save birds like a Superhero
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How to save birds like a Superhero

[caption id="attachment_23655" align="alignleft" width="150"]Ellen Jakubowski, Guest Blogger Ellen Jakubowski,
Guest Blogger[/caption] In his recent post, Steve Gahbauer reminded us that many bird species are negatively impacted by dangers encountered during migration. You don’t need to look far to find evidence of this. Probably at least once in your life, you’ve found a feathered form lying lifelessly beside a window or even heard the thump when it hit. And maybe, like me, you’ve wondered how far that tiny creature weighing less than two sheets of paper travelled before it met its premature and preventable demise. From the documentary film The Messenger, The State of Canada’s Birds, Silence of the Songbirds and other sources, we can see that these impacts are part of a larger picture revealing the steep decline of many North American bird species. For those who care about nature, this pattern elicits a range of emotions. Not only sadness, but also anger, guilt and anxiety about the future. How can we fix the problems our species has created? Protecting habitat across international borders is necessary for preserving populations, but contemplating action on so large a scale can feel overwhelming. Fortunately there are many smaller things each of us can do that will make a big difference to birds:

image of a warbler in a treeProtect birds at your HQ

Window collisions are one of the greatest causes of mortality for migratory birds. Fortunately, preventing them is relatively straightforward. Refer to advice from Safe Wings Ottawa for making windows visible to birds at your home or business. For your home, check out this brochure for more information on what you can do to make your windows safe for birds. As well, predation by domestic cats is . Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives is a new initiative under Nature Canada that promotes alternatives to letting cats roam outdoor unsupervised. Visit catsandbirds.ca to learn more and get involved.

Use your superpowers

No matter what your skill set, you can put it to work as a bird-saving volunteer. If you have keen powers of observation or just want an excuse to get outside, try citizen science. Bird Studies Canada and NatureCaretakers provide opportunities across Canada. If you’re a birder, you can contribute your sightings to the huge body of data on eBird from anywhere. Most of the types of organizations mentioned fulfill an educational role in addition their other operations. Attending special events such as Bird Day or workshops run by a local organization such as a naturalists’ club are a great way to up hone your skills and up your bird-saving game. And if teaching or public speaking is your thing, why not become an educator yourself?

Take a stand

Many bird-oriented groups circulate petitions or provide written letters to send to representatives for a more personal approach. Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives has a letter prepared that you can download and send to your municipality. If you’re like most Canadians, chances are you’re already spending time on social media and blogs. If you’ve got a knack for cultivating an audience, why not put that talent to work helping birds? Birds face serious threats, but the good news is that a lot of people like them. Join the efforts of other passionate bird lovers, and we’ll make a positive difference not only for birds, but for the other species that share habitat with them as well.
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Take the Challenge: Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives
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Take the Challenge: Keep Cats Safe & Save Bird Lives

February 29th, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s bird and cat populations are in trouble and Nature Canada and its partners are calling on Canadians to help keep them safe with the launch of its campaign to keep cats from roaming free. Canada’s birds are in trouble; some species have declined by over 90%. Declines can be attributed to habitat destruction and climate change, and an estimated 270 million birds die each year due to human factors such as collisions with windows and buildings, and hunting by cats. Cats, both pet and feral, cause 75% or approximately 200 million bird deaths a year. We have a responsibility to mitigate loss and protect our birds, as they are a key part of a healthy environment. We also have a responsibility to keep our cats safe and healthy. The feral cat population is growing rapidly and shelters can’t keep pace. In 2011, more than 50,000 cats were euthanized because homes could not be found. In comparison with dogs, twice as many cats are dumped in shelters and less than 5% of cats are returned home. It is a sad statistic that more than 1,300 dead cats were collected on the streets of Toronto in just one year. Outdoor cats are exposed to a variety of threats, including diseases like feline leukemia, parasites, vehicle collisions, malicious humans and fights with wildlife and other cats. “While cats’ independent natures might lead some people to treat them like something between pet and wildlife, we owe them the same level of care we give our dogs,” said Eleanor Fast, Executive Director for Nature Canada. “Keeping a cat from roaming freely, while providing adequate stimulation is what they deserve. Therefore, we are challenging cat owners to take Nature Canada’s pledge in support of protecting both cats and birds.” This initiative is just the start of a larger awareness campaign that will include a series of graphic novels to be penned and released starting later this year by Margaret Atwood. “We are honoured to have the support of Margaret Atwood and all of our partners in this important campaign,” said Eleanor Fast. She added, “We could not do our work to raise awareness of critical conservation and species issues if it were not for the individuals and organizations who give so generously to Nature Canada year after year.” -30- Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives is a coalition of individuals and organizations concerned about the well-being of cats and birds. It is led by Nature Canada and is supported financially by Fuller Landau, LLP, The Crabtree Foundation, The Walrus, Indigo, Environment Canada, Pets Plus Us and Toronto Life. For more information about this campaign or to see a full list of national, regional and local partners please visit catsandbirds.ca or naturecanada.ca Tips on how to keep cats safe and healthy can be downloaded here. Images for use by media can be found here. For media inquires contact: Cate Murray 613-979-6174 catemurray42@icloud.com

Keeping Cats Safe and Saving Bird Lives
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Keeping Cats Safe and Saving Bird Lives

[caption id="attachment_16443" align="alignleft" width="150"]Eleanor Fast Eleanor Fast
Executive Director[/caption] I’m excited! Today Nature Canada launches a new initiative to Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives catsandbirds.ca. Our aim is to reduce the number of free-roaming cats in Canada. This initiative will bring together cat lovers across Canada – in our Nature Canada community and beyond – to protect wildlife; it highlights ways that we as nature lovers can take individual actions to protect nature in our community; and it builds on Nature Canada’s commitment to keep science and evidence at the heart of our work.

Keeping science at the forefront

I am always asking myself and our conservation team a lot of questions.  How can we have the biggest impact to protect birds and other wildlife?  What are today’s biggest threats? How can Nature Canada members help? Cat and BirdClimate change and habitat destruction have a huge effect on bird populations, and Nature Canada is working on those issues, but there are also significant human impacts on birds such as collisions with windows and cars, and cats. In fact, cats are by far the largest cause of bird deaths – the best science estimates that of 270 million human-related bird deaths in Canada each year, cats account for about 75% - an estimated 200 million, compared with 25 million bird deaths due to window collisions.  The evidence shows that outdoor cats are exposed to a variety of threats, including disease, parasites, being run over by vehicles, and fights with wildlife. Tragically 1,300 dead cats were collected from the streets of Toronto in a single year, and 50,000 cats were euthanized in a year because homes could not be found for them.  The evidence shows the keeping cats from roaming free will lead to safer lives for cats, and save bird lives.

Taking individual actions

YOU are the key to the success of this initiative.  We need your help, and the help of individuals across Canada.  If you are a cat owner please visit catsandbirds.ca to learn more and sign the pledge to keep your cat from roaming free. And encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same.  If you’re not a cat owner you can still join the movement - sign up for email updates for tips on what you can do to keep cats safe and save bird lives in your neighbourhood.  Right now, at the launch of this three year campaign we are focused on individual actions to keep pet cats safe.  But in the coming months we will be providing information about talking to your city councilor and encouraging no free roam bylaws, and we will be addressing other issues such as feral cats.  Sign up now for updates so you don’t miss out!

A sense of community

Nature Canada is proud to be working with partners and sponsors across Canada to keep cats safe and save bird lives.  We are enormously grCat with deep blue eyesateful to PetsPlusUs, Indigo, Fuller Landau, Environment Canada, and The Crabtree Foundation for financial support, and to our media partners The Walrus and Toronto Life.  We are also grateful for the partnership of nature groups across the country who are working with us to bring the message to their local communities.  We are just at the early stages of this project and looking for more community partners and I would love to hear from you if you would like to spearhead this in your own organization. And last but not least, a huge thanks to Margaret Atwood, one of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature and a longtime supporter, whose upcoming graphic novel Angel Catbird will draw attention to this important issue. So, yes, I am excited! Please visit catsandbirds.ca to find out more about this project and please let me know what you think.
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