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An Artist’s Profile: Suzanne Paleczny
HumanNature, Suzanne Paleczny
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An Artist’s Profile: Suzanne Paleczny

I was looking forward to the opportunity to interview Suzanne Paleczny. Her focus on the human relationship with Nature is very relevant to me, as I find myself brought back to it time and time again in my work and life. I believe that the way we understand our relationships with the land dictate how we react to our environment, how we make decisions, and how we shape our culture.
This blog post was a collaboration between our featured artist, Suzanne Paleczny and Chloe Dragon Smith, who interviewed Suzanne. [caption id="attachment_36001" align="alignleft" width="150"] Chloe Dragon Smith[/caption]

Part 1: Suzanne/Nature

First, I wanted to understand a bit about Suzanne’s personal relationship with Nature. Learning about Suzanne in this context would help me to understand much more about who she is, her worldview, and her art.

How did your childhood influence your connection to Nature? In my first childhood home we lived on the edge of town with only two houses neighbouring our own. We were up on a hill and could see Lake Timiskaming from our yard although it was quite distant, and train tracks, roads and houses separated us from the lake. An enormous Manitoba Maple tree grew at the front of the house, its branches rising up beyond the height of our two storey house and then curving back down until they almost touched the grass, enveloping the entire front yard in this huge leafy umbrella. We played outside all the time, both under this tree and in the adjacent fields, bush and ravine. My father, in particular, influenced my love of the outdoors. One of my earliest memories is of him taking my sisters and me for walks in the bush. We would start out walking along the train tracks and then would strike off into the forest. Eventually we would stop and make a fire and he would make us hot chocolate from his army rations. If it was spring he would make us whistles from the green willow branches. It was magical. As we got older we hiked and camped, paddled, rock climbed, skated and cross-country skied as a family. We returned again and again to the forests of my dad’s childhood in Northern Ontario. What are your favourite things to do outdoors today? I still love to camp and canoe, hike, skate and cross-country ski. The Yukon provides wonderful opportunities for all of these activities. For me, there is nothing better than sleeping outdoors. And although I don’t particularly like to cook, I love cooking outside over a fire! When I was creating the sculptures for my recent body of work, Human/Nature, I spent two summers working outside in my carport. The sculptures are built from driftwood and range from 7 to 11 feet tall so required a working space that was beyond the size of my studio. We live about 30 km north of Whitehorse, in a quiet, rural setting and working outdoors was wonderful. The carport meant I was protected from the rain and direct sun, but I could still feel the wind and hear the birds, and in our seemingly endless summer days, enjoy the view of the mountains as the sun worked its way almost full circle around me. While I worked away I was visited by foxes, squirrels and birds, and on one occasion a mother bear and her two cubs even wandered through, deftly winding through the maze of sculptures without knocking any of them over. Luckily, I had just stepped inside to get something and so was not in their way! The first summer, I worked well into October, which was far too cold to be outside with bare hands and power drills, but I was not anxious to return to the confines of indoor work space. [caption id="attachment_35993" align="alignright" width="221"] Weight of the World, Suzanne Paleczny[/caption] Have those things changed throughout your life? When our children were born we initiated them early into our favourite activities; our son was only 5 weeks old when we took him on his first overnight canoe trip in Bon Echo Park, and our eldest daughter, the ripe age of two weeks, for her first camping trip to Presqu’ile Park as we participated in the Bailey Bird Count. When our family grew too large for all of us to fit into one canoe, but the children were still too young to paddle, we did more camping in Provincial and National Park campgrounds. Once the kids were big enough to paddle and carry their own packs, we went back to doing more extended canoe trips and back-country hiking (which we continue to do now that we are again on our own). How do you see them changing as you continue to age? We continue to hike, paddle and ski and hope to spend many more years exploring the Yukon mountains and rivers. I suppose that we may become less willing or able to ‘rough it’ as we age. I have seen my own father change from someone who never passed up an opportunity to strike off into the bush with just a pack and an ax, to someone who now enjoys nature strictly through the window from the comfort of his arm chair.

Part 2: Art and life

Suzanne inspired me with her honesty, and stories of a life lived close with the land from her perspective. I was curious about how this lifestyle dedicated to connection with environment contributed to her path as an artist.

How much of your work throughout your life has been influenced by Nature? Because nature has always been a large and important part of my life, it has influenced my art in various ways. Learning to observe nature influenced the way I observe everything around me. I am always on the lookout for effects created by sunlight and shadow and am inspired by colours and patterns that I see in nature. I am not, however, a landscape painter; the human figure is almost always incorporated into my artwork. Human/Nature is my first large body of work that is not just influenced by, but is specifically about nature. Where did you get the ideas for your most recent exhibit – Human/Nature? [caption id="attachment_35991" align="alignleft" width="200"] HumanNature, Suzanne Paleczny[/caption] In many ways, my exhibit Human/Nature is a culmination of concerns and ideas that have come together throughout my life. The exhibit is loosely based on a thesis that I wrote in 2011, but even as a very young child, I remember being aware of and worried about pollution and the health of the planet. The exhibit was also created from a combination of both intellectual and visual ideas. The intellectual ideas were influenced to a great extent by an undergrad degree in Cultural Studies and Philosophy that I completed in 2011 at Trent University. In my final thesis I examined our relationship with wilderness and our understanding of it, as indicated through its depiction in art and culture over thousands of years. In preparing to create Human/Nature I also read about ancient thought and philosophy, creation myths throughout the world, patterns in nature, interaction of trees in forest communities, recently extinct species, evolution, the beginning of the universe, etc. Collecting visual ideas is a continuous and on-going process. Ideas can come from something as simple as a combination of colours that I see, a particular gesture that I observe, or other situations I encounter that can be used as visual metaphors. People, places and situations, in both Yukon and Egypt, came together to provide the visual inspiration for the paintings in Human/Nature. The driftwood sculptures, on the other hand, were inspired by a visit to a specific place in Yukon called Sucker Bay. The bay lies at the juncture of two very long and narrow lakes. Any debris that falls into the waters gets channeled down by the prevailing wind and collects in the bay. As a result, the bay is chock full of driftwood; an endless supply of free art material! The first time I was introduced to the bay by some of my fellow art colleagues, I was struck by how much the individual pieces of driftwood resembled parts of our human anatomy—bones, muscles, tendons—and I could see its potential for what would eventually become the Human Forest installation. Rather than force a pre-determined pose for each of the tree figures, I let the shape of the driftwood determine what the gesture would be. Check out more of Suzanne’s work here.

Part 3: We are Nature

I was compelled by Suzanne’s choice to mindfully follow the driftwood pieces as they dictated shape and posture of her human-tree figures. This is a small example of how we could all be living our lives by the contours of Nature: physical contours like rivers and mountains, as well as the rhythm of the seasons, right down to life lessons about relationships and tiny decisions we make every day. By losing our connection, have we lost our intuition about how to take care of the earth and also live good lives for ourselves? This concept is something that Suzanne has spent significant time thinking about.

I believe very much in the statement ‘we are Nature’ – Nature is not something separate from us. I know this is something you strive to explore and depict in your work. What does ‘we are Nature’ mean to you? We are nature. This is not a metaphor, it is a fact. The phrase ‘we are Nature’ is a statement of awareness. With the exhibit Human/Nature, I was trying to make sense of why we treat the world so badly. I was trying to make sense of this disconnect between our awareness of the environmental crisis that is upon us and at the same time, the fact that we are not reacting with the urgency that this crisis deserves.   And the only thing that I could think of, was that we must have somehow forgotten that we too are nature; that we are so used to living in a human-made world, that we have forgotten that nature is not something outside of us—someplace we go hiking in on the weekend—but that it is us. And this led me to the notion of memory. [caption id="attachment_35995" align="alignright" width="300"] HumanNature, Suzanne Paleczny[/caption] Our own human story begins along with everything else in the world; as a bunch of chemical elements created through the life-cycle of the stars, and then as one-celled animals in ancient oceans and then as more and more complex animals until we eventually climbed out of the ocean. There are remnants of our ancient selves preserved in different structures of our bodies. For example, the fact that we get the hiccups is attributed to our earlier gill breathing days. If we have physical remnants of our ancient selves still present in us, then is it not conceivable that remnants of our ancient past might also be lodged in our memory?  And so I began to imagine what it would be like if we could actually remember our origins. What if we could remember what it feels like to be stardust, or to live in salty seas, or to feel that connection that we have with everything else? Through the exhibit I am asking “what would having that sort of insight mean for us and for our world?” With this awareness, would we behave differently? What do you think are the best ways to live that philosophy, as an individual, and as a society? I have realized over the years that my artwork is often a question, but is seldom an answer. I don’t know the answer to the questions that I am posing; I just know that we need to figure it out together. I guess an important step is to recognize our own connection to the rest of the world and to understand that ours is a shared destiny. We need to make individual and societal decisions that reflect that knowledge; decisions that are based not on short term gain but on a long-term view that takes into consideration the collective good of future generations and the planet. I know your exhibit was titled ‘Human/Nature’… This is very interesting to me, as I’ve had a lot of trouble with reconciling the concept of Nature in the past year or so. In many ways I see our language as a symptom of the way we relate to the world around us as ‘other’. I’d love to get your thoughts on that. I think that your point is exactly right. That notion of the outer world as ‘other’ is embedded not just in language but in every aspect of modern Western culture, and it is inevitable that it should affect the way we act. The way we think about ourselves has been influenced over time by attitudes and philosophies that we may not even recognize as cultural ideas, and may mistake as truths. How will we set that right?

How will we set that right?

The weight of that question commands space to hang here; powerful yet without judgement, at the end of my conversation with Suzanne. How will we set that right? What do you think?

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‘Tis the Season … To Hibernate
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‘Tis the Season … To Hibernate

With winter finally here in full force, I see the appeal of stuffing myself with food and sleeping until all this snow melts away. While snow-covered trees and trails are beautiful, there seems to be less wildlife to look at in the winter. As animal sightings are less frequent, it had me wondering where they all go.image of a Grizzly Bear and her cubs When you think of hibernation, most people probably think of bears first. And while this is true, they’re aren’t actually the “truest” kind of hibernator, which includes a lowered heart-rate, breathing, and metabolism. This is because bears are in a much lighter sleep and can still be awakened. They get up more frequently than true hibernators, but can still sleep for days, weeks, or months — they go into what is called torpor. Skunks and raccoons are other mammals that can sleep for long periods of time to avoid the winter elements, but aren’t true hibernators. Bats, however, have some of the longest hibernation capabilities and can survive on taking just one breath every two hours. And did you know that bees hibernate in holes in the soil? Well, the queen bee that is. Worker bees die off every winter, but the queen bee hibernates in the ground for six to eight months until it is warm enough to rebuild. Garter Snakes are relatively harmless, but the idea of stumbling into a den of hundreds or thousands of them is not a pleasant one. While most snakes just become less active in the winter, garter snakes actually hibernate in dens in large quantities to stay warm. One den in Canada was found to have 8,000 garter snakes! And did you know? Climate change is already affecting the hibernation patterns of some animals, like chipmunks. Bears also give birth and raise their young during the hibernation period, which could lead to very negative effects on their populations if hibernation times are reduced. Acknowledgments: Live Science, Science News, Earth Rangers

Member Spotlight: Nature Lover, Canadian Senator and Honorary Chair of Women for Nature Diane Griffin
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Member Spotlight: Nature Lover, Canadian Senator and Honorary Chair of Women for Nature Diane Griffin

[caption id="attachment_33387" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Jodi Joy Jodi Joy
Director of Development[/caption] “We all need peace and quiet, beautiful natural places to be our touchstones and to replenish our souls. A walk in nature does that for me. Also, just knowing we have natural places and wildlife is satisfying”. – Senator Diane Griffin Senator Diane Griffin is a lifelong and passionate environmentalist. She’s had a stellar public service career including serving as PEI’s Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy and as a Town Councillor in Stratford, PEI. She’s also served as the President of our Board of Directors and received our Pimlott Award for her incredible dedication and work to protect nature. An accomplished writer, who published a book of Atlantic Wildflowers, she has also penned numerous articles on topics ranging from agricultural, eco-economics, national forest strategies, natural heritage and more. [caption id="attachment_34742" align="alignright" width="421"]Image of Senator Diane Griffin Senator Diane Griffin[/caption] Senator Griffin encourages Canadians of all ages to explore nature, and take action in ways that make sense in our own homes and hearts, acknowledging recently thatwhat we do in our individual homes and communities is going to be significant for the conservation of Canada’s natural resources. Today, she brings a strong voice for nature and conservation to Canada’s Senate and is also the Honorary Chair of our Women for Nature program. Three Women for Nature projects are launching this year. Together with your gifts, we’ve supported six projects imagined by Young Women for Nature. As well, we’ll launch 10 new mentorships empowering up and coming nature leaders. And the Women for Nature E-Dialogues series, moderated by Professor Ann Dale, will begin later this month. These real-time, online discussions will stimulate ideas, dialogue and local action around the critically important topic of Biodiversity. You can find out all the topics, and join the conversation here. By instilling a passionate commitment to nature within our young nature leaders, Women for Nature members are investing in the future of conservation in Canada. The Women for Nature mentorship program and E-Dialogue series will bring strong voices together for nature to support the future protection of nature and wildlife in Canada. “As the Honorary Chair of Nature Canada’s Women for Nature initiative, I am delighted to see that Canada’s nature is in good hands. These young women and their projects are a step in the right direction to help enable more young Canadians to connect with nature and assist in protecting our precious wildlife and habitats.” You can find the latest news on Women for Nature here. And if you are interested in learning more about our initiative, I would love to connect with you! You can reach me at jjoy@naturecanada.ca or 1-800-267-4088 extension 239.

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Green Office: Make Your Workplace Environmentally Friendly
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Green Office: Make Your Workplace Environmentally Friendly

[caption id="attachment_33210" align="alignleft" width="160"]Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy[/caption] This post was written by guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy. Earth Day is in the spring, but that doesn’t mean your workplace can’t be green all year round! Even small changes, like switching to a reusable coffee cup or choosing not to print a long document, can add up to make a big difference. In addition to helping the environment, taking steps to work greener can also help you become a healthier person, whether it's adding walking to your commute, making more mindful eating choices, or breathing in cleaner air in your cubicle. As the summer winds down and many of us return to the regular daily grind this autumn, let's consider taking up some of these easy suggestions for creating an environmentally friendly work space. Change up your daily commute. It is common knowledge now that automobiles contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Try alternative modes of getting to work besides driving alone—carpool, take public transit, bike, walk all or partway. Even doing this once or twice a week will make a difference. At Nature Canada, 90% of our staff bike, walk, or bus to work! aloe_veraPut a plant in your workspace. Not only do live plants liven up a dreary, sterile indoor space, they also boost oxygen levels and remove harmful indoor pollutants such as carbon dioxide and formaldehyde from the air. English ivy and the snake plant are two examples that do not require a lot of sunlight. If you have ample sunlight, try aloe vera. Mother Nature Network has a handy infographic to help you pick out the plant ideal for your office environment. Use paper prudently. Think carefully before printing—can you read a document on screen or save it to your desktop or network instead of placing it in your file cabinet? Set up your computers and copiers to use both sides of paper when printing or photocopying. Review the length of your document before you print. If possible, adjust to reduce the number of pages printed. Save old envelopes and reuse them—stick a label over the previous address. Use less-attractive used envelopes for inter-office delivery if you don’t want to mail them out. coffee beansProvide and use shade-grown coffee to be bird-friendly. Organic and fair-trade coffee as well is even better. What makes shade-grown coffee in particular bird-friendly? The clearcutting of forests for sun-grown coffee “is believed to be one of the more significant causes of habitat loss on the Andean slopes of the Canada Warbler’s wintering grounds.” For more information, see “How You Can Help” on our Canada Warbler International Conservation Initiative page. Ditch the disposable cups. Canadians use 1.6 billion disposable coffee cups annually, and it can be confusing on how or if to recycle them. Bring a standard or a good-quality commuter mug to work instead to use for your daily cup(s) of joe. Coffee shops like Tim Hortons and Starbucks will even give you a small discount for bringing in a reusable cup.  Use and encourage the use of reusable containers for food. Store both homemade or take-out lunches and snacks in glassware or reusable lunch bags. Plastic bags are often not recycled, clog drainage systems, and cause serious harm to animals—pieces of them have been found lodged in the stomachs of birds. Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. Conventional cleaning products can release fumes that cause dizziness, asthma, and other health problems. Voice your support for healthier cleaning products to your institution's appropriate contacts. In your workspace, use nature-friendly cleaning supplies such as white vinegar. Also check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning for vetted recommendations. recycling_containersDispose of waste responsibly. Sometimes items that can be recycled or composted ends up in the garbage. Create clear signage that lets everyone know what goes into each bin. Make sure there are plenty of recycling containers near printers, photocopiers, and desks. Reduce workspace energy consumption. Turn off your computer monitor when you leave your desk or set your monitor to power off after a certain amount of time. Turn lights on only when needed, and turn all office lights off at night. Have the last person to leave the workplace check that unneeded lights are out. Turning off building lights not only saves energy, it also helps enable safer migration of birds. Talk to and collaborate with your colleagues to share and spread ideas for going green. Set up a carpool calendar. Start a staff piggy bank to buy sugar and creamer in bulk instead of individual packets. Encourage each other to bring lunch from home and perhaps eat together. As a group, ask management to make environmentally friendly changes to your workplace. We hope these ideas are helpful! How do you keep your workplace green?

Right Whales closer to the brink
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Right Whales closer to the brink

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] Twelve highly endangered North Atlantic Right Whales have been killed in the past month in the Gulf of St Lawrence and U.S. eastern seaboard by ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement. Unfortunately, the global population of these whales is only 500. Nature Canada applauds the decision by the Government of Canada to slow ships to ten knots (19 km/hour) in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence where the whales have been frequenting this summer. Clearly this decision will not be enough to reverse the decline of this species. First, the decision applies only to a small part of the range of Right Whales, and not to other important habitat such as the Bay of Fundy. Second, other threats to Right Whales such as oil spills from tankers, oil and gas drilling, seismic blasts and ocean pollution such as toxics and plastics garbage remain unaddressed. Nature Canada has been an active intervener in the Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain, and Energy East primarily to ensure that the impacts of these proposed oil pipeline and tanker projects on marine birds and mammals are well-understood before decisions are made. Nature Canada has joined the conversation and you can too-visit the Government of Canada’s Let’s Talk Whales to learn more. https://www.letstalkwhales.ca/  

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Schoolyard Blitz – Mud Lake Edition
Lac Mud
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Schoolyard Blitz – Mud Lake Edition

This blog was written by Axel, a communications volunteer from the Youth LEAD: Employment Program for Newcomer and Immigrant Youth.  On June 13, Nature Canada and a Grade 4 and 5 class from Regina Street Public School in Ottawa went to Mud Lake to discover nature in their NatureHood. The students at Regina Street Public School have the incredible opportunity and fortune to visit Mud Lake on a weekly basis, given its close proximity to the school. As a result, the students have a strong affinity towards this special place, knowledge of the area, and are very comfortable in the nature trails. [caption id="attachment_33517" align="alignleft" width="300"]exploring nature exploring nature[/caption] Mud Lake is an NCC Conservation Area located within the Lac Deschenes Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA), the site of Ottawa’s signatory NatureHood! Mud Lake was recently acknowledged in the Ottawa Citizen as being one of the most ecologically diverse spots in Canada! With over 400 species found in this 60-hectare wetland, it is truly a remarkable hotspot for biodiversity! We asked the kids to form small groups and, with a NatureBlitz species checklist, we went on an expedition to discover what Mud Lake had to offer. To ensure a fun and safe NatureBlitz, we talked about safety including what poisonous plants to be aware of, such as poison ivy, and to be tick-aware. As we were walking through the trails, we noticed different varieties of trees, like birch, maple, oak and more! With a closer look, we even found berries, mushrooms and different species of wildflowers. [caption id="attachment_33518" align="alignright" width="225"]Bird Nest Bird Nest[/caption] Not only did we see lots of plant life, we were able to observe a number of insects, birds and mammals. We found Canada geese, mallard ducks, frogs, painted turtles, squirrels and many different insects including spiders and various butterflies. One of the highlights was when one of the students spotted a little brown snake! Coiled up it was no bigger than a quarter! We spent a lot of time observing it. It was a real pleasure to see the kids enjoying being out in nature, sharing their knowledge and working together to identify species. When they could not identify some of the birds or plants, one of Nature Canada’s volunteers, Jen, opened her field guides and helped fill the gaps. Another exciting moment was seeing a Red-eyed Vireo sitting in her nest! When the bird fled, we were able to see three eggs inside the nest. Based on discussions with the kids and teachers, we discovered that 2 of the eggs belonged to a Brown-headed Cowbird, known to abandon their eggs and to be fostered by other birds (usually at the expense of the host’s own baby chicks). A complete list of our discoveries in the Mud Lake is available, and I hope it will inspire you to want to visit the area! I would like to thank everyone who participated in the NatureBlitz, and invite everybody to get out and connect with Nearby Nature in your NatureHood!


Recruited as part of the Youth LEAD program, volunteering with Nature Canada has been an amazing journey so far. Apart from technical knowledge gained, I learned about all the different types of programs Nature Canada has. The most exciting part of this volunteering opportunity was when we went to discover an ecologically important habitat in the urban part of Canada’s capital region. In this Schoolyard Blitz, I got a chance to know more about biodiversity found in Canada.
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Get to Know “Wild” Woman for Nature Jennifer Haddow
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Get to Know “Wild” Woman for Nature Jennifer Haddow

[caption id="attachment_13592" align="alignleft" width="130"]Picture of Caroline Casselman Caroline Casselman, Women for Nature member[/caption] Featuring Women for Nature member Jennifer Haddow. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Caroline Casselman.  [caption id="attachment_33430" align="alignright" width="150"]Jennifer Haddow tree Jennifer Haddow, Women for Nature member.[/caption] Jennifer Haddow is the owner of Wild Women Expeditions, an outdoor adventure travel company for women. She has led public engagement programs for a variety of environmental and social justice non-profit organizations, including Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Environmental Network. Jennifer is a passionate advocate for protection of wild spaces and promoting the value of women's leadership in the outdoors. She is based in Quadra Island, British Columbia. As part of the Women for Nature blog series, I asked Jennifer how her environmental activism has changed over the course of her career. Growing up in Newfoundland, what influenced your decision to become a global citizen and environmental activist? At 18, I had the opportunity to join the Canada World Youth exchange program. I lived for four months in Egypt, which opened my eyes to global issues around poverty, social justice, race relations, community development and the environment. The experience changed my perspective on what I wanted to accomplish in my life and my career. I studied international development at university and began my journey to becoming a global citizen. I worked for 15 years in the not-for-profit world, as well as in government on the International Campaign to End Landmines. That is a major life change. Was there anything in particular that influenced your decision? [caption id="attachment_33434" align="alignleft" width="300"]Jennifer Haddow Jennifer Haddow, in nature.[/caption] Like a lot of conservationists, I was extremely passionate about protecting the environment – almost becoming a martyr to the cause. Eventually, though, I became frustrated by some of the armchair activism we see in the movement. Lots of statistics and talk about saving the environment, but not enough on-the-ground experience or in-depth knowledge about the threatened places we were trying to save. We also talked about having a balanced relationship with the natural world, but we didn’t have much balance in our own lives. I myself was working too much and losing my connection to what we were all fighting for – I call it the unhealthy saviour complex. I became frustrated and burnt out. And then I became sick. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 10 years ago, a terrifying wakeup call. I decided to re-orient my life toward the natural world. I travelled to the Himalayas and trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest. It was incredible to wake up in a tent in the snow and watch the sun rise over the world’s highest mountain. From then on, the compass of my life tilted toward fresh air, sunshine, being active and healing. I had gone on a few Wild Women expeditions and loved them so much, I bought the company when the owner announced her retirement. Intuitively, I felt I was meant to be the next owner. How does the mission of Wild Women Expeditions align with the Women for Nature campaign? Is this what inspired you to join? Yes, I think it is important for all of us to get out into the wilderness and get dirty! We need to engage in a physical way in order to fall in love with the natural world, otherwise we won’t really fight hard enough to protect it. That’s the premise for Wild Women Expeditions. We want to bring women into this supportive experience so they can fall in love with the natural world and do the necessary work to conserve it. [caption id="attachment_33433" align="alignright" width="300"]Jennifer Haddow, on a kayaking trip. Jennifer Haddow, on a kayaking trip.[/caption] That passion and commitment is what I identify with in the Women for Nature campaign. And while I believe we need to physically engage in these issues, I also believe in the power of storytelling. We always read outdoor adventure stories about men but we need to promote the value of that experience for women. We need to connect the dots between outdoor adventure, protecting wild spaces and promoting women’s leadership in nature. The next issue of our Wild Women Magazine features Jane Goodall – the quintessential wild woman! How is your health now? I’m in the best health I’ve ever been. I consider myself to be in remission. I have a chronic condition but I am not sick; I am afflicted but not affected. I am at my happiest being a mother to my 5-year old son and when we are home on Quadra Island, we spend lot of time taking hikes and communing with nature. But I want him to be a global citizen too. We visit incredible places – from the jungles of Costa Rica to the Egyptian desert and the elephant sanctuaries of Northern Thailand. Any words of wisdom or advice you want to share with future Women for Nature? I believe I had a physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown because – like a lot of women – I had too much stress and not enough space. And we need that space in order to balance our lives, maintain our health and be our authentic selves. So I can’t emphasize it enough. Go outside, get dirty and connect to the natural world. And, share your stories of what it means to be a wild and adventurous woman – for your health, your spirit and for the environment. To learn more about our amazing Women for Nature, please visit www.womenfornature.ca

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The Third Annual Bird Day Fair Soars
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The Third Annual Bird Day Fair Soars

On Saturday May 30, 2015 Nature Canada hosted the third annual Bird Day Fair at Andrew Haydon Park. It was a day where Canadian's welcomed back our migratory birds in a celebration of International Migratory Bird Day in the national capital region's own Important Bird Area. 80% of the bird species that we consider Canadian birds leave our borders every fall and return every spring. Bird Day connects communities across the Northern Hemisphere in a celebration of this incredible journey. [caption id="attachment_21236" align="aligncenter" width="940"]photo of bird banding Banding an American Robin. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Excited early risers joined Nature Canada’s very own licensed bird bander, Ted Cheskey in the early bird activity: a bird banding demonstration. Ted and his assistants caught an American Robin (pictured above) and a Song Sparrow. Bird banding is a popular research method used by scientists to study birds and learn about their migration and survival. The information collected when the bird is captured along with the band number is shared on a central database that registered bird banders can access. Some birds are caught two or more times at the same or different locations. Participants at the event also had the opportunity to visit the Innis Point Bird Observatory’s booth and learn about bird banding first hand by being banded themselves. Each band shared a number with a bird banded at Innis Point Bid Observatory. You can see which birds were chosen and learn about their story here. [caption id="attachment_21237" align="aligncenter" width="940"]photo of the Bird Day Fair 2015 the 2015 Bird Day Fair at Andrew Haydon Park. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] 24 local groups hosted a booth at the Bird Day Fair to talk about the excellent work they do to protect wildlife and connect Canadian’s to nature and adventure in the city and beyond. [caption id="attachment_21238" align="aligncenter" width="940"]photo of a child completing the activity passport at the Bird Day Fair 2015 Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] An activity passport encouraged children to visit the booths and ask questions. A correct answer was rewarded with a stamp or sticker, and children who answered all the questions visited the Nature Canada booth for a prize. [caption id="attachment_21239" align="aligncenter" width="940"]nest building activity at the Bird Day Fair 2015 Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Local artist Sally Lee Sheeks was back this year with her popular nest building activity. Children used sticks and branches to build a bird’s nest large enough for a person to sit in. Building a nest is more difficult than it looks, and the birds have to do it all with their beaks! [caption id="attachment_21241" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Eagle mascot at the Bird Day Fair 2015 Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] A giant Eagle also joined the celebrations. Although his day was busy posing for photos, here he is helping a volunteer take a survey. Surveys are an important way for us to learn about what we are doing right, and what we can improve on for next year. The feedback we have received on these surveys has been extremely useful, so a big thank you to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts. [caption id="attachment_21242" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Falcon Ed at the Bird Day Fair 2015 Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Falcon Ed was back with their live birds of prey. These birds are always a crowd favourite and wowed the crowd all day long at the Falcon Ed booth. Participants got to meet Phoennix the Harris Hawk (pictured above), Darwin the Great Horned Owl and Dexter the Peregrine Falcon. [caption id="attachment_21243" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Little Rays Reptiles at the Bird Day Fair 2015 Photography by Julia Gamble[/caption] Little Ray’s Reptiles presented their "Endangered Ontario" show at the Bird Day Fair and captivated the audience. Their show featured 2 birds of prey, 2 ferrets, 2 snakes, 2 turtles an amphibian and a fox - all from Ontario of course! [caption id="attachment_21244" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Print making activity at the Bird Day Fair 2015 Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Young and young at heart alike got to try out their artistic skills with help from local artist Lyle Docherty in a print making activity. Lyle had prepared templates of an American Robin, a Blue Jay (pictured above), a Bald Eagle, a Common Loon and a Canadian Goose for people to create their own work of art. [caption id="attachment_21245" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Mayor Waston and Giacomo Panico announce the Ottawa's Bird Contest winner And the winner is.... Photography by Julia Gamble[/caption] And the winner of the unofficial Bird of Ottawa Contest is ......... the Black-capped Chickadee! On April 25 CBC radio’s In Town and Out asked listeners and followers of the weekly Tweet of the Week segment to nominate their favourite. After a month of voting and over 3,300 submissions the winner was announced at the Bird Day Fair by Mayor Jim Watson and Giacomo Panico. The Black-capped Chickadee was the clear favourite with 42% of the votes. The Common Raven gained a great deal of support near the end of the competition, but was not able to overtake the lead, ending with 32% of the vote. [caption id="attachment_21269" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Photography by Susanne Ure A Flamingo Flash Mob. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] A flock of migrating Flamingos go blown very off course, astonishing and amazing attendees of the Bird Day Fair with their coordinated moves. Young dancers from Lakeview Public School dressed as Flamingos made a surprise appearance at the Bird Day Fair to perform their Flamingo Dance choreographed by dance teacher Lindsay Mattesz. This performance was clearly a crowd favourite. [caption id="attachment_21246" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Purple Martin colony The Purple Martin Colony at the Nepean Sailing Club. Photography by Julia Gamble[/caption] Nature Canada is working on the Purple Martin project, an international collaboration with Purple Matin landloards, university researchers, naturalists groups, and the Canadian Wildlife Service to help protect and recover declining Purple Martin populations. We are using GPS tracking devices to follow them on their migration journey to their wintering grounds in order to understand the risks they face. One colony that Nature Canada is studying is just a short walk from Andrew Haydon Park at the Nepean Sailing Club. A guided walk led by the Purple Martin project coordinator gave people the opportunity to see these birds up close and in action. If you look closely you just might be able to see a tracking device or a coloured leg band on one of these birds. [caption id="attachment_21265" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Photography by Susanne Ure Tony Beck of Always an Adventure captivates the crowd as he shares his nature photography tips. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Participants at the Bird Day Fair were invited to join a guided walk to learn the basics of birding, get some tips to improve their nature photos and more. [caption id="attachment_21267" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Photography by Susanne Ure Photography by Susanne Ure [/caption] And what’s a Bird Day Fair without bird watching? This family of ducks posed for the cameras. Some other species that we expected to see at the park are; Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, Ring-billed Gull, Killdeer, Canada Goose, American Goldfinch, Yellow Warbler and Hooded Merganser. Thank you to our Event Partners and Sponsors who made this day possible!

Environment for the Americas logo Ottawa Field Naturalists logo OC Transpo logo Wild Birds Unlimited logo
Nikon logo Henry's logo Richie Feed and Seed logo White Swan logo

Come out to the Bird Day Fair May 2015
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Come out to the Bird Day Fair May 2015

Bird Day Fair 2015 event poster Join Nature Canada at the third annual Bird Day Fair which will be held at Andrew Haydon Park in Ottawa on Saturday May 30, 2015 from 10am-3pm. Just as our migratory birds are returning to Canada from their wintering grounds south of the border, a huge celebration is unfolding across the continent to celebrate birds – and you can be part of it! Bird Day is a celebration of migratory birds and the wild spaces they inhabit. Join Nature Canada in a celebration of the incredible migration journey of birds through a day of fun activities for the whole family. There will be nature walks, crafts and activities, live animals, and an opportunity to meet local groups working to protect wildlife.     [caption id="attachment_20261" align="aligncenter" width="960"]photos from the Bird Day Fair 2014 Photography by Susanne Ure of the Bird Day Fair 2014[/caption] [separator headline="h2" title="Participating groups"] The following groups will host a booth at the Bird Day Fair to talk about the excellent work they do to protect wildlife and connect Canadian's to nature and adventure in the city and beyond.

Always and Adventure logo BioRegional logo Canadian Geographic logo City Wide Sports logo
Falcon Ed logo FLAP Canada Ottawa Wing logo Girl Guides of Canada logo Greenspace Alliance of Canada's Capital Logo
Greening Sacred Spaces Ottawa Chapter logo Henry's logo Innis Point Bird Observatory logo Kitchen Cone logo
Lindian Enterprise logo Maser Gardeners of Ottawa Carleton logo Mississippi valley conservation authority logo Nature Conservancy of Canada logo
Ottawa Duck Club logo Ottawa Field Naturalists logo St John Ambulance logo Tucker House logo
Tree Ottawa logo Wax and Wings logo Wild Bird Care Centre logo Wild Birds Unlimited logo
Little Rays Reptile Zoo logo circus delights Sally Sheeks logo
Archy and Mehitabel logo Maria-Helena Pacelli logo Angry Drangonz logo Urban Cowboy logo
[separator headline="h2" title="Schedule for the day"] Early Bird Activity: Nature Canada's very own licensed bird bander, Ted Cheskey, will lead a bird banding demonstration at Andrew Haydon Park from 8:30 am-10:00 am Check out what happened at the Bird Day Fair 2014. Stay up to date on the latest Bird Day Fair plans on the facebook event page. Schedule Guided Walks poster ENG [separator headline="h2" title="Plan your trip to the Bird Day Fair"] Map to Andrew Haydon ParkThe Bird Day Fair will be held at Andrew Haydon Park (3169 Carling Avenue, Nepean) which is at the intersection of Carling Ave and Holly Acres Rd. [separator headline="h3" title="Cycle or Walk"] Andrew Haydon Park is along the Ottawa River bike path. Check the cycling map to plan your route. [separator headline="h3" title="Take Public Transit"] OC Transpo is the easy way to get to the event! Take the Bird Day Fair shuttle bus provided by OC Transpo from Bayshore station, a transit hub. The shuttle will depart from transit station 4A (see the highlight space on the map below) and drop you off steps from the Fair. The shuttle is free of charge and will run every 15 min from 10am - 3pm. station 4A map [separator headline="h3" title="Driving"] Please remember that there is limited parking on site. [separator headline="h2" title="Partners"] Nature Canada is proud to partner with the following organizations to host Bird Day 2015
Environment for the Americas logo Ottawa Field Naturalists logo OC Transpo logo
  [separator headline="h2" title="Sponsors"] Thank you to the generous support of our sponsors. Without whom this event would not be possible.
Ottawa Field Naturalists logo Nikon logo Henry's logo Wild Birds Unlimited logo
White Swan logo Richie Feed and Seed logo

The Different Types of Ice
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The Different Types of Ice

With the opportunity to participate in IceWatch this month, we decided we want to know more about ice! Ice seems to be simply a state of water, however many do not know that there are different types of ice. These ice types are known as the phases in which the ice is in. Depending on the age, ice can vary in salinity, roughness, and the overall strength. The phases of ice range from I to XVI (1 to 16). These phases describe the characteristics of the ice itself, explaining the chemical structure of the ice and at what temperature they are formed. For example, Ice IX is when the ice is in a tetragonal metastable phase. This ice is formed from Ice III cooling from 208 K (-65.15 °C) to 165 K (-108.15 °C) and it has a density that is slightly higher than ordinary ice. Ice cubesThese phases make up ice that we see in our daily lives, like the ice we see in our freezer is actually ice IV! These phases of ice also are found throughout icebergs, ice sheets, and glaciers. To learn more about ice and how you can start to monitor it, join our IceWatch program.   For more information on all sixteen types of ice, click here and here.

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