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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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Working diligently: Small efforts that go a long way!
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Working diligently: Small efforts that go a long way!

By: Jennifer Siviero, Donor Communications and Stewardship Coordinator [caption id="attachment_30830" align="alignright" width="275"] Wesley Dearham is a retired writer-copy editor for the Ottawa Citizen, an amateur musician, avid traveler and dabbling naturalist.[/caption] From a young age Wesley Dearham was always drawn to the splendor of inland valleys, rugged mountain ranges, seaside plains, extensive coastline and vast oceans that surrounded him in Cape Town, South Africa where he was born. This sense of wonderment with nature would follow him as he moved to Alliston, Ontario shortly after immigrating to Canada with his family in his early years. Through activities like hiking, camping, swimming, and cross-country skiing on his new Canadian landscape, Wesley’s fondness for nature developed into a true love and appreciation for Canadian nature through all of its seasons. Wesley says he has learned to appreciate all of the diverse and unique parts of Canada. “I recognize how Canada differs in a natural sense to almost everywhere else,” said Wesley as he reflected on family camping trips to Algonquin Park, and time spent with his family relaxing, enjoying and appreciating the great beauty of the Midland area near Georgian Bay, amazed by the uniqueness of Canada’s “in-land ocean”, the Great Lakes. But, he knows that with great appreciation for Canadian nature comes the responsibility to protect it. “We can’t take for granted what we have, we can’t let it be challenged or compromised” says Wesley. “We need to find a balance and be sure that what we have, we preserve.” He and his family do their part to protect Canadian nature by preserving the areas they use most at their family cottage, a legacy of his in-laws, in the Laurentians Mountains north of Montreal. Wesley takes pride in his children's and his 7 year old grandson's love for nature; he, his family and their community stand to protect their lake and with a fragile ecosystem through environmentally minded rules like banning certain types of motor boats on the lake and activities on land. Wesley says small efforts like these go a long way when ensuring the protection and preservation of natural areas. Read here for more tips to ensure healthy lakes and shorelines. dearham-3“Ultimately, everything is dependent on our natural environment, and the natural environment needs supporters,” says Wesley. “Supporting organizations that make nature a priority is a great way to do that.” Wesley has been a supporter of Nature Canada since 1995 and says that while there are many organizations that one can choose to support, Nature Canada is the option that worked best for him as Nature Canada makes, “efforts at the federal level to protect ecosystems, endangered and threatened species, and water and air quality,” and ensures that, “national parks and natural features are a priority.” He hopes that we continue to, “make sure we keep adding as much as we can to preserved areas.” Read more about more protected areas for Canada. Now in his retirement, Wesley is an avid traveler and throughout his travels he often reflects on the challenges faced by other countries and how they are relatable to the challenges faced in Canada. “It’s so easy to see that some species are so close to extinction, if we don’t pay attention. We must be aware of challenges like climate change and its effects on our world,” he says. And while he doesn’t believe that Canada is doing a bad job at protecting natural areas compared to other places in the world, he is adamant that there is much room for improvement. “There are countries who are struggling with environmental issues, and who are under more pressures than ours,” says Wesley. “We have our own challenges and we must work diligently.” Like Wesley, you too can help us work diligently to protect and preserve Canada's nature by giving a gift today! You can also follow these links to read more about Nature Canada’s work with threatened and endangered species, parks and protected areas, and strengthening environmental laws  

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The True Meaning of Dedication and Devotion: One Man’s Nature Service
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The True Meaning of Dedication and Devotion: One Man’s Nature Service

[caption id="attachment_21828" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jodi and Noah Jodi Joy
Director of Development and Communications[/caption] What’s the true definition of dedication and devotion?  I’m truly inspired and constantly reminded of what it is by Nature Canada members who volunteer their time for nature. One such member shared his story with me a few weeks ago and it sparked me to write about it. Kiyoshi Takahashi grew up in a small village in the countryside of central Japan (about 100 kms north of Tokyo).  He remembers vividly that as a young five-year-old boy he always enjoyed playing with bats, observing dragonflies up close and watching the barn swallows that nested in his father’s home. [caption id="attachment_13804" align="alignright" width="316"]image of a Purple Martin Photo of a Purple Martin[/caption] This past year, he and family celebrated a proud moment – their 50th anniversary of living in Canada.  He notes it was a real joy for him “to retire to serve nature” at age 58 and has devoted his time and efforts over the past twenty-five years to helping swallows, Purple Martins and bats by installing nest boxes, and monitoring species populations across the lower BC mainland. He is credited as the main person responsible for the return of nesting Purple Martins in Port Moody and has received accolades and awards for this amazing work –donating hours and hours of his time installing, monitoring, cleaning nest boxes and doing counts to help protect our precious nature. Stewardship efforts like these have brought the Purple Martin population in BC back from the brink of extinction (6 pairs in the 1980s) to a viable breeding population with over 800 pairs now. In his spare time, Kiyoshi has lead numerous walks, written articles and shared his nature photography with Japanese-Canadians to help raise awareness and inspire others to care about nature nearby. [caption id="attachment_30454" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image by J.Saremba of Kiyoshi installing a new bird box Kiyoshi installing a new bird box. Photo by J. Saremba.[/caption] Talk about dedication…he and a fellow volunteer received over 400 bird flea bites while recently cleaning Purple Martin houses – it is exactly this type of selfless and deep commitment that sometimes goes unnoticed by others but is truly amazing and should be highlighted because stewardship or what Kiyoshi calls “nature service” is equally important as other types of community service. Being modest and humble, Kiyoshi says it just makes sense that if you want to maintain healthy nature on the earth, than you must give back to nature… and nature always give us some labour to do!"  We hope you might consider giving back to nature which sustains us too.  Consider installing a bird or bat box. Take a child on a Bat exploration walk. Become a Purple Martin landlord/steward or become involved in bird counts. Get involved with other types of citizen science projects in your community. You can read more about Nature Canada’s research project monitoring Eastern Ontario’s Purple Martin populations and geo-tagging results here. And please consider gifting today to conserve Canada’s nature.

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