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Protecting Nature Across Canada Together
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Protecting Nature Across Canada Together

We’ve created a special map just for you—our cherished members—to tell you stories about your support in action. Your gifts are at work every single day protecting nature from coast to coast to coast. You’re defending wildlife! You’re protecting wilderness! You’re inspiring Canadians of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to connect with and explore nature. Thank you! This is an excellent time to reflect on our accomplishments and look ahead with an ambitious vision to do more. Your support is in action, strengthening our environmental laws. Our Canadian Environmental Assessment Act is the main tool for making decisions about proposed pipelines, dams, mines and other industrial projects in Canada. With your support, Nature Canada advocated for specific approaches to strengthen environmental laws, including:

  • Addressing climate change issues in development projects;
  • Providing for full public participation, transparency, accountability and rights to challenge decisions in court;
  • Connecting and coordinating actions by all levels of government, including indigenous governments;
  • Respecting the rights of indigenous peoples; and
  • Promoting science-based decision making.
Thank you for helping strengthen our environmental laws! Now, let’s look ahead together. Canada has committed to protecting 17% of our land and inland waters, and 10% of our oceans, by 2020. But today, only 10% of our land and 1% of our oceans are protected. When you click on the map below, you’ll see that we’ve featured critical nature sites, Important Bird Areas, projects led by young women for nature and a few key species features.
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True North Strong and Green
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True North Strong and Green

[caption id="attachment_16434" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Jodi Joy Jodi Joy
Director of Development[/caption] I always love receiving notes and nature stories from our members! Here are some nature discovery stories shared recently which clearly shows how memorable nature can be and how our experiences and adventures shape us as a people. Nature is so core to our culture and identity as Canadians and no doubt you and other members hope we can stay true north strong and green for the next 150 years to come! Wishing everyone an enjoyable Canada 150! Hopefully spending time outdoors enjoying nature and making memories for more years to come. true-north-strong-and-green-member-quotes-april-2017-v2 If you have a nature wish or memory, you would like to share – email me today to share and you might be published in our upcoming calendar or future blog.  Thanks for caring about nature!

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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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Our Members Never Cease to Inspire and Amaze Me
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Our Members Never Cease to Inspire and Amaze Me

[caption id="attachment_21828" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jodi and Noah Jodi Joy
Director of Development and Communications[/caption] Our members never cease to inspire and amaze me. I always feel so blessed when chatting with our members about how nature has shaped their lives, the joys they have experience spending time outdoors in nature and why they feel it’s so important to support Nature Canada’s work. Some common threads I’ve heard time and again: whether growing up on the farm and nature was all around them and therefore is part of who they are and why they appreciate and respect it.  Or they lived in the city but their parents took them hand-in-hand to teach them about nature and then they did the same to pass their nature ethic onto their kids or grandkids too! You might enjoy these stories shared recently:

I grew up in a small village and looking back it is astounding the freedom we had as children – fields, woods, streams – nature was our constant companion. And what a privilege and joy to have lived in that place and time. Keep up the good work! Janet, ON, Member for 40 years

[caption id="attachment_30713" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of a Pink Lady's Slipper Pink Lady's Slipper[/caption]

My earliest memory is my Mother taking me across the fields to Lady Slippers in bloom. No picking. We could just sit and look at them and talk about them and it made us happy. Norma, SK, Member since 1998

I grew up on the edge of a Forest with a Father who knew the names of wildflowers. At the beginning of WWII, I was not evacuated so I spent time walking my dog and learning the names of trees and shrubs too. I had a brilliant Biology teacher who loved botany and took us on field trips.  I have never stopped loving nature! Joan, ON, Member since 2000

My love of nature was inspired by my mother – still have the bird feeder hanging in our backyard filled with bird seed and love to hear singing of songbirds – which reminds me of her. Mary, ON, Member since 2005

Ever since I was a kid, I have LOVED the outdoors and spent all my life hiking in the wilderness.  I married in my 40s and taught my husband how wonderful hiking is and together we have walked many miles. And even though I am 80 and arthritis stops my walking now, what incredible memories my husband and I share together! Joyce, ON, Member since 2000

And I spoke with Margaret Taylor this week to thank her for kind support and heard: [caption id="attachment_30714" align="alignleft" width="300"]Image of Red Breasted Nuthatch Red Breasted Nuthatch[/caption] Since a tiny toddler in a small stroller, her mother and father took her to the woods and taught her to “love all nature, the flowers, the birds, just everything in those woods”.  When she grew up, she married a man who loved nature as much as she did – camping out in Temagami Forest for their honeymoon.  Margaret told me she’s been so fortunate to live by nature all her life – all 101 years of it, residing near the Niagara escarpment and the Dundas marsh. She laughed as she said: “It’s just part of me! I just love God’s beautiful world. And I am grateful that I can still enjoy the garden and all the wildlife that abounds. And I’m very thankful that groups like Nature Canada are working to protect something so important to me and others.” At this special time of the year, we want to say Thank You to all our members who care so dearly about nature and trust in our efforts to save wilderness and defend wildlife.

Here’s to a bright new year full of happiness and prosperity in 2017!

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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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“Every Kid Loves Mucking About. . . “
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“Every Kid Loves Mucking About. . . “

[caption id="attachment_21828" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jodi and Noah Jodi Joy
Director of Development[/caption]

Profile of Naturalist, Kid Enthusiast and Monthly Donor Daphne Solecki

In the words of world-renowned naturalist Robert Bateman, “We need a few thousand more Daphne Soleckis.” Robert, we couldn’t agree more! Daphne is an active Nature Canada member (she started giving in the 1990s), and she’s been donating monthly as a Guardian of Nature for more than a decade. She’s also a co-founder of Nature Kids BC, a key partner of Nature Canada. Her real passion for nature was unleashed when she started birding. She remembers, “Friends of mine were enthusiastic birders, so I went out and loved it. I was the only one of us with a car, so they were keen that I got keen quickly. And it worked. First you get into birds, and then into habitat, and then into conservation. Now it’s my life’s passion.” [caption id="attachment_29526" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of Daphne Solecki Early days... starting off young.[/caption] Her love for nature inspired her to get kids passionate about nature too. “I’m a mother of 4, grandmother of many more. Working with naturalist groups, we realized that we were getting older, and there weren’t younger folks or kids in our groups. So I started taking groups of kids out. First it was ponding. Every kid loves mucking about. But then you see what kids respond to. Birds. Beetles. Exploring and discovering things for themselves. Their eyes and minds widen and it’s remarkable to watch.” She says, “We can all do something to encourage kids in our lives to grow up to value and understand nature. To prioritize it. So that it informs who they are and how they act as they grow up. And, of course, I’ll continue to support nature groups, including Nature Canada. I support Nature Canada every month because they operate on a country-wide basis and fight for conservation issues at the national level. Endangered species, protecting large areas of natural lands. That’s critical work right now.”
“We can all do something to encourage kids in our lives to grow up to value and understand nature.”
And when we asked her what she would say to others who are considering a monthly gift, she said, “If you care about conservation action in Canada, it’s your logical next step. Look, I know that my monthly gift helps with my budgeting. I know I’ve always given and that my donation is at work. And that steady budget is just as useful to Nature Canada as it is to me! They can use my gift to plan and fund important programs.” Thank you, so much, to Daphne for sharing her story. If you’re interested in how you can get involved, I would love to speak to you. You can learn about volunteering at events, sharing terrific nature resources with kids in your life, or how you too can make an impact as a Guardian of Nature monthly donor. You can reach me anytime at 1-800-267-4088, ext. 239 or jjoy@naturecanada.ca.
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Wildlife Status and Summer Birds
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Wildlife Status and Summer Birds

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Samantha Nurse Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] This blog was written by Nature Canada member Steve Gahbauer and edited by Sam Nurse. The sun is shining, birds are singing and turtles are on the move – summer is just ending! Summer is when nature is at its best, with a profusion of colours, aromas and sounds that delight the senses, and when we can enjoy the many birds that visit us at this time of the year. Summer is also an especially rich time for ocean life. With the long daylight here in the northern hemisphere, abundance builds from the microscopic level as photosynthesis triggers phytoplankton to bloom, providing food for zooplankton, such as krill. Krill then feed small fish, like herring and sand lance, which in turn feed larger fish, up to dolphins and whales. With the summer months just ending, there were plenty of positive events that occurred! In Nova Scotia, 65 new parks and protected areas were created. A landmark agreement was reached to protect the 6.4 million hectare Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. With a new federal and some new provincial governments in place, there is a good chance to move toward a vision to protect half of Canada’s public land, freshwater and oceans. It is encouraging to see early signs of cooperation and a renewed emphasis on science-based decision-making and environmental stewardship. Some examples include:

  • a Newfoundland report that calls for a pause in hydraulic fracturing and a large buffer zone to be created around Gros Morne National Park
  • In the Rouge Urban National Park more than 30 baby Blanding’s Turtles were released, where they were nearly extinct due to habitat loss and predation
  • The federal government announced the relinquishing of 30 existing drilling leases held by Shell Canada to allow for extended ocean conservation in Canada’s Arctic and to preserve the biodiversity of Lancaster SoundImage of a Canadian Goose and turtles
  • The federal government also tabled suggestions for a stronger legislation for the 79 km² Rouge Urban National Park. Bill C-18 would add 17 km² to it, make ecological integrity the first priority for park management and fix the flawed Rouge Urban National Park Act that was passed last year;
  • Ontario’s 800,000 hectare greenbelt will be expanded by another 9,000 hectares, making developers unhappy but making nature lovers smile. The new areas receiving green belt designation will cover 21 major river valleys, coastal wetlands and woodlots.
There is a also a study the came out compiled by the North American Bird Conservation Initiative called the State of North America's Birds 2016 Report. It is the first of its kind to look at the vulnerability of bird populations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, and says that 37% of all 1,154 species on the continent need urgent conservation action. More than a third of all North American bird species are at risk of becoming extinct unless significant action is taken, adding that ocean and tropical birds were particularly in danger. More than half the species in oceans and tropical forests are on a special watch list because of small and declining populations, limited ranges and severe threats to their habitats. The outlook for oceanic birds is the bleakest of any North American bird group. Ways to address the problem include expanding protected marine areas and reducing the amount of plastic products that end up in the ocean. Many species in coastal, grassland and arid habitats are declining steeply, in particular long-distance migratory shore birds. Recent estimates count only 20 to 30 breeding pairs of Acadian Flycatcher scattered throughout the fragmented Carolinian forest, making it one of Canada's most endangered songbirds. The vast majority of them in Canada are found along the north shore of Lake Erie. It’s one of those species, that’s only ‘politically endangered’, i.e., it is quite common and stable in the U.S., so its scarcity in Canada is just a quirk of where the border falls, rather than any statement about the status of the species in principle. On the other hand, Sprague’s Pipit population has declined precipitously throughout its range in the prairies and is now a threatened species in Canada. Overall, there has been some big changes over these past summer months in the world of nature. To read the current full version and earlier versions of the Nature Notes, check out www.rougevalleynaturalists.com by clicking on “Nature Notes”.
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Planting Seeds Today for Nature Tomorrow
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Planting Seeds Today for Nature Tomorrow

[caption id="attachment_21828" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jodi and Noah Jodi Joy
Director of Development and Communications[/caption] Dan and Donna’s love for nature grew like one of their cherished trees—slowly, naturally and gracefully. Together, they have spent 40 years planting trees on their property outside Clinton, Ontario. “We have 72 different types of trees here, and really each one is spectacular,” Dan says. “We think of people who helped us plant our trees, and it makes it even more special. Some are memorial trees for people who have come and gone. Others just remind us of friends or family and it makes us smile.” Dan adds, “I volunteered as a big brother and he and I planted some, so I go by and think about him. He’s about 40 now, with 2 beautiful kids.” “When we moved here, this was just an open field with very little wildlife. We have created different habitats—a hardwood zone, little open meadows, a pond area. Mother Nature has come to us!” They built wooden duck boxes—and were delighted when one box had 23 ducklings. “It was like a clown car!” Dan laughs. The next fall, it became home for a Screech Owl, and last year it brought a mate and they nested. Planting wildflowers has been a joyful experience too, and their meadows of goldenrod and milkweed provide habitat for pollinators. [caption id="attachment_28339" align="alignright" width="375"]Image of members Dan and Donna Taylor[/caption] Donna and Dan both actively volunteer with local groups. “She’s doing things and I’m opposing things,” Dan says with a smile. “I’m proud of her work on the local stewardship council, helping protect watersheds and public education programs. And I know she’s proud of me for my letter-writing campaigns and speaking out against development projects that harm nature.” “We believe that we have a responsibility to act for nature. We must protect endangered species, and to do that, we must protect habitat. And it’s crucial to keep connecting youth with nature—if people don’t understand what they are going to miss, we won’t save it!”

“We believe that we have a responsibility to act for nature.”
“And we also believe that part of taking action is giving. We’ve been Nature Canada supporters for a long time. For years, this organization has been on the front lines defending nature. They need funding. And we trust them to do good work. We can see for ourselves that Nature Canada gets victories for the things we value.” If you are interested in having a confidential discussion about your gifts to Nature Canada, and how your values can live on with a gift to nature in your Will, I would love to hear from you. Contact me at jjoy@naturecanada.ca or 1-800-267-4088 ext. 239. Thank you!
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Lorne Scott, Grasslands Advocate
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Lorne Scott, Grasslands Advocate

[caption id="attachment_16443" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Eleanor Fast Eleanor Fast
Executive Director[/caption] Every single day, supported by you and all our amazing members, we work together to save wilderness and protect wildlife. And our members have incredible stories to share about their connection to nature, and their drive to protect it. A recent conversation with Lorne Scott, a Nature Canada life member, volunteer and conservation advocate reminded me of just this. Lorne has been building Bluebird boxes and setting them out in Southern Saskatchewan since 1963. He started as a boy with a passion, or, as he said with a laugh, “back then if you liked birds, you were a weirdo!” By 1975, he had built and maintained 2,000 nest boxes, and over the years he has banded over 8,000 Mountain Bluebirds. In the 1990s, he noticed Bluebird numbers [caption id="attachment_28246" align="alignright" width="250"]Image of Photo of Lorne Scott Photo of Lorne Scott[/caption] were declining on his farm in Indian Head, SK, and his heart sank as the trend continued, and worsened, in the 2000s. In 2012, he had 3 pairs. In 2014, 1 pair. His voice cracked with emotion when he said, “last year, for the first time in more than 50 years, I did not have any Bluebirds nesting on my farm. They’re gone. And they may not come back.” You can feel his sense of loss. But you can also feel his resolve. “Our Grasslands and Aspen Parklands are disappearing, and we have more species at risk here than any other region in the country. Retaining the federal community pastures is a great solution. Places like Govenlock are large, intact blocks of native Grassland habitat. Lands like these, connected to the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA) are recognized globally as among the best managed lands in the world, with a focus on sustainable grazing and maintaining biodiversity. And they’ve been cared for like this for generations. The fact is that public lands need to remain public. They belong to us—to Canadians like you and me!” He continued, “people might think that their letters and voices don’t make a difference. They do. And as much as naturalists and conservationists would sooner be out looking for birds, we must continue to make our voices heard and advocate for nature. We must secure more wilderness and wildlife, before it’s too late.” As you read this, I’m sure this resonates with your values too. That’s why, in our Year of Action, we’re focused on protecting our most vulnerable habitats. You’ll recall that we have set an inspiring goal to raise $75,000 by Canada Day to protect the Grasslands and 6 other nature sites that urgently need our protection. We hope you donate today to save the wilderness and wildlife that matters so much to you!  

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