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Why Do Leaves Change Colour?
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Why Do Leaves Change Colour?

[caption id="attachment_34104" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Sharlene Amalu Sharlene Amalu, Guest Blogger[/caption] This blog is written by guest blogger Sharlene Amalu. It’s that time of year again where suddenly everything we consume must have pumpkin spice or have a Halloween theme. It’s also that time of year where people go for walks in fall jackets with their pumpkin spice drinks or flavored lip balm where they likely encounter red, brown, green, orange or yellow leaves on trees. However, why do leaves change colour? As the season changes from summer to fall, leaves on deciduous trees and shrubs change colour as the changes in the amount of daylight compared to night, temperature and soil moisture influence the process of photosynthesis. Deciduous shrubs and trees, such as maple or oak trees, have leaves that are thin, usually broad and have no extra coating on them to protect them from seasonal changes while coniferous trees, like pine trees, have needles all year round. So, what is photosynthesis? [caption id="attachment_34956" align="alignright" width="325"]Image of leaves by Sharlene Amalu Colourful Leaves. Photo by Sharlene Amalu[/caption] The photosynthesis process is an energy-to-sugar conversion done by all plants. In this process, the plant cells act as manufacturing plants that transform carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and a usable energy source (carbohydrates) by using the molecule chlorophyll to absorb light energy from the sun. Chlorophyll is a light-absorbing, pigment molecule found in leaves and other plant cells which also gives plants their greenness. As the plant uses the molecule for light absorption, the chlorophyll molecule will be reproduced to continue photosynthesis. But where do the fall colours come from? The other fall colours come from molecules that are either already present and aid in photosynthesis, or they are produced. These pigments gain more prevalence within the cells as night time becomes longer than daytime, and temperatures drop with the soil’s moisture changing, resulting in the amount of chlorophyll produced to slow and eventually stop while other pigments gain abundance. Carotenoid pigment molecules are always present within the cells and are usually masked by chlorophyll until the green pigment is no longer abundant, displaying vibrant orange while another pigment molecule, xanthophylls, displays yellow leaves. Tannins are produced in most plant parts and results in a brown colour, normally associated with plant death. Anthocyanins lead to the characteristic red and blue pigments that maple leaves are known to have. This pigment is produced using sugar in the leaves which becomes trapped when an abscission layer, a layer of loosely attached cells, forms between the base of the leaf stalk and the branch, hindering the transportation of nutrients. If the wind blows, the leaf will fall off the tree. Some research has suggested that the changes in leaf colours are used as a way to deter insects from laying eggs on their leaves in the fall, thus protecting trees from possible viral, fungal, or bacterial infection or damage from insect infestation. Some research has also found that the change in colour could also aid in the plants preparation for the next growing season by acting as sunscreen for the plant’s photosynthesis components so the plant can continue to collect resources from the leaves and store them within the branches or roots. There are more, not well studied hypotheses for why colour change happens, and they can be read here if interested. Fall is one of the best times to enjoy the outdoors, click here to see which national park you want to visit if interested. References Acknowledgements: Trends in Ecology & Evolution, National Geographic, ESF, Royal Society of Chemistry, The United States National Arboretum 

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Women for Nature Join Conversation Series on Biodiversity Conservation in Canada
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Women for Nature Join Conversation Series on Biodiversity Conservation in Canada

[caption id="attachment_29288" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Jaime Clifton Jaime Clifton-Ross[/caption] This blog is written by Jaime Clifton-Ross, Research Curator, CRC Research and Changing the Conversation, Royal Roads University. The rate at which biodiversity loss is increasing is overwhelming. The WWF 2016 Living Planet Report revealed that 67% of wild animals worldwide will disappear by 2020. After examining the habitats of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, and amphibians across Canada, WWF also reported that 50% of our wildlife species are in decline. Given these alarming facts, it may be unclear about what can be done and how individuals and communities can take action. Raising civic awareness can also be challenging. To mobilize around this critical issue, Nature Canada and Women for Nature collaborated with Changing the Conversation (CTC), a dialogue platform established by Professor Ann Dale co-chair of Women for Nature. Intended to develop meaning and purpose through conversation and storytelling, CTC re-enlarges public spaces and re-engages different generations in virtual real-time e-Dialogues. As part of this collaboration, we curated a four part conversation series called the Biodiversity Conversations: How important are the common loon and polar bears to Canadians? Intended to increase awareness, engagement, and literacy on biodiversity loss and conservation in Canada, it features expert panelists from Women for Nature. With female researchers, practitioners, and civil society leaders from diverse sectors in conversation, our hope is to stimulate ideas and discuss strategies to help inform the public as well as decision-makers on the topic.Image of a mother and daughter in a forest Our first conversation took place on Wednesday, September 27th and featured Professor Ann Dale (Moderator), Dr. Dawn Bazely, Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier, Holly Clermont, Chloe Dragon Smith, Eleanor Fast, Susan Gosling, and Anne Murray. Called What is Biodiversity and Why is it Important, e-panelists explored why biodiversity conservation is so important and shared compelling definitions, informative resources, and even relevant art projects. While sharing personal experiences, they also discussed how technology and social media have affected society’s connection to nature and how they can be used to encourage people to spend more time outdoors, specifically children. They finished this informative conversation by discussing barriers to acting on biodiversity conservation. The next conversation, From the Local to the Global, is schedule for the end of November 2017. Centred on the Monarch Butterfly, e-panelists will explore the need for global governance systems essential to protecting critical habitats and migratory paths. As biodiversity, like climate change, does not respect political borders, we require a broader systems approach for its conservation. Stay tuned for more details, including e-panelists and the official date. Click here to read or download the full conversation. Share your thoughts on Twitter @NatureCanada and @CRC_Research using #BiodiversityTalks. Want to learn more about biodiversity conservation? Check out this resource library featuring articles, reports, videos, data visualizations, and other imperative resources on biodiversity. Curated by Women for Nature, Changing the Conversation, and Nature Canada, we’ll continue to update it with resources shared during the conversations.

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Connect with Nature: Take a Fall Hike
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Connect with Nature: Take a Fall Hike

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Samantha Nurse Samantha Nurse, Web and Social Media Coordinator[/caption] This is a great time to take a hike in nature. The scenery is absolutely stunning and there are still a few weeks before you have to break out your winter jacket. Here are five tips to make the most of your trek through the freshly fallen leaves. 1) Bird watching: There is lots of bird watching to be done as our feathered friends migrate south for the winter. Before you head out on your hike, check out our e-Books to see what birds you could see. Also it is a great idea to pack a nature guide to help identify different species and to record your findings. 2) Join a guided nature walk: Many communities across Canada have clubs that engage local experts to lead public hikes. This is a great way to meet fellow nature lovers and learn more about the natural geography of your area. Keep an eye on local publications or perform a quick internet search to find a guided hike in your area.People walking in the forest 3) Bring your camera: There are few times of the year when nature is more beautiful than it is now. Pack your camera and capture some of the beautiful fall scenery you encounter along the way. 4) Take a snack (or two): Before you head out, prepare some nutritious snacks that will keep you fueled along the way. Cheese and crackers, apple slices and trail mix are a few easy-to-pack snacks that offer valuable nutrients for your hike. For a more seasonal treat, save the seeds from the inside of your pumpkin and roast them the night before you head out. 5) Do a leaf craft: Want to create a souvenir of your adventure? Bring a large hardbound book and a roll of wax or parchment paper. Collect a few leaves of different shapes and sizes, press them between two sheets of paper and tuck them in the book to keep them safe. When you get home, place the leaves between two pieces of white paper, rub with a crayon and you’re done! Be sure to stay on the trails you encounter and share with us any other tips you have on taking a fall hike!

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Snack in Season: Pumpkin Seeds
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Snack in Season: Pumpkin Seeds

[caption id="attachment_33210" align="alignleft" width="150"]becka-tulips Guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy[/caption] This post was written by guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy. Carving a jack o’lantern this month? Don’t throw out those seeds! Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are not only tasty, but amazingly good for you. Solid sources of protein, fiber, and essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc, they contribute to health and well-being in diverse ways, from boosting immunity and lowering cholesterol to supporting optimal eye and heart health and helping prevent kidney stones and depression. As you can see, these little guys pack quite the nutritional punch! So instead of discarding them after you’ve hollowed out your Halloween pumpkin, keep them for a tasty seasonal snack or garnish. pumpkin fibers and seedsTo prepare seeds straight from a hollowed-out pumpkin, clean off the stringy pumpkin “guts” as best as you can. Place the seeds in a strainer and rinse in cold water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the seeds, and boil for around 5–10 minutes. Drain and place on paper towels to dry. Store in an airtight container for several days. You can eat them raw or roasted. If you wish to roast them, toss dry seeds with some olive oil. For added flavour, add salt or a savoury seasoning like cinnamon or cumin. Spread seeds uniformly across a large baking sheet. Roast in a 120°C/250°F oven for about one hour, gently tossing every 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Quick and Tasty Uses:

  1. Eat roasted seeds solo for a satisfying movie snack.
  2. Throw a spoonful on top of a salad or yogurt.
  3. Add seeds to trail mix or granola.
  4. Garnish autumn soups or stews.
  5. Serve them with a cheese plate.
What’s your favourite way to eat pumpkin seeds? Acknowledgments: 100 Best Health Foods: Power Ingredients and 100 Nutritious Recipes to Improve Your Health, Greatist, Mayo Clinic, Whole Foods

5 Weird Facts about Blue Jays
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5 Weird Facts about Blue Jays

[caption id="attachment_31795" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Amanda Simard Amanda Simard, Writing Intern[/caption] This blog was written by writing intern Amanda Simard. This month’s calendar photo features a Blue Jay. While you may be familiar with the sight of this large blue songbird, here are some facts about the Blue Jay you may not know – some of which you may find downright strange! Blue Jay Descriptionimage of a Blue Jay

  • Common name: Blue Jay
  • Scientific name: Cyanocitta cristata
  • Habitat: forests edges
  • Lifespan: the eldest wild, banded Blue Jay was 26 years old.
  • Size: 25-30 cm long; 70-100 g
  • Description: The Blue Jay is a large blue songbird with a perky crest. Its underside is white, and its back is blue, white and black.

Fact 1 – Blue Jays rub ants on their feathers.

Yes, you read that correctly. The jays rub ants on their feathers, draining the ants of their formic acid before they gobble them up. This is known as “anting.” Over the years, several theories have been proposed to explain this bizarre behaviour. One theory hypothesized the excreted acid served as a safeguard against parasites and bacteria, though testing the acid on bacteria cultures showed this to be unlikely. The most probable reason is simple: the ants taste better without the acid. Ornithologists tested this theory by exposing jays to ants with and without formic acid – the ants without acid were eaten immediately while the ones with it were treated to the rubbing ceremony.

Fact 2  – The pigment found in Blue Jay feathers is actually brown.

Melanin, the same pigment found in human hair and skin, is a brown pigment – and it is the pigment found in Blue Jay feathers. Why, then, do they appear blue? Bird colouration is produced in a variety of ways, of which pigmentation is just one. The blue appearance of many blue birds is due to refraction – a light scattering phenomenon. The barb structure of Blue Jay feathers is such that, when light hits them, the blue light is refracted while the other wavelength of visible light are absorbed by the melanin, making them look blue. If you come across a Blue Jay feather, try backlighting it. Without direct light, the blue is no longer reflected and the feather will look brown.

Fact 3 – Blue Jays mimic hawks.

Blue Jays can make a variety of sounds and it is common to hear them mimicking hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk. Ornithologists suggest they do this for one of two reasons, or perhaps both. The first theory is the mimicry serves as a warning to other jays about any lurking hawks. The second is that jays are trying to fool other species into thinking there are hawks nearby.

image of a Blue JayFact 4 – Blue Jays collect paint chips.

Blue Jays have been known to chip at and hoard light-coloured paint, probably to stockpile a source of calcium for the spring. If Blue Jays are chipping away at the paint on your house, try providing an alternate source of calcium like crushed egg shells – this usually stops the unwanted behaviour.

Fact 5  – Blue Jays are noisier in the fall than in the spring or summer.

Many notice that Blue Jays, who are fairly quiet during the spring and summer, are noisy little neighbours during the fall. In spring and early summer, when they are nesting, jays tend to be more secretive. Come fall, when they are scavenging for food and hawks are more present, they communicate a variety of information and warnings through their calls. Which of these facts are new to you? Which had you already observed? Let us know about the Blue Jays in your NatureHood in the comments, or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook.
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Federal duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous Peoples on Energy East explained
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Federal duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous Peoples on Energy East explained

[caption id="attachment_28942" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Adam Bond Adam Bond[/caption] The federal government's plan for consulting Indigenous Peoples adversely affected by the proposed Energy East pipeline may meet the minimum requirements of the constitutional duty to consult and accommodate concludes Elizabeth Harrison, the Summer Fellow with Nature Canada this past summer and law student at the University of Ottawa. Whether the government’s approach respects the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples remains to be determined. In her paper, Harrison provides a thorough review of the government's legal duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous Peoples potentially impacted by government decision making. You can read her paper by clicking here. Harrison explains that the Supreme Court of Canada's decisions have gradually clarified the government's duty to consult based on indigenous rights under section 35 of the Constitution. Harrison's review of this case law explains that the government has a duty to uphold the "honour of the Crown" in its dealings with Indigenous Peoples, and this includes consulting and, where appropriate, compensating Indigenous Peoples where the government makes decisions that may adversely impact indigenous rights. Image of a maple tree Though Parliament may delegate the duty to consult on behalf of the government to administrative bodies and tribunals, such as the National Energy Board, the government is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the consultation and accommodation is adequate in the circumstances. In the case of Energy East, the government has committed to deeper, nation-to-nation consultation processes. Harrison notes that the government’s consultation plan for the proposed Energy East project is extensive and involves a number of consultation coordinators, staff from the federal and provincial governments, processes for identifying all potentially impacted indigenous groups, additional participant funding, and commitments to meet with indigenous groups throughout the NEB's Energy East hearing process as well as further consultation efforts after the NEB issues its report. While Indigenous Peoples have very serious concerns with the efforts and approaches the government has taken to consultation regarding the proposed Energy East project, Harrison concludes that the government's current consultation plan likely satisfies the legal duty to consult. Whether the government's consultation process satisfies its assumed obligations under the UNDRIP, remains an important question but one that Harrison explains is beyond the scope of her paper. Of course, this may all be moot given that TransCanada has now cancelled the Energy East project; however one can safely predict that issues relating to how governments consult and accommodate Indigenous Peoples will continue to arise with respect to future resource development projects.

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Protect the Bay of Fundy now that Energy East is dead
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Protect the Bay of Fundy now that Energy East is dead

[caption id="attachment_22697" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] TransCanada’s decision yesterday to abandon the Energy East oil pipeline and tanker project creates a tremendous opportunity to put in place legal protection for the Bay of Fundy—a globally renowned treasure of an ecosystem. [caption id="attachment_34663" align="alignright" width="300"]Image of a North Atlantic Right Whale. Photo by Alan Woodhouse North Atlantic Right Whale. Photo by Alan Woodhouse[/caption] The Bay is becoming increasingly industrialized—even in the absence of Energy East marine terminals and oil tankers—with tidal turbines, coastal mega-quarries and other shipping traffic. Millions of shorebirds flock to the salt marshes and mudflats on the Bay of Fundy each year on their annual migrations, and populations of whales including the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale are drawn to the rich upwelling zones caused by the highest tides in the world. Canada is internationally committed to protecting 10 per cent of our oceans and 17 per cent of our lands and freshwater bodies by 2020, and there are as yet no areas in the Bay of Fundy that protect nature by law. Now is the time to get on with establishing large new national marine conservation areas (Parks Canada), national wildlife areas (Environment and Climate Change Canada) and marine protected areas (Fisheries and Oceans Canada). Read more on this latest news on Energy East here: The National Observer Globe and Mail CBC Global News

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7 Ways to Enjoy an Environmentally Friendly Fall
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7 Ways to Enjoy an Environmentally Friendly Fall

[caption id="attachment_34904" align="alignleft" width="150"]mbriere Michelle Briere, Guest Blogger[/caption] This blog was written by guest blogger Michelle Briere. As the weather cools and the seasons change, it is time to think about how you can make better choices for the environment this fall!

1. Shop for local foods

My favorite part of autumn is absolutely the harvest. From pumpkins, to onions, to potatoes, most of us here in Canada have a variety of delicious vegetables come into season during the fall.vegetables-752153_1920 A tip to acquire the most delicious and fresh vegetables around is to buy locally-grown produce. Not only does it help support the local economy, but it reduces the environmental impact associated with long-distance food transportation. Head to your local farmer’s market, and the next time you’re out in the country, keep your eye out for food stands where farmers often sell their freshly-picked produce. Another fun way to enjoy local produce is to pick it yourself! Grab some friends, family or your significant other and make a date of picking at a local apple orchard.

2. Indulge in sustainable fall fashion

When the cold weather rolls around, some of us long to revamp our style and revel in the cozy big sweaters and earthy palette that fall fashion brings. Thankfully, there are several ways the environmentally-conscious fashionista can indulge during the fall. To reduce waste, avoid fast fashion, and even save a few bucks, visit thrift stores in your area. You may have to dig around a bit, but with some patience you’re sure to find some gems hidden within the racks. If you have no luck at the thrift stores, seek out local and environmentally-conscious companies to shop from. My personal favorite eco-friendly Canadian brand is Matt & Nat, a Montréal-based company which uses recycled water bottles to make a wide variety of sophisticated purses, briefcases, backpacks, wallets and shoes.

3. Start next year’s vegetable garden early

Growing your own food is a fun and rewarding way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with large-scale food production. Whether you already have a vegetable garden or not, you can start parts of next year’s garden this fall! Like tulips, certain vegetables are best planted before the winter. Depending on where you live, this usually includes garlic, onions, and shallots. 6-8 weeks before the expected last frost, start a new garden plot or prep your existing one. Remove any remaining plant material (excluding perennials), lightly fertilize and work your soil, plant your garlic, onion and shallots accordingly, and cover lightly or heavily with mulch (depending on how cold your winters are). Planting these foods in the fall will produce a bigger crop with fuller flavour, ready to be enjoyed late summer the following year.

4. Have a plant-based Thanksgiving

Animal agriculture is one of the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and consumes extremely large volumes of water. One fun and festive way to reduce your environmental impact this fall is by hosting an entirely plant-based Thanksgiving! As recognition of the environmental, health and animal welfare benefits of a plant-based diet grows, it’s easier than ever to find tasty alternatives to traditional meat and dairy-based recipes. There are several dishes you can make that will keep your Thanksgiving traditions alive, while keeping your environmental impact low; for example, stuff a butternut squash with your go-to stuffing recipe, and replace butter in your apple pie recipe with margarine. Find yourself short of ideas? Check out some plant-based cookbooks or online food blogs (my favorites are here and here). [one_half] [caption id="attachment_34619" align="alignnone" width="300"]Photo by Michelle Briere Photo by Michelle Briere[/caption] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_34620" align="alignnone" width="300"]Photo by Michelle Briere Photo by Michelle Briere[/caption] [/one_half_last] Recipes for plant-based versions of classic fall favourites are widely available online. Left: 3-bean chilli served in roasted pumpkin bowls. Right: dairy-free pumpkin spice “cheesecake”.

5. Help out the feathered fall migrants and winter residents

Fall and winter are challenging seasons for our feathered friends. Many bird species make the long, difficult journey south during the fall, while others stay and endure Canada’s sub-zero winter temperatures. Food scarcity is often a major challenge for both parties. The best thing you can do to help is avoid pruning your fruiting, flower and seed-bearing plants until the early spring. These plants provide an excellent food source for migrants to refuel on their way south, and help sustain the species who stick around for the winter. [caption id="attachment_34621" align="alignleft" width="300"]Photo by Michelle Briere Photo by Michelle Briere[/caption] Fall is also great time to clean any bird feeders, bird baths and birdhouses you may have; this can help prevent the spread of disease. Birds benefit year-round from fruiting trees. Avoid trimming these plants in your yard until the spring to help keep more food sources available for birds.

6. Go green for Halloween

Whether you’ll be going door-to-door, giving out candy, or heading to a costume party, you can be festive this Halloween while staying environmentally-conscious. Dressing up? Dig out an old costume you wore years ago, swap with a friend, or head to a thrift store. Alternatively, if you’re the creative type, make a DIY masterpiece using things you already have around the house. Decorating? Pinterest is your best friend. You can find countless DIY Halloween decoration ideas that don’t require you to buy anything new, or that are free of plastic and other environmentally-harmful products. Giving out candy? Source out ones that uses the least amount of packaging (while remaining safe for kids, of course).

7. Try keeping a cooler house

This is an easy tip to reduce your impact, but it may take a little adjustment time. If you own a home or rent a place where you can control the thermostat, try keeping the temperature a bit cooler than you normally do during the fall and winter months. Break out your cozy sweaters, bundle up in some blankets, and enjoy hot cups of tea. After a few days, you’ll adjust to having your place a few degrees cooler. Plus, you’ll save a few bucks on your energy bill! What are some things you do to enjoy an environmentally-friendly fall? Leave a comment below!
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Greater Protection For Birds Across The Border
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Greater Protection For Birds Across The Border

Yesterday, an event was held to present the State of the Birds: A Farm Bill Special Report, a report  by our partners in the U.S.A. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI). This report touches on how the Farm Bill will provide protection for birds and also provide a safety net for American farmers and ranchers. [caption id="attachment_12046" align="alignright" width="205"]image of an eastern bluebird Photo of an Eastern Bluebird by Alan Woodhouse[/caption] For birds, the Farm Bill secures important habitat for more than 100 bird species and is America’s largest source of funding for habitat conservation on private lands. For landowners, the Farm Bill conservation programs are part of the safety net for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners. It provides financial support for vital ecological services, such as clean water and it keeps working lands working. What does this mean for birds here in Canada? Billions of birds that are born in Canada each year migrate through or spend their winters on the continental U.S.A. Their welfare depends on habitat that supports their needs during these periods, as well as actions to mitigate risks to their survival. Our hundreds of shared species such as the Eastern Meadowlark, the Eastern Bluebird, the Northern Pintail and the Killdeer will benefit from a strong Farm Bill. We congratulate and support our NABCI U.S.A partners in their efforts to encourage US lawmakers to implement the recommendations in the 2017 State of the Birds Report on the Farm Bill.

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Young Nature Leadership: Building of a Green Wall
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Young Nature Leadership: Building of a Green Wall

[caption id="attachment_32871" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Mathilde Papillon Mathilde Papillon[/caption] This blog was written by Young Leader Grant recipient Mathilde Papillon. On August 24, 2017, a beautiful, vibrant green wall was completed in a public high school located in Ottawa, Ontario. And it would not have been possible without Nature Canada and its Women for Nature members’ generous support. Indeed, I had been awarded earlier in the year Women for Nature’s Young Leader Grant. As co-founder of PAPLEN Education for Eco-sustainability, I am dedicated to help promote hands-on environmental education in high schools across Canada. Since 2016, PAPLEN has partnered with a variety of local environmental organizations as well as school boards to make this happen. [caption id="attachment_34845" align="alignright" width="468"]Image of a green wall Mathilde (second from the left) who lead with her classmates on this project.[/caption] The Young Leader Grant was instrumental in bringing to life our most recent initiative, a fully automated, 42-plant, ecologically diverse indoor green wall. I fundamentally believe that exposure to nature in our everyday lives is crucial to environmental awareness, acting as a building block to shaping eco-responsible citizenship. Appreciating and caring for nature starts by seeing it all around us. The importance of this step especially true for high school students that barely see the light of day during school hours, and even less flora. Located in a busy hallway of the school, it is estimated that at least three to four hundred students will walk by the plants every day. On a more practical level, this green wall will be used as an educational tool in grade nine and ten science classes, as well as upper-level biology classes. During the conception of the project, we consulted the science teachers in order to equip the wall with plants showcasing a diversity of biological processes. Another exciting benefit of this initiative pertains to students’ mental health. Indeed, extensive research shows that exposure to green life in our day-to-day routine is highly beneficial for mental health, decreasing risk of depression and acting as a deterrent for anxiety. While funding for the project came from a variety of sources (it took a little over two years to raise!), the Women for Nature grant is entirely responsible for the actual plants on the wall. As such, I am very grateful for this wonderful opportunity and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the high school’s 1,400-student population will appreciate it just as much for years to come. Thank you Nature Canada and Women for Nature!Image of the Women for Nature logo Stay tuned for the online link to the episode that TFO (Franco-Ontarian television channel) filmed on the day PAPLEN completed this project.

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