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Canadians have made their voices clear: There is no place for oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
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Canadians have made their voices clear: There is no place for oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

OTTAWA (Tuesday, June 19, 2018) — The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, Yukon Chapter (CPAWS Yukon) and Nature Canada together are making sure the U.S. Government knows there is no place for oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Today is the final day of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s public scoping period in advance of its environmental review of oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge. More than 12,000 Canadians have submitted comments and signatures to the U.S. Government, urging the cross-border impacts of oil and gas drilling be addressed. Every spring the longest land mammal migration on Earth takes place as the Porcupine caribou herd crosses the Yukon and Northwest Territories to give birth in the Arctic Refuge. The Trump administration’s push for oil and gas extraction would strike the heart of these calving grounds, which could have disastrous impacts on the health of the herd and on the Gwich'in communities that rely on caribou for their culture and livelihood.


Quotes: Dana Tizya-Tramm, Councilor, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation: “From a people that understands resources extremely well by living in the unforgiven environments and climates of the Arctic North, we see the unilateral development of the wellspring of Arctic ecosystems as a significant threat to indigenous peoples, the lands, animals, and our collective futures. It must be known to produce oil and gas from this area can only be done so by manipulating environmental law and trampling human, and indigenous rights.” Brook Brisson, Senior Staff Attorney at Trustees for Alaska: “Protecting the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is of international importance. The Porcupine caribou herd migrates through Canada to return to the coastal plain in Alaska to calve and replenish themselves each year. Borders do not mean anything to their survival, but habitat and protected ecosystems do. American laws recognize the international importance of the wildlife in this region, and international agreements give Canadians an important voice in this process. We will ensure that the laws and agreements within and between our countries are upheld.” Chris Rider, Executive Director of CPAWS Yukon : “The impacts from oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge would not stop at the U.S. - Canada border. Drilling in the Porcupine caribou herd’s calving grounds could have devastating impacts across Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. It's critical that Canadian's stand with the Gwich'in and say no to drilling in the Arctic Refuge.” Graham Saul, Executive Director of Nature Canada: “It is critical we work alongside CPAWS Yukon and the Vuntut Gwitchin to ensure Canadian voices are included in this environmental review. Today’s submission of 12,000 Canadian signatures and comments is an incredible opportunity for Canadians to speak directly to the U.S. government about the serious and irreversible impact oil and gas development would have on one of the last, healthy barren-ground caribou herds on earth. It is Nature Canada’s mission to protect our wildlife areas and countless species that depend on this habitat. We have been doing this for more than 75 years and have helped protect more than 63 million acres of wildlife areas. Arctic Refuge Background The Arctic Refuge is home over 200 species of birds, which migrate to six continents and every state in the United States. The Arctic Refuge provides important habitat for polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves and wolverines. It was established by President Eisenhower in 1960 and expanded by President Carter in 1980. In 2017, a provision included in President Trump’s tax overhaul opened parts of the Refuge’s Coastal Plain to oil and gas development.
High-quality images of the Arctic Refuge available for media use: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/14m9LLrjivux_uTByUhEDJeatPPnN5g31        For comment please contact: Dana Tizya-Tramm Councilor, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (867) 333-4335 (cell) Adil Darvesh CPAWS Yukon 867-393-8080 x 9 adarvesh@cpawsyukon.org Janet Weichel McKenzie Nature Canada (613) 808-4642 (cell) jweichelmckenze@gmail.com
 

Jenny Jachtorowicz: A Young Woman For Nature Mentee
Jenny
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Jenny Jachtorowicz: A Young Woman For Nature Mentee

[caption id="attachment_37466" align="alignleft" width="150"] Julie Lopez, Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog post was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Jenny Jachtorowicz is a second year student at Carleton University, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Psychology. Jenny first became involved with Nature Canada as a Young Woman for Nature mentee for the Women for Nature mentorship initiative, shortly after being a member of the Youth Council with Ontario Nature. As a student of Forensic Psychology, Jenny will have a unique entry point to the environmental industry, and her Women for Nature mentor, Margaret Beckel, the Director of the Museum of Nature, has helped her connect the dots between her passion, studies and professional aspirations. Joining her love for the environment to her interest in Forensic Psychology, Jenny is looking to base her upcoming thesis on the reasoning and factors behind civil disobedience motivated by environmental concerns. The subject of environmental crime and psychology is incredibly interesting, and, with little research on its subject to date, further studies of it will make Jenny an innovator in the field. Her love for the environment, and learning in nature spurred in grade 10, when her high school collaborated with the Public Board Bronte Creek Project: Trail Program. In this program, Jenny was able to complete four high school credits in an outdoor setting. Their classes would take place in a cabin; however, they spent the remainder of their time doing work outside and in nature. This experience opened her eyes to sustainability and enabled her to get out of the traditional classroom setting.

As an Ontario Nature Youth Council Member

The following year, Jenny became a member of Ontario Nature’s Youth Council. Her journey with Ontario Nature began after she saw a post about their Youth Summit on social media, and was motivated to meet other people that were equally passionate about the environment.  Following the weekend retreat, she became involved with the Ontario Nature Youth Council and began her journey championing various environmental endeavors across Ontario. Over the past three years, Jenny has been involved in many projects with Ontario Nature. One of the most prominent projects was the Pollinator Project – for which Ontario Nature partnered with Bee City Canada to encourage towns, regions and cities to put forward declarations to take actions to protect spaces for pollinators. Jenny was the driving force behind making Halton, her hometown region a Bee Friendly region, and is setting her sights on making Carleton University the first ‘Bee Friendly Campus’ in the nation’s capital. [caption id="attachment_37483" align="aligncenter" width="960"] The Ontario Nature Youth Council. Photo provided by Jenny.[/caption]

A Young Woman for Nature Mentee

Most recently, Jenny became a Young Woman for Nature mentee with Nature Canada, and a mentee as part of the Women for Nature mentorship pilot. She said her experience as a mentee was interesting, eye opening and motivating. Jenny mentioned how valuable it was to have Margaret as a mentor because, while she does not have a nature or environmental degree, she was, nonetheless, working as the Director for the Canadian Museum of Nature. Jenny mentions how “it was interesting to speak with someone in the environmental field,” and that, “as someone that is pursuing a degree that is not directly connected to nature, it is interesting to see how other people can get there.” Margaret helped her see the possibility for any educational experience or degree to cater to environmentalism, in addition to how to gain different, and useful skill sets that will advantageous when entering the workforce.

Next Steps

This summer Jenny will be working as a research assistant at Carleton University for the Geography and Cartography Department. She will also be continuing to champion to make Ottawa a better environment for pollinators – and is working toward having Carleton University become the first Bee Friendly Campus in the Nation’s capital.

Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.


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Sevrenne Sheppard: A Young Woman for Nature from Coast to Coast
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Sevrenne Sheppard: A Young Woman for Nature from Coast to Coast

[caption id="attachment_37466" align="alignleft" width="150"] Julie Lopez, Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada.[/caption] This blog post was written by Julie Lopez, the Digital Campaign Organizer at Nature Canada. Sevrenne Sheppard is a Young Woman for Nature that hails from Vancouver Island, and that will be graduating this October with a Bachelor of Arts in Environment and Ecological Determinants of Health in Society with a minor in Urban Systems Geography at McGill University, in Montreal, QC. Sevrenne first became involved with Nature Canada as a Young Women for Nature following the suggestion of a former colleague that she apply for the Young Women for Nature mentorship initiative. Sevrenne successfully applied to the mentorship initiative – effectively combining her love for the environment and interest in connecting with women who share similar passions, values and goals.

From Marmots on Vancouver Island to Urban Greenspaces at McGill University

[caption id="attachment_37467" align="alignright" width="300"] Sevrenne.[/caption] Although she is just completing her Honours Bachelor degree, Sevrenne has extensive and impressive experience in the environmental field. Her journey began very early on, when she was in third grade and endeavored to raise donations and awareness for the recovery of the Vancouver Island Marmot population, which had reached a record low of 30 marmots at the time. Since that first foray, she has worked with environmental organizations across the country. Going back to the summer of 2014, Sevrenne was an instructor with Science Venture at University of Victoria, and then spent the following summer as an Outreach Instructor with Actua in the Arctic for eight communities in the Kivaliq and Kitikmeot regions of Nunavut. [caption id="attachment_37469" align="alignleft" width="237"] Fresh Roots Farm in Vancouver, BC.[/caption] After that, she started an arts-based environmental education program in Haida Gwaii between January and April of 2016. Later that year, she interned with Jane’s Walk in Toronto, and finally coordinated SOYL leadership program with Fresh Roots in Vancouver in 2017. Currently, Sevrenne is living in the metropolitan city of Montreal. Despite being surrounded by buildings, she has stayed connected to nature through a market gardening apprenticeship with the Concordia Greenhouse Project, and has remained active in her nearby nature with frequent runs around Montreal’s urban greenspaces and parks, such as Parc Lafontaine.

 As a Young Woman for Nature

So far, Sevrenne described her experience as a Young Woman for Nature mentee as
“Grounding, inspiring and learnful.” (Learnful being a word that she “made up [herself] and now uses all the time because it is so relevant to [her] life.”)
Sevrenne highlighted the support and insight that her mentor, Cara Clairman, the President and CEO of Plug’nDrive, provided: “She’s very supportive and encouraging and […] made me feel much more equipped with a vision of what the future holds, and equipped to reach the goals that I have for my professional life.” Overall, the experience as a Young Woman for Nature “Helped me to see what my options are and feel like I don’t have to make one big choice – I can try things out and see how they go. At this early point in my career, it’s more about finding out what I like to do and what I’m good at – and also finding out what I don’t like too! And that can mean taking wrong turns, taking risks, making mistakes. My main takeaway is reassurance that it is all part of the process, and the process is supposed to be a little messy.” For those who are looking to become involved in the environmental movement, Sevrenne recommends, “to not be afraid to try new things […]. All of those experiences are valuable and give you a better sense of what your strengths are, which can build your capacity in whatever work you do! Finding people who you love to work with is important also - make things happen together! Your friends and your communities are your greatest resources.” [caption id="attachment_37470" align="alignright" width="384"] Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_37468" align="alignleft" width="388"] Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.[/caption]


Mastering the Future

Sevrenne pressed that, “it is essential to pay attention to the social part of the environment. Humans are part of the environment too. We do [many] things that impact nature, and nature impacts us in turn – we’re inextricably linked.” With inter-connectivity in mind, she is looking to continue to pursue interdisciplinary studies, learning about social and natural sciences. We are confident that Sevrenne will remain a strong advocate for the well-being of young people and reinforce the importance of their roles as leaders in the environmental movement and beyond, as is she.

Nature Canada would like to thank the Women for Nature members for generously supporting this mentorship pilot.


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Moving Toward a Zero Plastic Waste Canada
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Moving Toward a Zero Plastic Waste Canada

Nature Canada, along with 30 other leading nature conservancies and environmental organizations, signed a joint Declaration on Plastics. This declaration highlights that 2018 is the time for a national waste reduction strategy, and that it, if implemented correctly, could lead Canada to zero plastic waste by 2025. Plastic pollution is incredibly harmful to the environment and wildlife across Canada and in the oceans that surround us from coast, to coast, to coast. While many Canadians recycle their plastics – this is not enough. In Canada, less than 11 per cent of all plastics are recycled – meaning nearly 90 per cent of plastics end up incinerated, or in our landfills, lakes, parks and oceans. Once in the environment, plastics contaminate ecosystems, kill wildlife, and leach toxic chemicals. If we intend to reverse the negative impact that plastics have on the environment and wildlife – we must act now. Canada needs strong waste policies that hold producers responsible, keep problematic plastics out of Canada, and dramatically increase the reuse and recycling of plastics.


The signatories are calling on the Canadian Government to take decisive action with recommended actions to reduce and reverse the impact of plastic pollution on the environment and wildlife: 1. Work with provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments to develop policies that keep plastics out of the environment; 2. Establish consistent definitions, standards and measurement protocols; 3. Following the example of microbeads, take priority steps to declare problematic plastics (such as single-use plastics) toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), and take preventative action to minimize environmental and human health risks by 2020 4. Build circularity into the federal government’s public procurement policies; 5. Demonstrate international leadership by championing a global treaty, built on the successful precedent of the Montreal Protocol. View the joint Declaration on Plastics here.
At the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, four countries endorsed a G7 ocean plastics Charter. Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the European Union signed onto an agreement to reduce the amount of waste in the world’s oceans, and to cut down on the use of single-use plastics. This charter calls for these countries to reduce their use of plastics, and, where alternatives are not available, to find ways to include more recycled materials in the plastics they do use.
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Read more about the G7 Summit Plastics Charter here The Globe and Mail: U.S, Japan decline to sign G7 agreement to reduce plastic waste in oceans The Star Halifax: Advocate says G7 charter needs plastic-reduction targets Global News: Canada reducing (but not banning) use of plastics at G7 in Quebec

Watching Birds near your Home is Good for your Mental Health
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Watching Birds near your Home is Good for your Mental Health


[caption id="attachment_37365" align="alignright" width="300"] Baltimore Oriole, photo by Christina McCallum.[/caption] This post was written by Dr. Daniel Cox, from the University of Exeter. The original article can be found here. People living in neighbourhoods with more birds, shrubs and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and stress, according to research by academics at the University of Exeter, the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of Queensland. The study, involving hundreds of people, found benefits for mental health of being able to see birds, shrubs and trees around the home, whether people lived in urban or more leafy suburban neighbourhoods. The study, which surveyed mental health in over 270 people from different ages, incomes and ethnicities, also found that those who spent less time out of doors than usual in the previous week were more likely to report they were anxious or depressed. After conducting extensive surveys of the number of birds in the morning and afternoon in Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton, the study found that lower levels of depression, anxiety and stress were associated with the number of birds people could see in the afternoon. The academics studied afternoon bird numbers - which tend to be lower than birds generally seen in the morning – because they are more in keeping with the number of birds that people are likely to see in their neighbourhood on a daily basis. [caption id="attachment_37370" align="alignleft" width="300"] A beautiful Bluebird, photo by Suzanne Swayze.[/caption] In the study, common types of birds including blackbirds, robins, blue tits and crows were seen. But the study did not find a relationship between the species of birds and mental health, but rather the number of birds they could see from their windows, in the garden or in their neighbourhood. Previous studies have found that the ability of most people to identify different species is low (eg Dallimer et al, 2012), suggesting that for most people it is interacting with birds, not just specific birds, that provides well-being. University of Exeter research fellow Dr Daniel Cox, who led the study, said:
"This study starts to unpick the role that some key components of nature play for our mental well-being".
Birds around the home, and nature in general, show great promise in preventative health care, making cities healthier, happier places to live". The positive association between birds, shrubs and trees and better mental health applied, even after controlling for variation in neighbourhood deprivation, household income, age and a wide range of other socio-demographic factors. Recent research by Dr Cox and Professor Kevin Gaston, who are based at the Environmental Sustainability Institute at the Penryn Campus at the University of Exeter, found that watching birds makes people feel relaxed and connected to nature (Cox and Gaston, 2016). The research is published in the journal Bioscience and was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council as conducted as part of the Fragments, Functions, Flows and Ecosystem Services project.
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Sources Dr Daniel Cox, of the University of Exeter: Watching birds near your home is good for your mental health.

Sunny Seeds: Helping the environment with Sunflower Power
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Sunny Seeds: Helping the environment with Sunflower Power

[caption id="attachment_30818" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jill Sturdy Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager[/caption] Here at Nature Canada, we have found the next generation of voices for nature! A third grade class from the Lakeview Public School in Ottawa created a business, Sunny Seeds, with the proceeds of  $676.00 in sales donated to Nature Canada. Last Thursday, on June 7th, our NatureHood Program Manager, Jill Sturdy was invited to visit the class and present the work that Nature Canada is doing. Although, Jill had brought gifts for the students the true surprise was the level of enthusiasm, commitment and passion that the class showed. When the Grade 3 class first started their business, they partnered with BMO to develop the business model. After setting the groundwork of their business plan, they researched several local charities whose mission aligned with their intent. After many hours of research, the students decided that their their business mandate aligned with that of Nature Canada’s. The students were happy to know that we help connect Canadians with Nature and by selling sunflowers they were doing so too. The Sunny Seeds came to the forefront of our attention at our local Bird Day event, when they were sharing our booth at the Ottawa Children's Festival to sell their Sunny Seeds. These students drew people towards their booth and were convincing enough to have them support their cause. Their high quality sunflower seeds came from the Ontario Seed Company and packs were sold for $3.50 each and two for $6.   At their first event they had already raised an impressive $183.00. Needless to say, they were impressed with our history; 75 years strong and over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas protected. Sunny Seed’s goal is “to get people to grow sunflowers to help the environment.”

“Did you know, when you plant sunflower seeds, you remove all the toxins from the soil and air?” a student  excitedly shared with Jill. “Sunflowers help with pollution.”  
Not only did Sunny Seeds raise awareness for the environment, but by planting and growing these sunflower seeds, they reminded us how important native plants are for pollination. Since sunflowers are a popular flower during summer, this is the perfect time to plant some in your own back yard. Sunflowers are known to produce a sweet pollen mixture that attracts bees and other insects. When the pollinators arrive, they get their feet wet with the pollen as they drink the plant’s nectar. The plant relies on this pollination process and so do we. We didn’t have to spend much time with the students to realize how well prepared they were! The students recounted their Bird Day experience with excitement. They were overjoyed to welcome home migratory birds from down south for the summer as well as learn about different species of birds. We were equally excited to learn that the students can spot and name many endangered species and birds in their own backyards. Sunny Seeds have made our lives brighter and we want to thank this incredible class and their exceptional leader, Miss Lindsay Mattesz for making a difference with SUNFLOWER POWER.

Thank you to the Grade 3 class at Lakeview Public School!

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A National Place-based Approach to Species at Risk Conservation
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A National Place-based Approach to Species at Risk Conservation

[caption id="attachment_36177" align="alignleft" width="150"] Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel[/caption] The Canadian Wildlife Service announced a proposed National Approach to Species at Risk Conservation (“National Approach”) at the May 30-31, 2018 meetings of the Species at Risk Advisory Committee (SARAC). SARAC is an advisory committee to Environment and Climate Change Canada that includes representatives from industry and civil society groups including Nature Canada. The National Approach will be considered by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Environment Ministers at their June 28, 2018 meeting. FPT Ministers had already decided in February 2017 to make a strategic shift to multi-species and ecosystem based approaches and more targeted and collaborative efforts on shared priority places, species and threats. Criteria and considerations for identifying priority places set out in the National Approach: a defined geographic area of high biodiversity value; recognizable ecological theme and social relevance; and identification as a distinct place by the people who live there. The six priority places currently identified in the National Approach include: Southwest British Columbia; Dry Interior (BC); South of the Divide (SK); Long Point/Walsingham Forest (ON); St. Lawrence Lowlands (QC/ON); and Southwest Nova Scotia.  Other possible priority places include: Southern Alberta; Southwest Manitoba; and the Ontario shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake St Clair, and Lake Huron. Criteria and considerations for identifying priority species in the National Approach include: deliver conservation for ecologically important, widely distributed species and their ecosystems in often complex threat scenarios; a manageable number of priority species across Canada; and significant co-benefits to multiple species at risk, other wildlife and related biodiversity values. Finally the National Approach recognizes that high-impact sector activities or threats at national or regional scale must be addressed where there is an opportunity to have a positive impact on species at risk. Nature Canada supports the multi-species and ecosystem-based approaches identified in the National Approach.  Experience with the federal Species at Risk Act has clearly demonstrated that single-species approaches alone (with their at-risk listings, recovery strategies, designation of critical habitat, and action plans) are not adequate and may not be the  most efficient use of public resources.


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Slime for Wildlife
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Slime for Wildlife

[caption id="attachment_37287" align="alignleft" width="150"] Jill Sturdy, NatureHood Program Manager.[/caption]

What do slime and wildlife have in common? Ask the Grade 4 class at St. Anne’s Elementary School in Kanata, ON, who created a project to help wildlife using slime.

As part of the Entrepreneurial Adventure program offered through The Learning Partnerships, the students created their own business as a way to develop enterprising skills, financial literacy, innovative thinking and social responsibility. Through their creativity and dedication, they made and sold slime over a 4-month period, and were successful in raising over $1,800 for Nature Canada! I first met the students at the end of February 2018, where I gave a presentation about Nature Canada, the importance of spending time in nature, and what they can do to help wildlife. A few months later their teacher, Mme. Cacciotti contacted me asking if I could come back for the student’s presentation about their project. I was so impressed by their commitment to wildlife and incredible success, I contacted the local City Councillor, Allan Hubley and asked if he would also attend the presentation.
[caption id="attachment_37282" align="alignright" width="370"] Jill Sturdy presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to Grade 4 student Carter.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_37281" align="alignleft" width="367"] 1. L-R: Grade 4 Teacher Sarah Cacciotti, Principal Chantel Couture-Campbell, Jill Sturdy, & City of Ottawa Councillor Allan Hubley, with the class from St Anne Elementary.[/caption]                  
On June 11, a few of the students gave a presentation about the project, some of the challenges they faced and how they overcame them, why they chose Nature Canada, and examples of where they sold the slime. Afterwards, I presented them with a Certificate of Appreciation, and Councillor Hubley recognized their efforts as well. It just goes to show, a little determination and commitment goes a long way. Here is what the students had to say:
“At first, I was a bit reluctant to go along with Nature Canada. But then I realized, by helping other species, we were really helping ourselves, and the world! This world belongs to all of us, and like it or not, we're here with everyone else. So we did our part, for the animals, for the people, for the world! And that's the greatest achievement of all.” - Finn Roy “I chose Nature Canada because I imagined all of the little animal faces dying in their destructed habitat. I knew I had to do something. So we chose Nature Canada to help our feathery, scaly and furry friends.” -Alexia Janeczek

Thank you St. Anne Elementary for choosing to support wildlife and Nature Canada!


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Add Some Bird Friendly Plants to your Garden!
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Add Some Bird Friendly Plants to your Garden!

This blog was written by guest blogger Katherine Forster. As an urban biophilic entrepreneur, Katherine  divides her time between promoting sustainable and ecological gardens to urban and suburban faith communities and sharing her joy of urban nature through her Wild. Here. online initiative.


Backyard birdwatching can be a fun pastime for both humans and cats.  Planting native plants in your garden helps attract more local and migrating birds.  Birds, as do most wildlife, need three things: food, water and shelter (both for safety and for nesting).  Many larger trees and shrubs provide two of these three requirements: nourishment for birds in many forms, including nuts, berries, seeds and even insects (that are attracted to the tree pollen and nectar). They also provide important shelter, safely above ground away from most predators.  Flowers and other plants can also provide some of these habitat needs and even with a small garden we can help out our feathered friends. [caption id="attachment_37264" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo by Susanne Swayze.[/caption] It’s important to choose plants that come from a neonicotinoid-free source – two good options are a local nature centre’s plant sale or an organic garden nursery. When you’re choosing plants, consider adding a variety that bloom in different months – see if you can include a few for spring when birds are returning from their winter homes and some in autumn when birds are in need of extra nourishment stores for their long journeys south. Native plants can also offer safe hiding spots and shelter – thorny plants and evergreens give birds a great location to safely hide from predators even in the winter. When you’re looking at where to plant, keep in mind the same rule that should be applied to bird feeders: have them located closer than 0.9 metres to any window (so that any impact won't be severe) or farther than 9.1 metres (so that they won't accidentally hit the glass when flying away). To read more about keeping birds safe at your feeders, including placement considerations for both window collisions and predation, see http://catsandbirds.ca/blog/keeping-birds-safe-at-your-feeders.

Here are five native plants to consider

CUP PLANT (Siliphium perfoliatum): These brilliant yellow flowers can grow up to 3 metres tall.  They prefer sunny, moist areas and provide great shelter if grown in a large, tight bunch.  They also provide water (which is held in their leaves) and seeds that are enjoyed by many birds. BEEBALM (Monarda didyma): This summer flower, which does best in wet, partly-shaded areas of your garden, attracts hummingbirds and bees with its bright red colour.  Allow the flowerhead to dry out on the plant and keep it up for the winter season in your garden when birds are looking for seeds. [caption id="attachment_37261" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo of Black-eyed Susans by Susanne Swayze.[/caption] BLACK-EYED SUSANS (Rudbeckia hirtadrought): This is an early summer yellow flower that provides seeds for birds and is another that can be allowed to dry up and left out for the winter.  It's a drought tolerant plant that is easy to grow in a sunny spot and reseeds itself.  However, keep it watered and add some mulch (to help retain moisture) so that it can look its best. VIRGINIA CREEPER VINE (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): This native vine provides shelter and late summer berries for various birds and can be used in small spaces where height offers the best growing option.  Keep it in dry shade as this will slow it from spreading quickly into other parts of your garden.  Do not allow it to attach with its aerial roots to wood siding or gutters. WILD ROSE (SHRUB) (Rosa rugosa): This is a small shrub that grows up to 1.8 m tall in full sun and will offer shelter and nourishment to birds.  It can also tolerate dry periods.  Both the branches and stems are covered in small thorns and once it has flowered the pink blooms become rosehips which are eaten by songbirds. When choosing other plants for your garden, consider other local native plants that can provide groundcover, berries or even soft nesting material (such as silky grass tassels) and fill out the entire gardening calendar with blooms of varying sizes and colours to benefit diverse insects, which in turn benefits birds.  And remember that birds like messy areas where insects may hide: keep leaves on the ground for the winter, add some twigs and straw in a hidden corner and enjoy your birdwatching!
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Sources Illinois Wildflowers Gardening Know How Fatal Light Awareness Program

Proposed National Wildlife Area: Lac St. Pierre
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Proposed National Wildlife Area: Lac St. Pierre

Written by intern Gabriel Planas. What is it? Lac St.-Pierre is a widening of the St. Lawrence River 75 Km downstream from Montreal and about 120 km from Quebec City.  Lac St. Pierre is considered the furthest inland where there is still a distinct tidal effect. The lake is shallow, rarely reaching depths greater than 3m.  Aquatic plants are abundant with many species such as Water Celery. These factors make Lac St. Pierre excellent habitat for fish species at risk such as Lake Sturgeon, Copper Red Horse and Striped Bass. Lac St. Pierre has four IBAs that provide habitat for tremendous numbers of waterfowl and other species.  Between 500,000 and one million Greater Snow Geese annually migrate over lac St. Pierre, most of them stopping for many days. [caption id="attachment_37178" align="alignright" width="470"] Great Blue Heron[/caption] On an island on the west side of the Lac is one of the largest heronries in North America, with over one thousand pairs of Great Blue Herons, as well as populations of Black-crowned Night Heron and Great Egret. The wetland contain significant numbers of the at-risk Least Bittern, and the lake also supports continentally significant numbers of waterfowl such as Black Scoter. Some of the lake’s wetlands are also believed to be a significant roost site for swallow species prior to their fall migrations to the south. Issues: There are a number of issues facing Lac St. Pierre that have affected water quality and wildlife habitat. Oil or chemical spills from ships using the St. Lawrence Seaway which passes directly through Lac St. Pierre, is a constant threat due to the high volume of shipping. Dredging of sediments in Lac St. Pierre to keep the lanes open has damaged and destroyed fish and mollusk habitat and released chemicals and heavy metals into the water, exceeding safety limits. Surface water tests often find high amounts of metals such as aluminum, chromium, copper and Iron. Intensive agricultural operations around Lac St. Pierre release fertilizers and other chemicals into the numerous tributaries emptying into Lac St. Pierre resulting in serious pollution issues. Extensive wetlands around the lake have been drained for conversion to agricultural resulting in loss of wetland habitat, impacting migratory bird and fish; populations of Pickerel and yellow perch. What is being done? On the bright side, the importance of Lac St. Pierre to nature conservation is recognized. The area has four IBAs (Important Bird Area). The area is also part of the Lac St.-Pierre Biosphere Reserve, as designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The Biosphere Reserve is aimed at engaging people in environmental and educational activities to help in its conservation. Additionally, the RAMSAR Convention, which aims to help the conservation and management of wetlands, has recognized this area as a wetland of international importance.  The Quebec and Federal governments recognize Lac St. Pierre as a high priority conservation area.   Despite the best of intentions, protection of this area primarily only extends to bird populations or limited wetland conservation projects. Nature Canada supports efforts to protect Lac St. Pierre as a National Wildlife Area.

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