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2nd Annual Event Helps Ottawa Residents Peek Inside City’s Most Important Chimneys
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2nd Annual Event Helps Ottawa Residents Peek Inside City’s Most Important Chimneys

Media Advisory

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Who: Hosted by Nature Canada Speakers include: Alex MacDonald, CBC Radio 1’s In Town and Out weekly bird tweeter and Senior Conservation Manager at Nature Canada

What: A Swift Evening Out is an outdoor event featuring presentations, activities and easy birdwatching to raise public awareness of the Chimney Swift, a provincially and nationally threatened bird found in Ottawa. Event participants will observe the sunset behaviour of the Chimney Swift; each evening the Swifts fly into suitable chimneys and human structures throughout the region – often hundreds of birds at a time – where they roost for the night in large groups. The birds dive headfirst into the chimneys, reaching speeds of 60 km/hr before entering, making this behaviour very impressive to behold.

Where: 755 Somerset Street West, Ottawa. The event will begin at the Dalhousie Community Centre and at 7:50pm will transition to the grounds of the Dominican University College, home to one of the region’s most important chimney roosts.

When: Thursday, August 11th, 2016 – 7:00 pm to 8:45 pm.

Why: Ottawa is home to nationally significant numbers of Chimney Swifts, whose numbers have declined by over 95% in the last 40 years. Despite this, many people are unaware of the Swifts’ presence or their plight. We want to change this. Additionally, many property owners misunderstand what they can do to help Chimney Swifts, such as delaying routine chimney maintenance until after the migration in early September. This event will help to raise public awareness of the plight of this amazing species.

Interviews: Interviews may be scheduled before, during or after the event. Opportunities to photograph the activities and the birds can be accommodated during the event. Photographs will be available upon request following the event.

Contact: Alex MacDonald, Senior Conservation Manager, Nature Canada 613-324-7003 (mobile); amacdonald@naturecanada.ca

### Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Our mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province.

Local Children Take Flight for Wildlife along the Ottawa River
News

Local Children Take Flight for Wildlife along the Ottawa River

MEDIA ADVISORY

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Local Children Take Flight for Wildlife along the Ottawa River Who:                     Hosted by Nature Canada Speakers include: Alex MacDonald, CBC Radio 1’s In Town and Out weekly bird tweeter and Senior Conservation Manager at Nature Canada  What:                    Bird, Bat & Butterfly Migration Parade: the Migration Parade is a symbolic celebration of the seasonal migration journey that birds, bats, butterflies and even some dragonflies undertake each spring and fall. Over 130 students from 3 local elementary schools will walk, or ‘migrate’, 2.6 km along the Ottawa River Pathway (between Westboro Beach/Kitichissippi Lookout and the Rémic Rapids parking lot). This parade route represents the northward journey that so many of Canada’s migratory species take each spring from the US, Central America, the Caribbean and South America to Canada. Where:                 Parade begins at 10:30 am at the Kitchissippi Lookout/Westboro Beach, and finishes before 12:15 pm at the Rémic Rapids Parking Lot. When:                  Wednesday, May 25th, 2015 – 10:15 am to 12:15 pm. Why:                     More than three-quarters of Canada’s bird species are migratory and spend more than half the year beyond our borders. Of those, the species that migrate the greatest distances are more at-risk of extinction. Children are the best hope that some of these species have to being recovered before it is too late. In addition to birds, Canada is home to migratory bats, butterflies – such as the Monarch butterfly – and migratory dragonflies. Interviews:         Interviews may be scheduled before, during or after the event. Opportunities to photograph the activities can be accommodated during the event. Nature Canada will also have a photographer present, with photographs available upon request following the event. Contact:               Alex MacDonald, Senior Conservation Manager, Nature Canada 613-324-7003 (mobile); amacdonald (at) naturecanada.ca   ### Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Our mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province.

Our 2016 Spring Bird, Bat & Butterfly Migration Parade is coming!
News

Our 2016 Spring Bird, Bat & Butterfly Migration Parade is coming!

[caption id="attachment_27792" align="alignleft" width="300"]kids with masks Kids taking part in May 2015's Spring Migration Parade[/caption] Nature Canada will be holding another of its annual Spring Migration Parade events on Wednesday, May 25th, along the Ottawa River between Westboro Beach and the Rémic Rapids from 10 am to noon. This section of the river falls within Ottawa's own internationally significant Lac Deschênes-Ottawa River Important Bird & Biodiversity Area. The parade, which is meant to symbolize the fantastic seasonal migrations of many of Canada's wildlife species, will be made  up of 125 elementary school students from three Ottawa area schools. The migration parade is one of our NatureHood program events aimed at connecting urban elementary school students to nearby nature - and nature throughout the hemisphere! Student participants in the parade will wear masks they've decorated to represent migratory species such as birds, butterflies, bats, caribou, dragonflies and even sea turtles and whales! The masks are created as part of in-class lessons Nature Canada conducts with the students at each school. The lessons focus on migratory species, the migration phenomenon, threats faced by migratory species and ways that the students can help migratory species. We also read a story to each class, Is this Panama?, written by Canadian author, Jan Thornhill. It's a fun, interactive way to learn about the natural sciences! And by taking part in the parade, the students get to be part of the migration story. Would you like to help with our migration parade? If so, send us an email with the subject line "Parade volunteer". Financial support for this event is provided by: Govt of Ontario logo         Print           Science Odyssey Logo            

Thanks for a Successful MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz!
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Thanks for a Successful MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz!

[caption id="attachment_27776" align="alignleft" width="300"]NatureBlitz participants on a walk Participants on an insect walk at the MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz[/caption] Thanks to everyone who took part in our MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz last weekend! A big success The NatureBlitz was a big success. Despite the weekend's poor weather forecast, a total of 100 people took part in the event between 2 pm Friday, May 13th and 2 pm Saturday, May 14th. It was wonderful to share the beauty and serenity of this natural area - which is part of the Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary - with participants of all ages! What did we find? In addition to seeing and hearing bats and owls, we observed lots of songbirds, frogs, insects, and even salamanders during the event. A full species list - including 34 lichens - is being compiled for publication here on Nature Canada's blog within the next couple of weeks. The trilliums were in full bloom during the event, providing a perfect backdrop for spring in the National Capital Region. [caption id="attachment_27777" align="alignright" width="300"]Mammals activity during the MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz Participants listen to a presentation on fur-bearing mammals during the NatureBlitz[/caption] Get social! We're asking participants to share their photos from the event on social media using the hashtags #NatureBlitz and #OdySci. Our event was part of Canada's 2016 Science Odyssey celebrations so we're trying to spread the word about the value and importance natural and biological sciences using the #OdySci hashtag. You can use it,too! Thanks to our walk leaders & supporters!  NatureBlitz events can't happen without the willingness of local naturalists and experts to share their time, experience and knowledge with the community. On behalf of all of our walk leaders (shown in the schedule below), we thank everyone for their interest in nature! Day 1 Schedule for MacSkimming NatureBlitz - May 13, 2016 Day 2 Schedule for MacSkimming NatureBlitz - May 14, 2016               As a charity, Nature Canada relies on the support of members, funders and sponsors to help us be a voice for nature and deliver fun public events like NatureBlitzes and Bird Day celebrations. Consider becoming a voice for nature today: In addition to saying a BIG thank you to the OCDSB MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre staff, we would like to thank the following funders and sponsors for their financial support:   Thank you to sponsors/partners:  

Join the Lower Mainland’s First NatureBiltz!
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Join the Lower Mainland’s First NatureBiltz!

[caption id="attachment_24954" align="alignleft" width="200"]Kids feeding Chickadees at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary - Oct 14 2015 Feeding Chickadees & Nuthatches at the Reifel MBS. Photo by A. MacDonald[/caption] Join the Lower Mainland's first NatureBlitz on Saturday, February 27th in the Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Alaksen National Wildlife Area, located at 5191 and 5421 Robertson Rd (respectively) on Westham Island in Delta, BC. This free, family-friendly nature adventure offers a dawn to dusk line-up of wildlife walks, outdoor exploration and even a photography contest, all with the help of local naturalists and nature experts from NatureKids BC, Nature Canada, the BC Waterfowl Society, the Delta Naturalists Society, the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust and the Canadian Wildlife Service. PLEASE NOTE: Limited spaces are available for each activity during the NatureBlitz, so advance registration is required. You can register for free tickets by activity on our EventBrite page. We may open up additional spaces for activities that are over-subscribed.  Eventbrite - Lower Mainland NatureBlitz Participants will get an up-close, educational look at waterfowl and songbirds, small grassland mammals, invasive species, and possibly even owls, bats and other creatures of the night through a series of activities at each of these amazing natural areas. A full schedule and map are available below. So get your warm outdoor clothing (and rain gear), gum boots and flashlights ready and come join us as we explore the midwinter mysteries of nature right on Metro Vancouver’s doorstep. It's nearby nature – and it's your NatureHood! Don't forget to pack a camera or camera phone/Smartphone for the event, either! You can enter our draw for best NatureBlitz photos simply by posting your nature pics from the event on social media (Instagram, facebook, Twitter, etc.) using the hashtag #NatureBlitz! ** This is a RAIN or SHINE event. Some events will be modified in the event of rain. ** A limited number of binoculars, field guides and magnifying lenses will be available to borrow at the event. Light snacks will be available at noon but participants are encouraged to bring their own food. Limited on-site parking is available. Please consider carpooling to the event if possible.   Walk schedule for Lower Mainland NatureBlitz, February 27, 2016 Financial support for this initiative has been provided by: Environment and Climate Change Canada logo 55eTD logo         Email Signup

Scientific committee fingers climate change in latest species at risk assessments
Polar bear by Regehr Eric, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Scientific committee fingers climate change in latest species at risk assessments

Alex MacDonald, click for contact informationAfter an unexpected delay earlier this month, the Committee on the Status of Wildlife in Canada, or COSEWIC, released its latest assessments of the status of species threatened with extinction in Canada. COSEWIC's assessments provide the scientific basis for the listing of species under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA), and for this reason they are often called "recommendations". The Committee, which is made up of scientists and wildlife experts from academia, the private sector, NGOs and government representatives, assessed the status of 19 species at its late November meeting here in Ottawa. Of the species reviewed, 4 were assessed as Endangered (e.g., Nuttall's Sheep Moth) , 9 as Threatened (e.g., Gray Fox, Louisiana Waterthrush),  and 5 as Special Concern (e.g., Flooded Jellyskin lichen). A British Columbia plant species, Giant Helleborine, was reassessed as Not at Risk. COSEWIC's report includes 'positive' news for 6 species that were reassessed as being in a lower risk category, including the Peary Caribou, found in Canada’s High Arctic, being downlisted from Endangered (assessed in 2004) to Threatened status, and the Lake Erie Watersnake going from Endangered (assessed in 2006) to Special Concern. But downlisting doesn't mean that the threats have disappeared, nor does it rule out the role of citizens in the conservation and stewardship of a species. In fact in some cases it is the very involvement of Canadians, through actions like expanded survey efforts, that sheds light on previously unknown occurrences or populations of a species at risk – thereby helping COSEWIC better understand its status in Canada. Image of a glacierWhile Canada's growing number of species at risk is newsworthy enough, the biggest and most timely news in COSEWIC's recommendations is the "recurring theme" among the species assessed: climate change. And climate change is not only a direct threat to some of these and other species at risk — COSEWIC notes that in some cases it is actually compounding the intensity of threats they already face, such as degrading wetland habitats or allowing destructive invasive species to expand farther northward over time. The delay in COSEWIC's climate change-linked release proved to be heraldic given the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, also known as COP21. Canada has shown ambitious leadership during these climate talks, widely considered to global leaders' last chance to get the planet on a 'reasonable' trajectory with respect to future climate impacts. Indeed, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna announced during COP21 meetings on Sunday night that Canada would support a goal of just 1.5° C of future global warming coming out of the Paris Agreement. That support sends a strong signal that Canada is taking climate change seriously. This couldn't come at a better time, because it is almost too late. Ladybug on red maple leafI congratulate COSEWIC for using its latest species assessment report to draw attention to climate change*. At very least it importantly provides context and immediate relevance to what could be pessimistically dismissed as the 'routine', semiannual work of COSEWIC. But in the bigger picture this approach demonstrates how the effects of climate change have far-reaching policy and legal implications. On that note Nature Canada and other environmental groups recently issued a joint letter calling on the new federal government to provide better support to COSEWIC in carrying out its scientific responsibilities.  As well, we are asking that the government fill vacancies on COSEWIC’s Species Specialist Subcommittees, and reinstate its former policy of authorizing COSEWIC to recommend new COSEWIC members to the government. Action on these matters would support the renewed federal focus on the role of science in decision making. [caption id="attachment_24207" align="alignleft" width="300"]Peary Caribou standing on the frozen tundra; barren ground caribou; Arctic Peary Caribou, now considered "Threatened" in Canada based on COSEWIC's latest assessment.[/caption] Now that COSEWIC has delivered its species status assessments to Minister McKenna, a 'legal clock' has begun ticking down on an official response: a Response Statement must be published on the SARA Public Registry within 90 days. The Minister's Statement must indicate how she/he will respond to each species' assessment and how consultations with the affected governments and parties will be undertaken for each species; for example, the January 2015 Plains Bison Response Statement is available here. Once this indefinite consultation period has ended for each species, the Minister then presents COSEWIC's assessments, and her/his recommendations regarding them, to Cabinet and the Prime Minister, who then have nine months to decide to:

  1. Add the species to the 'official' list of species at risk in Schedule 1 of the SARA (this triggers legal protections);
  2. Decide not to add the species to the official list; or,
  3. Send a species assessment back to COSEWIC for more information or reconsideration.
You can find the detailed version of COSEWIC's November 2015 Wildlife Species Assessments here, including the rationale for the status assigned to each species. And once again, the Committee's latest press release entitled "Climate Change Matters for Species at Risk" can be found here. I encourage you to have a look at the release, which captures the cautious optimism of what may come out of COP21 Paris on Dec 11th while adding an important reminder that conserving our "species at risk and rich and valuable biodiversity" depends on all of us.
*In the interests of full disclosure, Nature Canada is one of the original NGO partners, including WWF Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, that helped to establish COSEWIC. In recognition of this history, Nature Canada and the other groups have standing "Observer" status at the Committee's meetings. We do not participate in discussions or decision making at the meetings.
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BC’s Lieutenant Governor to celebrate NatureHood & All Buffleheads Day in Sidney, BC
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BC’s Lieutenant Governor to celebrate NatureHood & All Buffleheads Day in Sidney, BC

Media Advisory

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Who: Hosted by Friends of Shoal Harbour Society & Nature Canada

Special Guests include:  

The Honourable Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Lizanne Chicanot, Principal, Parkland Secondary School Bob Peart, Director, Friends of Shoal Harbour Society Sue Staniforth, Director, Friends of Shoal Harbour Society Alex MacDonald, CBC Radio 1’s In Town and Out weekly bird tweeter and Senior Conservation Manager at Nature Canada

[caption id="attachment_18871" align="alignright" width="300"]Bufflehead, bird, water, duck, waterfowl, nature, BC, naturehood Photo by K Finley, P Nicklen[/caption]

What: British Columbia's Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judith Guichon, will join Nature Canada representatives, the Friends of Shoal Harbour Society and 200 students to celebrate NaureHood on the Saanich Peninsula and mark All Buffleheads Day. NatureHood is a national program of Nature Canada that focuses on connecting urban Canadians to nearby nature by engaging them in celebration, inspiration and stewardship  of wildlife and its habitats. NatureHood on the Saanich Peninsula, which is managed by the Friends of Shoal Harbour Society, has been in place since mid-2015 and is closely tied to annual All Buffleheads Day celebrations in the area, or "naturehood". The Bufflehead is a small seaduck that overwinters in the waters off of Sidney, BC. The Bufflehead is highly punctual with respect to the date of its arrival in the region from its breeding grounds in the boreal forest. All Buffleheads Day is an annual  celebration of this phenomenon and presents a key opportunity to highlight nearby nature and a rich, shared nature heritage for the residents of the Saanich Peninsula.

Where: Parkland Secondary School 10640 McDonald Park Road, North Saanich. Telephone: 250-655-2700

When: Friday, Oct 16th, 2015 – 9:30 am to 11:30 am.

Why: Oct 15th marks All Bufflehead Days given that this is the date on which migrating Buffleheads return en masse to the waters off of Sidney, BC. Because of their striking plumage, highly active nature and their proximity to humans on waterfront properties, buffleheads are one of the most popular birds amongst bird watchers. The bufflehead, also known as the spirit duck, was added to the coat of arms of the town of Sidney, British Columbia, in 1995. Buffleheads are hunted and are considered a gamebird. In contrast to many other seaducks that have declined in recent decades, bufflehead numbers have remained relatively constant. Habitat degradation is the major threat to this bird, since they depend on very limited coastal habitat on their wintering grounds, and very specific habitat in their boreal breeding grounds. Although buffleheads do use man-made nest boxes, they still need the forest habitat to thrive. This event will help to raise public awareness of the plight of this amazing species.

Interviews: Interviews may be scheduled before, during or after the event. Opportunities to photograph the activities and the birds can be accommodated during the event. A photographer will also be present, with photographs available upon request following the event.

Contact: Alex MacDonald, Senior Conservation Manager, Nature Canada 613-324-7003 (mobile); amacdonald@naturecanada.ca

Mr. Bob Peart, Director, Friends of Shoal Harbour Society (FOSH)

 250-655-0295, bobpeart@shaw.ca

### Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Our mission is to protect and conserve nature in Canada by engaging Canadians and by advocating on behalf of nature. Over the past 75 years, Nature Canada has helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, Nature Canada represents a network of more than 45,000 members and supporters and more than 350 nature organizations across the country, with affiliates in every province.

   

Join our 2015 Fall NatureBlitz at the Ottawa Forest & Nature School!
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Join our 2015 Fall NatureBlitz at the Ottawa Forest & Nature School!

Join Nature Canada, the Child & Nature Alliance and local nature experts for a NatureBlitz on Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th at Ottawa's Forest & Nature School on 411 Corkstown Road (Wesley Clover Campground)! This event will feature walks*, nature-based activities and family fun  from 10:30 am Saturday until 2 pm Sunday (map and daily schedules below).

[caption id="attachment_22682" align="alignleft" width="300"]Man examines a Bitternut Hickory during our Summer NatureBlitz event in Ottawa Local tree expert, Owen Clarkin, examines a Bitternut Hickory during our Summer NatureBlitz event in Ottawa. Photo by: Susanne Ure[/caption]

Help us explore your NatureHood in Ottawa's amazing Greenbelt, and test your ability to migrate like a bird, find clues about animals preparing for winter, or detect bats using a special ultrasonic microphone! NatureBlitzes are a great way to get outside and learn about nature with members of your community and local nature experts! This is the first survey of its kind in this area and we hope to identify as many different living things as possible at the site.

  Visitor events will include guided wildlife walks, a migration obstacle course and flap-a-thon, nature scavenger hunts and a search for bats and other night creatures! Participants will have an opportunity to learn how to identify the trees, plants, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and fungi found around the Ottawa Forest & Nature School, which is located on this property and includes a great outdoor classroom. The walks will also have a special focus on local species at risk, including Little Brown and Northern Long-eared bats, which might be foraging in the area before or as they are forming into colonies to roost and hibernate for the winter. So get your binoculars, rain gear, hiking boots and flashlights ready and come join us as we get up close and personal with a world of mystery right outside your door. It's nearby nature! And it's your NatureHood!   [caption id="attachment_22541" align="alignright" width="300"]Red fox kits. Photo by: Phil Myers Red fox kits. Will we see any signs of fox during the NatureBlitz? Come find out! Photo by: Phil Myers[/caption] Don't have binoculars? No field guide? No flashlight? Don't worry! You can borrow one of ours. We have 8 pairs of binoculars, bilingual field guides and some head-lamps available to sign-out at the Nature Canada tent once you've registered for a guided walk. And we'll have handheld ultrasonic bat detectors available for sign-out, too!   Check the schedule to see which walk(s) you would like to join, or come out for all of them! Beginners, experts and especially kids and their families are welcome to this FREE event! We hope to see you there! Please download your free NatureBlitz tickets at EventBrite. [caption id="attachment_22686" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Fall NatureBlitz boundary map Ottawa Fall NatureBlitz boundary map (approximate). Aerial imagery from Bing Maps.[/caption] A detailed trail map by Orienteering Ottawa is also available here. Financial support for this NatureBlitz is provided by: Govt of Ontario logo White Swan logo (white)            

Bird Tweet of the Week: Magnolia Warbler
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Bird Tweet of the Week: Magnolia Warbler

[caption id="attachment_22401" align="alignleft" width="200"]Magnolia Warbler, birds, perch Magnolia Warbler perched on a branch.[/caption] The flamboyantly coloured Magnolia Warbler originally had a much more literal, much less botanical name. Find out what it was in this week's Tweet of the Week! Each week we introduce a new bird from the Ottawa-Gatineau area through our segment on CBC Radio’s In Town and Out. This August, Nicolas Conroy, Nature Canada’s Conservation Intern, shares interesting facts about  birds that live in our communities. Be sure to tune-in to the “Bird Tweet of the Week” on CBC Radio One 91.5 FM on Saturday mornings from 6am to 9am and listen to past episodes on our website. This episode aired on Saturday, September 5th, 2015. Email Signup

Bird Tweet of the Week: Marsh Wren
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Bird Tweet of the Week: Marsh Wren

[caption id="attachment_22396" align="alignleft" width="214"]Marsh Wren, bird, reed A Marsh Wren sings from a perch. Photo by Frank Leung[/caption] Despite its size and secretive ways, the Marsh Wren is no bird to mess with! Competition for food and territory leads this tiny songbird to plunder and remove the nests of other wetland birds twice its size. Each week we introduce a new bird from the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada’s Manager of Protected Areas, shares interesting facts about the birds that live in our communities. Catch up on past episodes here on our website. Email Signup

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