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A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest
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A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest

Published: April 7 Author: Dr. Robert Cannings Published by: Harbour Publishing Price: $ 7.95 USD


This review was written by Nature Canada's writing intern, Gabriel Planas. Accounting for 80 percent of the 1.5 million named species on earth; insects form the backbone of the biodiversity on our planet. I still did not know what a Snakefly was before picking up A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest. I was also unaware that the terrifying bug is considered typical in the Pacific Northwest. To combat this lack of knowledge, DR. Robert Cannings created A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest in the hopes that it would generate more interest and discussion about insects. [caption id="attachment_36344" align="alignright" width="154"] A Field Guide to Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Dr. Robert Cannings.[/caption] The 8-fold pamphlet features 70 high-quality photos with profiles on over 50 different insects.  Though the guide is priced at a steep 7.95, it still provides a good way to introduce yourself to the abundant variety of insects you will encounter in the Pacific Northwest. Being a waterproof pamphlet also makes this guide is also perfect for the hiking trails, grasslands or beaches where you may find these tiny wonders. From the introduction, I was learning more than I had ever known about insects. It hooks the reader with a plea to understand the necessity and beauty of insects. The author takes his time to clarify terms like Moulting, metamorphosis, and pupa in stark simplicity to allow the reader to engage with the material in a very casual and personal basis. The insect profiles are broken up into 19 major groups of insects, providing a brief look into their behavioral patterns, physical characteristics, and eating habits. Many times, the information provided about the insects was enough to pique my curiosity, while enough facts were left out to present further research not only as appealing but also necessary. At times, this was compelling, such as the profile of the Predaceous Diving Beetle that informed me of the air bubble that forms under the wings that allows them to breath underwater. Other times though I was disappointed with the simplicity of the profiles. Rarely did they reinforce the integral role insects play in the environment, as mentioned in the intro. It also seems like the author missed an opportunity to disclose where and how to find these insects, as they can often be tiny and hard to find. Additionally, with minimal color variation throughout the pamphlet, the 19 groups can often be difficult to differentiate and find. This confusion makes a quick scan for an insect one may see in the wild very difficult, if not impossible. While it could have pushed itself further regarding its content and layout, this guide did an adequate job to increase my knowledge and awareness of insects. Given that this was the goal of the guide, I cannot help but concede that it fulfills its purpose. If you are planning to spend time in the Pacific Northwest, this guide can be a fun addition to any other maps and travel guides you may bring with you.
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A Young Leader for Nature: Caroline Merner
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A Young Leader for Nature: Caroline Merner

Having moved to the West Coast of Canada, Caroline Merner was immersed in nature from an early age, and has been so for the entirety of her life. Her childhood spent playing outside with her three sisters grew into a passion for hiking, cycling, and camping. Traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast for her post-secondary studies at Dalhousie University, Caroline completed her Bachelor of Arts with Combined Honours in Sustainability and International Development with a Minor in Spanish. Now, her everyday commute to work is one that might cause envy - a 45-minute bike ride with ocean views that bring her to Stanley Park, Vancouver, where she works at Ocean Wise.

A Young Woman for Nature

Since graduating, Caroline has been inspiring youth with her passion for nature through her work with Parks Canada, Students on Ice, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Ocean Wise, and with her non-profit, Climate Guides. Speaking to Caroline was nothing short of inspiring. The combination of her evident and honest love for nature, with her fast-growing list of accomplishments, topped with her passion for engaging with others made me look at my notes and think “Well, this is exactly what nature in Canada needs.” Caroline is a Young Woman for Nature and one of six recipients of the Young Nature Leadership Grant. For Caroline, being a Young Woman for Nature has meant empowering young women, helping them find their connection to nature and harnessing that to share it with others. [caption id="attachment_36356" align="aligncenter" width="832"] Caroline, speaking on a panel at the Vancouver School Board Sustainability Conference, photo by Roozbeh Peykari.[/caption] In October of 2017 Caroline was able to meet the other Young Women for Nature at the Women for Nature reception held on Parliament Hill on October 23, 2017. She mentioned how she left the event feeling inspired by the “cohort of change-makers, of people who want to protect our lands and who are taking amazing strides in the protection of our environment.” Of the experience, Caroline said that “Being a Young Woman for Nature comes with action for those who are connected to nature and want to conserve it. They are naturally sustainability-driven.” And naturally sustainability-driven are three words that begin to provide an appropriate description for how Caroline’s environmental endeavors have been shaping up over the past few years, and have led to her very own non-profit: Climate Guides.

Climate Guides

Climate Guides is a mentorship program connecting youth and professionals to address climate change by developing solutions together. Trying to paint a picture for how Climate Guides came to be pulls from various experiences: From a lifetime of hiking and camping, to the completion of a thesis on the psychology of climate change communication, to meeting her co-director Marina Melanidis on an Arctic expedition, to receiving seed funding through the Young Nature Leadership Grant and mentorship from another Woman for Nature - the road to Climate Guides was built on Caroline’s passion for nature and desire to create a community. Caroline stated that “When people start to get involved in this work, they encourage other people to become engaged, wanting to be a connector - that [is] where community happens.” And Climate Guides will be doing just that by giving ten young mentees the opportunity to launch their environmentally inspired projects.  Each mentee is matched to an appropriate mentor, launching projects that will potentially change Vancouver, BC, and Canada.  Climate Guides hopes to become a sustainable system of environmental growth and innovation that expands across Canada, and around the world.

Right Now, and Moving Forward

The launch of Climate Guides’ first mentorship cohort takes place on Saturday, April 7, 2018. The event is will gather 10 mentors and 10 mentees. We can anticipate many inspiring stories from the inaugural round of Climate Guides projects on social media. Later in September, Climate Guides will be attending the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. This conference will bring people together from around the world to showcase climate action and inspire deeper commitments. Climate Guides are planning on getting there the same way Caroline gets to work every day - by bike.

We are looking forward to hearing more about Caroline and Climate Guides. As a writer, this has been one of my favourite pieces to put together. This is not only because Caroline shared her fascinating adventure in sustainability, but also for the positivism with which she approaches climate change, and for the brightness of the future we will all share, because of people like her.


Caroline Merner is a Young Women for Nature who first became involved with Nature Canada after the 2017 Canadian Parks Conference in Banff National Park, Alberta. At this event, she heard Dawn Carr, Women of Nature and Project Leader Executive Director of the Canadian Parks Council, speak of the Young Nature Leadership Grant. Caroline would later became one of the six grant recipients in 2017. For more information about the Young Nature Leader Grant, please follow this link. For more information on Climate Guides, visit their website, and reach out to them through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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

BirdLife Report Sounds New Alarm for the Rufa Red Knot
Claudio Timm
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BirdLife Report Sounds New Alarm for the Rufa Red Knot

Ted Cheskey, click for contact informationThis post was written by Ted Cheskey, Naturalist Director at Nature Canada. The feature image above was taken by Claudio Timm. BirdLife International released a report recently about an alarming drop in numbers of the Endangered Species at its key stopover site at Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America.  The report revealed that January 2018 surveys of this area, led by Guy Morrison, renowned Canadian shorebird scientist and pioneer of shorebird conservation in the western hemisphere, found only 9,840 individuals, a 25% drop in the number of birds over the same period last year, and the lowest number ever recorded since the surveys began. [caption id="attachment_36300" align="alignright" width="300"] Horseshoe Crab, photo by Marc Peck.[/caption] It is speculated that the decline was driven by a bad year for Horseshoe Crab populations on the north Atlantic.   Much of the Rufa Red Knot population migrates north in the month of May in a non-stop flight from Brazil to the Atlantic coast of the USA.  Most birds take refuge on the beaches of Delaware Bay for a week or two, to take advantage of the billions of Horseshoe Crab eggs, freshly laid in the sands by female crabs emerging from the ocean, to restore their spent fat supplies, the fuel that powers their migration.  In 2017, the crab numbers were low and the timing of their emergence delayed, meaning that there was less food at this key stopover when the migrating Knots needed it most.  Many birds likely left Delaware Bay, en route to the Arctic with lower fat supplies, meaning that they arrived on their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic in a compromised state.  The theory is that this compromised state results in lower reproductive output as the window for breeding is extremely short in the arctic and birds need to be in top health when they arrive on the breeding grounds to have a successful breeding season. This plummet in the population of the Rufa Red Knot, related to Horseshoe Crab population fluctuations, was already noted in the early 2000s.  Human harvest of the crabs, and possibly climate change are implicated as likely reasons for the decline.  A small population, like that of the Rufa Red Knot is vulnerable to extinction, especially because of its dependence on a relatively small number of sites during its mammoth 30,000 km annual migration.  Even when something negative happens to one site, most or all of the birds can be impacted.    Recognizing, protecting and managing key stopover sites in favour of these birds is essential for their survival. [caption id="attachment_36305" align="alignleft" width="300"] Lillian Trapper at Delaware Bay 2011[/caption] Here at Nature Canada we are trying to do our bit to help the Rufa Red Knot.  For example, Nature Canada, with the support of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation, supports the Moose Cree First Nation’s efforts to nominate and recognize a Western Hemisphere Reserve Network Site within their homelands along James Bay.  Southern James Bay is of tremendous importance to the Rufa Red Knot, especially for the flight south from the breeding grounds.  There are no Horseshoe Crabs in James Bay, but there are tiny clams and other invertebrates on which the Knots and hundreds of thousands of other shorebirds feast.  Rufa Red Knots stop over along James Bay by the thousands starting in late July with the adults followed by juveniles from mid August to early September.  After fattening up, they continue on to the Gulf of St. Lawrence or the Atlantic coast of Canada and the USA, before flying over the Atlantic to the north coast of South America, on route to Tierra del Fuego. The Moose Cree have become increasingly involved in shorebird conservation and monitoring since Lillian Trapper of the Moose Cree participated in WHSRN’s 25th anniversary celebration on Delaware Bay in 2011.  As well as being one of the presenters at the official ceremony, Ms Trapper also participated in shorebird capture and banding on Delaware Bay, led by renowned Red Knot scientist and advocate Dr. Larry Niles.  In the past few years, more Moose Cree have participated in summer shorebird camps on their homelands, organized by the Canadian Wildlife Service and in the spring at the Delaware Bay.  This involvement is building local interest and capacity to monitor shorebirds and promote conservation and awareness within their Nation at this extremely important site for the Knot, which is also of extreme importance to geese and other waterfowl that are a staple in the local Cree diet.  The Moose Cree’s interest and determination to ensure a healthy ecosystem for all wildlife and protect this and other areas in their homelands is inspiring. [caption id="attachment_36303" align="alignright" width="300"] Red Knots, photo by Paul Smith.[/caption] Since 2012 Nature Canada has also worked to protect shorebirds in partnership with the Cree Nation Government, the Cree Nation of Waskaganish, the Cree Trappers Association and the Eeyou Marine Region Wildlife Board, in the Eeyou Istchee region (James Bay Cree – Quebec) of James Bay thanks to financial support from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship program (HSP).  We have succeeded in proving the importance for shorebirds and species at risk, including the Rufa Red Knot of Rupert Bay, of the southeastern side of James Bay, including the islands within the homelands of the Cree Nation of Waskaganish.  Much of this area is part of a new candidate Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA).  To learn more about the importance of James Bay Cree homelands to shorebirds, check out this short Youtube video.


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Who inspires you? | Remembering Great Canadian Naturalists
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Who inspires you? | Remembering Great Canadian Naturalists

This blog was written by Nature Canada guest blogger Sherry Nigro.


Most Canadians regard Nature as part of our collective identity - but where does our connection to Nature begin? 

Much of the credit lies with great Canadian naturalists past and present.  Their ability to celebrate, educate and advocate, for the geography, flora and fauna of Canada, has inspired generations of naturalists.  They are explorers, scientists, teachers, environmentalists, policy makers, health care providers, spiritual leaders and artists.  They are farmers, fishermen and hunters.  They are parents, grandparents, friends and social clubs.  Here are a few of the Canadian naturalists who have inspired me.
Indigenous peoples The wisdom of Canada's First Nations and Inuit has always been captivating to me- how they lived in harmony with the natural world based on their deep knowledge of plants and animals, the cycles of Nature and their respectful spirituality.  Imagine the hardships of the prairie blizzard, the mosquito infested boreal forests, the heaving relentless oceans.  Survival depended on their ability to create shelter and clothing, obtain food, and utilize the offerings of the natural world.  And it depended on their ability to see beauty, find joy, and develop a sacred connection to Mother Earth.  How fortunate we have been to have these wise stewards and environmental champions as part of our Canadian heritage. [caption id="attachment_36261" align="alignright" width="150"] David Suzuki, picture from the David Suzuki Foundation.[/caption] David Suzuki He is a passionate environmentalist who came into my living room to explain the mysteries of Nature.  Named one of the greatest Canadians of all times in 2004, David Suzuki has inspired hundreds of thousands of Canadians to care about the natural world. David Thompson Perhaps most famous for his cartography skills in mapping the interior of the continent in the late 1700s, David Thompson's keen observational skills introduced the Canadian wilderness to Europeans.  He was prolific with interest in astronomy (indigenous peoples knew him as Man Who Looks at Stars or Stargazer), plants, animals, birds and natural phenomenon. [caption id="attachment_36265" align="alignleft" width="150"] Robert Bateman, pictured by Acadia University.[/caption] Many of the early explorers were naturalists; Henry Kelsey, Alexander Mackenzie, Samuel Hearne, Anthony Henday left journals that document their travels detailing geographical, biological and sociological aspects of the great Canadian wilderness[1]. [caption id="attachment_36617" align="alignright" width="150"] Mabel Frances Whittemore.[/caption] Robert Bateman What David Suzuki did with television, Robert Bateman did with a paint brush.  His detailed renderings of animals in their element have raised awareness of the strength, grace, ferocity and fragility found in Nature. Reginald Whittemore & Mabel Frances Reginald Whittemore founded what would eventually become Nature Canada in 1939 when he launched the magazine Canadian Nature. The magazine was published in honour of Reginald’s late wife, Mabel Frances — an educator and nature lover whose main goal in life was to share her passion for nature with others.
Other great Canadian naturalists include Catherine Parr Trail (1802-1899) who was one of the first to document wildflowers and native plants.  Leon Abel Provancher (1820-1892) was a Catholic priest and naturalist who is known as the father of Natural History in Canada.  Ian McTaggart Cowan (1910-2010) is the father of Canadian Ecology.  Jack Miner (1865-1944) used the practice of banding to better understand migratory birds. He established bird sanctuaries that still exist today.  Louise de Kiriline Lawrence (1894-1992) became a renowned ornithologist. Of course I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the influence of my parents.   Both were born of Saskatchewan homesteader stock and have a deep respect and love for Nature. They always made time to share their discoveries- the first crocus of the spring, moose tracks in the yard, an osprey nest, a spectacular sunset.  There is research that shows that parents are instrumental in helping children connect to nature[2]. Research aside, my relationship with Nature is very much related to my parents' values and beliefs. At a time when we worry that Canadians are losing touch with Nature, it is important to remember the great accomplishments of our naturalists, and how they engage, educate and inspire us, whether they are career environmentalists, weekend hobbyists or great bed time storytellers.

Tell me, who inspires you?


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[1]Waiser, Bill.   2016.  A World We Have Lost:  Saskatchewan before 1905.  Fifth House Limited. Markham, Ontario. [2] The David Suzuki Foundation. 2012. Youth Engagement with Nature and the Outdoors: a summary of survey findings.

Your Voices for Nature Matter!
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Your Voices for Nature Matter!

[caption id="attachment_36239" align="alignleft" width="150"] Jodi Joy, the Director of Development and Conservation at Nature Canada.[/caption] Thank you to the thousands of Canadians like you who called for the government to invest in more wilderness protection for wildlife! Time and time again we are inspired by how deeply you care about nature and your commitment to protecting it. Using our collective voices is what makes a difference, and, as we saw with the 2018 Federal Budget, as a united front, we will influence change. Never doubt that your voice matters for wildlife and landscapes across Canada, and for all of us at Nature Canada! I always love receiving notes from our members because it reminds me how many Canadians are truly nurtured by nature, and the importance of nature for millions of lives across the country! Long-time members such as Dorothy from British-Columbia, make it clear to us why protecting nature is important. She exclaimed that “Caring for our natural environment is at the heart of the health and well-being of all Canadians. We need strong laws in place that put nature first.” And for the past few months we have been striving to do exactly that as we are making our voices heard and telling politicians to strengthen environmental laws across Canada. As Peter, a member since 1997, puts it plainly, “Inaction is the thief of time, start with small steps, they’ll lead to much larger, more ambitious commitments to protect nature.” Together, we have taken thousands of small steps forward for nature. There are many more steps to take, and your devoted support is something that will make the journey more enjoyable.


Here are a few other quotes from devoted Nature Canada members:

“Caring for our natural environment is at the heart of the health and well-being of all Canadians. We need strong laws in place that put nature first.” Dorothy from BC, who has been a member since 1999.

A plea from Patrick, a SK member since 2014 that we are happy to work for, “Please protect our valuable nature capital - it is our future.”

A final, parting thought from member of twenty-two years, Ruth in Ontario, “Many of us despair about what’s happening to our planet & its wildlife & our environment. Nature Canada gives us a spark of hope.”


Thank you to everyone that called for the government to invest in more wilderness protection for wildlife! Never doubt that your voices matter for nature, from coast, to coast, to coast!


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An Update, and Our Thoughts on Environmental Laws
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An Update, and Our Thoughts on Environmental Laws

[caption id="attachment_36177" align="alignleft" width="150"] Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel[/caption] The next few months in Parliament will be critical to defending nature in Canada. Your voice is really needed. Several draft laws that could help reverse the decline of Canada’s endangered species and support truly sustainable development are now being debated in Parliament. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore and strengthen legal protections that were eliminated or weakened by the previous government. But the draft environmental assessment law is not nearly strong enough, and industry is already lobbying hard to weaken it further. In early February, Nature Canada shared its thoughts on the proposed bill and how this bill will impact Canadians. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCsVIJdjMxo&t=2s Here are several amendments that nature needs in the environmental assessment law.

  • Put back legal requirements. Federal decisions to regulate or provide funding to developments should not go forward until good information on the possible harm to nature is presented. Ministers should have much less much discretion in the new law to water down the assessment process.
  • Development in National Parks and National Wildlife Areas or in critical habitat for species at risk should be fully assessed as a matter of law. Nature must come first in our protected places.
  • The public must have a legal right to participate meaningfully in assessments, and the right to ask questions at hearings.
The Prime Minister and your local Member of Parliament need to hear that people support a stronger law to protect nature. Our thanks to thousands of Canadians like YOU for calling on Parliamentarians to improve the environmental assessment law and stand up to industry lobbyists.
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Federal and Provincial Governments Fail Climate Audit
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Federal and Provincial Governments Fail Climate Audit

[caption id="attachment_36177" align="alignleft" width="150"] Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel[/caption] Federal and provincial governments are not on track to meet their commitments to reducing GHG emissions and are not ready for the impacts of climate change says a collaborative audit by Auditors General from across Canada and the Federal Environment Commissioner. Nature Canada’s view is that this collaborative audit is a staggering rebuke to provincial and federal governments in terms of the actual performance of governments (as opposed to promises and intentions)  in addressing climate change. The Auditors General conclude that: “Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target.  Meeting the 2030 target will require efforts and actions beyond those in place” . . . “Most Canadian governments have not assessed, and, therefore, do not fully understand what risks they face and what actions they should take to adapt to a changing climate” The response of federal and provincial deputy ministers of Environment  to the collaborative audit is baffling in that they barely  acknowledge the criticisms of the Auditors General, claiming that “good progress has been made”, when that is clearly not the case. Nature Canada strongly urges all governments to consider nature-based solutions to climate change (e.g., protect forests, wetlands and  grasslands that store carbon and mitigate effects of extreme weather events) rather than building subdivisions or monoculture agricultural fields on top of them.  

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Eastern Bluebirds: The Little Blue Bomber
Photo taken by François St. Onge
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Eastern Bluebirds: The Little Blue Bomber

What do they look like? Eastern Bluebirds are medium sized songbirds that measure from 16-21 centimeters long and 28-32 centimeters wide, at full wingspan. Males are the most identifiable by the deep blue feathers on their head and backs with a rusty discoloration on their chest. While the females have a much more pale blue coloration on their heads and backs, featuring heavy tones of grey. What do they eat? You may have seen them hanging out on power-lines or low hanging branches scanning the ground for prey. When hunting, they swoop down from their perches to catch bugs like grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. Eastern Bluebirds are skilled hunters that occasionally can snatch bugs out of midair. They are also known to eat various types of berries in the winter. Where can I find them? Found in eastern North America from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia all the way down to Nicaragua, Eastern Bluebirds will often migrate from Canada to the southern United States after their mating season. They prefer wide-open areas such as farms, grasslands, roadsides and sometimes suburbs. These areas often provide natural cavities to nest in, their favorites being: hollowed trees and old woodpecker holes. These areas are also, far from their natural predators who nest in more heavily forested areas. Predators of the Eastern Bluebird range from sparrows to Tree Swallows and House Wrens. How do they nest? The nesting season for Eastern Bluebirds starts as early as February and can last until September. Nests are constructed from materials found closest to an Eastern Bluebird’s nest. These materials consist of weeds, twigs and dry grass with animal hair or feathers lining of the nest. Males use these materials to entice females to nest with them, showing that they have the resources required to nest with their mates. Can I meet one!? If you have a large tract of lawn space with very few trees or have a park with similar circumstances near you, bird feeders and nesting boxes may be great ways to see Eastern Bluebirds. Bird Feeder While Eastern Bluebirds will eat from bird feeders, it is important to note that they will not be enticed by them unless small worms or bugs are offered. Mealworms have been known to be a great ingredient to supplement your bird feed with alongside other foods such as peanut hearts, suet and fruit are recommended Nest Box The nesting habits of the Eastern Bluebird make them prime candidates for homemade nest boxes. The instructions to construct your own nest box can be found here. It is important to properly maintain and observe your nest box. Instructions on how to protect your nest boxes can be found here.

International Day of Forests: Saying Thank You to Our Tall, Green Protectors
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International Day of Forests: Saying Thank You to Our Tall, Green Protectors

International Day of Forests This blog was written by Intern Gabriel Planas When is it? March 21 So what is it? The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations created the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate the importance of forests by raising awareness about the ways in which trees help and sustain us even in our increasingly urbanized environment. This year’s theme is around ‘Forests and Sustainable Cities’ with a focus on the urban forested areas. What’s the significance? While we are all accustomed to the presence of trees in our neighbourhoods, the sight of widespread forests is becoming rarer with 13 million hectares of forests destroyed globally every year. This is becoming an increasingly larger concern as forests play an important role in providing habitat for almost 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity. Forests also provide an invaluable tool to help curb climate change by storing carbon, filtrating air and water, and reducing noise pollution. Just one acre of trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people to last a year. In addition to their irreplaceable ability to filtrate both air and water, forests provide other benefits to our day-to-day urban life. Urban forests help to prevent flooding, disease and have shown to cool the air by between 2 and 6 degrees. Well-maintained urban forests and other greenspaces can help improve mental health, encourage physical activity and provide a space for communities to come together. These greenspaces can also provide comfortable and calming areas, and help reduce noise from the rest of the city. Not to mention, a city with an abundance of trees and greenspace is much more aesthetic and beautiful too!      On this International Day of Forests, take a moment to appreciate the trees around you, and all that they do. How do I get involved?

  • Step out of your front door into your NatureHood, your local forest is teeming with things to see and places to explore! Even better, bring your families outside into nature and learn about the types of trees that are in your neighbourhood!
  • Make sure that while you are out there exploring to take a picture of a tree in your yard or neighbourhood and share on social media with the hashtag #IntlForestDay. Compete with your friends for the best picture or just show off what your city has to offer, and help spread the good word about the trees!
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Teaching kids about nature AND curriculum… it’s easier than you think!
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Teaching kids about nature AND curriculum… it’s easier than you think!

Children are increasingly spending less time outdoors and in nature. Hundreds of studies have shown that being in nature has both health benefits and improves your capacity to learn. By exposing kids to nature on a regular basis, they’ll reap the health benefits and increase their capacity to learn. Nature Canada's NatureHood program provides children and their families increased opportunities to explore and develop a long-lasting relationship with nature in their communities, and contribute to a healthier lifestyle. NatureHood aims to inspire children with a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature, creating future leaders to protect the natural places in our communities. Nature Canada developed a Do-It-Yourself Toolkit for educators that includes resources and support for nature-based learning. And the best part? You don’t have to leave the schoolyard! The NatureBlitz Toolkit is a guide for educators on how to run a NatureBlitz in the schoolyard. What is a NatureBlitz? It’s simply observing the plants, animals and environment around us in a given amount of time. A NatureBlitz can be done in any season, and almost anywhere - including a schoolyard! It will feel like a field trip, but without all the paperwork! NatureBlitzes are easy to plan, execute, and incorporate into the curriculum. What’s more, NatureBlitzes can be tailored to work with any subject that students are learning about. Link together math with finding patterns in leaves, languages with writing about what was seen during the NatureBlitz, and science with observing what sort of animals frequent your schoolyard!  Still curious about what a NatureBlitz is and how you can hold one in your school’s yard? Take a look at a video from a past NatureBlitz at Regina Street Public School (in Ottawa, Ontario), and hear about what both a teacher and a student have to say about their experience! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13EmKOlN8vc&t=12s Reconnect your students to nature, and have fun teaching them about curriculum subjects at the same time. They’ll thank you for it! Click here to download the NatureBlitz Toolkit.

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