Nature Canada

Press Release: Save Our Swallows Workshop at Sycamore Farm

July 27, 2019, Lambton – On Saturday, Nature Canada and the National Farmers Union hosted an event for the public to help spread bird-friendly farming across southern Ontario.

Canadian bird populations are in trouble. Aerial insectivores – a group of birds that prey on insects while flying – are the most at-risk group of birds in Canada, having lost 59 percent of their population since 1970, according to the 2019 State of Canada’s Birds report.

Local MPP Bob Bailey and Stephanie Rogers, an Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) volunteer, formally congratulated Nature Canada on the work they’ve been doing in three different areas of the province since receiving a $245,800 Grow grant from OTF in 2018.

The “Save Our Swallows” campaign has been energized by the grant, enabling Nature Canada to mobilize communities and work with partners – like the National Farmers Union – to spread awareness about bird-friendly farming practices.

Funds from the grant are being used over a two-year period to help with staffing, hosting workshops and rental venues, communications, training, buying program materials to build bird homes and some administrative costs as well.

“I’d like to recognize the efforts of Nature Canada and the National Farmers Union to protect species at risk in Lambton County through the successful Save Our Swallows campaign. By working with different groups in communities across the province, Nature Canada is spreading awareness of how small changes can have a big impact on the long-term success of these native species,” said  Bob Bailey, MPP.

On Saturday, Felicia Syer Nicol, President of the National Farmers Union’s Lambton chapter, used her farm to host a demonstration event focused on sharing bird-friendly practices.

Felicia and her partner Justin, along with local naturalist expert Larry Cornelis, guided guests on a tour of their property. Highlights included their efforts to help bird populations recover by demonstrating their own practices relating to bird conservation and distributing native plants to participants.

Native plants are an excellent way to provide food and shelter to wildlife – including birds and pollinators. Participants also helped build Tree Swallow nest boxes and learned about how to manage the nesting units to successfully help birds.

This is the second year of Nature Canada’s “Save Our Swallows” campaign. The program also includes roost monitoring, improving breeding habitat and working with rural residents to protect species such as Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, Bank Swallows, and Purple Martins.

You can learn more about Nature Canada’s “Save Our Swallows” campaign by visiting: www.naturecanada.ca/SOS 

“Events like these are a fundamental way to work with our partners to reach into the farming and rural Ontario world where we really need to make a difference in terms of habitat management and sustainability,” said Ted Cheskey, Nature Canada’s naturalist director.

“We are at a time when words are not enough. Working with partners to expand practices and behaviors that are beneficial to our declining bird species populations is essential and our basic strategy.  They have the connections to rural residents, and our relationship with them is essential if we are to make progress in helping our wildlife that is in the most trouble such as the swallows. We are very grateful for our partnership with NFU Lambton, and especially to Felicia for hosting this demo event at her farm.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s leading granting foundations. OTF awarded $108 million to 629 projects last year to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. www.otf.ca

 

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For more information about the event, or to organize interviews on the topic, please contact:

 

Ted Cheskey, Naturalist Director, Nature Canada

tcheskey@naturecanada.ca, 613-562-3447, ext 227

 

Aly Hyder Ali, Conservation Coordinator, Nature Canada

ahyderali@naturecanada.ca, 613-562-3447, ext 238

 

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