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Women for Nature – Cara MacMillan
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Women for Nature – Cara MacMillan

Featuring Women for Nature member Cara MacMillan. Written by fellow Women for Nature member Tracey Mosley.

T: What inspires you to your work and life?  Were there childhood experiences or interests which have stayed with you into adult life? 

C: As a proud Canadian, I am glad to be a citizen of a country which tries to be respectful.   I am in awe of the power of nature. I was quite young when I read “Roughing it in the Bush” by Suzanna Moodie for the first time.  Recalling that story of people coming to Canada with nothing allows me to reflect on the importance of community especially when we live in a country where nature is so expansive.

I was the kid who often brought home wounded animals.  I can still recall rescuing a turtle, a frog and several birds.  I never wanted to keep them.  I wanted to heal and release them.  As a child, I lived near an acreage of marshland.   Walking through it, I always found that there was something needing care. The marshland has long been developed into a shopping mall. I remember watching the front end loader demolish the creek and I wanted to do something. I promised myself that one day I would.

[caption id="attachment_41760" align="alignnone" width="179"] Women for Nature
member Cara MacMillan[/caption]

Those early experiences inspired me to work with companies that are passionate about adapting to climate change in the belief that environmental stewardship and social justice has the potential to reverse the negative effects of that change.

T: If you were to be remembered for something, what would it be?

I am very proud that my husband and I can see a personal legacy in our children, who have grown up committed to follow their own unique mission.  We are pleased that they have developed their own intentions to give back to the world.

Professionally, I am proud that my company Halcyon Consulting Group became a Certified B Corporation in July of 2017. B Corps is an international community of leaders who seek to use their businesses for social and environmental good.   Those who accept B Corps certification do so knowing that they can be scrutinized to ensure they meet the standards of the certification, with observers able to vote on whether we meet those standards.  I am pleased to say that Halcyon has received high votes for “economic empowerment for the underserved” as well as “civic engagement and giving”.

T: You have an interest in the wellbeing of the Canadian environment as the home of First Nations who live on the land. Can you share how this interest has helped shape your personal or professional development?

In 2016, I drove almost 8 hours, by myself, to reach the Cree Nation of Waswanapi to deliver blankets, quilts, clothes, toys, craft supplies, household linens and art, donated by St Maurice Catholic Church in Ottawa.  I fell in love our northern landscape.

I observed a serenity and joy in the Waswanapi community elders that I had never before seen in any person.  One of the leaders of the community cooked a moose heart stew to celebrate Moose Week. I am a vegetarian but I have to say it was of the best meals that I have ever eaten. The Cree respect the moose in a way that we have lost.  I lost my way by referring to “natural resources” instead of “nature”.

I believe that we in the urban south have a moral responsibility to invite our First Nations women leaders to the table; to give them a voice and a network. Together we can build an interdependent Canada.

T: Given that the mission of Women for Nature is, “To protect and conserve wildlife and habitats in Canada by engaging people and advocating on behalf of nature”; what personal values do you draw upon in approaching that mission?

C: I try to live by three rules that I have taught my children:  respect yourself; respect each other; and respect what we have been blessed with. If you respect yourself, you will take care of yourself and that which nurtures you. If you respect each other, you will be able to hear a quiet voice coming from the distance. You will speak out when someone is poisoning your water source or hurting someone else. If you respect what we have been blessed with, you will take note of your place in nature.  We each need to speak up and be accountable for the earth we share.

T: Who were your mentors?  What education or experiential choices did you make as you developed career goals? 

C: When I was a young adult, I believed that career was fluid.  I began my career in the mailroom of IBM, where I quickly learned that I would have to gain more education if I wanted to progress.  I was able to transfer to a research and development lab, where I loved to listen to and speak with the scientists who worked there. It was so many years ago, but those scientists were already concerned with the environmental impact of electronics and the environmental impact of the end-life of computers.  That was 25 years ago! The scientists sparked my love of learning. My commitment to lifelong learning brought me to a MBA and now my DBA. My research and work is in strategy and innovation.

Ann Dale, our Women for Nature co-chair, is my mentor.   Ann is a Dean and Professor at Royal Roads University, researching and teaching in the area of environment and sustainability. 

T: Can you reflect on lessons learned or problems solved that you can see might be the basis of guidance for young women? Have you any specific suggestions for how young women can keep from feeling defeated?

C: We need to recognize that we benefit and learn as much from the mentoring process as do those whom we mentor.  I learned by observing Waswanapi elders who guided, but did not seek to control. If we want to be guides we need to respect the spark inside each other. We need to commit to never diminish each other’s spark as we guide and work together.

Everyone has dreams, regardless of status and background, and everyone is told “No.”  So you have the choice to respect yourself or fail.  You may have been given a dream because the world needs you to act on it.  If you walk away from your dream, we all lose.

Battle for the Bats: White-nose syndrome hits Newfoundland
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Battle for the Bats: White-nose syndrome hits Newfoundland

We silently crouched in a small open field, eyes strained and scanning the horizon as the last of  the sun’s rays dipped from view. In the midst of summer, we waited on the outskirts of a small coastal town in Newfoundland, ready for the action to begin. A cacophony of squeaks vibrated through the air above, before a lone furry silhouette darted into the night. Finally, the moment we were waiting for is here. One by one, the bats emerged from a hole in the side of an old building, no bigger than an inch. It was surrealbefore us flew countless acrobats, twisting and gliding through the air. As the mosquitoes buzzed around our awestruck faces, a bat suddenly swooped in from behind me to snap up the insect, barely a foot away from my face. The only evidence of the encounter was the lingering gust of wind from its passing wingbeat. I had never seen so many bats in my entire life as almost a hundred took to the night sky. It’s hard to imagine that soon this roost will be all but wiped out. This sobering thought is all because of a seemingly small and insignificant fungusa white fluffy organism that grows on a handful of bat species. This fungus is at the heart of white-nose syndrome, an epidemic that is single-handedly decimating bat populations across the continent. Once a bat is infected, the disease causes them to wake up mid-hibernation. Caught in the cold of winter, they quickly run through their energy stores before the relief of spring. Mortality rates in infected hibernacula can range upwards of 75%, meaning that entire roosts can be wiped out in a single season.  For a long time, white-nose syndrome was landlocked, reaching from Manitoba to the Maritimes. With Newfoundland separated from mainland Canada, scientists hoped that the island could act as an ideal bat refuge. However, in 2018, in a tranquil town only a ten-minute drive from the roost I was in awe of, one of the first recorded cases of white-nose syndrome in Newfoundland was discovered. The beginning of the end. With the disease able to spread over 200 kilometres per year, it won’t be long until the entire island is impacted. It’s hard to imagine returning to this spot next year with baited breath, to see if this currently vibrant roost has become yet another casualty. The odds aren't looking good. [caption id="attachment_38640" align="alignleft" width="300"] © Brett Forsyth[/caption] The loss of these bats can be even more keenly felt than just being a lost source of wonder. They are integral not only to the ecosystem, but to us humans. For example, as the bats swooped and swirled around us, they were picking off the mosquitoes diligently attacking any exposed skin. While some southern bat species are fruit-eaters and excellent pollinators, bats in Canada exclusively eat insects. They consume thousands of bugs, not only making them an important part of the food chain, but also phenomenal natural pest controllers. As bat numbers dwindle, this means that more insects are making it to our plants and crops, therefore negatively impacting the agricultural industry. The devastating reach of white-nose syndrome extends far beyond the roost. There is currently no cure for white-nose syndrome. I can not begin to describe how hard it is to write this—it feels like too hopeless of a statement to voice out loud. However, scientists are racing to find a solution. Some strategies include using bacteria, UV light, or chemicals to prevent fungal growth. While these methods haven’t found widespread success, at least they offer a glimmer of hope that we may be able to save these bat species. While scientists are working to find the cure, there is plenty that we, as citizen scientists, can do to help. For example, The Canadian Wildlife Federation has outlined a myriad of ways that we can be heroes for bats; from reporting bat sightings on iNaturalist, to adding plants to the garden that attract bats’ prey, there’s no limit to the ways you can make a difference. If you live in the Ottawa area, you can even borrow Nature Canada’s bat detectors and conduct your own bat surveys in your neighbourhood. Another way to help is to add bat boxes to your property. These shelters provide useful roosting sites, especially in urban centers where suitable habitats are in low supply. There are still many of ways to fight back. As I look back on my mesmerizing bat encounter, I choose to remember it as a wakeup call. A chance for me to get active and get this story out there. To give a voice to the countless wings that darted around me on that summer night. It’s easy to fall into a stupor of hopelessness, where we choose inaction as the easiest pathafter all, why bother trying to solve the seemingly unfixable? It’s by us standing up, raising awareness, and caring that makes all the difference. It’s time to battle for the bats.

No Drilling in the Arctic Refuge, President Trump!
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No Drilling in the Arctic Refuge, President Trump!

For nearly 80 years, Nature Canada has been an active voice standing up for nature. Over this time, we protected over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and countless species that depend on this habitat. Today is no different. Nature Canada is collaborating with Indigenous groups and nature and environmental allies in the U.S and Canada to oppose all oil and gas activities on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Arctic Refuge) in Alaska. June 19, 2018 is the last day of the Trump administration’s 60-day comment period on an environmental review of selling drilling leases in the Arctic  Refuge. The U.S Bureau of Land Management recently released a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environment Impact Statement for the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program. This decision will affect both Americans and Canadians. [caption id="attachment_37512" align="alignright" width="300"] Porcupine Caribou at Blow River Crossing.[/caption] The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is the calving ground to the vast Porcupine caribou herd, which migrates back and forth from Yukon and the Northwest Territories in Canada to Alaska every year—the world’s longest migration of land mammals. It is also home to the people of Gwich’in First Nation who call the land “lizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” meaning “The Scared Place Where Life Begins.” The Porcupine caribou are a symbol of hope for many and an integral part of this northern ecosystem. When they when arrive on the coastal plain, adult female caribou (called cows) are in their weakest state. They go through “synchronous calving” meaning they give birth at the same time as a survival strategy. After birth, the cows depend on the coastal plain's protein-rich food to produce milk. The caribou are incredibly sensitive to disturbance and construction on the land could upset their feeding, breeding and migratory habits and could lead them to abandon their calving grounds. Indigenous communities in the Yukon, NWT and Alaska, along with many other Canadians, oppose oil and gas drilling that will disturb the calving grounds. Drilling poses a threat to the subsistence and culture of these Indigenous people and the wildlife, animals and plants they rely on. Dana Tizya-Tramm, Councilor, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation commented: “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.”

“Nature Canada believes 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 over 14,670 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.”
  We would like to remind decision-makers that this is also a deeply Canadian issue and we will continue to stand up against oil and gas development on lands that serve as the beating heart of an ancient ecosystem.  We would like to thank our nearly 15,000 members and supporters for signing, commenting and engaging with us to voice your concerns against oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Nature Canada stands with the Gwich'in First Nation and supports the efforts of indigenous people in Canada and the United States to protect their human rights, food security, irreplaceable wild lands, wildlife and our climate. We also call for the Environmental Impact Statement to address international treaty obligations of the United States to Canada under the International Porcupine Caribou Treaty and the Migratory Birds Treaty. Nature Canada and its supporters stand alongside 24 allies to strengthen the chorus of concerns to protect ANWAR garnering over 654,787 individual comments in total from all groups. 

Please read Nature Canada's Letter of Submission to the US Bureau of Land Management.

Visit CPAWS Yukon website for further information on the Porcupine Caribou and their migratory journey, and read the Group Thank You Letter to the Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Protection Act Leaders,the Cosponsor Arctic Cultural Coastal Plain Protection Act from 25 environmental organizations, as well as the Scoping Comments to the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program EIS.
For media coverage on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, see below CTV: Canadians sign letter opposing U.S. Arctic drilling in wildlife sanctuary National Post: Canadians sign letter opposing U.S. Arctic drilling in wildlife sanctuary Winnipeg Free Press: Canadians sign letter opposing U.S. Arctic drilling in wildlife sanctuary Vancouver Courier: Canadians sign letter opposing U.S Arctic drilling in wildlife sanctuary
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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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Feathered Vagabonds: Facts about Bird Migration
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Feathered Vagabonds: Facts about Bird Migration

This article was written by Nature Canada guest blogger RuiLin Guo. Migration is an astounding feat. And birds truly exemplify the wanderer’s spirit – over 4000 species are regular migrants, which is around 40% of all known bird species in the world! Over the past several weeks, a myriad of birds made the airborne trek from their wintering grounds back to their breeding sites in Canada. Perhaps you've seen the spectacular diversity of species at birding hotspots like Point Pelee, or maybe you've simply enjoyed the extra birdsong around your home. With birds arriving predictably as clockwork year over year, it's easy to forget how incredible an undertaking migration really is. As we wrap up this year's spring migration season, here are some fascinating facts about feathered migrants from around the world: [caption id="attachment_37102" align="alignright" width="300"] Arctic Tern in Inner Farne.[/caption] The ultra marathon: The record for the longest migration ever goes to an elegant seabird, the Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea). Their longest recorded journey was over 80,000 km – the equivalent of circling the earth three times! Arctic terns chase the sunshine, experiencing two summers as they travel from their breeding grounds in the Arctic circle to Antarctica. The high flyers: Climbing Everest is a remarkable achievement, but what about flying over it? Bar-Headed Geese (Anser indicus) migrate clear over the Himalayan mountain range and reach altitudes of over 9 km above sea level, making them the world's highest-flying migrants. The highest altitude ever though? That record goes to a poor Rüppell's Griffon Vulture (Gyps rueppelli), which unfortunately got sucked into a jet engine at over 11k m above sea level! [caption id="attachment_37105" align="alignleft" width="300"] Bar-headed Goose, photo by Dr. Tejinder Singh Rawal.[/caption] The small but mighty: Hummingbirds may weigh no less than a nickel, but they make astounding long-distance journeys year after year. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) can fly 2100 km between Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and the southeastern US every year, possibly travelling non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico! While not an overseas journey, the longest-distance hummingbird migrant is the Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) - one was recorded to have travelled a staggering 5600 km! Rufous Hummingbirds follow the blooming of flowering plants along the west coast, between Alaska and Mexico. The non-stop action: The Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica), a type of long-billed shorebird, is a true picture of endurance. They have the longest recorded non-stop flight of any bird, flying for 9 days over the Pacific Ocean without stopping for food or rest. [caption id="attachment_37103" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird.[/caption] The big feast: Such intensive migratory feats require a lot of energy and many birds undergo something called hyperphagia, where they can more than double their weight! Each year before migration season, many birds feed intensely so their stored fat can then be used for energy while migrating. The nomads: While most people think of migration as “going south for winter”, there are actually many types of migration, some of which are far less predictable. Nomadic birds such as waxwings (Bombycilla spp.) wander erratically within their range based on the availability of food and water, while irruptive migrants like Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus) undergo highly unpredictable migrations en-masse far outside their usual range. These are just some examples of the incredible migrations undertaken by birds - truly among the greatest travellers of the animal kingdom. So the next time you hear the first robin's song heralding spring or see geese flying in orderly V's in autumn's glow, maybe you'll take a moment to reflect on their journeys.


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Sources https://www.audubon.org/news/9-awesome-facts-about-bird-migration https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/featured-stories/birds/alaskas-amazing-rufous-hummingbird/ https://www.thespruce.com/fun-facts-about-hummingbirds-387106 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3484329/Now-s-long-haul-flight-Tiny-hummingbird-travels-1-300-miles-WITHOUT-break-yearly-migration.html https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/animal-migration-13259533 https://www.thespruce.com/types-of-bird-migration-386055
 

Climate Change is costing Fred, Martha and Canada’s biodiversity
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Climate Change is costing Fred, Martha and Canada’s biodiversity

[caption id="attachment_36177" align="alignleft" width="150"] Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel[/caption] On Thursday May 24, Stephen Hazell, Director of Conservation and General Counsel at Nature Canada, testified before the Senate Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee. He voiced Nature Canada’s support for the proposed Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. This proposed legislation would put a price on carbon emissions (initially $10 per tonne) released when fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel oil are burned. Stephen opened by stating that climate change is probably the biggest global threat to nature and biodiversity, and pointed out that carbon pricing clearly has been demonstrated to be the most economically efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. After describing the failed promises and inaction over three decades of Liberal and Conservative governments to put a price on carbon, Stephen reviewed the catastrophic impacts that extreme weather events linked to climate change have had on Canadian communities in the past decade

The Cost of Catastrophes

  • The City of Calgary had two “100-year floods” in 8 years, the most recent of which in 2013 resulted in $6 billion in financial losses and property damage.
  • In May 2016 almost 90,000 people were evacuated from Fort McMurray due to wildfires. Thousands of homes were reduced to ash. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Fort McMurray wildfire is the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history, with an estimated $3.77 billion in claims filed by mid-November 2016.
  • In spring 2017, the military was called in to deal with flooding in Montreal, Gatineau and Ottawa. The flooding caused more than $220 million dollars in insurable damage in Ottawa alone.
  • Last summer, British Columbia recorded the worst fire season in the history of the province. More than 1,300 fires burned more than 1.2 million hectares, displacing 65,000 people from their homes and costing B.C. over $500 million.

Fred & Martha need the government to take action on Climate Change

The bottom line is that the costs of inaction on climate change now far exceed the costs of action. In response to a question from Sen. Neufeld about how the ‘Freds & Marthas’--average Canadians struggling to make ends meet-- could pay higher gas prices, Stephen noted that he also worries about the Freds and Marthas whose homes have been flooded or burned down in the Saint John Valley, Gatineau, Fort McMurray and Grand Forks as well as Freds and Marthas in Surrey who may lose their homes as sea levels rise. Stephen added that there are Freds and Marthas across Canada who seriously affected by climate change already, and we have to look after all of them. Stephen then argued that the key is to make a start now to reduce Canada’s carbon pollution and stop fiddling while our communities burn and drown. Nature Canada urges the Senate to complete its review and enact this bill in an expeditious manner.

Watch the video below for more on Nature Canada's stance on the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.

https://youtu.be/hZ_uHIH9Vw8  
For more on this Nature Canada's advocacy work, please consult the following Hazell at the House of Commons on Bill C-69 Graham Saul on Climate Change, Carbon Pricing and Ordinary Canadians
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How to Take Action & Protect Waterways
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How to Take Action & Protect Waterways

Protecting our waterways is important for wildlife species and humans alike, here are a few simple practices that we can take to help preserve the health of all bodies of water.

1. Shoreline Clean Up

Participate in, or to organize a shoreline clean up! A  clean-up consists of volunteers walking along a river, lake or ocean's shoreline and picking up  garbage and debris. This is helpful because it prevents tonnes of garbage and debris from going into, or back into rivers.

2. Report Illegal Dumping

Another way to get involved is to report illegal river dumping and pollution. We are all aware that there are people and companies that feel free to dump garbage and harmful pollutants into our rivers. These individuals and/or organizations should be reported so that they can be stopped, as their actions can harm any person or animal that comes in contact with tainted water. Reports of illegal dumping and pollution can be made to the respective authorities in each province, or city. One of the many reasons that pollution takes place is because perpetrators constantly get away with it and aren’t held accountable for their actions. There are many groups that seek to protect the environment and work hard to stop these instances of pollution from occurring. Making these groups aware of what is happening, or better yet, getting involved with them can have a great impact as they can put forth a diligent effort to stop illegal activity.

3. Prevent pollution year round

  • Change fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. If you use fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides, it is best to use environmentally-friendly products so that your plants, flowers, and crops are protected, as well as all water systems that ultimately lead to waterways.
  • Call for legislative reforms and policies. After reporting illegal dumping and pollution, you can follow up with elected officials about enacting and enforcing policies to keep our waterways safe.
  • Don’t flush or pour harmful chemicals down your drains. This is probably one of the easiest tips to follow. Always remember to properly dispose of any harmful chemicals you use.
  • Plant vegetation to help stop stormwater runoff. Trees and small bushes help ensure that stormwater runoff is reduced and help to safely transmit rain back to the river.
  • Educate others on the problem. Tell others about lake, river and ocean conservation can help raise awareness, and increase the number of people taking action.

Be careful – Turtles Crossing
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Be careful – Turtles Crossing

This blog post was written by Nature Canada guest blogger Robin Wakelin. Do you see signs like this around where you work or live? Or maybe you see them on your way to the cottage. I’ve encountered a surprising amount of people in my life who have not seen these signs before moving to the area where I currently work. These signs let you know that the road you’re driving on might run through a turtle habitat. Roads fragment most wetlands in Southern Ontario[1] and these are the preferred habitat of turtles. In the early summer, turtles look for mates and for territory to call their own[2]. Toward the end of summer, baby turtles have hatched and are usually travelling in small packs to find their new home.


It breaks my heart so see so many crushed turtles along these roads. We can easily prevent this and save turtles with a few small measures.
  1. Slow down. You don’t have to drive like you’re in a school zone when you see these signs, but obey the speed limit and…
  2. Keep your eyes peeled. Pay attention farther ahead on the road and start slowing down early if you see a small, dark spot up ahead. It may just be a turtle.
  3. Watch out in marshy areas. It would be redundant to keep posting the same sign intermittently along the road. Turtles tend to cross near marshy areas or small bodies of water.

When you do see a turtle, there are some important things to remember.

  1. Turtles may carry diseases. Therefore, keep a box of latex gloves in your car. If you ever need to help move a turtle, make sure to wear some gloves.
  2. Do your best to direct a turtle to a safe area rather than physically moving it. Especially in the case of snapping turtles. With turtles that are on the endangered list, like the Painted Turtle, it is encouraged that you do not move, disturb or pick up the turtle unless it is in immediate danger. If the turtle is found on the road and it is necessary to pick it up, remember to clasp both its shell and its stomach together. Do not pick it up by its shell as this can injure the turtle.
  3. Report the sighting. Something I just learned about is that you can help monitor the health of turtle populations just by reporting when and where you see them.
  4. If you see a turtle and there weren’t any signs in the area, request one! Find out more about that here.
  5. If a turtle is injured, you have contacted a wildlife centre and will transport it to its destination, the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre instructs us to:
    1. Put the turtle in a sturdy container (either a cardboard box, or plastic tote)
    2. Do not feed the turtle or add water - the centre will take care of that.
    3. Keep the turtle in a safe, cool, dark place so the he/she is not encouraged to move and worsen injuries.
If you see an injured turtle, call a local Turtle Conservation organization or other local wildlife centre for further instructions. Try to keep a number in your phone of a local group if there’s an area you frequent with turtle road signs. If you are in Ontario, the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center is the best place to contact.

Ontario Turtles in 2018

This information was provided to Nature Canada by the Ontario Turtle Conservation centre in Peterborough, Ontario. To date, as of May 31st 2018 there have been 225 individual turtles that have been brought into the centre. Of the 225, 164 have been admitted to the hospital after being hit by a car. See the table below for the breakdown of turtle species that have been brought into the centre.
Species
Up to 31 May 2018
Painted turtle
140
Snapping turtle
63
Blanding’s turtle
12
Map turtle
7
Wood turtle
3
Spotted turtle
0
Spiny softshell turtle
0
For those in and around the South East and Western Ontario, if you see a turtle that is in need of help, the centre recommends to contact them (705-741-5000) and, if possible, drive the turtle to the centre in Peterborough, Ontario. If the centre cannot find a ride for the turtle to our centre in Peterborough, they will link up with one of their First Response Centres, who have been trained by our veterinarian to provide immediate care, fluids, and stabilization of fractures to injured turtles.
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Read this article published last year by the CBC on the impact that human activity, specifically cars, had on turtles Sources [1] https://ontarioturtle.ca/get-involved/roads/ [2]http://www.turtlerescueleague.com/turtle-in-road

Indigenous Action and The Red Knot
Claudio Timm
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Indigenous Action and The Red Knot

Image of Rufus the Red KnotThe Red Knot The Rufa Red Knot is a subspecies of arctic-breeding shorebird that breed in the central arctic of Canada. It has a long, thin beak for probing sand, silt and mud. Its long legs allow it to navigate the shallow waters of the tidal flats, beaches, rocky headlands and coastal wetlands where it gathers to find safety in numbers from predators. Long wings allow it to travel thousands of kilometres per day during its migratory period. Rufa Red Knots fly over 30,000 kilometers a year, traveling from the central arctic of Canada to the southern tip of Chile. They brood up to four eggs in June for about three weeks, after which the mother starts her migration soon after the eggs hatch, while the father continues to tend its young until they can fly. These unique and vital birds are officially endangered, with only one Red Knot currently living for every ten that were alive 50 years ago. Red Knots face many challenges when migrating, which have become only more numerous over the years due to humanity’s influence on the environment. Stop-over habitats are especially at risk of being destroyed by industrial and urban development projects that range from city expansion to resorts and to even shrimp farms. Recreational human activities, as well as feral cats and dogs, can often scare away shorebirds from stop over areas, leaving them unable to rest or feed appropriately on their journey south. These difficulties are further complicated by their migration season lining up with tropical storm season. [button link="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Rufus.pdf" size="medium" target="_self" color="red" lightbox="true "]Make sure to check out our short comic illustrating the struggles of being Rufus the Red Knot here![/button] James Bay Cree Community Involvement with the Red Knot Communities such as the Moose Cree First Nation (MCFN) on southern James Bay are very interested in conserving Red Knot populations that pass through their homelands on James Bay, with the help of their partners in government, research, and non-governmental groups. The habitat used by the knots is the same habitat that supports geese that migrate through at a different time.  Geese are a staple of the Cree diet. The MCFN are increasingly participating in surveys of shorebirds, including Red Knots. For the knots, many are outfitted with bands on their lets, including a coloured “flag” that, based on the colour, can be used to determine where the bird was captured.

Keeping an eye out for the colored flags of previously banded birds is one way that local people are able to add to the knowledge of this species. Furthermore, to help scientists further track the movements of Red Knots, MCFN has participated in CWS-led efforts to attach nano transmitters to little backpacks on some birds that can be detected by receiver antennae erected around the James Bay and throughout other locations in North, Central and South America. This system is known as Motus, and is a project of Bird Studies Canada that allows for tracking of bird movements in real time. The transmitter’s signal can be detected within about 15 kilometres of a receiving station.

The Moose Cree First Nation is pursuing nomination of the coastal area of James Bay within their homelands as a WHSRN (Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network) site. A WHSRN is a conservation strategy created in the 1980s aimed at preserving nesting, breeding, and staging habitats. Establishing a WHSRN in James Bay would be a great achievement for the Cree, and the shorebird conservation community, who have recognized the importance of this area for shorebirds for decades. Nature Canada has been supporting MCFN efforts with the nomination, and continues to do so, through the support of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation.

Learn more about what the Moose Cree First Nation are doing for Shorebird populations here:

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Une foule d’événements seront organisés afin d’accueillir le retour des oiseaux au Canada
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Une foule d’événements seront organisés afin d’accueillir le retour des oiseaux au Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, 7 mai 2018 — Le samedi 12 mai, des dizaines de regroupements de personnes célèbreront partout au pays la Journée mondiale des oiseaux migrateurs avec des activités thématiques allant d’ateliers de maquillage pour les enfants à l’observation d’oiseaux, pour le bonheur des petits et des grands. Chaque année, le printemps est marqué par les déplacements de centaines d’espèces d’oiseaux, dont plusieurs reviennent au Canada après être allés aussi loin qu’en Amérique du Sud. « Nous sommes ravis qu’autant de groupes participent à la Journée des oiseaux cette année, explique Graham Saul, directeur général de Nature Canada. Les oiseaux font un voyage incroyable pour revenir ici, auprès de nous : nous leur devons bien d’accentuer nos efforts de conservation afin qu’ils puissent continuer d’accomplir leur périple chaque année ». Un rapport qui porte sur l’état des populations d’oiseaux dans le monde publié récemment par l’organisme BirdLife International a confirmé ce que nous savions déjà : les oiseaux sont en danger. Selon le rapport, 40 % des 11 000 espèces d’oiseaux que l’on retrouve sur la planète sont en déclin, et une espèce sur huit est carrément menacée d’extinction complète. La perte d’habitat, le changement climatique, l’utilisation de produits chimiques et la prédation par les chats domestiques comptent parmi les menaces qui guettent l’avifaune. À l’occasion de ces nombreuses célébrations tenues partout au pays, l’équipe de Nature Canada et ses partenaires se feront un plaisir de partager des ressources permettant de protéger les chats et de sauver les oiseaux dans le cadre de son importante campagne intitulée Des chats et des oiseaux. « Il s’agit d’une problématique majeure et, en tant qu’individus, nous pouvons réellement agir à cet égard et changer les choses pour le mieux. » Selon Jody Allair, gestionnaire nationale, sensibilisation à la conservation pour Études d’oiseaux Canada, « les oiseaux sont un excellent sujet pour susciter l’engagement de la population envers la nature. Le fait de prendre part à une activité thématique dans le cadre de la Journée mondiale des oiseaux migrateurs est une façon infaillible de tomber amoureux de l’incroyable vie aviaire du Canada ». « Avec l’arrivée de tous ces oiseaux migrateurs, c’est vraiment au mois de mai que la nature semble reprendre ses droits sur le long hiver que nous venons de passer, » nous dit Jean-Sébastien Guénette, directeur général du Regroupement QuébecOiseaux. « C’est de loin la période la plus excitante pour tous les ornithologues et autres passionnés de nature. » La Journée internationale des oiseaux migrateurs a vu le jour en 1993 et elle est devenue, en 2007, un projet de l’organisme Environment for the Americas (EFTA) qui s’est donné pour mission de sensibiliser davantage la population à la nécessite de conserver les oiseaux et leur habitat. En 2018, l’EFTA s’est ralliée à la Convention sur les espèces migratrices (CMS) et à l’Accord sur la conservation des oiseaux d’eau migrateurs d’Afrique-Eurasie (AEWA). Des groupes de partout au pays ont ajouté leur événement à la carte interactive qui se trouve sur le site www.birday.ca. La Journée mondiale des oiseaux migrateurs se veut une initiative conjointe de Nature Canada, d’Études d’oiseaux Canada et du Regroupement QuébecOiseaux.


Renseignements : Graham Saul au 613-710-2819 Jody Allair au 519-586-3531, poste 117 Jean-Sébastien Guénette au 514-252-3190
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