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Ottawa Bird Day 2017
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Ottawa Bird Day 2017

Join Nature Canada in celebrating International Migratory Bird Day at Brewer Park in Ottawa, on May 13, 2017 officially starting at 10:00 am with a bird banding demonstration beginning at 8:00 am. To register for the bird banding, please click here. This event will happen rain or shine. There will be a spectacular and unforgettable live birds-of-prey demonstration, guided bird walks around Brewer Park led by expert naturalists, as well as words of welcome from local dignitaries and Nature Canada. Local groups conducting important bird conservation actions will be present and ready to showcase their efforts. [caption id="attachment_32840" align="alignnone" width="940"]Image of 2016 Bird Day Event 2016 Bird Day Event. Photography by Nina Stavlund[/caption] Schedule for the day [custom_table style="1"]

 8:00 am - 9:30 am  Early Bird Activity: Nature Canada’s very own licensed bird bander, Ted Cheskey, will give a bird banding demonstration at Brewer Park. Please register for this event here.
10:00 am  Opening Ceremonies with special guests:
  • Barbara Dumont Hill, Spirit Keeper (opening Algonquin prayer)
  • Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre
  • Councillor David Chernushenko, Capital Ward
 10:30 am  Birds-of-Prey Flight Show
 11:00 am – 1:00 pm  Guided Bird Walks
 11:00 am – 1:00pm  Informal arts and crafts for kids
 11:00 am  Storytelling in Children’s Tent
 11:30 am  Visual Scavenger Hunt
 12:00 pm   Storytelling in Children’s Tent and a visual scavenger hunt
 12:30 pm  Birds-of-Prey Flight Show
[/custom_table] Plan your trip to Nature Canada’s Bird Day Bird Day will be held at Brewer Park, 100 Brewer Way, Ottawa, located right across from Carleton University and off of Bronson Ave. Due to the flooding of the Rideau River, the event site has moved to an area further north of the park. Follow the signs towards the school and arena. Partners Image of a Environment of the Americas logo Environment Canada Logo Science Odyssey Logo Wildlife Habitat Canada Logo

Nature Thanks You!
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Nature Thanks You!

[caption id="attachment_21828" align="alignleft" width="150"]Jodi and Noah By Jodi Joy
Director of Development[/caption]

"Nature makes me feel grounded, part of the earth’s grand scheme of things. The more I observe and learn the greater the wonder and caring."

– Linda, ON, Member since the 1980s

As the end of 2016 quickly approaches, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our most cherished nature memories this year. These memories captured through experiences, stories, and photographs have inspired us to share our love of nature with our families and friends and we hope these stories have inspired you to reflect on how important nature is to each and every one of us. "Sitting on the rocks with my arm around my young daughter, looking out at the lake to see her dad and brother in the canoe, and sharing this amazing experience with her, my heart opened to all the beauty and wonder around us. It was a moment of perfect contentment. Filled with so much joy and gratitude, I don’t think I could have been happier." – Paula, BC, Member for over 25 years

Midden Falls by Theodore Lo

"All my life I’ve been very interested in the world around me and its inhabitants—plants, birds and beasts. I am still in awe of all the myriad of species our earth is home to." – Obee, NS, Member since 1982

monarch-mankay-koon-min

Monarch by Man-Kay Koon

"There is nothing so peaceful or satisfying as being outside amidst rocks, trees and water, or on trails and hearing birds, seeing animals, viewing the trees and gorgeous scenery of this super, gorgeous country!" – Arlene, ON, Member since 1998 west-wood-pewees-tony-leprieur

West Wood Pewees by Tony LePrieur

As we look forward to 2017, an enormous thank you to all of our members who stand alongside us to be a strong voice for nature. It is so heartwarming that you and your fellow members care so deeply about wildlife and wilderness. Thank you for your kindness, compassion and commitment to nature this past year. Your generous support has helped tremendously to defend the animals, plants, clean air and water that we depend on. You and I can be thankful for the gifts and blessings of this special planet.

free-christmas-clip-art-holly-christmas-holly-clipart-holly_christmas_3_xmas_holiday-3333pxSeason’s Greetings and Happy New Year!

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Be a natural this Valentine’s Day
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Be a natural this Valentine’s Day

This blog post is by Pamela Tourigny and edited by Eric Davidson. Sustainable Valentine’s gifts for the conscious consumer you love. [separator headline="h4" title="Did you know that love and health are connected? "] Humans love to be loved, and when we nourish good relationships, the rewards are plentiful. It doesn’t have to be that thrilling crazy-good, first-kiss type of romance; all of our loving relationships help us cope with stress, maintain optimism, and even fight the common cold. Because the ones we love are so important, this Valentine’s Day treat the special people in your life with a meaningful gift that is better for our health and the health of the planet as well. Here are a few ideas to inspire you. [separator headline="h4" title="Play your cards right"] Blue Jay with red background A Nature Canada e-Card is a fun and easy way to show someone you’re thinking about them, and put a smile on their face. With stunning nature photos, these cards are sure to impress. Besides, it’s online and won’t waste any paper—you don’t get greener than that!     [separator headline="h4" title="Water – The elixir of life!"] S'well 750ml Glitter ChampagneFor a gift that’s both pretty and practical, S’Well water bottles’ Glitter collection is comprised of sleek portable hydration vessels. Polished enough for the office and tough enough for any adventure, it is perfect for keeping your favourite drink chilled or warm: it keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours! Water won’t bead on the outside so hands, bags and papers stay dry. Available in matte colours as well.     [separator headline="h4" title="Plant one on your significant other"] CactusFlowers are nice, but why not try something new? Instead of a bundle of roses, you could get your significant other a houseplant. How about a cactus or a bamboo?  It’ll be sure to grow on them—or at least near them. If you prefer to enjoy plants from afar, you can always plant a tree in the wild in someone’s name.     [separator headline="h4" title="Breathe in, breathe out"] prAna Yoga Mat Henna ECO PinkThe cushioning, grip, and toxic free production has made the prAna Henna E.C.O. Yoga Mat a favorite. Its non-toxic manufacturing process is rooted in sustainability, and the mat’s material is UV resistant, lightweight, PVC free, chloride free, and latex free. Available in a range of colours.     [separator headline="h4" title="Stave off the static shocks"] HoMedic Humidifier UltrasonicReduce the dryness in the air with this tiny portable personal humidifier by Homedics. It plugs into wall outlets or your computer USB (AC and USB adaptors included). Ultrasonic technology allows for virtually silent operation and micro fine mist.       Nature Canada supporters are eligible for a discount on all products at terra20 through the Saving For Change program, which also donates 2% of Nature Canada supporter sales to Nature Canada. Sign up here.

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VIDEO: Ottawa Bird Day Parade Was in Flight!
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VIDEO: Ottawa Bird Day Parade Was in Flight!

How often do you see many different species of birds flying through the sky together all at once ? Maybe on the day Nature Canada organized the Ottawa Bird Day parade! Around 60 students from the Centennial Public School got creative and made puppets of many different species of birds to bring on their walk along the Ottawa River, along with masks they made to match their winged friends, and started their journey. These energetic birds ranged from a Red-Throated Hummingbird to an American Goldfinch, a Grey Goose and so much more! Once they reached Bate Island, located in the Ottawa river, they stopped for a quick snack of sunflower seeds. Once their "bird feeding" was finished, they grabbed their garbage and recycling bags and started to clean up and help keep the wildlife area clean. When all was clean, the hard-working students hopped on the bus back to school. It was a very fun-filled, educational day.    

Five days in the field on Rupert Bay, one to go
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Five days in the field on Rupert Bay, one to go

Report from the field by Ted Cheskey Planning travel on Rupert Bay is a gamble.   Its broad reach, oriented to the northwest, from where blow the prevailing winds, mean its shallow waters can easily be whipped into a frenzy.   The team of myself, Aurelie Bourbeau-Lemieux, a biologist working for the Cree Nation Government, Gary Salt, a local resident familiar with the capricious Rupert, participant in our March workshop on bird identification, and representing the Cree Nation of Waskaganish and the local Trappers Association, and Marc Antoine Montpetit, an expert birder and atlasser, volunteering on behalf of the Breeding Bird Atlas project of Quebec, were ready to go on Monday morning, but weather and various delays meant we were stuck in the community until Wednesday.   One plus about the delays was that we were able to present our project and talk about birds to a group of 15 local youth taking a course on the environment, and recruit three from the group to join us in a few hours for our final trip (just for the day) to a few places we could not get to yet. Our work is being funded by Environment Canada's Aboriginal Fund for Species At Risk, and our focal species are the Red Knot, Hudsonian Godwit (not yet on the list), Yellow Rail, Common Nighthawk, Short-eared Owl, and Olive-sided Flycatcher.    Marc Antoine is focussing his efforts on breeding birds, gathering evidence of breeding of all of the species we observe, and targetting a few specialties for the area, including Little Gull and LeConte's Sparrow .  Over five days we visited five different locations, being transported to each by boat from two different camps.  Families have hunting camps around the bay, and we have been able to arrange accomodation with the camp owners, as they are used infrequently this time of year.    It rained every day, some days more than others, and the biting insects would be severe for the faint of heart.  Some of our days involved trudging over 10 kilometres through boot sucking mud, waist high soaked vegetation with no terra firma, and tricky passages concealled benath the vegetation, that were riddled with a minefield of bottomless pools of muck that could be trip-enders.  It wasn't all like that.  Some areas where realatively dry (truly a relative concept here), and there even are stretches of sandy beach in places between the mud flats and the limits of the boreal forest.  But, working on these surveys is very physically demanding, and one must not be easily discouraged by challenging conditions.  I certainly admire the great work that has been done on the Ontario side of James Bay by CWS, MNR, ROM, Moose Cree, BSC, OFO, more many years. The birds have been pretty impressive.  We have been able to sample most of the habitats that we had targetting, though not all.   Some highlights from the first day were seeing several Little Gulls, a species that is rare in North America, but which seems to be breeding locally here.  Though we did not find a colony, we did observe a few adults and juveniles.   Another breeding bird target was the elusive Yellow Rail, one of the most secretive birds around.  Previous studies by Michel Robert, coordinator of the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Quebec, suggested that this bird is abundant in one particular part of the Bay called "Cabbage Willows".   The rail makes a sound like clicking stones together in a 2-3 rhythm mostly.   We were very successful, finding 18 territorial males on transects through their soggy sedge and forb habitat.  We were also successful in finding the two sparrow specialties of the coastal marshes: Nelson's Sparrow and LeConte's sparrow, counting about 200 territorial males of the former and at least 30 of the latter. We have observed several Common Nighthawks in different locations both in Waskaganish and along the coast.  Finally the shorelines of Jacob Island, a small Island at the mouth of Rupert Bay, appears rich in migrating shorebirds, as we identified 15 species in a few hours of surveying three kilometres of shoreline, including over 200 White-rumped Sandpipers, over 100 Hudsonian Godwits, a Marbled Godwit, and 14 of the endangered Red Knots. We are grateful for the Cree Nation of Waskaganish and Environment Canada for supporting this project, which we hope to continue into the future as we build connections in the community and continue to gather evidence in support of eventual Important Bird Area designation. [caption id="attachment_14939" align="alignnone" width="300"]Ted Cheskey, Marc Antoine Montpetit, Gary Salt, Aurelie Bourbeau-Lemieux Ted Cheskey, Marc Antoine Montpetit, Gary Salt, Aurelie Bourbeau-Lemieux[/caption] Aurelie with storm in background by Ted Cheskey Aurelie with storm in background by Ted Cheskey [caption id="attachment_14941" align="alignnone" width="300"]LeConte's Sparrow by Ted Cheskey LeConte's Sparrow by Ted Cheskey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14943" align="alignnone" width="300"]Cabbage Willows - Yellow Rail habitat Cabbage Willows - Yellow Rail habitat[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14945" align="alignnone" width="300"]the mud flats on Jacob Island, Rupert Bay, by Ted Cheskey The mud flats near Cabbage Willow, Rupert Bay, by Ted Cheskey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_14947" align="alignnone" width="300"]Juvenile LIttle Gull, Rupert Bay by Ted Cheskey Juvenile LIttle Gull, Rupert Bay by Ted Cheskey[/caption]  

What it’s like to shop at terra20
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What it’s like to shop at terra20

I’ve been working on promoting the Saving for Change partnership between terra20 and Nature Canada for a few weeks now. I finally had a free hour in my day and thought, this is the perfect opportunity to drop in to the store for a visit! In case you haven’t already heard,

Nature Canada members receive discounts on the many nature-friendly products, and 2% of those purchases will go towards supporting our efforts to protect and conserve our environment!

It’s easy, all you have to do is sign up and shop online or in-store! Find out more about Saving for Change here. Since I live so close to the Iris location in Ottawa, I thought a little bit of shopping would be a fun way to spend an hour on a sunny Friday afternoon. What is it like to shop at terra20, you ask? I had a great experience in the store. The moment I walked in, there was Amanda to greet me and explain how the store works. She pointed to the front wall, where there were several large logos. I learned that terra20 has researched the ingredients and production process of each of the products, and have created various logos that inform the shopper about the product. For example, the hand cream I bought contained no harmful chemicals, wasn’t testing on animals, and was made in Canada. I could see all of this simply by looking at the price tag in front of the product. They took all the work out of sustainable shopping! Picture of the terra20 ethical symbols [pullquote align="right"]"It’s important to know where the things we buy come from, who made them and how they were made. To create a brighter future, environmentally friendly products should be standard, not the exception." Read more here.[/pullquote]terra20 had an incredible amount of products, and tons of brands I had never even heard of! I literally spent 20 minutes just walking through the beauty products, and don’t even get me started on the food section! The store was organized by section with the help of giant black signs, and covered everything from baby clothes to home furnishing. As an added help, dispersed throughout the store were several tablets connected to the Internet, just in case you had any inquiries that the already knowledgeable staff couldn’t answer. It really was a great way to spend an hour and to learn about sustainable shopping. Image of the Saving for Change banner

Want to try shopping at terra20?

Join me and sign up for the Saving for Change program or submit a photo to our 75th Anniversary Photo Contest for your chance to win one of two 100$ gift cards! If you have any questions, please contact Nicole at nmiddleton@naturecanada.ca.

A look back in time: an influential leader
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A look back in time: an influential leader

Nature Canada is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. With such an extensive history it is not surprising that Nature Canada has experienced a great deal of change. This includes changes in those holding the position of Chairman and Board of Directors members. Through my work archiving the scrapbooks, photos and minute books, I found one such person that stood out more than the rest to me. His name is Dr. Walter Massey Tovell. Born June 25, 1916 to Dr. Harold Thomas Murchison Tovell, a medical doctor and radiologist and Ruth Lillian (Massey) Tovell, an author. [caption id="attachment_12963" align="aligncenter" width="293"]photo of Dr. Walter Massey Tovell Dr. Walter Massey Tovell (left).[/caption] Dr. Tovell was a member of the well know Massey family through his mother’s side. They owned and ran the Massey-Harris Company, today the Massey-Ferguson Company, manufacturers of farm equipment. Dr. Tovell made a name for himself in his own right through his enthusiastic involvement in the field of Geology. Throughout his lifetime Dr. Tovell was active in many organizations. He held a doctorate in geology, was a professor at the University of Toronto, and was president and founder of the federation of Ontario naturalists. From 1973-75 Dr. Tovell was director of the Royal Ontario Museum after previously working as the curator. In his hometown of Dufferin County, Ontario, Dr. Tovell was the benefactor of the local museum and archives. Starting in early 1963 Dr. Tovell joined the Nature Canada board of directors. In 1965 he ascended to the role of vice chair and also held the positions of chair (1966-68) and secretary (1969-1972) within the organization. Along with his many involvements in and around conservation and museums Dr. Tovell also published multiple books on the Niagara Escarpment and other geological concerns. In 2001 he was awarded the Ian Shenstone Fraser Memorial Award for The Guide to the Geology of the Niagara Escarpment. On December 30th 2005, at the age of 89 Dr. Tovell passed away. [caption id="attachment_12966" align="aligncenter" width="210"]Prince Philip and Dr. Walter Massey Tovell Prince Philip (left) and Dr. Walter Massey Tovell (right) 1967[/caption] Through my research of Dr. Tovell I was greatly impressed by the dedication and the long and influential life he lived. Dr. Walter M. Tovell impressed me as a wonderful role model and an extremely influential man in the conservation, geology, and museum fields. Not only did he teach his passion, he constantly tried to support museums as well as assisting in the building of archives. This is of particular interest to me as I will be pursuing a career in museum studies myself, and hope to one day bring history to life as Dr. Tovell did. We would like to thank our guest blogger Rebecca Perrin for this post. Rebecca is a Co-op student with Nature Canada who loves to spend time enjoying the beauty of nature.

A look back in time and a look to the future
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A look back in time and a look to the future

In 1967 his Royal Highness Prince Philip visited Canada and attended Nature Canada’s (then known as the Canadian Audubon Society) annual meeting in Toronto. At this meeting, Prince Philip shared a message of action which is just as relevant today as it was almost 50 years ago. He called on us to care for our wildlife and to save it from destruction. Management of the use of land and water using only best practices will benefit future generations. He also suggested a need for conservation plans and was recorded saying “If we don’t get answers right now, there won’t be a second chance. We will go down in history for our neglect. I, for one, do not relish the idea of my grandchildren asking me, ‘what went wrong?’” [caption id="attachment_13542" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Prince Philip attending the Canadian Audubon Society's annual meeting Prince Philip attending Nature Canada's 1967 Annual General Meeting[/caption] While going through old records from Nature Canada’s 75 year history I was struck by Prince Philip's 1967 speech in particular. We are still experiencing many of the same issues that Prince Philip discussed, and the need for us to act to protect our planet is stronger than ever before! I hope that in another 50 years our grandchildren can be proud of the steps we have taken to make this a better world for all generations. We would like to thank our guest blogger Rebecca Perrin for this post. Rebecca is a Co-op student with Nature Canada who loves to spend time enjoying the beauty of nature.

A look back in time: What’s in your office?
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A look back in time: What’s in your office?

When you look at a charity like Nature Canada, you don’t necessarily think much about the history of the organization. But in this specific case there is a vast history here that many people were unaware of. Nature Canada is turning 75 this year so I was tasked with going through a bunch of old scrapbooks that had unknown content. [caption id="attachment_12971" align="alignright" width="550"]Nature Canada's historic documents Co-op student, Rebecca Perrin, explores Nature Canada's historic documents.[/caption] My task was to digitize all the information in the books, photographing and scanning the books. These old scrapbooks, I soon learned, were not just old scrapbooks, but a documentation through newspaper clippings and photographs of Nature Canada’s events from the early 1950’s and 60’s. It was also, clearly, somebody’s personal passion. Who ever created these books took great care in their work. Each clipping had a date as to when it was published, the newspaper it was published in, as well as the city and province that it appeared in. One book was even separated by province. Nature Canada also has a couple shelves full of books that contain pretty much every single edition of the Audubon magazine, Canadian Audubon, Canadian Nature Annual, and Nature Canada magazine ever published. These magazine collections are compiled by year and start in 1939 and go up to 1976. It is fascinating the records they kept back then, as well as the detail put into it. Today, all we need to do is go on the computer and type in a couple of words and we have information on the most important events of both the present and the past. However, for organizations with an amazing 75-year history like Nature Canada, much of their story is still not yet available all over the internet for all eyes to see because I was holding the only known copies on Earth in my hands. This has been an amazing exercise. My advice: If you work in a Non-Profit organization, look around the office and see if you can find the history of your organization hidden in the books sitting around on book shelves and empty work spaces. We would like to thank our guest blogger Rebecca Perrin for this post. Rebecca is a Co-op student with Nature Canada who loves to spend time enjoying the beauty of nature.

Nature Canada Linking Communities Together
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Nature Canada Linking Communities Together

Twenty two dedicated educators from three countries met in Swift Current Saskatchewan for the love of birds, shorebirds to be specific.  They met to share stories and refine their efforts to educate and inspire children and the public to protect the several species of shorebirds that they share, and the habitats on which they depend in their three communities along the central and western flyways.  The species include American Avocet, Piping Plover, Snowy Plover, Marbled Godwit and Wilson ’s Phalarope among others. [one_half] [caption id="attachment_12670" align="alignleft" width="300"]American Avocet American Avocet, Ted Cheskey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12720" align="alignleft" width="300"]Red Knots Reed Lake Saskatchewan Red Knots on Reed Lake Saskatathewan, Ted Cheskey[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12713" align="alignleft" width="300"] Principal dressed up as bird Principal of Central School in Swift Current dresses up as a bird[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12725" align="alignleft" width="300"]Aurora boreallis, Chaplin Lake Aurora boreallis, Chaplin Lake, Ted Cheskey[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_12749" align="alignnone" width="300"]Ted Cheskey and Mexican Linking Communities Partners Nayarit educators and Ted observing lots of birds[/caption] [/one_half] [one_half_last]The alkaline (salty) wetland habitats in Chaplin, Reed and Old Wives Lakes in Saskatchewan, the Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA, and the Marismas nacionales in Nayarit State of Mexico support very large numbers of these species at different points in their life cycles, in addition to other shorebird species such as the Sanderling and the endangered Red Knot.  Each site carries a badge of honour as a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site.  Canada has only seven of these special areas, and the Chaplin area lakes are one of the most important. Bird conservation in Canada requires international partnerships.  Four of every five of “our” bird species migrate outside of our borders each fall, most passing through or over-wintering in the USA, Latin America or the Caribbean.  A full life cycle approach to conservation that addresses species’ needs and threats in each phase of their annual cycles is essential for effective conservation.  Canada’s shorebirds, including sandpipers, plovers and phalaropes, have declined 42% in the last 40 years.  Arctic nesting shorebirds have declined over 60%.  Evidence is pointing to stop-over sites as perhaps holding the key to the fate of many species. “Linking Communities Wetlands and Migratory birds” is a project inspired by a recognition of this ‘full life cycle approach,’ initiated nearly 15 years ago by visionary conservations from each country.  The program has evolved organically, with different partners and supporters coming in over the years.  Rio Tinto Kennecott, who operates a large mine on the end of the Great Salt Lake, has provided project partners with significant support over the past five years. One element of this project that has recurred several times is  an educational exchange during which small groups of educators from the three countries get together to share experiences and collaborate towards educating their communities and protecting their species and habitats.   Often a common project is developed during these gatherings such as producing post cards that incorporate art from children from each country. In addition to education, this project encourages the exchange of knowledge and methods for monitoring bird populations, researching species ecologies, addressing threats, encouraging stewardship and promoting ecotourism through festivals.  Each partner holds a festival to celebrate shorebirds.   Our meeting coincided with Chaplin’s Shorebird festival which is always held at the beginning of June. Nature Canada is honoured to be one of the Canadian partners of Linking Communities, along with Nature Saskatchewan and Chaplin Tourism who run the Chaplin Nature Centre, a must visit for anyone travelling along the TransCanada highway between Moose Jaw and Swift Current, Saskatchewan.  We all tip our hats to the volunteers in Chaplin Tourism who did a tremendous job of welcoming our partners from the south, and making a meaningful and rich meeting over the past few days. One of the highlights for me was being able to share with our Mexican friends one of Canada's most beautiful and mysterious natural phenomena:  the Aurora borealis. [/one_half_last]

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