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Turtle Recovery Action Sees Growth in Ontario
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Turtle Recovery Action Sees Growth in Ontario

[caption id="attachment_34683" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Anuja Kapoor Anuja Kapoor, Guest Blogger[/caption] This blog is written by guest blogger Anuja Kapoor. Slow and steady wins the race…at least where turtles are concerned. A turtle crisis was declared in Ontario this summer after an alarming number of injured turtles were admitted to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Center for rehabilitation. Officials at the trauma facility reported operating beyond their carrying capacity with close to 800 turtles in recovery. While predation poses a threat, turtles remain especially vulnerable to road mortality, habitat destruction and illegal poaching in Ontario. Many of the province’s turtles are also long-lived (taking up to 20 years to reach maturity), the death of even one adult can significantly affect species survival. Seven out of the eight native turtle species in Ontario are at risk. Three of these currently classified as endangered on the Species at Risk in Ontario list: the Spotted Turtle, Wood Turtle and Spiny Softshell. [caption id="attachment_34684" align="alignright" width="361"]Image of a Spiny Softshell Turtle Spiny Softshell Turtles have a flat and soft, olive to brown shell, a very long neck and pig-like snout. They were enlisted endangered in December 2016.[/caption] But it’s not all bad news. This year marked a major victory for conservationists after a legislation was passed to put an end to the Snapping Turtle Hunt – out-dated and unsustainable practice that once allowed Ontarians to legally kill two snappers each day. This was achieved through the collaborative effort of scientists and policy advisors, sending a clear message to the public about protecting our at-risk species. Conservation organizations across Ontario have also brought together citizens and science to make a difference. Community outreach and education has been crucial for this development and often engages all-ages, from students in kindergarten to those studying university biology and veterinary sciences. Meanwhile, research continues to better understand the dynamics of certain species such as painted turtles in Algonquin Provincial Park. Ontario Nature and David Suzuki Foundation have also introduced similar field projects to evaluate viable conservation strategies and track the behaviour, growth and survival of our turtle species. Let’s take a moment to shell-abrate the good work of our conservationists and community members!

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Ottawa: 5 Great Hikes in Your Own Backyard
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Ottawa: 5 Great Hikes in Your Own Backyard

[caption id="attachment_33972" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Greg Nesbitt Guest Blogger Greg Nesbitt[/caption] This blog was written by guest blogger Greg Nesbitt. Guest blogger Greg Nesbitt is doing a series of his choice for the top five hikes to do in and around Ottawa! The first of the series is on Luskville Falls, Quebec. Hike 1: Luskville Falls - A great workout with a lot of natural beauty [caption id="attachment_33940" align="alignright" width="284"]Image of Luskville Falls Luskville Falls. Photo by Greg Nesbitt[/caption] When Prime Minster King designated Gatineau Park as federal land and part of the National Capital Region in 1938, he gave area residents a 361 square kilometres outdoor wonderland. The park has year-round activities including endless hiking trails with all levels of difficulty. One of my favourite trails in the park is located just outside Luskville, Quebec. Luskville Falls provides hikers with nice views of the valley and a challenging terrain. Described by the National Capital Commission as difficult, the hike winds its way past the falls and over several undulating rocks. I first discovered this trail when I was looking for a challenging hike in the Ottawa area, after doing Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain Grind. Similar to our neighbours out West, this is a demanding hike with plenty to see along the way, including natural waterfalls and multiple rock formations. The trail is well marked with arrows up and down and two different paths for you to traverse. There are magnificent views of the Ottawa River below and several places to get stunning photos. This hike is recommended for anyone who can handle a difficult trail and doesn’t mind earning their views of the valley.  In addition to the hike, there are plenty of picnic tables and areas to congregate at the bottom of the hills before or after your adventure to the top. Helpful Information[one_third] [caption id="attachment_33949" align="alignright" width="150"]By the Numbers: Elevation: 290 meters to the Fire Tower Distance: Approximately 2.25km each way (4.5km round trip) Average Time to get to the top: 60 minutes By the Numbers:
Elevation: 290 meters to the Fire Tower
Distance: Approximately 2.25km each way (4.5km round trip)
Average Time to get to the top: 60 minutes[/caption] [/one_third] [one_third] [caption id="attachment_33947" align="alignright" width="150"]Best Time To Go: Spring gives you the best conditions to see the falls with maximum winter runoff but can be muddy. Best Time To Go:
Spring gives you the best conditions to see the falls with maximum winter runoff but can be muddy.[/caption] [/one_third] [one_third_last] [caption id="attachment_33950" align="alignright" width="150"] How to get out there: Highway / Autoroute 148 leaving the Alymer section of Gatineau (The turnoff is just before you get to the village of Luskville) How to get out there:
Highway / Autoroute 148 leaving the Alymer section of Gatineau
(The turnoff is just before you get to the village of Luskville)[/caption] [/one_third_last] Enjoy and hope to see you out there!

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Purple Martins Reach Ontario!
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Purple Martins Reach Ontario!

[caption id="attachment_16451" align="alignleft" width="150"]Megan McIntosh Megan McIntosh, Purple Martin Project Coordinator[/caption] The first Purple Martins have reached Ontario. The return of these cheerful neighborhood birds from their wintering grounds in Brazil is always a wonderful sign of spring.  But with a winter storm warning in the works for much of Southern Ontario we wish they would wait just a little while longer.  This is because Purple Martins and other song birds are quite vulnerable to poor weather conditions, especially rain and cold. Nonetheless, we welcome their return! Did you know that it is the older Purple Martins that tend to return first? Most of the adult birds arrive in Ontario between mid-to-late-April, whereas younger first-time breeders return during May. You can follow the amazing spring migration of the Purple Martin through the Purple Martin Conservation Association’s Scout-Arrival Study. [caption id="attachment_26945" align="aligncenter" width="351"]Purple Martin Adult male Purple Martin in flight. Photo by Harold Silver[/caption] With the Purple Martins on their way, many Purple Martin ‘landlords’ (private landowners who provide apartment-like bird houses for the birds to nest in) are working hard to prepare for their arrival. Since Purple Martin populations are rapidly declining in Ontario and other northeastern provinces and states, Purple Martin landlords in these regions are taking extra precautions to improve their habitat and help recover the species. Here are some interesting examples of what Nature Canada and our partners are doing to prepare: Nature Canada will be putting up three new Purple Martin houses in the Kingston Area in partnership with the Kingston Field Naturalists. These new houses are locally sourced and provide the highest standards of breeding habitat for Purple Martin included starling resistant entrances and a winch system so that the house can be lowered for easy maintenance. [caption id="attachment_26944" align="aligncenter" width="351"]Purple Martin House Example of a locally constructed T-14 Purple Martin house. Three houses like this will be put up by Nature Canada in the Kingston area this spring.[/caption] Ed and Lyne Brake are dedicated Purple Martin landlords who live east of Ottawa. This year they are taking steps to make an important update to the habitat at their Purple Martin colony. Over the past several years, they have noticed a big increase in aerial predators such as hawks and owls preying on their Purple Martins. This was very upsetting for Ed and Lyne. At first they were unsure what to do because there are no commercially available predator guards for their style of Purple Martin house. Since they care so much about their birds, they have custom-made a cage to go around the birdhouse and protect the colony. We want to congratulate Ed and Lyne for their good work and thank the Ontario Purple Martin Association for providing this excellent advice! [caption id="attachment_26943" align="aligncenter" width="351"]Image of a Purple Martin house with landlords Ed Brake and a friend pose at Ottawa River with a newly installed predator guard for a Purple Martin house.[/caption] Finally, our Friends at The Friends of the Sanctuary in Cornwall have engaged a local secondary school to construct 10 new Purple Martin condos. Grade 11 students will construct T-14 style houses that will be installed in the meadows at the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary near Ingleside, Ontario, next spring. We are looking forward to seeing the results!   [caption id="attachment_26942" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Image of members of Friends of the Sanctuary in front of a Purple Martin Members of Friends of the Sanctuary pose with T-14 Purple Martin house[/caption]

To learn more about Nature Canada's Purple Martin Project, check out our page here.
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Your holiday activity guide for Southern Ontario
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Your holiday activity guide for Southern Ontario

[caption id="attachment_19867" align="alignleft" width="104"]Image of Amy Cross Amy Cross,
Women for Nature Member[/caption] This guest blog is written by a founding member of Women for Nature, Amy Cross who is the Program Manager at The Schad Foundation.  Amy strongly believes in the value nature brings to people’s lives.  Her passion for nature and wildlife is shared with her family and this guides her life mission to protect biodiversity in her own backyard, country and planet. In this blog, Amy shares with our audience the many outdoor and nature based activities that you and your family can experience or explore this holiday season.  Happy holidays while celebrating nature too! I am predict I am not alone in saying my families holiday season if often busy and overscheduled with friends and family visits, the shopping, cooking and eating that often goes along with these gatherings, not to mention decorating, shopping and wrapping gifts and preparing for out of town guests.  Don’t get me wrong the holiday season is my favorite time of year and not only because of all of the things listed above but also the music, sense of community, spirit of giving back and enjoying one of my families favorite change of season… winter! This year I have committed to making my family’s holiday more active, engaging, meaningful and environmental by participating in many of the activities listed below. By all means use these events and activities as reasons to get together with friends and family members… you will not only get to spend quality time together but to also give back, enjoy the outdoors and for some events learn about and/or protect species and the environment! If there is an event we missed please share it in the comments section!

Image of a tit in a bird feederOUTDOOR ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

Christmas Bird Count with Bird Studies Canada, December 14 – January 5, 2015 You can help monitor and conserve North America's birds! To get involved in the Christmas Bird Count, find a count near you and connect with the local contact. You can be a field observer on your own by joining a small group, counting all birds you find. Or you can participate in your own backyard as a Feeder Watchers and count birds at your feeder for a portion of the day. Winterfest on Toronto’s Waterfront, December 18 - December 20, 2015 Families can join Santa and his elves for the 10th Annual Santa Cruise aboard Mariposa Cruises’ Northern Spirit, festive brunch included. Pets can get in on the action with pet photos with Santa at Purina PawsWay, while families can learn more about the Arctic and create their own piece of art at the Museum of Inuit Art. People of all ages can also take part in a FREE pastry-eating contest, hosted by the BeaverTails mascot Beav, and enjoy holiday carols by a cappella group! For more information, click here. Holiday Hike in High Park – December 20, 2015 Meet at the benches by Grenadier Café at 10:30am and enjoy a hike through High Park to Colborne Lodge where you will enjoy hot cider. For more information, click here. Scenic Caves Nordic Adventures Image of snowshoes in snowThis one required a trip to Blue Mountain but activities include groomed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and traversing 420 feet over Southern Ontario’s longest suspension bridge! This spectacular winter playground at the highest point of the Niagara Escarpment is set in one of Canada’s sixteen UNESCO biosphere reserves.  The suspension bridge features panoramic view of Georgian Bay and the varied, picturesque nature trails range from gentle rolling slopes to steep climbs. Inspired by nature, the trails wind through a 200 year old forest rich with wildlife.  Winter owls and a wide variety of other birds will beckon to you from the 100 foot tall maple, beech and oak trees, while deer and many other animals can be seen in the forest. For more information, click here. Magical Christmas Forest Kortright Centre for Conservation – December 12, 13, 19, 20, 2015 The forest comes to life with lights, friendly elves and your favorite Christmas characters. Visit Santa's workshop to see the elves at work. Play games, make Christmas crafts and watch a Christmas movie in our theater. Enjoy carols and Christmas treats by the fire. Each child will have the chance to visit Santa's cabin and tell Santa their Christmas wish. For tickets and more information, click here. Toronto Zoo Treats and Talks – 11am – 2:30pm December 26, 2015 The Toronto Zoo is the place to be on Boxing Day! Enjoy 50% off admission all day and check out their extensive Keeper Talk Program that offers a fun holiday theme and delightful seasonal treats for the Zoo's animals. Please bring a non-perishable food item for the Daily Bread Food Bank and any old cellphones to help support the Great Ape Conservation program. Plus, if you are looking to warm-up from the cold why not drop by the Zoo's new Indoor Giraffe Exhibit, or one of the Zoo's five indoor and exotic pavilions. For a full schedule and more information, click here.

INDOOR ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

Earth Rangers’ Happy Holi-DIY Mission!Image of Art Supplies Each holiday season we buy new toys, clothing and who can forget the shiny new holiday decorations that make the season bright! Our forests provide us with the resources to make these products (like wood, paper and metals) so it’s important that they are collected in a responsible way. Organizations like the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) make it easy to choose products that help conserve our forests – you can look for their name on the products you buy! This year you can take action to help conserve Canada’s forests and the animals living there by making your own holiday gifts and decorations. Go to their website and sign up to be an official Earth Rangers’ Member, you can then accept the Happy Holi-DIY Mission, you’ll get access to awesome crafts that you can make from items found around your home. When you’re done, visit this site to let everyone know about your Happy Holi-DIY Mission! Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory Flight of White, December 5, 2015 - January 31, 2016 (Closed Dec 21-26, Jan 1) This truly unique holiday exhibit transforms the tropical butterfly conservatory into a magical oasis featuring 1000's of additional Rice Paper butterflies flying freely through the Conservatory. With a wingspan of up to 14cm, the Rice Paper Butterfly, a large white relative of the Monarch, is impossible to miss as it floats through the air moving gently from flower to flower. Rice Paper Butterflies are favorite of guests because they land on people the most! The Flight of White experience also includes lush white poinsettia flowers, 1000's of sparking white lights, and soft strains of classical music playing in the background. Talk about a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of holiday activities! For more information, click here. Reptillia Tours and Winter Camp – December 21-24 and December 28 – January 1, 2015 Eastern Ribbonsnake image in leavesReptilia Reptile Zoo is a state of the art 25,000 square foot CAZA accredited facility complete with large exhibits showcasing hundreds of different reptiles and amphibians. This winter Reptilia offers a safe, exciting and unforgettable camp experience for your 4-12 year old. Our campers learn about science, interact with amazing creatures and enjoy all kinds of winter fun at the same time. Repitllia is also open for daily tours everyday but Christmas! For more information, click here. Ripley’s Aquarium – Open 365 days a year! Ripley’s Aquarium showcases the beauty and significance of our aquatic world and the animals within it, to both entertain and inspire while encouraging you to respect and protect the waters of the world. The Aquarium features over 16,000 aquatic animals and North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel with more than 5.7 million litres of water and over 100 interactive opportunities. Get up close and personal with three touch exhibits featuring horseshoe crabs, sharks, and rays as well as daily dive shows every 2 hours. For tickets and more information, click here. Email Signup

Monarchs & Nighthawks – Day 1 of our July NatureBlitz (Part 1 of 3)
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Monarchs & Nighthawks – Day 1 of our July NatureBlitz (Part 1 of 3)

During one of the hottest weekends in July, Nature Canada beat the heat with a NatureBlitz held in Ottawa’s Carlington Woods area. The 24-hour event on July 18th & 19th (see the schedule here) was a great success and featured guided walks with local plant and wildlife experts, children’s activities, fun with ultrasonic bat detectors, and a live amphibian demonstration by the Ontario-based group, Save the Salamanders. On behalf of Nature Canada, we would like to thank our volunteers, our experts and the public on coming out! [caption id="attachment_21907" align="alignleft" width="300"]Group participating in a nature walk during the July 2015 NatureBlitz at Carlington Woods The NatureBlitz featured a number of guided group walks, each exploring a different set of organisms at the site. Photo: Susanne Ure[/caption] So what is a NatureBlitz? It’s very much like a BioBlitz, i.e., an effort to inventory as many living things as possible in a given area during a given time, usually 24 hours). However, our NatureBlitz events are more focused on building awareness and educating the public – by helping urban residents explore and experience nearby nature right in their communities. These events are one of the public engagement tools used in our NatureHood program. Like a traditional BioBlitz, our NatureBlitzes take place over 24 hours, include a tally of all the species we observe, and are open to anyone – especially nature-newbies! While we carefully record all of the species we observe throughout the event and during each walk, we also address two important barriers to nature engagement for many people: knowledge and the ‘intimidation factor’. We do this by sharing fun facts, encouraging appropriate hands-on exploration and experiences of nature, and by interpreting the plants, wildlife and local environment for participants. Sound like fun? We chose Carlington Woods for this summer’s NatureBlitz given its mature trees, the large diversity of birds it is known to host, and the unique ecological setting of the NCC owned property. The entire forest is surrounded by busy streets and dense urban neighborhoods, and that is exactly what piqued our interest. We wondered, can this island of forest hold any species that we would not expect to find within a bustling city? We’re happy to report that the NatureBlitz showcased just how important isolated pockets of urban forest can be. Not surprisingly they’re safe-havens for wildlife, including species at risk! [caption id="attachment_21908" align="alignright" width="300"]Man examines a tree branch Local plant expert, Owen Clarkin, shows participants the tricks for identifying a Bitternut Hickory during his Trees & Shrubs walk on Saturday. Photo: Susanne Ure[/caption] Our first event on the Saturday was a trees & shrubs walk, led by local plant expert, Owen Clarkin. A species of interest was the Butternut tree (Juglans cinerea), which is found peppered throughout this NCC-owned property. Currently, the tree is being attacked by a fungal disease, Butternut canker, and is being wiped out of much of its native range in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The butternut is a nationally and provincially endangered species, protected by law. Nature Canada’s own Alex MacDonald hosted two back-to-back events on Saturday: an insect walk and a children’s scavenger hunt. With a large crowd, Alex led visitors out with butterfly nets and temporary sampling containers to catch what they could find. Beetles, butterflies, bees and grasshoppers seemed to be the stars of the walk. After the insect walk, the scavenger hunt attracted even more people, and as a reward, the kids got to exchange their sightings cards for our NatureHood species at risk trading card. The cards highlight 26 local species that are legally protected as special concern, threatened, or endangered, including the Butternut tree and the monarch butterfly – each of which was observed during the walks! The evening bird walk had some interesting finds. Led again by Alex MacDonald, the group saw (and heard) lots of Grey Catbirds, some Black-crowned Night Herons flying over, and even a Brown Thrasher. The group even spotted a provincially and nationally threatened species:  the Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor). This nocturnal species’ main food source is flying insects. With the large-scale use of pesticides, and the resulting pollution of downstream waterways where many flying insects breed, coupled again with habitat loss and the perils of migration, there has been a widespread decline in Common Nighthawks across Canada. The species considered at-risk with a "special concern" designation in Ontario. [caption id="attachment_21910" align="alignleft" width="200"]Girl examining contents of a bug-net One of our scavenger hunt participants checks to see if there's a lady beetle in her net. Photo: Susanne Ure[/caption] Our bat walk at dusk proved to be quite a popular choice for people, as well! Not only did we hear these amazing flying mammals, we also saw them! Flying overhead and probably catching the mosquitoes trying to bite us, we used an array of handheld bat detectors to ‘hear’ the ultrasonic echolocation signals – similar to sonar - of the bats at frequencies audible to human ears. By tuning the detectors to different frequencies and listening to changes in the quality of the sound, it’s possible (with practice!) to get a sense of which species may be flying overhead. The species we detected included the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus; confirmed visually) and either the endangered Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) or the Tri-coloured Bat/Eastern Pipestrelle (Perimyotis subflavus). It's a case of 'either, or' because those two species echolocate at roughly the same frequencies, both can have light undersides (which we observed) and the habitat at Carlington Woods is suitable for both. We’re conducting follow-up assessments in the area and reviewing our audio recordings from the night to reach a conclusion on the latter two. Take a listen to what bat echolocation sounds like within our hearing range below! Pssst! Nature Canada now offers a FREE public bat detector lending library for anyone in the National Capital Region interested in borrowing one! Contact us here to inquire. [audio wav="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/bat-walk-3-Carlington-Woods-NatureBlitz.wav"][/audio]   A big thanks to Nicolas Conroy, Nature Canada's NatureHood Conservation Intern, who prepared a draft of this post!

To be continued…

Financial assistance for this project has been provided by: Govt of Ontario logo

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Help us Find At-risk Bats in your NatureHood!
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Help us Find At-risk Bats in your NatureHood!

Alex MacDonald, click for contact informationHave you ever wondered if there are bats in your neighbourhood? What about your yard? If so, Nature Canada can help you answer this question with the handheld bat detectors we have available through our lending library! If you live in the National Capital Region, you can borrow a detector - free of charge - for up to one week. [caption id="attachment_23140" align="alignright" width="200"]Close-up of an Eastern Pipistrelle bat hanging upside down in a cave, species at risk, Canada, nature, nocturnal The Eastern Pipistrelle is a migratory bat found in southeastern Canada and the eastern United States. It feeds on flying insects most actively during the crepuscular period at dawn and dusk.[/caption] But we're not doing this for just any reason. Here's the scoop: Have you heard about White-nose Syndrome (WNS), an introduced fungal disease (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) that's decimating many bat populations in North America? Estimates place the death toll from WNS at over 6 million bats since it was first detected in North America in 2006 (read Ontario's response plan here). Sadly, populations of up to 7 different bat species found in and around Ottawa have been impacted by WNS, and 3 of those species currently legally designated as "endangered" by the Government of Ontario: Little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), Northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and Eastern small-footed myotis (Myotis leibii). Given this situation we need to understand the habitats these bat species are using and how local populations are doing. That's where the bat detectors - and YOU - come in. Members of the public can borrow one of our Magenta Bat5 handheld bat detectors to ‘hear’ the ultrasonic echolocation signals – similar to sonar – that bats make as they fly, socialize and feed. Human ears are not capable of hearing sound in the frequency ranges at which most bats echolocate - that's why the frequencies are called "ultrasonic". The bat detectors pick up these ultrasonic signals and convert them into the audible range for humans, playing them for you in real-time through a speaker in the unit. Many bats echolocate at different frequencies, though there is just enough overlap between them to make things confusing! By 'tuning' the bat detector to hone in on particular frequencies, you can get a sense of  which species you may be detecting. With practice in the field, and [caption id="attachment_23169" align="alignleft" width="300"]Magenta Bat5 handheld bat detector shown with Peterson's Guide to the Mammals of North America You can borrow the Magenta Bat5 handheld bat detector (shown here) for up to 1-week using our lending library![/caption] following the tips we provide here, you can get pretty good at recognizing the different species. If you're interested in helping us monitor for the presence (or absence) of at-risk bat species in the National Capital Region, you can download the sign-out sheet here. Simply submit the form by email or drop it off when you pick up the detector at our office at 75 Albert Street (third floor, suite 300). And our data submission form is available online or as a hard-copy. You can use the detector in your backyard, in your neighbourhood or at a local park, or you might consider visiting one of the areas we're hoping to cover in our seasonal surveys (see map below).

Financial support for this project is provided by: Govt of Ontario logo White Swan logo (white)

Ice Shaking Up the Environment
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Ice Shaking Up the Environment

Last week residents in Ontario and Quebec were waken up at night from loud booming sounds. What was the cause of this? Well, you may not believe it but it was from ice! Ice or frost quakes, as they are called, are when crashes occur from the breaking up of ice. These quakes are scientifically known as cryoseisms, and they are caused by water in the ground expanding at cold temperatures. Once the water expands, the ice and ground below cracks and crumbles causing loud noises. Not only are there loud noises, but these ice quakes can even shake the ground. In Ottawa, Nature Canada's staff member Julia Gamble said "At first it felt like snow or ice was cracking and sliding off my roof.  I worried about my new car on the driveway getting damaged.  It happened again and I sort of felt panicked as though someone was on the roof or meteors or parts of a plane were striking it." Another staff member, Ted Cheskey also heard these loud noises from his home. "As I was woken from a sleeping state, I am not sure exactly what I experienced, but my recollections are that there was a loud cracking/rattling noise that sounded like tree branches scraping across the roof" Ted commented. "It was nothing like the popping sounds that the house makes when it adjusts to the colds, but I might even describe it as a sort of “swoosh” sound". Similar noises were also reported in Toronto last January where the temperature dropped suddenly to about -23C overnight. At that time, Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, indicated that a wet December month coupled with sudden cold temperatures makes it an ideal time for frost quakes.  It was noted in a previous article that he said, “It’s the perfect storm for these ice quakes or frost quakes. It’s sort of like nature yawning and groaning.” He also pointed out added that people are more likely to hear the noises at night as sound carries further. As you can see, ice can surprise us with its capabilities and it important that we study ice. Why? Because ice has the ability to provide us with information on the environment around us. Ice is a large indicator of climate change in various regions, and scientists dedicate their time to studying its movements. By studying the movements of ice, it informs scientists with how the Canadian ecosystem is changing. Would you like to help monitor these changes in our ecosystem? If so, join IceWatch today! This program allows anyone to learn about and record ice in their own neighbourhoods! IceWatch For more information on the previous ice quakes, click here.

Canadian Conservation Work Serves as a Role Model
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Canadian Conservation Work Serves as a Role Model

The World Parks Congress took place this past week in Sydney, Australia. This is the world’s largest event that brings focus to parks and protected areas around the globe. So how is Canada’s conservation different from everyone else? It is because Canada is home to a rare treasure, one of the largest still intact regions left - the boreal forest. Here is a short list of the top five reason’s Canada stands out in conservation: 1) One of the World’s Last Great Primary Forest: Canada’s boreal forest has an area of 1.2 billion intact acres, and it contains 25% of the world’s primary forests. There are more that 300 bird species, as well as being home to many large mammals such as grizzle bears and moose. The boreal forest even has an estimate of more than 208 billion tonnes of carbon stored, making it an important part of our ecosystem. 2) Indigenous Conservation Leadership Canada’s boreal forest has had some impressive conservation gains from those in Indigenous communities and government. These Indigenous communities have been the ones to launch some of the most signification conservations actions in relation to the boreal forest. 3) Very Large Protected Areas The protected areas in the boreal forest are large and they are important in the northern biodiversity. They allow species to roam without barriers and serve as a key habitat for long-distant migratory animals. 4) Provincial Government Vision and Leadership Our provincial government in both Ontario and Quebec has pledged to ensure that at least half of their northern lands are classified as protected areas. 5) Industry and Conservation Leaders Several industries have joined the First Nations along with Nature Canada and other leading conservation non-profits to come together in supporting the need of conservation in the boreal forest. Through a number of councils and frameworks, these groups have established a working relationship in order to advance on future conservation proposals. Canada is putting forth tremendous conservation efforts to protect the boreal forest and it’s time to celebrate that. To read more on Nature Canada’s conservation efforts in the boreal forest, click here. For the full article, click here.

Conservation groups standing up for nature in Ottawa
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Conservation groups standing up for nature in Ottawa

[caption id="attachment_17618" align="alignright" width="150"]Download brief on Bill C-40 that will be presented to the House. View the amendments contained in the brief that will be presented before the Standing Committee.[/caption] On October 29, 2014 at 4:30pm EST, Nature Canada's affiliate, Ontario Nature, will go before the House of Commons' Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development and ask for a stronger Bill C-40, a piece of legislation which will establish Canada's first urban park - the Rouge National Urban Park. Caroline Schultz, Executive Director of Ontario Nature, will present a set of five recommendations for amendments to the Act that will "clearly prioritize ecological integrity and require the protection of natural ecosystems and wildlife". Nature Canada stands by our Ontario affiliate and we are strongly supporting their efforts to improve this bill. Nature Canada deeply believes in the importance of creating an urban national park. Our NatureHood initiative is designed to help connect city-living Canadians with their nearby nature. Nature Canada has also been advocating for more national parks for the bulk of our 75 year history and we're proud to have played a role in the creation of over 63 million acres of parks and protected national wildlife areas in Canada. Unfortunately, Bill C-40 is weak and needs to be strengthened. As it stands, the legislation fails to meet standards for sustainability and ecological health and integrity set out in existing policies that cover Rouge Park. If you're as excited as we are about good, healthy urban parks, join us in cheering on Caroline Schultz on October 29, 2014 when she speaks before the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development.

Prominent Nature Canada supporter named Ontario’s new lieutenant-governor
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Prominent Nature Canada supporter named Ontario’s new lieutenant-governor

A very big congratulations goes out to Nature Canada supporter and member Elizabeth Dowdeswell for being named Ontario's new lieutenant-governor today!

[Elizabeth Dowdeswell's] public service career spanned provincial, federal and international borders. She served as a deputy minister of culture and youth in Saskatchewan and was later assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada. [...] 'Ms. Dowdeswell has a wealth of expertise in education and public service, and has dedicated herself to the betterment of her community, province, and country," said Harper. "Her impressive skill set and vast domestic and international experience are exceptionally well-suited to promoting Ontario’s future, and I am confident that she will bring a fresh and dynamic perspective to the position.' -Statement by Prime Minister Harper today
Elizabeth Dowdeswell is a founding member of Nature Canada's Women for Nature initiative alongside many other incredibly accomplished women including famed novelist Margaret Atwood and Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, the wife of Canada's Governor General David Johnston. 2014 has been a banner headline year for Nature Canada supporters. In February,  Julie Gelfand, Nature Canada's former president, was named as Canada's federal environment commissioner.  

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