By: Allison Hands & Bethany Kempster, BEAN Co-Chairs
When you hear the word “biodiversity” does your mind conjure images of lush rainforests or tropical coral reefs? What about your own backyard? Would you be surprised to learn that Ontario is home to 30,000 known species of plants and animals? Biodiversity supports the natural systems which we rely on - getting to know what lives in Ontario is the first step to understanding and protecting it. Getting outdoors and exploring biodiversity doesn’t have to be hard! Check out these easy to-do backyard activities
From Holiday Cheer, to Keeping our Streams Clear: Discarded Christmas Trees used in Greater Toronto Area Stream Restoration Projects
By: Ashley Smith, Streams Ontario Volunteer
Throughout the environmental industry, stream restoration professionals have been incorporating bioengineering practices into stream bank erosion control projects. As you may have guessed, these bioengineering techniques involve the use of natural materials such as debris from trees, logs, and shrubs, but did you know that your real Christmas trees can be used too? After spending a long winter inside your home, when their job of providing holiday cheer is over, they often end up on curb sides, waiting to be picked up and disposed of. Instead, why not donate them to a great cause, where they can be incorporated back into the natural environment as a tool for erosion control and habitat enhancement in your local watersheds?
Over the past two years EcoSpark partnered with the City of Toronto’s Community Stewardship Program (CSP) and Humber College’s Professor Lynn Short to see how well volunteers could tackle the invasive grass Phragmites australis (AKA common reed, or phragmites). Using Short’s manual removal technique- spading - volunteers removed phragmites with minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment. We compared cutting above the soil, spading once in a season, spading twice in a season, and doing nothing. We also documented the amount of phragmites removed by volunteers, and used surveys to gauge how volunteers felt about their contributions, and whether or not they learned anything. Check out the full report here.
By: Colin Cassin, Policy Analyst, Invasive Species Centre (ISC)
Hemlock fans, I have some bad news for you. There is a new forest pest in Ontario that requires your attention. Now, if the name hemlock woolly adelgid sounds familiar to you, it may be because in the last decade two populations of HWA were detected and eradicated in Ontario. Immediate action was taken in both instances and our woodlots have enjoyed several HWA-free years as a result.
By: City of Toronto
On October 3rd, Toronto City Council unanimously passed the City's first Biodiversity Strategy. The Strategy aims to support healthier, more robust biodiversity and increased awareness of nature in Toronto. The Strategy recognizes biodiversity as fundamental to supporting the livability and resilience of the city.
By Watersheds Canada
Every person has the right to access clean and healthy lakes and rivers in Canada. At Watersheds Canada, we work to keep these precious places naturally clean and healthy for people and wildlife to continue using for years to come. We work with others to meet the needs of local communities, whether you are a concerned citizen, a landowner, a lake association looking for help, or a coalition of groups interested in activating your local community. While we are a small grassroots organization, we offer Canadians many great open-source programs:
By: Lisa Horn, Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP)
Birds have been hard at work this summer. They have built intricate homes to house their precious eggs, vigorously defended their territories from pesky intruders, and kept up with the bottomless appetites of their cheeping, demanding babies.
And now these birds, from the bold and beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird to the secretive and subdued Swainson’s thrush, must embark on their awe-inspiring and perilous migrations. As they touch down to rest and refuel in urban parks and woodlots, and even your backyard, they may encounter one of the biggest bird killers: glass.
By: Kathryn Peiman, Ph.D., OFAH Atlantic Salmon Restoration Program Coordinator. Images Provided by OFAH
As I walk down the school hallway carrying Atlantic Salmon eggs, two girls are leading me to their classroom. One is walking fast. The other girl asks her to slow down. She responds with, “I can’t, I’m too excited - the eggs are here!”
For five months every year, hundreds of students raise and release baby Atlantic Salmon into local streams. Atlantic Salmon were extirpated from Lake Ontario by 1896, and since 2006, the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry have partnered to Bring Back the Salmon, a program sponsored by Ontario Power Generation with classroom hatcheries currently funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
By Stacy Lee Kerr, Ontario BioBlitz
The longer days and slowly (but surely) warming temperatures in early spring are energizing. Walks in the woods at any time of the year in Southern Ontario are a lovely way to spend time in nature and de-stress. But taking a stroll beneath bare branches along trails that wind amongst soggy leaf litter can make you feel a little impatient for life to emerge. But then something special happens.
By (Blog & Photos): Stuart Long
Over the last five years, I have been involved in the Ontario BioBlitz as a volunteer. My time with the Blitz has seen me work at everything from hauling boxes to registering attendees and selling swag. I am happy to see so many families experience the natural world when attending the event. But what can those families, so eager to learn about biodiversity and nature, do at home?
When I was a kid, I loved to learn about the natural world. Whether it was dinosaurs, plants, animals, minerals, or the stars, I was eager to take it all in. Lucky for me I had a parent who knew the value of interactivity in learning and play.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.