Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN’s 2017-2018 natural history speaker series “When Things Go Bump in the Night” continues February 15th in Almonte, Ontario with the presentation:  “Rhinos, Tigers, Bears and . . . Wild Ginseng: Wildlife Crime Comes To Canada.”

Our guest speaker is Sheldon Jordan, Director General for Wildlife Enforcement for Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch. Jordan is responsible for enforcement of Canadian laws regarding species at risk, international and inter-provincial trade, and migratory birds and their habitats. He is also Past Chair of INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crimes Working Group that brings together countries and networks of enforcement agencies to organize operations and advise international bodies on wildlife and forestry crime matters. In addition, he is Co-Chair of the North American Wildlife Enforcement Group and Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Natural Resources Law Enforcement Chiefs’ Association.

Jordan will lead a discussion using seized plants and animals to tell the story of how wildlife poaching, and trafficking threatens the conservation of species, ecosystems and sustainable communities and economies here in Eastern Ontario, in Canada and around the world.

INTERPOL and the United Nations estimate that environmental crime is the fourth most “valuable” crime field globally, valued at over $100 billion US per year and increasing at a rate of 5-7% every year.

The negative impact on wild species worldwide is very significant.

Jordan:  “Like it or not, we’re all dependent on the Earth for our survival. . .  the more that’s taken without being regulated, the less ecosystems are able to continue the services they provide all life — including ourselves.”

[Source for quote above:  https://www.canadiangeographic.ca/article/illegal-wildlife-trade-biodiversity-apocalypse ]

 

 

EVENT DETAILS

Thursday February 15, 2018 /  7:30 PM / Almonte United Church 106 Elgin St. Almonte, ON

Doors to the social hall at Almonte United Church will open at 7 PM and the program gets underway at 7:30 PM. Refreshments are available throughout the evening and a discussion will follow the presentation. As always, the event is free for MVFN members and youth 18 and under. Everyone is welcome, $5 for non-members fee at the door. For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at  or visit mvfn.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

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Implications for the conservation of a declining aerial insectivore

Dr. Greg Mitchell,  research scientist with the Wildlife Research Division of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada, and adjunct research professor (Carleton University) will be guest speaker as our “When Things go Bump in the Night” series continues.

 

Our guest speaker is studying the habitat requirements of migratory species in human-dominated or working landscapes throughout southern Canada using field surveys, weather radar detection of biological entities, and citizen science data such as breeding bird surveys.

Dr. Mitchell will share his work on Bank Swallows (Riparia riparia), a threatened species in Ontario. His research team recently discovered, among other things, the “cryptic and broad-scale movements of bank swallows . . . in the early evening during the breeding season.”

The results of this fascinating research have revealed interesting insights into the effects of sunset and sunrise on movements of these aerial insectivores, as well as the importance of wetland roosting habitats during breeding season. Join us for Dr. Mitchell’s presentation: “Where Do Bank Swallows Go During Breeding When the Sun Sets?  Implications for conservation of a declining aerial insectivore.”

 

 

 

Dr. Mitchell’s presentation details:

Thursday November 16 /  7:30 PM / Almonte United Church 106 Elgin St. Almonte, ON

Doors to the social hall at Almonte United Church will open at 7 PM and the program gets underway at 7:30 PM. Refreshments are available throughout the evening and a discussion will follow the presentation. As always, the event is free for MVFN members and youth under 18; non-members fee at the door is $5; all are welcome. For further information please contact MVFN’s Program Chair Gretta Bradley at

Press Release pdf: The Flight of the Bank Swallow

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Boreal woodland caribou are threatened with extinction in CanadaDecades of science show the impacts of human activities and natural disturbances within their ranges. With increased disturbance comes increased risk.

Environment Canada has identified the “critical habitat” that caribou need to survive and recover. A team of North America’s leading caribou experts established a strong relationship between the extents of habitat disturbance and whether a local population increases, declines or remains stable. From this, the federal government determined a continuum of risk.

In 2012, the federal government gave provinces and territories five years to develop range plans for each herd that show how ranges will be managed to effectively protect critical habitat. The recovery strategy identifies a minimum of 65% undisturbed habitat in a range as the “disturbance management threshold,” which provides a 60% chance of the local herd surviving.

The five-year deadline for caribou range plans is coming up fast on October 5th.

The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is now casting doubt on the science to further delay action! The FPAC full-page newspaper ads and website ignore the overwhelming evidence.

The recovery strategy is clear: Less than half of Canada’s caribou populations are likely to survive unless cumulative disturbance is limited.

Caribou need their critical habitat protected now more than ever.

Please use your voice to support caribou and science.

Follow this link to act https://ontarionature.good.do/caribou_habitat/email/

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MVFN has written a letter of concern to Lanark County, expressing our opposition to their plans to carry out herbicide spraying in 2017 of approximately 350 km of roadsides along County (and Township) roads, in an effort to control the presence and spread of wild parsnip, as well as other noxious weeds.  This letter follows from a similar letter sent in 2016.  A map and table showing the roads where spraying is planned or has been completed can be found on the Lanark County web site at http://www.lanarkcounty.ca/Page1875.aspx.

MVFN is concerned that spraying, particularly boom spraying, of a general herbicide (Clearview) to control wild parsnip will detrimentally affect many other species of flowering plants that provide food for insects and birds.  We also feel that, even with careful application, there is a risk of the herbicide entering streams and wetlands where it is known to be highly toxic to aquatic organisms.  An active ingredient of Clearview (aminopyralid potassium) cannot be considered readily biodegradable and so may persist in the environment and transport into groundwater.

MVFN is of the opinion that the County should focus its efforts on wild parsnip control through non-chemical means, particularly mowing at appropriate times of the year, and carry out a more comprehensive public information campaign that will lead to risk reduction through education.  No matter the scale of our efforts, wild parsnip, like poison ivy, will always be with us and we should deal with its presence through education and mechanical control, not through the widespread application of herbicides.

To learn more about wild parsnip, and how property owners can control it, please go to this Mississippi Mills link:

http://www.mississippimills.ca/en/news/index.aspx?newsid=ea222f68-22bb-4b3e-857a-3bfe39d4a2ed

Here is the MVFN Letter of Concern that was sent to all Lanark County Councillors: MVFN-letter-to-LC-spraying-2017.pdf

Photos below are of wild parsnip plants at various stages of development. Learn to recognize the plants and avoid them.

 

WildParsnip

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New Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App

There is an urgent need for volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones.

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“The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a citizen-science project that tracks distributions and spatial trends of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. The over-arching goal is to increase the collective knowledge base of reptiles and amphibians. Equally important, however, is the engagement of non-scientists of all ages and abilities, in all parts of the province, in nature study and conservation.

Reptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at-risk.”

It is very helpful to report sightings:

We need volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones. Just in time for spring, we’re proud to announce the launch of our updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App!

The new App!

There are several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario with colour photos, descriptions and calls that can be used to help you identify your sightings. If you have the previous version of the app, make sure to download the updated version to access all the new features! This project is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program. All illustrations provided are courtesy of the Toronto Zoo. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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