Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

The Secret Life of Lichens

On Thursday, January 17, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists 2018-19 series “Earth, Water, Wind and Fire” continues with a presentation by Troy McMullin Ph.D.,  lichenologist with the Canadian Museum of Nature. Our speaker has studied lichens throughout Canada and internationally, and has published extensively on this group, including the 2015 book Common Lichens of Northeastern North America: A Field Guide, co-authored with Frances Anderson.

Join Troy to explore the often overlooked, but beautiful and fascinating world of lichens.  Learn about their role in different ecosystems, rare species in southern Ontario, and how they are used in medicine, science, and more.  You will gain a new appreciation for the small things in life!

Teloschistes chrysophthalmus or Golden-eye lichen; the Great Lakes population of this species has a status of ENDANGERED in Ontario. Photo provided by speaker

 

Speaker: Troy McMullin Ph.D.

Presentation: The Secret Life of Lichens

Date:   Thursday, January 17, 2019

Time:  7:00 PM for socializing & refreshments, 7:30 for program

Place:  Almonte United Church Social Hall, 106 Elgin St., Almonte

Admission: is free for MVFN members. There is an admission fee of $5 for non-members. No charge for youth 18 and under. We always welcome new members.

For further information, please contact Cliff Bennett MVFN Program Chair at or 613-798-6295.

A NOTE ABOUT A VERY RARE LICHEN

Golden-eye lichen (Teloschistes chrysophthalmus), Great Lakes population, is ENDANGERED in Ontario. Ontario Species at Risk information for this species, as follows, can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/golden-eye-lichen-great-lakes-population#section-0

“The Great Lakes Population of Golden-eye lichen is vulnerable to several threats due to its limited restriction to a single host tree. Threats that may impact on this population include severe weather events, invasive species, acidification from air pollution and recreational activities . . .

What you can do?

Report a sighting

Report a sighting of an endangered animal or plant to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful.

Volunteer

Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.

Be a good steward

Private land owners have a very important role to play in species recovery. If you find Golden-eye Lichen on your land, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.

 

 

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Wildlife crime topic of next MVFN nature series talk

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.”

Sheldon Jordan. photo courtesy our speaker

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.

A seized reptile

Polar Bear hides and Narwhal tusks: intercepted illegal exports from Canada

 

 

 

 

 

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Where do breeding bank swallows go at sunset?

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.

Bank Swallows photo Dr. Greg Mitchell

 

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.”

 

photo courtesy Greg Mitchell

photo courtesy Greg Mitchell

photo courtesy Greg Mitchell

photo courtesy Greg Mitchell

 

 

Bank Swallow photo courtesy Greg Mitchell

Bank Swallow photo courtesy Greg Mitchell

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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Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas has a new App

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.

Citizen_Science_goes_mobile_poster

“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.

Button_Download_Updated_Atlas_App

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Film screening raises over $800 for Bird Studies Canada; DVD now in library

Thank you to all those who attended the January screening of Canadian Director Su Rynard’s film, The Messenger, at the Almonte Old Town Hall. The film dealt with the sobering reality of the precipitous decline of songbirds and was viewed by a sold-out crowd. All proceeds from the MVFN screening went towards Bird Studies Canada, including all entrance fees, and many MVFN members and others also made donations, for which MVFN is very grateful. Thanks to the overwhelming community interest in this environmental documentary, a very significant amount was raised, surpassing our wildest expectations: we presented Bird Studies Canada The Messenger Impact Campaign with a donation of over $800! Congratulations to all those who attended, to MVFN’s Program, Birding, Social and Service Committee volunteers, and the Municipality of Mississippi Mills who helped with logistics and technical support at the venue.

DVD now in local libraries:

Since many were unable to see the film (the hall was filled, but many people were still in line) and many would like to see it again, MVFN decided to purchase a few DVD copies of the film. We are pleased to announce that copies of the DVD of The Messenger are now available at the Mississippi Mills and Carleton Place public libraries.

About the movie:

The decline of songbird populations is a global problem, as shown so clearly in the film, but hopefully we can take comfort in having taken a step towards understanding the problem better. Also, it is good to know of the efforts around the world which are featured in the film; people making diverse efforts, i.e. academic researchers, writers, farmers, citizen scientists, and volunteers, all focused on what can be done to save birds. One of the most poignant moments in the beautiful film was the question: “Can we live in a world without birds?” The answer is that we really do not know. I hope we will not have to find out.

What can we do to help?

1. Reduce predation by cats. Keep your cats in doors. Click on the following link, or the image below, to read more about the interactions betweeen cats and birds http://catsandbirds.ca/

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2. Do not use harmful pesticides

3. In urban areas provide habitat for birds.

2. Prevent fatal collisions with windows and get rid of “fatal” lights in the migration season. At night, lights in our windows and outdoors can fatally attract songbirds migrating at night. And year round, the reflective surfaces of windows can cause collisions during the day. Apply protective film or decals to reduce reflections. Window collisions are particularly a problem in our rural areas where reflective surfaces fool birds because they reflect natural features.

Read about the FLAP, the Fatal Light Awareness Program at http://www.flap.org/

3.  Be bird friendly in other ways. Reduce your carbon footprint, buy “bird friendly” coffee (organic, shade grown, AND plants grown in conditions conforming to high standards for habitat quality), and choose recycled and unbleached paper products.

4. Get involved in citizen science and become more educated about challenges faced by birds, and what individual species need to thrive on Earth. Join a local naturalist group, such as the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club or the Macnamara Field Naturalists.

5. Add your voice to protect the vast boreal forest habitat for songbirds. Sign the “Boreal Birds Need Half” petition at http://www.borealbirdsneedhalf.org/en/. The vast boreal region is the “planet’s nursery for billions of birds. It’s an ecosystem so big, the film says, that you can watch global carbon dioxide levels drop as the forest wakes up each spring and summer. And yet it’s being nibbled away by timber harvest, energy extraction and other types of fragmentation. The Boreal Birds Need Half campaign is a push by the Boreal Songbird Initiative and partners to ensure that some of this vast wilderness is set aside for the future.”

MVFN’s Publicity Chair, Pauline Donaldson

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