Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mark Your Calendars

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has an annual Sustainable Communities Event held in Ottawa every February (which gives participants a chance to check out Winterlude at the same time). It's exciting to see that this year they have a session on ecological diversity in cities:

Thursday February 9th - 10 am to 11:30 am
Industry Exchange Session: Nature's Place in Sustainable Communities: More than just parks and playgrounds
Presented by Environment Canada and ICLEI

Commonly, nature conservation and protection have been viewed as the domain and responsibility of national and provincial governments; however, local governments have a crucial role to play in mitigating biodiversity loss. The unique position of local governments, as the level of government closest to residents, along with their specific roles and responsibilities, allows for the development of locally tailored and integrated biodiversity strategies that protect and sustain ecosystems and species. There are direct local benefits to maintaining ecological diversity at the local level , ranging from direct social benefits- such as the provision of food, fibres, medicine, fresh water, pollination of crops, filtration of pollutants, and protection from natural disasters- to cultural services, such as spiritual and religious values, opportunities for knowledge and education, as well as recreational and aesthetic values.

This session is divided into two parts. The plenary session outlines the variety of mechanisms available to local governments which can be utilized to drive local action on biodiversity. Municipal representatives will share examples of how they have integrated biodiversity goals into their sustainable community planning activities. The Dialogue Session explores the role of partners and stakeholders, including the provincial and federal orders of government, citizens, NGOs and local businesses.

Panel and Dialogue Speakers (Updated February 27, 2012)

Megan Meaney, ICLEI-Canada
Ala Boyd, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Bonnie James, Environment Canada
Andre Mader, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Carolyn Bowen, City of Calgary
Daniel Hodder, City of Montreal
(Links to powerpoint presentations now available.)

ICLEI has a great resource on their site: Cities and Biodiversity Case Study Series. You can download it from their site.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the effects of Mild Winters on Wildlife

Really interesting articles from both the Guardian and the Star on the milder weather and how it messes with the normal migration and hibernation patterns of wildlife. Here's a excerpt from The Star:

"Voles, for example, live under a thick snow covering to stay warm. Without it, the small rodents are exposed directly to cold air temperatures as they hunker down in forests...

Toninger says snowy owls, which have been spotted in Tommy Thompson Park along the Leslie Street Spit, come south now and then, probably prompted not by weather patterns but by a low lemming count up north.

And insects? Some in this area are highly cold-tolerant, but it’s unknown what repeated freeze-thaw cycles might have on their survival rates and the fitness of offspring, says Brent Sinclair, an assistant professor in the University of Western Ontario’s department of biology."

Links to both articles:

Winter Wildlife Hibernation - The Guardian

Wildlife and Nature At Risk: The Star

Photo Taken From the Guardian Article (Original Photograph: Arterra Picture Library/Alamy)