Tuesday, February 19, 2013

environmental stewarship at golf course (Ottawa)

Just found this online - providing information on the Hunt Club's efforts in environmental stewardship:

In 2008, the Hunt Club was recognized as a fully certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary – the certification by Audubon International bears testament to the Club’s environmental stewardship.  The Club has developed an environmental stewardship plan to help enhance the natural areas and wildlife habitats of its property while minimizing any potentially harmful impacts from golf course operations. The plan encompasses Environmental Planning, Wildlife and Habitat Management, Outreach and Education, Chemical Use Reduction, Water Quality Management, and Water Conservation.

Environmental practices include:
  • leaving as much of the property as possible in its natural state;
  • maintaining 12 on-site tree nurseries;
  • selecting plants native to the Ottawa area where possible to restore and enhance the natural landscape;
  • incorporating enhanced food sources, nesting sites or den development for wildlife;
  • sponsoring an annual field day for local students that incorporates the Club’s environmental stewardship plan and bird-house building from lumber harvested from golf course trees;
  • maintaining over 70 nesting boxes and 3 purple martin houses;
  • installing a weather station to determine water requirements for the golf course in support of water conservation;
  • recycling over 350 metres of compost, generated by the Club annually, in the tree planting program and other landscape projects;
  • using cultural practices to improve turf quality and minimize chemical use;
  • significant testing of the watershed to ensure water run-off quality is maintained.
For more information on the Audubon Sanctuary, please visit their website at www.audubonintl.org

Monday, February 18, 2013

urban fisher study (Albany, New York)

Study done by Scott Lapointe and Roland Kayes

From News Article:  "This winter I’m on the track of an urban weasel in Albany — the fisher. These six-to-13-pound members of the weasel family started moving into urban areas 10 years ago, and have been quietly hunting their squirrel and rabbit dinners here ever since... we got our first camera-trap photograph of an Eastern fisher moving through suburban Albany (in 2000). In a century the Northeastern fisher had gone from wilderness animal to suburban predator...

Our approach is to document the ecology and behavior of fishers living in the urban forests of the Capital District, a triangle of suburban development with Albany, Schenectady and Troy, N.Y., as its points. In particular, we want to see how the animals move through and connect the small forest fragments, avoiding speeding cars and still finding enough food. We will then contrast this with what we find in a population of “wild” fishers living about 20 miles away in the forests around Grafton Lakes State Park and Pittstown State Forest."

The urban study site has four times the density of roads and 15 times the population density of the wild site.

Full article & pictures from the New York Times 

Also check out further articles on their Fisher Studies

P.S. Check out my latest "urban wild" nature blog: Wild. Here. (2016 update)

growing on tough urban sites

Great video on "Finding ways to Plant Trees on Tough Urban Sites"
by County Tree Climber (Fleming C. teacher)

Monday, February 11, 2013

green bus shelters (Philadelphia)

My friend mentioned last year that she had seen green roofs on Philadelphia's bus stops and I just got around to find out what they were all about. Here's more information:  

"The 60 square foot bus stop green roof at 15th and Market was based off of Roofmeadow’s idea to create a prefabricated kit that can be used to install a green roof on any standard bus shelter in Philadelphia and is meant to help promote PWD’s efforts to raise awareness around urban storm water issues. Any future replications of this first design will be paid for not by the city but by funds from advertising on the side of the bus shelter where the green roof has been installed."

Found at Inhabitat's website: Philadelphia Gets a Bus Stop Green Roof

"In Philadelphia alone, 52 green roofs have sprung up, totaling 10.6 acres by the count of the Water Department, which is tracking them as part of its effort to amass data on storm water.

Storm water is a historic problem for Philadelphia because most of the city's underground pipes combine rainwater and sewage. During storms, the system becomes overwhelmed and water polluted with raw sewage and road dirt overflows into streams and basements.

"Every acre manages or eliminates roughly a million gallons of storm-water runoff a year in the city," said Chris Crockett, acting deputy commissioner of environmental services for the Water Department."

From Philly Dot Com.

2016 Update: I've also heard about green bus stops in Sheffield (U.K.) by Groundwork Sheffield and the TTC Finch West Station is going to have a green roof!

P.S. Check out my latest "urban wild" nature blog: Wild. Here. (2016 update)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

our impact on the wild

The pros and cons of promoting "urban wild"...

We live near Green's Creek and had seen an owl very close to the foot path (but couldn't i.d. it as it flew off quickly - as surprised to see us as we were to see it) this fall, so I was excited to see this picture on The Weather Network's page: Great Grey Owl.  It was a nice confirmation that we are blessed to live so close to an area that is great habitat for wildlife.

We missed this write up in the Ottawa Citizen: Return of the Great Grey Owls which should have been a great opportunity for promoting interest in wildlife to city dwellers but then I saw some comments on the Ottawa Field Naturalists' page and discovered this blog post: The debate on baiting owls by 100 Birds in a Year.  I'm not currently in town, so had no idea that this was happening.

This issue distressed me.  I know it is nature's way - that owls are predatory but I feel that baiting owls is not natural for either the mouse or the owl and I just feel bad for both. I didn't want to write about it but when I stumbled upon this posted by Tony Beck, I felt it sums up the situation quite well and provided some guidelines to consider: Interaction with Owls at Tommy Thompson Park.

"An owl should not be focused on you: it should either be sleeping with its eyes closed on focusing intently on prey. If you see an owl exhibiting these sings, simply back off and give it space.Considering the stress that one individual can place on an owl, it is easy to see how problematic it can be when the location of an owl is posted or shared by word of mouth. It isn’t long before the owl is being bombarded by multitudes of people."

At the above link there is a pdf document that outlines their new Viewing and Reporting Policy.  These types of policies should be enacted in all cities - I hope that Ottawa follows suit.

I also feel that education is key so that people understand their impact on the wild and know how to interact and read the signs that are indicated by the wildlife species themselves. Perhaps at some point - depending on the situation certain locations will have to be protected and in others "limited weekend guided tours" could be allowed.  For now I'm hoping that policies such as the ones above will prove helpful.  If I had known about the Green's Creek situation, I would have truly appreciated having a number I could call and some local authorities that could have dealt with the situation properly.

No Image Included as a Solidarity Action for the Owls

Sunday, February 3, 2013

purchase of four pairs of squirrels (London)

Information from City of London (Ontario) park signage: Victoria park's large squirrel population is not native; it originated with the purchase of four pairs of squirrels in 1914.  Others were added in subsequent years.