Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas art contest

Ontario turtle sculptures by Rosemary Oliver.

Ontario turtle sculptures by Rosemary Oliver.

It’s time for citizen scientists to stretch their artistic muscles!

The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) welcomes creature sightings from anyone observing Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians, and our art contest is for everyone as well. You don’t have to be a professional photographer or artist to participate. Just grab your camera, brush or crayon and give it a go!  Continue reading

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Winter birding at my home in Coldwater

Black-capped chickadee photo by Lindsay Barden.

Black-capped chickadee photo by Lindsay Barden.

The early bird gets the worm, or at least that’s what they say. This past weekend I found myself awake and watching the bird feeders at my family’s home in Coldwater Ontario before the birds arrived. It was a cold and rainy morning – maybe that’s why they were late to begin their seed and suet feast. Continue reading

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The travelling atlas show

Photo of Monique speaking to school kids about snakes by Jory Mullen.

Photo of Monique speaking to school kids about snakes by Jory Mullen.

In spring 2014, I signed up as Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) area coordinator for the Ausable Bayfield Watershed.  ORAA is an ingenious tool that allows regular people to learn about and help monitor Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians, collectively known as herpetofauna or herps for short.

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There’s a hole in my atlas

Red-bellied snake photo by Scott Gillingwater.

Red-bellied snake photo by Scott Gillingwater.

Ontario is a big place to try and conduct a detailed herp atlas. Mapping the distribution of species using 10×10 kilometre grid squares carves the province up into big chunks. There are over 1,000 grid squares in southern Ontario alone. Trying to get coverage in all, or even most, of these squares is a challenge. As an atlas co-ordinator for the Ottawa area, I wanted to know how well we were doing covering the area and also where else we should be looking. Continue reading

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ESA regulation challenged in court

woodland caribou, photo credit: Bruce McKay

woodland caribou, photo credit: Bruce McKay

It is not easy to sit quietly in court while the opposing side takes a sledgehammer to your core values. For instance, as long as an endangered species doesn’t disappear from Ontario altogether, then Cabinet is free to approve any regulation it chooses under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Recovery and benefit to the species be damned. As long as the minister formed an opinion, that’s all we are entitled to know – not how the opinion was arrived at. Transparency and process be damned.

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Marvellous moraine: A winter wonderland in our backyard

Moraine buttonThis blog is the first in a series that will celebrate the Oak Ridges Moraine and engage readers in the upcoming review of the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan. Learn more about the moraine and plan review by visiting marvellousmoraine.org.

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Marvel at the Moraine: Contest Rules and Submission Guidelines

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The Oak Ridges Moraine Partnership for 2015 is excited to announce the launch of something marvellous! In celebration of the Marvellous Moraine, we’re asking our friends and followers far and wide to participate in our ‘Marvel at the Moraine’ contest! Read on for submission guidelines…

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Wild Bees in Trouble

American bumblebee,  Credit: Thom Wilson of Baltimore City, MD, USA

American bumblebee, Credit: Thom Wilson of Baltimore City, MD, USA

 
Half of the bumblebee species in eastern North America are in decline. This trend holds true in southern Ontario, where seven of the 14 bumblebee species found in surveys from 1971 – 1973 were found to be either absent or in decline when surveyed 30 years later. Some of these, like the rusty-patched, the gypsy cuckoo and the American bumblebee, were once common and/or widespread in parts of the province. The causes of decline are not fully understood, though it is widely accepted that habitat destruction and the use of pesticides are significant threats. Continue reading

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Saving the shrike: a photo essay by Lydia Dotto

I frequently visit the Carden Plain Important Bird Area in the Kawarthas to photograph the many birds that pass through there during spring and fall migration. Having read that it was difficult to photograph the eastern loggerhead shrike – a critically endangered species in Canada – I was intrigued by a captive breeding and release program taking place in the area.

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Interesting Insects: a photo journal by Matt Jenkins

Photography has always been a passion of mine. At first, I was interested only in macro photography, but soon enough I began challenging myself to look at the big picture and shoot landscapes. Now I enjoy capturing all types of images. Continue reading

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