Ontario Nature Blog

Protecting wild species and wild spaces since 1931

Ontario Nature’s Year In Review

Field Work at the Lyal Island Nature Reserve

Lyal Island Nature Reserve; Emma Horrigan

As 2017 draws to a close, we’re reflecting on some of what we accomplished for nature this year. We could not have done it without you – our members, friends, followers, funders and sponsors. With your support, we continue to be Ontario’s leading organization protecting wild species and wild spaces.

This year, we launched our updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas app. The app includes several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario. Around 7,000 reptile and amphibian sightings were submitted through the app in 2017.

Using the updates Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas app, Jory Mullen

Using the updates Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas app, Jory Mullen

We worked with conservation partners and supporters to successfully ban the hunting of snapping turtles in Ontario.

snapping turtle, Jason King

snapping turtle, Jason King

We conducted massassauga rattlesnake surveys on our Lyal Island Nature Reserve and ratsnake research in Norfolk County along with our partner Natural Resources Solutions Inc.

'Hope,' a female ratsnake discovered in Norfolk County by Ontario Nature field staff and partners Natural Resources Solutions Inc.

‘Hope,’ a female ratsnake discovered in Norfolk County by Ontario Nature field staff and partner Natural Resources Solutions Inc.

Our Boreal Program staff, based out of Thunder Bay, hit the road in a shiny green trailer loaded with outreach materials to promote the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas this summer. They delivered 23 workshops to educate and encourage people to submit their reptile and amphibian sightings through the atlas app.

Ontario Nature's Boreal staff hit the road in style in Thunder Bay to promote the Atlas.

Ontario Nature’s Boreal staff hit the road in style in Thunder Bay to promote the atlas.

We worked with Indigenous partners to bring together members from 14 Indigenous communities and 19 environmental organizations to discuss opportunities to advance Indigenous protected areas and reconciliation.

Advancing Indigenous Protected Areas

Indigenous Perspectives on Protected Areas Gathering

We worked with agricultural partners to help establish a new ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) community in Middlesex County, bringing the total of Ontario ALUS communities to seven.

We led the call to strengthen Ontario’s Wetland Conservation Strategy, including strict protections for provincially significant wetlands.

With the Oak Ridges Moraine partnership, we advocated for a robust regional natural heritage system for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and growing the Greenbelt.

With the David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice, we released a hard-hitting report, Without a Trace, highlighting the provincial government’s failure to protect species at risk.

Without a Trace: Reflecting on the 10th Anniversary of Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007

Read the full report, ‘Without a Trace: Reflecting on the 10th Anniversary of Ontario’s Endangered Species Act, 2007’

We held our eighth annual Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership in collaboration with the Youth Council, which brought together 98 leaders from 51 communities across the province.

2017 Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership, Brendan Toews

With the help of our Youth Council, five municipalities and schools have made their commitment to protecting pollinators and habitat under the Bee City initiative. Youth Council members also held 10 pollinator planting events, planting over 2,700 pollinator-friendly native plants.

Getting friendly with pollinators, Barb Hacking

And we’ve got a lot more planned for 2018!

We will work with our partners to grow the Greenbelt to protect headwaters, moraines, wetlands and cold water streams throughout the GTA.

We will be joining forest industry, labour and Indigenous colleagues to launch the new Forest Stewardship Council National Standard, which will lead the way to support Indigenous Rights and caribou protection.

woodland caribou

woodland caribou

We will continue to work with Indigenous partners, Nature Network member groups and other allies to meet commitments to protect at least 17 percent of our lands and inland waters, with the full and effective participation of Indigenous and local communities.

On behalf of all Ontario Nature staff, we want to thank you for standing with your fellow nature lovers in every corner of the province to protect Ontario‘s wild spaces and wild spaces.

Thank you

Please consider making a year-end gift this holiday season to support our work to protect wild species and wild spaces through 2018 and beyond.

Warm wishes for the holidays and a happy New Year,

–The Team at Ontario Nature

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for all you do! The Reptile and Amphibian app is great! (Hoping to go see my first mudpuppies this winter!) It might be interesting to do more urban workshops to educate people in the cities. I was on one nature walk this summer and the naturalist was saying if only people knew more about these snakes and could learn about the positives about herps of all kinds (and might then become interested in possibly creating habitat, building hibernaculums, etc) then they might have more of a chance in urban spaces!

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