Conservation can be an uphill battle, but it’s a winnable one. As we reflect on this past year and look ahead to the new year, Ontario Nature will continue to support a science-based approach to conservation and fight alongside you to protect our environment. Below are some of the exciting projects we have planned for this year.
Staying Virtually Connected
Despite the decrease in in-person events due to COVID-19, we are committed to staying virtually connected with you, and webinars offer an excellent opportunity to do just that.
We are starting the year with addressing the concern that many Ontarians have: the future of our province’s natural environment. With the government putting Ontario’s nature at imminent risk, wild species and spaces need our help now more than ever. On January 12th, join Ontario Nature’s director of conservation and education, Dr. Anne Bell; former Greenbelt Council chair David Crombie; the Canadian Environmental Law Association lawyer, Anastasia Lintner; and Environmental Defence’s executive director, Tim Gray for a live discussion about how we can protect Ontario’s environmental future.
Make sure you also sign up for our Pelee Island Research Webinar on February 2nd, in which you’ll learn about the unique ecosystems found on Pelee Island, restoration projects including a controlled burn, and research to assess the effects of these projects on species at risk.
The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) publication will be available online for free later this year. It will feature details on native herpetofauna species distributions across Ontario, as well as conservation priorities for each species. With this data, the ORAA team was able to analyze the impact of road density and habitat loss on species occurrence. These results will allow researchers to better identify areas where a certain species is likely to be found but have yet to be reported, thereby improving the surveying efficiency by prioritizing these areas.
Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas-3
Calling all bird lovers! If you are interested in contributing your avian observations towards conservation research, we invite you to join the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas! This is the third atlas project launched by Ontario Nature in collaboration with various partner organizations. Atlas-3, much like the previous two atlases, aims to map out the distributions and populations of the province’s breeding birds to help direct conservation efforts. Interested in getting involved?
Sydenham River Watershed Protection and Restoration
Thanks to your generous support on Giving Tuesday, we can continue the ecological restoration work in the Sydenham River Watershed. This biodiverse natural area is home to many rare and at-risk species. This year, we will continue to work closely with volunteers, local First Nations and local communities to establish wetland habitats and restore Carolinian forest habitats through planting native vegetations, conserving watersheds and raising environmental awareness. If you want to participate in the restoration work by helping us to plant trees, stay tuned to our events calendar for more details.
New Protected Places in Ontario
Ontario Nature will continue to help increase protected areas to achieve the national commitment of protecting 25 percent of our lands and waters by 2025. Currently, we are working in partnership with community organizations, Indigenous communities and our Nature Network member groups to establish protected areas across Ontario. Some of the ongoing projects include:
As we continue to face COVID-19, nature has never been more important to sustaining the human spirit, providing solace and inspiring a better future. Rest assure, together with our members and supporters, we will continue to be the voice for nature in Ontario in 2021.
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Jennifer Ho is Ontario Nature’s Program Funding Coordinator. Growing up in Hong Kong, her love of nature originated from watching David Attenborough’s documentaries. The wonders of the natural world have led her to pursue a bachelor’s and later a master’s degree in environmental science with a focus on biodiversity conservation. In her spare time, Jen enjoys baking and exploring the world of food photography.