By Jenna Siu
When I tell people I did my master’s working with butterflies I get a lot of different reactions. Among fellow biologists, there is a certain appreciation for a study species even if it may not be their species of choice. However, among the general public it is a different story. "Butterflies, are they even animals?"
Butterflies are indeed animals and there are tons of reasons why butterflies make great study organisms. They are relatively easy to catch and handle, and mostly easy to observe. Plus, butterflies are relatively short lived, which makes it easy to study them over many generations. Because of this, a number of butterfly populations around the world have been monitored for decades, resulting in work that has made major contributions to our understanding of population dynamics and conservation.
Part of my project was to assess the Eastern Tiger and the Spicebush Swallowtails’ movement relative to forest edges in the fragmented landscape of southern Ontario. Did they move towards it, avoid it, or a bit of both? To learn about this we caught butterflies and released them at different distances from the edge and followed them using a GPS unit to record their movement.
Working on butterflies had a few benefits. They come out when it’s sunny and are active during the day. Swallowtails are some of the largest butterflies in Ontario, so they take longer to warm up. I didn’t expect to see many out before 10 am or after 5 pm. On a typical day, I rolled out of bed around 8:30 am, ate breakfast and prepared my lunch. Eventually my field assistant would follow, we would pack the car and be on the road at 9:30 am. We would pack butterfly nets, a cooler with ice packs and a towel, many glassine envelopes, a permanent marker, GPS unit, field guides, lots of sunscreen and water.
After arriving at a site, we would walk around with our nets, sometimes up and down a road, through fields or along the forest edge looking for swallowtails. People often say to me, “I picture you frolicking in the fields catching butterflies.” Clearly, they have never gone butterfly catching before.
Catching butterflies is anything but graceful. In fact, some advice I was given before heading to the field was, “if you don’t look silly doing it, you’re not doing it right.” Truer words have never been spoken. Swallowtails are very strong fliers; they can fly high and fast. I couldn’t count the number of times a swallowtail has out flown me or made me run in circles. I have chased after falling leaves, fallen on my face, gotten scrapes and bruises, gone through poison ivy and swarms of deer flies and mosquitoes all to get one more sample.
Through many failed attempts, I quickly learned the tricks of the trade. It is much easier to sneak up on swallowtails while they are on a flower feeding on nectar. However if you miss, you have about a 30 second window to redeem yourself; otherwise it will likely out fly you. You can also catch them mid-flight or chase after them, but trust me, it is much harder. By mid-field season, my field assistant and I were pro butterfly catchers, catching well over 600 throughout the summer!
Once a butterfly was caught, we would carefully take it out of the net, put it in a glassine envelope and in the cooler. Butterflies are ectothermic, meaning their surroundings determine their body temperature. So, putting them in a cooler does minimal harm – as long as it’s not too cold!
There are a lot of myths about touching a butterfly’s wings and people always ask how safe it is for the insect. Their wings are covered in a powder like substance that is actually tiny scales. This is what gives them their bright colours and patterns. Lepidoptera, the scientific order they belong to, means ‘scaly wings’. As butterflies age, they lose their scales naturally. Although, you don’t want to handle them too much causing them to lose scales faster, it is very safe to hold them by pinching the wings together just behind the head – the strongest part of their wing.
After a few butterflies were caught, we would bring them to the release site. For each butterfly release, we would take a butterfly from the cooler, sex it and give it a unique ID in case we caught it again. To mark butterflies we simply used a permanent marker to write on their wings. For Eastern Tigers, which are mainly yellow, it was easy to write a number on their underwing. For the Spicebush however, they are mainly black. They have six orange spots on their underwings that we marked in unique patterns.
After recording this information, we would put the butterfly on the ground, wait for it to take off and follow it using flags and a GPS unit, doing our best not to influence its flight. We did this repeatedly throughout the day. When 5 pm rolled around and few butterflies were to be found, we headed back to the field station to make dinner ending the day with a few beers around the campfire.
I have now completed my master’s and as it turns out, forest edges are an important landscape feature for these swallowtails. It can be stressful to manage your own research project, but when it’s all said and done, I only have fond memories of spending the hot summer days catching butterflies.
This blog is also posted on Dispatches from the Field and Jenna's website
By Patrick Schaefer
As a child, my parents took me and my sister to a Conservation Authority park almost every weekend. My favourites were Mountsberg, Hilton Falls and Crawford Lake. These parks are in the vicinity of the Niagara Escarpment. They support high levels of biodiversity and contain a range of natural features like streams, lakes, wetlands and forest habitats. These are still my favourite parks to this day.
Parks Canada is celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday by giving free admission to national parks in 2017. But let’s take a minute to learn about Conservation Authorities (CA). They are another type of organization that protects natural spaces and engages people with nature. You may have missed it, but 2016 marked 70 years of CAs protecting Ontario’s Biodiversity. A total of 36 CAs operate in Ontario. They provide programs and services to 90% of Ontario’s population.
Conservation Authorities are non-profit organizations. They operate with a board of directors appointed by municipalities within their jurisdictions. The 1946 Conservation Authorities Act mandates that CAs manage water, land and natural resources. They do this through restoration, management and conservation actions. The 1920s and 30s was a peak time of extensive deforestation, soil loss and widespread degradation of natural resources. CAs were created in response to this poor land and resource management. In 1954 Hurricane Hazel dropped ~280mm of rain on southern Ontario. Combined with winds of >100km/hr, this event resulted in 81 deaths and $25 million dollars in damages. Today that would be equal to over $250 million. After review, the Conservation Authority Act was amended in 1959 to include protecting people and property from flooding.
Most people may be familiar with CAs for their local parks. They serve to protect natural areas and act as a resource for education and recreation for the public. Ontario’s CAs own and protect nearly 150,000 hectares of our natural and cultural heritage areas. In addition, CAs play a major role in restoration efforts. In 2012 they collectively planted more than 3 million trees, provided $8.4 million for water quality improvement projects. These projects were related to erosion control and agricultural best management practices. They also carry out restoration and rehabilitation of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. But CAs are about much more than land protection. CAs manage $2.7 billion dollars in flood control and prevention infrastructure. Prevention infrastructure can include dams, dykes, channels and erosion control structures. These structures and activities save roughly $100 million dollars annually in preventing flood damage and loss of life!
Conservation Authorities also play an important role in monitoring healthy ecosystems. In partnership with provincial agencies, CAs track surface and groundwater across Ontario. They monitor aquatic ecosystems by assessing fish and aquatic insect communities. Biological monitoring occurs at more than 1000 sites across the province.
Since graduating with a M.Sc in 2014 I have worked at two Conservation Authorities conducting biological monitoring. Contributing to the preservation of natural spaces and conservation of biodiversity has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
With the money you are saving from free admission to Parks Canada this year, consider visiting some parks at your local CA. It will support the many great programs and services they offer. There are also many opportunities to get involved. Most CAs offer volunteer opportunities in restoration and monitoring projects. To learn more, check out the Conservation Ontario website and your local CA.
By Stephanie Varty
Spending summers by the lake is how everything started; warm weather, bright sun and a canoe paddle in hand. Lakes have always been important in my heart because of my upbringing. Exploring the water and finding crisp refreshment every time I jumped in will always be something that brings me both a sense of euphoria and joy. Yet, it has been in recent years which have allowed for lakes to solidify a place in my mind and now in my research. Canadian lakes cover between 10 to 15% of the country’s area. This percentage is underestimated and the lakes understudied (Brown and Duguay 2010). Lakes play a role in regulating physical processes, cycling nutrients and sustaining life. Many of these processes tend to go unseen by the naked eye. But when you look closer you can see systems that are overflowing with biodiversity.
My research has given me a new perspective on why it is important to study these lake systems. This summer I will be trading in my warm weather and canoe paddle to go to a lake much further north. I will be traveling to Lake Hazen on Ellesemere Island, NU, which is the largest lake north of the Arctic Circle. Lake Hazen is a prime example of how lake systems function under extreme weather conditions. Lake Hazen experiences 24 hours of daylight during spring and summer months and a summer season that lasts at most two months (Lehnherr et al 2012). During this short season a burst of growth occurs with melting ice. Lemmings come out to play, mats of lichen cover the ground and fields of arctic poppies sprout up. Though there are so many interesting things that are above ground, what I am concerned with is much smaller and submerged in the water.
A main part of my research is to understand where mercury processing bacteria occur across the landscape. This is so I can better understand where toxic forms of mercury are being degraded and produced. These bacteria are microscopic, but in abundance. Under the right conditions, they can produce a form of mercury called methylmercury that enters the food web. The concentrations of this toxin also increase over time (bioaccumulation) and as you move up the food web (biomagnification, Morel et al 1998). This means that a small amount of mercury in the water can translate into a large amount once it reaches top predators like Arctic char and seals. Unfortunately, this not only spells out health problems for the animals, but for humans as well. High concentrations of mercury in Arctic lake systems means that the health of Arctic Indigenous People could be at risk because they consume some of the top predators as a part of their traditional food. Investigating mercury in lake systems is important for understanding ecosystem functions, but is also needed for the cultural and physical well-being of people.
I am fortunate that my research allows me to have an adventure, contribute to science and have a role in understanding community health. My past experiences and experiences to come shape in my mind and in my heart the importance of lakes in Canada. For me and many people country-wide, lakes are not just an important resource, but something that is intertwined in their life story. It is important that we nurture these ecosystems and pay close attention to what they have to teach us. I can guarantee you they have plenty to teach us.
Brown, L. C., and C. R. Duguay (2010), The response and role of ice cover in lake-climate interactions, Prog. Phys. Geogr., 34(5), 671–704
Lehnherr, I., Louis, V. L. S., Emmerton, C. A., Barker, J. D., & Kirk, J. L. (2012). Methylmercury Cycling
in High Arctic Wetland Ponds: Sources and Sinks. Environmental Sciences and Technology 46, 10514−10522.
Morel, F. M. M., Kraepiel, A. M. L., & Amyot, M. (1998). The chemical cycle and bioaccumulation of
mercury. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 29, 543–566.
By Chris Hay
“Zero waste living” seems like a revolutionary new movement, but at its core it’s actually a simple and obvious idea. Reducing our trash as much as possible, ideally to nothing, would save us money and reduce pressure on the environment. Many other movements are closely related: voluntary simplicity, collaborative consumption (sharing), and the
I had a brush with this movement when I heard about Bulk Barn implementing a new system. You can now bring your own reusable containers into the store to fill with food, rather than using the single-use plastic bags and containers they provide. Having recently heard about the tragedy of plastic in our oceans, and already owning several empty containers waiting to be used, this was my perfect opportunity to make a positive change.
I washed and gathered up a variety of reusable containers and put them in a reusable cloth bag. At the store the cashier quickly inspected and weighed each container, applying to each one a tiny sticker with the weight written on it. An elderly woman asked what was going on, so I explained the new program to her. She seemed intrigued – maybe once more people see it happening, it will catch on! I went to the bulk bins and filled each container with what I had planned. At the checkout the cashier subtracted the weights of the containers from the total when ringing it up. It was all surprisingly speedy and easy!
Before you go, definitely check out Bulk Barn’s policy and container standards on their website. I’ll highlight a few things. Your containers need to be totally spotless (literally, no water spots!) and mason jars with rusty metal lids may not be accepted. Make sure you carefully wash and dry your containers, and inspect them after to make sure there’s no residue stuck in a corner. When filling your container, don’t pour back and make sure the scoop does not touch the sides (pour over the top). If you want to get anything liquid (e.g. peanut butter), I recommend choosing a container with as wide an opening as possible. Otherwise it will be hard to fill without making a mess (the scoops are quite large). Before your next visit, wash your containers again and remove the old sticker. When the cashier inspects your containers before weighing they may reject any of your containers for any reason, in which case don’t stress using bag(s) and you’ll know for next time. Let’s make life easy for the cashiers so the new program is well received!
Like most environmental movements, using reusables at Bulk Barn can seem like too small an action to make a difference. I saved a few light little bags from going into the garbage – big deal, so what? But a lot of small, steady water drops in a bucket and before you know it, the bucket is overflowing. What if we didn’t need to keep refilling Bulk Barn’s massive rolls of plastic bags? And consider that you are now not buying the product from a regular grocery store in a container that would be even more wasteful. When I was a kid, my family and most people I knew didn’t recycle at home or use reusable cloth bags for groceries. As years went on (and with a little pressure) these activities became completely commonplace and natural. That’s a big difference! I hope shopping with reusable containers can undergo the same process, moving from niche to the new normal. For me, at least, I’ve already found this to be a simple switch, and I feel empowered and ready to move onto the next positive lifestyle change.
Besides reducing waste, there is a bigger lesson here. How and why did Bulk Barn change their policy and embrace this new idea? The story goes that there was always a community writing in, fighting for the retailer to allow refillable containers, but it wasn’t until one lady went ahead and broke store policy (using her own containers, at the risk of reprimand from the store) that policy change took place. It seems that for changes like this to happen it takes finding a good idea, many people taking action, and a little bravery along the way. Let’s be a part of these changes, a part of making the world a better place (one less bag at a time)!
By Brian Millward
Sometimes I wish that humans were disconnected from nature. I imagine this wonderland where our global population has no effect on the natural world. Everyone just goes about their day as normal, without any ramifications. Then reality sets in and I have to face the facts that our actions do have an impact on the world around us, and I mean every action! Already as I sit here on my laptop (electricity consumption), drinking my green tea (agriculture and transportation), and wearing my pajamas (water pollutants and waste) I have probably single-handedly wiped out a species of microbe!
It seems almost impossible to think of an activity we do that doesn’t jeopardize the biodiversity on Earth, including our own species survival. That’s the hilarious part about conserving biodiversity – it’s not about the millions of species of plants and animals, but about us. Our very existence is dependent on the services that plants and animals provide for us here on Earth. There’s pollinators that keep our crops healthy, medicinal plants that heal us, and plants and animals that nourish us. There are even microscopic creatures that decompose our waste, and phytoplankton that create oxygen that we breathe!
Our reliance on the species with which we share this planet is staggering. Yet we continue to have a delusion of superiority towards all other life forms. However, we are far from perfection. For instance, the value of pollination by bees is estimated around 16 billion dollars in the US alone! Without that ability to effectively pollinate, which has taken millions of years to evolve, we would not be able to enjoy many of the fruits and vegetables we consume.
There are countless examples of how dependent we are on the natural world around us. As much as we try to break away from the laws of nature, we constantly are reminded of our place in the world. The recent decline in bee populations is one of the rude awakenings we have had to face. As we threaten more and more species, it is difficult to know just how hard our economies and societies will be hit.
When Nicolaus Copernicus discovered that the Earth revolved around the Sun, it forced humans to accept that we are not the center of the Universe. Well I’m here to burst our bubble again, because we’re also not the center of our own planet. Our natural world consists of countless connections between organisms that interact and affect one another. If we’re going to flourish in this world we will have to enter into a new era of selfishness.
A new selfishness where we preserve and protect other species because without them, our existence is compromised. While it’s totally okay for us to care about ourselves, we have to understand that the well-being of other species directly affects us in every way.
What’s in it for you? Everything.
This blog is also posted on Earth Unfiltered.
By Jenna Quinn
Scarves, mittens, toques, snow pants, and boots; In Canada, we know how to bundle up to beat the cold. Even our wildlife has to adapt to winter weather and different species use a variety of interesting and sometimes unique ways to keep warm each winter.
Perhaps most noticeable are the species that simply flee the cold for a southern vacation. Many birds and large mammals avoid the blustery winter weather by travelling to a warmer spot, where there is more food to be found. The Arctic Tern makes the longest annual migration of any bird. According to the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, it travels an incredible 71,000km each year! Conversely, some herds of Woodland Caribou migrate only short distances to the closest location where they can still find food. Another strategy is to sleep through the snow. This can be tempting to even the toughest Canadian when the temperature drops below -30°C, and a warm bed is waiting. Some bears, bats, chipmunks, salamanders, and bees all hide away in caves, underground, or in tree or rock crevices and sleep until spring. Garter Snakes hide out in large groups over winter and are quite the spectacle to see when they emerge the following spring.
Some species make seemingly small, but important changes, thickening up their fur coats for the winter and wearing white to camouflage against the snow. For example, the Arctic Fox uses a warm white winter coat to survive the cold. Rabbits, among others, switch their diets from grasses and herbs to bark, twigs, and buds which are much easier to find in winter.
Most butterflies endure the winter in a different lifecycle stage, as an egg or chrysalis that has a tough outer shell able to tolerate the cold weather. Interestingly, the Mourning Cloak butterfly, common in southern Ontario, remains in its delicate butterfly state all winter. It finds a crack in a tree or rock and snuggles in for a long rest. This allows it to be the first butterfly out in the spring, getting first dibs on the food before more competition arrives.
One of the most fascinating winter survival strategies is that of the Wood Frog, an amphibian found across Canada including the tundra. To survive these chilly conditions, the Wood Frog stays near the surface of the ground, just below the leaf litter, and actually freezes and thaws with the surrounding environment. There are special proteins in the frog’s blood that allows it to freeze, which keeps ice from forming in the cells by dehydrating them. This prevents the frostbite we get if our skin is exposed to freezing temperatures.
Don’t let the cold keep you indoors this winter! Get outside and see what evidence you can find of Canada’s winter wildlife.
This blog is also posted on the rare Charitable Reserve's blog.
By Jessica Ferguson
Amphibians are cool. They were the first vertebrate to step out of the water, become terrestrial, and sprout some limbs and lungs (thanks, amphibians!). They are widely distributed, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They are indicator species, as they are sensitive to pollutants present in the water. Their early life-stage development is a throwback, indicating that they were once fully aquatic. There is incredible diversity in amphibians and their reproductive processes, but to summarize greatly, they lay eggs in the water, which hatch into aquatic larva equipped with gills, and later transform into their mostly-terrestrial adult stage complete with lungs.
That is true for many Ontario amphibians, but not for the Mudpuppy (Necturus macolosus). This unique, fully aquatic salamander lays eggs in late spring, which are then possibly guarded by the females… who possibly stay with the young for a while after they hatch… We’re not completely sure, but more on that later. They take two to six years to fully transform into adults, and live for about 30 years. Although Mudpuppies can breathe oxygen through their skin like other amphibians, they retain their external, feathery, red gills into adulthood. This is the key identification feature for the species. Additionally, they are much larger than our other Ontario salamanders, reaching almost 50 cm in length. Even as juveniles they are about twice the size of the larva of other species. They have thick bodies and stubby legs, adorable beady little eyes, and are grey to rusty brown in colour with dark spots on their dorsal and lateral surfaces.
Mudpuppies enjoy long walks along muddy river bottoms, and hiding under submerged rocks and logs. They are found in aquatic environments that don’t fully freeze in the winter. In fact, contrary to the behaviour of their hibernating cousins, they are actually active during the cold winter months. They are also carnivores and like to snack on aquatic insects, fish, fish eggs, worms, and crayfish.
But here’s the thing: other than that, we actually don’t know very much about Mudpuppies. Because they are nocturnal and lay low at the bottom of waterbodies, they are seldom seen. Despite their elusive nature, we can still determine, through surveying efforts, that they are not a species at risk. They are not immune to the pressures that face their semi-terrestrial cousins, though. Pollution is a major issue, as is the case for all amphibians due to their incredibly porous skin. In the St. Lawrence River, over 60% of Mudpuppies examined had evidence of deformities due to high PCB levels (Fisher et al, 2007). Habitat loss and shoreline development are also problematic. However, an extra pressure Mudpuppies face is that they are often killed when caught by anglers who mistakenly believe them to be venomous. Mudpuppies are completely harmless. If you ever catch a Mudpuppy while fishing, gently take it off the hook, and release it back into the watery depths from whence it came. If you are unsure if it is a Mudpuppy or a fish…well, Mudpuppies have legs!
There are very few reasons I would plunge my hands into icy water, but I have for a Mudpuppy. Despite scouring river bottoms, I have not yet had the chance to see one in the wild so I went to my friend, Kenny Ruelland, for his first experience with these cryptic creatures. Kenny said, "I will never forget my first time seeing one of these giant, neotenic (aquatic) salamanders. It was early March, the temperatures were around -25C. After about 40 minutes of wading through the icy water - there it was! My first ever Mudpuppy came emerging from under a sheet of ice."
Finding excitement in such a strange creature may seem odd to some, but I’m sure that many have felt the same surge when they spot an owl hiding in the treetops, or watch a moose raise its head to solemnly watch you paddle by. Amphibians play an important role in our ecosystems, and we need to encourage people to be passionate about them to conserve the species and their habitats.
Because there is so little known about Mudpuppies, every little bit helps. If you see one (or any reptile or amphibian in Ontario), report your sighting to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas. Even incidental sightings can really help shed some light on this unique and under-surveyed species!
This blog is also posted on Earth Unfiltered.
Hello once again Canada,
I'm back now from COP13, and after having decompressed from a few days, I think I've finally gotten my head wrapped around this whole crazy conference. COP13- or I guess just COPs- was fascinating. The whole process, from the formality of each country's first time on the mic, to the late contact group meetings that can go into the early hours of the night as countries argue over words, somehow happen during the same two week period. Some days it seems like no work gets done, but other days you'll fly through a bunch of Conference Room Papers in three hours. One day, for example, Working Group 2 (the conference was split in half, into two groups, in order to get everything done quickly) quickly created 3 L-documents (the final documents before they get agreed upon officially by all of the parties) from their previous Conference Room Papers in 45 minutes, only to then spend the next 2 and a half/ 3 hours discussing one document. It's honestly shocking that anything ever gets done.
To get a bit more into the facts, while I was there over the first week, 8 L-documents were created and agreed upon. They were for the following documents: Modus Operandi of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation across COP and COPMOPs (UNEP/ CBD/COP/13/L.5, CP/COP-MOP/8/L.2 and NP/COP-MOP/2/L.2), Sustainable use of biodiversity: Bushmeat and sustainable wildlife management (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.2), Recommendation from the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to the CBD (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.3), Climate-related geoengineering (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.4), Marine spatial planning and training initiatives (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.6), and Implications of the IPBES assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production for the work of the convention (UNEP/CBD/COP/13/L.7). All of these documents can be found here: https://www.cbd.int/conferences/2016/cop-13/documents under the COP13, COPMOP8, and COPMOP2 document subheadings. The big hot topic at this COP was synthetic biology, and how digitized genomes should be regulated under the CBD and its protocols, and discussions on this topic not only lasted the week while I was there, but took up a good chunk of time in the second week as well. Finally, the locations of the next three COPs were decided. They'll take place in Egypt (COP14), China (COP15), and Turkey (COP16)
The whole process is incredible complex and wonderfully interesting, and makes me feel hopeful for the continued protection of biodiversity. People seemed to really care about the protection and promotion of biodiversity, and hopefully this passion and these discussions will leave this conference and turn into real world, on the ground, action.
Just a quick update from down here in beautiful Cancun (I've heard it's been snowing in Canada... pretty happy to have missed that). I'm just about to start the second day of COP13 events, but I've got lots to update you all on.
A week ago now was the Civil Society and Youth Forum, where young people from Mexico and across the world came together to talk about mainstreaming biodiversity, not only across the four main sectors being focused on here at the COP (Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, and Tourism), but across Urban Planning as well, something that we though was important enough to highlight as well. The forum, overall, was great, but instead of going over specifics parts of what happened, I instead want to focus on the general atmosphere. Even with the supposed cultural and language differences and barriers, that arise at a large international meeting such as this, it was incredible to see that we all have the same problems, and all want the same solutions. The problem of sustaining and protecting biodiversity is one that crosses borders, and was honestly pretty incredible to see.
After that I attended the Science Forum, which was also good. The forum also focused on mainstreaming biodiversity, but only across the four main sectors. The general feeling that came out of the forum was that biodiversity science needs to be used and incorporated into policy more by decision makers, and that science needs to incorporate local and indigenous communities, as well as be accessible to them.
Finally, the COP13 officially started on Sunday night, but I'll get into more of that in the next blog post. If you have a hankering to know more about the proceeding right now, be sure to follow us on instragram, twitter, and facebook. You might also want to follow GYBN on all of those platforms as well, as they have far more people in their media team than just me.
So now that we know all of the major parts and moving pieces of the CBD and COP, it's time to tackle what's happening this year at COP13. The overarching theme this year is a big one: Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Well-Being- and that doesn't mean explaining to your grandparents what biodiversity is. The goal of mainstreaming biodiversity, is to make sure it is included, and understood, across a breadth of different sectors, with a focus on agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. Now, believe me, there's a lot going on (as you can see here), but some of the main things that are happening include a review on where we are with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, a review of the progress towards achieving Aichi target 16, how to better protect marine and coastal biodiversity, and how to deal with invasives (and that's just the first day). I can't personally speak to your interests and persuasions, but here's another breakdown of what the next two weeks may look like, for you to pick and choose to learn more about at your leisure. What's important to remember, as you peruse through all of these links, is that this conference is all about mainstreaming biodiversity, and that means looking at what's worked, what hasn't worked, and where we can go from here.
Blogs are written by ELB members who want to share their stories about Ontario's biodiversity.