the-moose-cree-first-nation-hopes-to-finally-work-with-the-ontario-government-on-conservation-of-watershed

The North French River watershed, nine hours north of Toronto, sits on the traditional territory of the Moose Cree First Nation, which for decades has been striving to protect the area from further development. The nation’s past efforts were rebuffed by successive Ontario provincial governments. Now the Moose Cree must work with the Doug Ford administration, whose environmental track record includes stripping away environmental oversight, opening Algonquin Park to logging and allowing resource extraction in wilderness areas, according to an Ontario auditor general report

But there is renewed hope for the watershed: talks are now underway to designate the area as an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) to preserve the Moose Cree First Nation’s water, land and cultural traditions from all-pervasive mining, logging, and development.

“I have to say, the provincial government has come around,” says John Turner, land use coordinator and member of the Moose Cree First Nation. “Even in light of the current government, they are willing to work with us.”

Indigenous people have long protected their areas under Indigenous laws, says Anna Baggio, conservation director at the environmental non-profit Wildlands League. For example, the Cree hand down family traplines and sections of land families rely on for sustenance, cultural practices, and hunting and trapping grounds. 

But that hasn’t been enough to stave off unwanted development. The northern part of the Moose Cree territory has largely remained untouched, but the southern areas have been ravaged by industry.

Unfortunately for the Moose Cree, Ontario law is the only law practically recognized in our legal system, Baggio says. An IPCA could provide a bridge between them.

In August, the federal government announced $166 million for IPCAs as part of a push to give First Nations agency over their territories and a federal target of protecting 25 per cent of land and 25 per cent of oceans by 2025. To form an IPCA, tripartite agreements are struck between First Nations and Inuit governments and Canada’s federal and provincial government counterparts.

Until very recently, the Ontario government was the holdout thwarting the Moose Cree’s efforts to form an IPCA. The federal government was onside and gave the nation $225,000 over three years to develop a land use plan.

But Ontario was recalcitrant: the province hasn’t formally authorized an IPCA anywhere in its jurisdiction. It lags behind British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, all of which are on board with the concept and are close to finalizing a number of IPCAs. The Northwest Territories is the front-runner: it established one of Canada’s first IPCAs in recent memory, Thaidene Nëné Territorial and Indigenous Protected Area Establishment in partnership with several First Nations.

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks told Canada’s National Observer the Ontario government is currently reviewing opportunities to expand and enable Indigenous-led management of protected areas. But the ministry refused to comment directly on the possibility of an IPCA for the Moose Cree First Nation.

Historically, Ontario’s reluctance illustrates a pattern of thwarting the Moose Cree’s efforts to protect their cultural traditions and determine the management of their territories for land and wildlife stewardship and natural resource management. 

In 2015, the nation attempted to protect the area through its own land use plan without provincial involvement, Turner says. It failed because independent land use claims are not recognized by the province.

But more recently, the IPCA proposal has gained some traction. 

Ontario and the Moose Cree are working together on the land use plan, Turner says. Half of it would govern an area of the watershed that contains no resource development; the other half covers the already developed southern parts of the watershed. An IPCA would go a long way to protecting the nation’s way of life, he adds.

“It was really bad before,” says Turner. “I’ve seen people’s livelihoods destroyed by logging companies. People have a really good, productive trapline, and you have two or three of those machines working there. The logging companies can completely clear-cut a whole trapline in a year.”

It takes 15 to 20 years, nearly a generation, for a trapline to become productive following a clear-cut, he notes.

The Moose Cree’s case for an IPCA is bolstered by the boreal forest and Hudson Bay Lowlands, which sequester more than twice the amount of carbon locked in tropical forests like the Amazon. Canada’s federal climate targets will not be met if the boreal forest continues to be disturbed by development, according to a report by the non-profit National Resources Defense Council. The forests hold more than 80 per cent of their carbon in moss. Part of the Moose Cree’s argument contends the protection of the watershed will significantly reduce carbon emissions. 

But for Turner, preservation of clean water sits at the heart of the IPCA negotiations, partly because of its spiritual significance. Life requires clean water stretching for generations in the past and future, he says. 

The post The Moose Cree First Nation Hopes To Finally Work with the Ontario Government on Conservation of Watershed appeared first on Nature Canada.

why-election-signs-are-problematic-even-when-elections-are-long-over

The harm of thousands of election signs outweigh the benefits. Ever wondered what happens to them after an election? They spend centuries in the landfill. In Calgary, most, if not all signs, can’t be recycled because they’re coated with plastic. Specifically, the signs are made of corrugated coroplast material, so they don’t deteriorate.

Some quick background: when signs are printed, they have an extra layer of PVC to stop them from being damaged – and this plastic is difficult to see, and therefore difficult to remove. Signs can only be dismantled and thrown in the garbage, or be taken directly to a landfill for disposal.

Election signs littered in a northeast Calgary community park. With no one to take responsibility for their disposal or reuse, these signs may stay here indefinitely. Photo taken by Anosha Khan on November 30, 2021. 

When asked about whether signs can be recycled, the City of Calgary said: “The City is not able to recycle election signs, but please check with your candidate to see if they have a recycle/reuse option available. We also suggest repurposing signs or posting on Kijiji as they are popular for arts, crafts etc.” Thank you for the kind suggestion.

What’s worse is that nobody wants to take responsibility—not the City, and certainly not the candidates. The City expects all candidates to collect their signs and dispose of them within 72 hours after the election (after all, it is bylaw), but many aren’t doing that, so now we have trash piling in neighbourhoods. Signs are still up.

Edmonton has an election sign recycling page outlining where signs can be recycled and how to properly recycle them. Why can’t Calgary and other cities follow suit?

Non-recyclableness, though, isn’t the only issue. There’s also excessivity. The phenomena of sign pollution ran rampant during the recent Calgary election. There was often only a two-foot distance between one sign and the next (and this was particularly noticeable in the Northeast). The City states that you must have a 20-metre distance.

Although it’s been over a month since the municipal election, many houses and businesses continue to keep their election signs up despite bylaws. Photo taken by Anosha Khan on November 30, 2021. 

Recently, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek announced a climate emergency. It’s not a stretch to say that election signs contribute to environmental hazards, which are part of the climate problem. So, what’s the solution? Candidates can use social media to get their messages out. They can use digital displays where available. They can hold events (online) for constituents. Perhaps with these and other steps we can eventually get rid of plastic election signs for good.

The post Why Election Signs Are Problematic Even When Elections Are Long Over appeared first on Nature Canada.

a-feast-for-the-eyes-and-mind:-showcase-top-100-nature-photos

If you have an insatiable appetite for compelling nature images, you’ve come to the right place. In November we unveiled the Top 24 prize-winning images from NANPA’s 2022 Showcase competition. Today we’re back to reveal the full Top 100 images from the competition.

Birds

Birds are a favorite subject among many nature photographers, and the number of entries in this category in the 2022 Showcase competition is certainly evidence of that.

As announced last month, prize winners in the Birds category include (pictured below, from left) Royal Tern Preening Its Tail Feathers on the Beach by Jeremy Burnham (Best in Category), Dining at Dawn by Cameron Azad (Runner-up), Cuteness Overload by Brian Caldwell (Judges’ Choice), and Competition by Dana Henry (Judges’ Choice).

Sixteen additional images from the Birds category placed among the Top 100 in the competition. These include American White Pelican Bathing as the Setting Sun Hits the Water by Elizabeth Yicheng Shen, Couch’s Kingbird Performing Breeding Display by Tom Ingram, Mirror, Mirror by Sharon Wada, Juvenile Least Tern, Waiting for Breakfast by Rajan Desai, Barred Owl Affection by Michael Cohen, Tricolored Heron on the Hunt as the Sun Rises by Kelley Luikey, A “Goat Rodeo” by Jim Burns, Snow Geese Blast Off by Janice Rosner, Lilac-breasted Roller with Scorpion by Hector D. Astorga, Snowy Plover Chick Calling Out for Parents within 24 Hours of Hatching by Harry Lerner, Hanging on for Dear Life by Glenn Nelson, Northern Cardinal Pair Perch in the Top of a Pine Tree During a Snow Shower by David Hammond, Chestnut-breasted Coronets Jockey for Position Around a Single Flower by Charles Gangas, Willet Watching the Waves Coming In by Barbara White, Dressed to Impress by Anita Ross, and Ruby Eyes by Janeen Sullivan.

Altered Reality

All the images in the Altered Reality category display a change in natural color, form, shape, or any combination of these. The images have been enhanced or transformed beyond the way the subject appears in nature.

As announced last month, prize winners in the Altered Reality category include (pictured below, from left) The Badlands—Flipped and Reflected by Wendy Kaveney (Best in Category), Northern Carmine Bee-eater and Grevy’s Zebras by Cheryl Medow (Runner-up), Showy Snowy by Dave Hattori (Judges’ Choice), and Out of the Mist of Time by Sylvia A. Hosie (Judges’ Choice).

Six additional images from the Altered Reality category placed in the 2022 Showcase Top 100. These include Summer Swirl, captured in Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France, by Marie Bush; Mirrored Mallard, captured in Austin, Texas, by David Cook; Pink Peony Abstract, captured in Indianapolis, Indiana, by Wendy Kaveney; Water Lily, captured with a smartphone at Lilypons Water Gardens in Adamstown, Maryland, by Alton Marsh; Roseate Spoonbill Coming In for a Landing, captured in Fellsmere, Florida, by Marty Purdy; and Bald Eagle on Iceberg, captured in Endicott Arm, Southeast Alaska, by Betty Sederquist.

Scapes

The Scapes category includes landscapes, seascapes, plantscapes, atmosphere, and weather images.

Top prize winners announced last month include (pictured below, from left) Balsamroot at Sunrise by Greg Vaughn (Best in Category), Low Clouds and Conifers by Robb Hirsch (Runner-up), Lenticular Cloud Over Volcán de Fuego by Hector D. Astorga (Judges’ Choice) and Star Swept by Alice Cahill (Judges’ Choice).

An additional 15 photos in the Scapes category placed in the Top 100 images of the competition. These include Spring Flow Through Oirase Gorge by Alyce Bender, Falls Creek Falls by William Sutton, Sentinels of the West by Russ Bishop, The Flow by Russ Bishop, Sunset from Under a Glacier Ice Arch by Peter Nestler, Whelk on the Beach Enveloped by a Wave by Patricia Bauchman, Rare Astral Phenomena STEVE Swirling above Aurora Borealis and the Big Dipper by Naona Wallin, Fall Aspens by Judy Kramer, Diamond Beach, Iceland by Jeff Vanuga, Nature’s Evening Paint Brush by Hans Arnold, Star Trails over Granite Creek by Dave Ryan, The Twisting Branches and Autumn Canopy of the Sourwood Tree by Cynthia Lockwood, The Sun’s Rays Break through Morning Fog by Bob Watson, Smoky Mountains Autumn Sunrise by Bob Watson, and The Mask by Andrea Wolcott.

Conservation

The Conservation category was added to Showcase in 2020. Each entry in this category illustrates a conservation issue—positive or negative—and the value of conserving a species, place, or ecosystem for the benefit of wild and/or human communities. Entries in this category cannot be altered in any way—no elements added, removed, or changed to affect the meaning or integrity of the scene.

The four top prize winners in this category, as announced last month, include (pictured below, from left) Tule Elk Paces the 8-Foot Fence Line at Point Reyes National Seashore by Edgar Molina (Best in Category), Feral Apple Snail Is Gripped Tightly in the Talons of a Snail Kite by Corey Raffel (Runner-up), The Dangerous Toy by Celia Kujala (Judges’ Choice), and Lean On Me by Christina Selby (Judges’ Choice).

Seven additional images placed in the Top 100 of the Showcase competition, helping to raise awareness about various habitat threats, endangered species, and rehabilitation efforts. These images include Live Dolphin Swimming Under Oil and Trash in the Caribbean by Barry Brown, Pronghorn Watches Earthmovers by Shane Morrison, The Stand-off by Sarah Killingsworth, Brave Little Grizzly Bear by R. Craig Wallace, Raptors and their Guardian Angels by Julian Jacobs, Trash Owl by Janeen Sullivan, and Purple Martins Drawn to Strip Mall Lights by Heather Valey.

Mammals

Mammals is another highly competitive Showcase category based on the number of entries alone. The top four prizes, announced last month, include (pictured below, from left) Long-tailed Weasel Playing Peekaboo in Field of Flowers by Tom Ingram (Best in Category), The Magician by Celia Kujala (Runner-up), When They Think No One Is Watching, Bears Dance in the Forest by Jennifer Hadley (Judges’ Choice), and Shake it Off by Anita Ross (Judges’ Choice).

Eighteen additional images from the Mammals category placed among the Top 100 in the competition. These include Tower of Giraffes Looking Towards a Leopard by Yaron Schmid, Sparring Into the Night by Marcia Walters, Annoyed Too Many Times While Searching for Clams, One Bear Decides Other Must Go by Julie Picardi, Besties by Marcia Walters, A Young Giraffe Stands Tall Beside Family Members by Sophia Balunek, Prismatic Wolf by Kevin Monahan, Winter Bighorn Ram by Ken Archer, Fox Air by Shane Morrison, Porpoising Transient Killer Whale by Jodi Frediani, Pastel Paw Licker by Jeremy Burnham, Long-tailed Weasel Pops Out of Ground Squirrel Hole on a Snowy Day by Dawn Wilson, Mountain Goat Kids Backlit at Sunrise by Harry Lerner, Cub Breath by Jeremy Burnham, Sparring Bulls by Edgar Molina, Moose Drinking with Reflection of the Tetons by Deena Sveinsson, Bear in Flight by Dave Ryan, Scratching an Itch by Jeremy Burnham, and Bison Silhouetted Against Geyser Steam Vent by Ashfaq Marghoob.

Macro/Micro/All Other Wildlife

The Macro/Micro/All Other Wildlife category includes all non-bird, non-mammal wildlife as well as close-ups of any subject.

Four top prize winners in Macro/Micro/All Other Wildlife were announced last month, including Fireworm Seen Under Blue Light by Barry B. Brown (Best in Category), Thorn Bugs on Branch of Wild Tamarind by Kevin Barry (Runner-up), Love Knot: Calico Pennants Photographed on Equisetum by James Zablotny (Judges’ Choice), and School of Sardines Enveloped the Island of Los Islotes and then Parted, Exposing a Diver by Alex Rose (Judges’ Choice).

Additionally, 14 images in this category placed among the Top 100 in the competition. These include Giant Anemone Seen Under Blue Light by Barry B. Brown, Center of a Lotus Blossom by Mary Louise Ravese, Frost on Window Pane by Marie Bush, Two Swallowtail Butterflies Seemed to be Engaged in a Race by Judith Malloch, Universe in a Tridacna Clam by Jim Squires, Blue Dasher Dragonfly by Deborah Roy, Two Southern Smoothhead Glass Blennies Sleeping in a Brain Coral by Barry B. Brown, Tiny Fish, Big Home by Sharon Wada, A Goby’s Meadow by Sharon Wada, Emerald Glass Frog with Crossed Fingers by Rick Beldegreen, Icicles Hanging from Ice Ledge Over River’s Edge by Ray Bulson, A Green Lynx Spider Captures a Fly by Peter Brannon, A Tiny Regal Jumping Spider Feasts on a Small Fly by Peter Brannon, and Leafcutter Ant Carrying Leaf and Hitchhiker by Michael Shane.

About NANPA’s Showcase

NANPA’s annual Showcase competition began in 2004. In 19 years the competition has recognized nearly 1,000 of North America’s most accomplished nature photographers. More than 2,500 photographers have entered the competition during that time. Winners receive a combination of cash prizes and publicity opportunities.

“NANPA members include some of the finest photographers in the world. They don’t all have recognizable names, but their images deserve recognition, and Showcase provides an opportunity for that,” said competition coordinator Wendy Shattil. Shattil fully understands how winning a prestigious photo competition can impact a photographer’s career. She was the first woman to win a grand prize in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 1990.

Still More to Come

We’ll reveal another 150 images—to complete the 2022 Showcase Top 250—on December 16, 2021.

Want to see your image here next year? The Showcase entry window opens every year on August 1, so watch for it in 2022.

Prize-winning photo by Karen Schuenemann plus a selection of pages from free handbook titled CONTEST SECRETS: WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU ENTER A PHOTO
celebrating-black-in-marine-science-and-a-new-partnership

We here at TNC in Washington are honored and excited to share with you a new partnership with Black in Marine Science (BIMS)—a premier nonprofit organization incorporated here in Washington that celebrates Black marine scientists, spreads environmental awareness, and inspires the next generation of scientific thought leaders.

This partnership is led by the vision and leadership of Dr. Tiara Moore, an environmental ecologist that, in addition to being the founder and CEO of Black in Marine Science, is also a member of our team here at TNC. Her work here is an integral part of helping us conserve and steward the lands and waters upon which all life depends. She recently transitioned into a new role as Black in Marine Science Program Lead to steward this new partnership between the two organizations—stay tuned for a two-part Q&A that dives deep into her journey, BIMS, and what’s ahead.

All this week—Black in Marine Science Week—there have been many panels, workshops, and keynotes, all of which have been free and streamed to the BIMSTV YouTube channel.


Check Out BIMS WEEK


Watch on YouTube

There are also plenty of ways to connect and support Black in Marine Science beyond BIMS Week! Check out their site, bims.org, @blackinmarsci on Twitter, @blackinmarinescience on Instagram, plus lots of content on their YouTube channel.

Join us in celebrating and amplifying the work of Black marine scientists by tuning into BIMS Week this week and supporting their work into the future!