Off the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island, often shrouded in fog and mist, lie the five Scott Islands — symbols of British Columbia’s rugged natural beauty and astounding biodiversity.
By comparison, the Southern Strait of Georgia, located between Victoria and Vancouver, is less isolated but equally beautiful.
While both these regions showcase B.C.’s stunning natural heritage, they share something else in common: the Scott Islands and the Southern Strait of Georgia are vital habitat for a range of species, many of which are at risk. That’s why Earth Rangers is working closely with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) to better educate and inform Canadians about the critical importance of the Scott Islands and the Southern Strait of Georgia.
Our goal is to ensure that both the Scott Islands and Southern Strait of Georgia are given the appropriate protections in order to preserve habitat and protect the many species that call these areas home. The Scott Islands, for example, are the natural habitat of the tufted puffin, and from May through October 5-10 million other migratory seabirds come to the islands to breed — the highest concentration of breeding seabirds in the Canadian Pacific.
The Scott Islands provide important ecological breeding and nesting habitat for 90% of Canada’s tufted puffins.
While the islands themselves benefit from protected status, the surrounding waters do not. Yet migratory birds spend most of their time searching for food in the waters surrounding the islands – and that means these waters are a critical component of the birds’ habitat. Just after his election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed his Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to make marine protection a priority, and committed to protecting 5% of Canada’s oceans by 2017 and 10% by 2020. The the time to act is now.
Adequate protection for the waters surrounding the Scott Islands would go a long way toward ensuring threats from oil pollution, competition for food from commercial fisheries, and the threat of birds being caught in long-line fishery nets is reduced.
Similarly, the creation of a Marine Protected Area for the Southern Strait of Georgia would help protect a variety of species and their habitats, including Canada’s most endangered population of killer whales. The Southern Strait of Georgia is one of Canada’s most threatened environments because of the amount of commercial activity that is conducted in the region. CPAWS indicates “22 species in the region are either federally designated as Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, or considered high conservation priority by the government of British Columbia.”
The iconic southern resident killer whale population was declared endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2001.
You can learn more about these important B.C. coastal regions by joining us on Twitter, following us on Facebook, and continuing to read this blog for regular updates. Spread the word about our efforts by telling your family and friends and encourage them to follow our campaign.
You can also support Earth Rangers’ work with CPAWS and educational programming by making a donation.
Over the coming weeks, our school programs in B.C. and across Canada will explain to children why the Scott Islands and the Southern Strait of Georgia are so important to protect. And we will be writing more and in greater detail on this blog and in social media about the work Earth Rangers and CPAWS is doing to encourage government to better protect these regions.
This is important work and we want you to join us on a journey of discovery and exploration. We hope that by learning more about these vital regions, Canadians will be more inclined to protect them – not just for themselves, but for all the future generations yet to come.
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Earth Rangers have teamed up with CRH Canada and City of Toronto to help the Midland Painted Turtle in one of our newest Bring Back the Wild Projects:
Midland painted turtle populations are threatened by habitat loss, especially in rapidly developing urban areas. When Earth Rangers Members choose to protect the midland painted turtle through the Bring Back the Wild program, they will help support a significant wetland restoration project at Habitat Pond on Toronto Island, ensuring suitable habitat for midland painted turtles and other wetland creatures. Learn more about the project
Need more reasons to help the painted turtle? Here are five!
1) They hold the world record for holding their breath.
Since painted turtles hibernate underwater, they can hold their breath for up to five months! These turtles can hold their breath longer than any other air-breathing vertebrates in the world.
2) You might have seen one in the wild.
Painted turtles are the most common turtles native to North America so if you happen to see a turtle sitting in the sun near a pond, chances are it was a painted turtle. There are four types of painted turtles living in North America: Midland, Western, Eastern and Southern. These turtles look a lot alike but there are some small differences that can help you tell the Midland Painted Turtle apart from the rest: they have light grey markings on the bottom of their shell and they are the only painted turtles found in Quebec and Southern Ontario.
3) Their life is hard right from the beginning.
It can be tough to grow up without someone to take care of you but that’s life for a baby painted turtle. They are on their own from the moment they hatch because their parents don’t stick around to raise them. Females lay their eggs (about 15 at a time) in a freshly dug nest, covering them with sandy soil and when she’s done, she abandons them. But before she leaves, she also digs a few fake nests to distract predators from the real nest so the eggs can hatch and the babies can get to safety.
4) They have armour but it can’t protect them against everything.
A turtle’s shell is pretty amazing and offers protection against predators because they can’t bite through it. Unfortunately, it can’t protect turtles from one of their biggest threats: cars. As our cities get bigger and bigger, turtle habitat gets smaller and smaller and the habitat that’s left is being cut up by roads. As strong as a turtle shell may be, it’s no match for a speeding car if the turtle get hit crossing a road. And despite what you might have seen in cartoons, a turtle can’t take off its shell because it’s part of its body, so a cracked shell can mean death for a poor turtle. That’s why we’re creating turtle habitat away from roads.
5) They need your help!
The Painted Turtle might be the only one of Ontario’s eight turtle species that is not officially at risk, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need our help. They are threatened by the same things that have caused other turtle populations to decline. If we don’t help them now, it won’t be long because they start to disappear too.
The Bring Back the Wild Painted Turtle Project is proudly supported by:
Thanks to an exciting new partnership with Bayer and Pollinator Partnership, Earth Rangers Members will be able to help bees and other pollinators through the Bring Back the Wild Bees & Other Pollinators Project!
Pollinators in Canada face many challenges, including habitat loss. The Bring Back the Wild Bees & Other Pollinators Project will help ease the pressure of expanding urbanization with some strategic gardening, developing local native plant species lists and planting guides for attracting different types of pollinators. These consumer-friendly guides will cover several ecoregions across Canada and a diversity of landscapes, habitats, and pollinator species. Learn more about the project.
Here are 5 reasons why the protection of bees and other pollinators is so important:
1) They help keep our planet green
Hungry pollinators visit plants because they provide them with an important resource: nectar. This sweet, sugary liquid is produced in flowers and provides visitors with the energy they need to survive. When a pollinator lands on a flower to feed, it rubs up against the flower’s pollen grains, which stick to it’s body as it travels from flower to flower. The transfer of pollen from one flower to another is called pollination, and it is by this process that seeds are produced so that future plant generations can continue to grow.
A hungry bee collects pollen while feeding on a flower
Besides being nice to look at, plants produce the oxygen we need to breathe, provide habitat for a number of animals, help control the world’s water supply, and regulate the climate. Nearly 80% of all flowering plants are pollinated by insects like bees, and without them many of these plant populations would decline, so it’s easy to see just how important they are.
2) They help us fill our farms with crops — and our plates with delicious food
Bees are the top pollinators in Canada and one of the most important groups of pollinators on Earth. Among the thousands of plant species they’re responsible for pollinating are a number of food crops that we enjoy every day, like apples, sweet potatoes and watermelon, just to name a few. One out of every three bites of food that we eat in Canada is made possible by pollinators, and the pollination services that both wild and managed pollinators provide are estimated to be worth $2.2 billion to Canadian agriculture every year!
The next time you enjoy these foods, be sure to thank a pollinator
3) They make life a whole lot sweeter
We know bees are responsible for helping to produce delicious fruits and veggies, but for those of you who have a sweet tooth, they’ve got you covered too! Honey bees use nectar to make honey, and this honey feeds the colony over the cold winter months when the bees cannot leave their hive and flowers are not blooming. A mature honey beehive can produce over 100 pounds of honey each season.
Busy worker bees fill honeycombs with honey
4) They’re amazing dancers
Although it might not look like much to us, a bee’s mid-air buzzing is much more than just flying freestyle. If a bee on the hunt for nectar, pollen, water or habitat comes across an awesome spot, it will return home and perform a complex dance to share the location with members of the hive. These “waggle dances” can provide information about the distance, direction, and even quality of a site, all without saying a word.
Bees leave the colony to find food
5) They need help to protect their homes
Unfortunately, some pollinator populations are declining. Pollinators in Canada face many challenges, including habitat loss from human development, which replaces areas of native plants with houses, roads, and even lawns and gardens. Without these native plants, pollinators lose the habitats and food sources they rely on.
With lots of lavender to choose from, this bee has no problem finding a spot to rest up and refuel!
The Bring Back the Wild Bees & Other Pollinators Project is proudly supported by:
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Corals aren’t just warm-water creatures — they can live at crushing depths of up to 2 kilometers, in water as cold as 2⁰C. The coral reefs of Canada’s North Atlantic are some of the oldest at more than 9,000 years old. They are also home to a huge diversity of deep ocean life, including juvenile Greenland halibut, which are the most important food source for narwhals. Sadly, the survival of these unique corals is at risk due to harmful fishing practices and the warming and acidification of our oceans resulting from climate change.
Cold-water corals and sea lilies. Photo Credit: Marum
To properly manage and conserve cold-water coral and their habitats, scientists require detailed knowledge of their biology, location, and distribution. So Earth Rangers has commissioned Arctic Fishery Alliance to do just that, conduct underwater surveys in two ecologically important sites — Qikiqtarjuaq and the Mouth of Eclipse Sound — with a remote-controlled underwater camera! This research will provide a greater understanding of the corals’ life and habitat, and serve as a first step in developing a conservation plan for this important species.
Our coral-loving members have already raised more than $74,000 for the Cold-water Coral Project. Take Earth Ranger Mya, for example, who raised $160 by walking the Gully Trail in Canso in memory of her grandpa, who loved the ocean and fishing on the Nova Scotia coast.
If a child in your life would like to help protect the cold-water coral, please visit www.earthrangers.com to register an official Earth Rangers Member!
Together, lets Bring Back the Wild!
The fastest member of the animal kingdom, the peregrine falcon can dive at speeds of up to 320 km per hour! Even though these birds of prey are widespread today, only 50 years ago peregrine falcons faced extinction due to the use of a toxic pesticide called DDT. Thanks to a successful country-wide ban on DDT, over 1,500 peregrine falcons have now been reintroduced across Canada, and are adapting to life in urban areas. Although no longer at risk of immediate extinction, peregrine falcons still face many threats in the wild including disturbance and loss of their natural habitat and collisions with buildings.
In September 2015, Earth Rangers launched the Bring Back the Wild Peregrine Falcon Project in collaboration with FLAP Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Funds raised by this project are helping researchers at NCC monitor breeding and nesting sites in natural areas, like the Alfred-Kelly Nature Reserve in southern Québec, to reduce human disturbance during nesting season. Members of FLAP Canada will be studying Toronto’s urban peregrine falcon population, and educating Toronto building owners on what they can do to prevent bird collisions.
This Bring Back the Wild Project is an Earth Ranger favourite! Over 8,000 Earth Rangers Members have already raised $76,300 to help protect the peregrine falcon.
If a child in your life would like to help protect the peregrine falcon, please visit www.earthrangers.com to register an official Earth Rangers Member!
Together, lets Bring Back the Wild!
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The wolverine resembles a small and powerful bear, but it actually belongs to the weasel family. With its sharp teeth, powerful jaws and snowshoe-like feet, the species is fully equipped for life in the boreal and tundra forests of Ontario. But despite its strong build, the wolverine is still vulnerable to several threats, mostly related to human activities.
The largest threats facing the wolverine in northern Ontario are habitat loss and fragmentation. However, individual wolverines also face the threat of incidental trapping, which occurs when a wolverine is caught in a trap intended for other species. Because wolverines reproduce at such low rates, and it is estimated there are only 600 left in Ontario, each loss has a big impact on the overall population.
Earth Rangers and Wildlife Conservation Society Canada are collaborating on a solution. In cooperation with the licensed registered trapper community, we are developing new techniques to prevent the incidental trapping of wolverines. Funds raised for this project allow for various trapping tools and techniques to be tested in the field. Once best practices are established, education and outreach initiatives will be conducted among the broader trapper community.
Special motion-activated cameras are also being set up in locations where wolverines have been reported. This will allow us to learn more about where these secretive animals live. Determining the population distribution of wolverines in Ontario is essential to developing a conservation and protection plan for this species.
In collaboration with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, Earth Rangers has launched a Bring Back the Wild Wolverine Project for our members across Canada. After signing up at EarthRangers.com, children can choose to “Bring Back the Wild” by raising funds towards the protection of wolverines. Funds raised by an Earth Ranger member will help to:
- Improve the status of the wolverine by protecting the animals from being incidentally trapped
- Alleviate conflict between wolverines and the trapper community
- Inspire and enable trappers to become knowledgeable about the benefits of this important predator, and get involved in the protection of the species
This project is proudly supported by our long-term partner, OPG. Throughout our five years of successful partnership, Earth Rangers and OPG have helped over 60,000 Earth Ranger members raise over $470,000 for conservation projects focused on the spotted turtle, American badger, Blanding’s turtle, eastern wolf, and now the wolverine.
If a child in your life would like to help the wolverine, please visit www.earthrangers.com/bbtw to help them start their own Bring Back the Wild campaign.
Together, we can help protect the wolverine!
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