Welcome to EcoWest News, a weekly round-up of news and resources that you can put to use in addressing environmental issues and protecting the wild in your community.
Introducing … the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley
This community-based organization offers environmental education for children and adults and involves the community in planning and executing conservation programs. WildSmart is designed to reduce negative wildlife-human interactions while the Shift program encourages local residents to reduce energy emissions, waste production, and water use. [Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley]
Across the West
“Manitoba has 650 kilometres of sub-arctic coastline along Hudson Bay, with rich marine ecosystems in the wetlands and estuaries of such rivers as the Seal, Churchill and Nelson.” Ron Thiessen, Executive Director, CPAWS Manitoba, calls for the creation of a National Marine Conservation Area. [CPAWS Manitoba]
Around the World
A north London warehouse has been transformed into the UK’s first open-access factory. “We don’t look down on hobbyists and the world of ‘wellbeing making’, but this is people putting bacon on the table.” [The Guardian]
Implementing Connectivity Conservation in Canada (2021) incorporates a literature review, survey, and case studies to identify “gaps, barriers, successes, and solutions in the efforts to maintain and restore connectivity in Canada”. [Canadian Council on Ecological Areas]
But It’s Messy!
The City of Saanich, BC, is restoring the Colquitz River as it flows through Cuthbert Holmes Park. Floodplain benches provide wildlife habitat, including an amphibian pond. Large boulders, woody debris, spawning gravel, and tree stumps have been added to create predatory escape pockets and improve fish habitat. To the human eye, some of the work may appear messy and unattractive, but it’s sure to please the wildlife. Great blue herons, Cooper’s hawks, kingfishers, native frogs, spawning salmon (and seals chasing them), kestrels, and sandpipers have already started using the restored habitat. [Saanich Spotlight newsletter & website]
Some municipalities, such as Ottawa, ON, are implementing permissive bylaws to support residents who want to maintain a naturalized garden. [Ottawa]
Getting Along with the Neighbours
Residents of Radium Hot Springs are taking it upon themselves to protect the local bighorn sheep herd. They’re raising money for a wildlife overpass, recording the number of sheep that die on the highway, and calling on drivers to slow down and enjoy the view. [Global News]
The University of Calgary has a wildlife co-existence program based on monitoring and investigation, education, enforcement, and mitigation. “With the help of supportive staff and faculty, responsive deployment of signage or closures, removal of attractants and the measured use of humane aversive conditioning, our program ensures coyotes and surrounding communities continue to use the campus safely, promoting biodiversity and sustainability in the urban ecosystem.” [The Conversation]
As part of a program to reduce bear-human conflict in BC’s Elk Valley, homeowners are offered subsidies for replacing fruit trees with non-fruit or nut-bearing trees. [Y2Y]
The ground beneath our feet “is a labyrinthine landscape of tunnels, cavities, roots and decaying litter. In just a cup of dirt, researchers have counted up to 100 million life forms.” Scientists are now eavesdropping on this underground life. [Knowable Magazine]