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ON Nature Summer 2017
Magazines | Environment & Ecology 2017-06-12 10:41:38
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    Land protection: How Ontario can keep its promises Polar explorer: Ontario’s leading polar bear expert is worried The case against neonics: Pesticide battle leads to court ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM SUMMER 2017 The Dark Night Artificial light is yet another pollutant, affecting the health of all plants and creatures – including us 2016 NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS SHORT FEATURE WRITING SILVER

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    SAVE MORE TREES! NO MORE LOGGING IN ALGONQUIN! MOVE FASTER! PROVINCIAL PARKS NOW! PROTECT MY HOME! SMALL AND MIGHTY! What do we want? MORE PROTECTED AREAS! When do we want it? NOW! NOW! NOW! Our government has promised to protect 17% of our land and inland waters through well-connected networks of protected areas by 2020. And today, we’re only at 10%! It’s time for leadership and action! Stand with Ontario Nature—and the species you love—and help us create more protected areas now! You can visit ontarionature.org/ protectedareas to learn more and to make your gift to help create more protected areas. Thank you! Ontario Nature

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    ,Page 30: Warmer temperatures are negatively impacting southern Hudson Bay polar bears. DEPARTMENTS FEATURES 5 This Issue Where there is a will, there is a way. By Caroline Schultz 6 Earth Watch Snapping turtle win; boreal outreach; the case against pesticides; surveying salamanders; photo contest finalists. 36 Our Member Groups Strength in numbers. By Lisa Richardson 37 Our Community A friend of nature: Sophie Mazowita. ON THE COVER 18 Blinded by the light Artificial light is a pollutant, affecting the habitat and health of all plants and creatures – including humans. Why the night must be brought back. By Ray Ford 24 A plan for protection Canada has committed to protecting 17 percent of its land from development, but Ontario is lagging far behind. Here is how the goal can be met. By Conor Mihell PHOTO ROBERTMCCAW.COM 38 Last Word Protection for migratory birds must include their habitats. By Lisa Richardson On the cover: The Milky Way over Horseshoe Lake. Photograph by Andrew McLachlan 30 The bear whisperer Marty Obbard devoted his career to studying and advocating for polar bears. Can his work help save a species some people believe is doomed? By Brad Badelt FSC MIX Paper from responsible sources FSC' C103151 W Waterless , Printing Process • Ecologcr Ontario Nature ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM SUMMER 2017 ON NATURE 3

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    ONnature Summer 2017, Vol. 57 No. 2 Join us in JAMAICA! November 20 – 28, 2017 Publisher Ontario Nature Editor John Hassell Art Director Levi Nicholson Editorial Assistant Lisa Richardson Contributing Editor Joanna Pachner Copy Editor Sarah Weber Proofreaders Allan Britnell, Ron Corkum, Noah Cole Advertising Jeffrey Yamaguchi 416-508-2382 promedcomm@aol.com Ontario Nature 214 King Street West, Suite 612 Toronto, on m5h 3s6 t/416-444-8419, 1-800-440-2366 f/416-444-9866 johnh@ontarionature.org ontarionature.org Subscribe to ON Nature magazine Your subscription includes a membership to Ontario Nature. Visit onnaturemagazine.com/ subscribe or call 416-444-8419 ext. 233 Bronze ...............................................................................$50 Senior or Student ........................................................... $40 Library .............................................................................. $45 Family ............................................................................... $55 Please call Laura at Quest Nature Tours for more information and to request a detailed itinerary. )ue st NATURE TOURS ON NATURE SPRING 2014 Ontario Nature . ■Aite Support Ontario Nature Give today and help protect wild species and wild spaces in Ontario. Visit ontarionature.org/give or call 416-444-8419 ext. 233. Donors who give $50 or more will be mailed the magazine. Individual .......................................................... $10 to $49 Bronze .................................................................. $50 to $149 Silver .................................................................. $150 to $499 Gold ................................................................... $500 to $999 Champion for Nature ............................... $1,000 to $4,999 Ambassador ......................................................$5,000 plus Make a monthly contribution of any amount and become a Friend of Nature. Ontario Nature issues a charitable receipt for gifts of $10 or more. Ontario Nature is a registered charity (107378952 rr0001). About ON Nature magazine ON Nature is published quarterly by Ontario Nature and delivered to Ontario Nature members. Single copies are available by calling the Ontario Nature office ($9.49, includes taxes, postage and handling). Indexed in cpi, cbca and The Canadian Index. Opinions expressed in ON Nature are not necessarily the views of Ontario Nature unless expressly stated as such. Advertising does not imply endorsement by Ontario Nature. No part of the publication may be reproduced without consent of the publisher and creators. Publications mail agreement No. 40064732 Return postage guaranteed. ON Nature is printed in Canada with vegetable-based inks on fsc recycled paper (50 percent recycled, 25 percent post-consumer fibre) by Warren’s Waterless Printing Inc. issn 1711-9138 ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM

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    This Issue WHERE THERE IS A WILL, THERE IS A WAY By Caroline Schultz I t is a rare and special moment when our collective efforts result in real protection for a vulnerable species or a special habitat or ecosystem. One such moment occurred a couple months ago when the provincial government announced a ban on the hunting of snapping turtles. This great win for nature came after years of petitions and requests from Ontario Nature and its partners to end the hunt. In the most recent push, more than 7,000 Ontario Nature members and supporters made submissions to the government. Advocating for nature can be a daunting challenge. When we plan campaigns aimed at improving laws and policies affecting conservation, we know we are in it for the long haul, with no guarantee of success. But when we do prevail, we are buoyed and our resolve deepens as we realize that the voice of Ontario Nature and our supporters can make a huge difference. Success in advocacy most often happens when thousands of citizens pull together and make their collective voice heard by decision makers. But sometimes a single strong voice can make all the difference. Take Ethan Elliott, a student and member of Ontario Nature’s Youth Council. He convinced his hometown of Stratford to become Ontario’s second Bee City (Toronto was the first). To gain the designation, Stratford passed a resolution committing the city to restoring pollinator habitat and providing education on pollinator conservation. It is such successes that stoke the fire for what will be Ontario Nature’s most ambitious campaign in many years. In 2010, Canada signed an international agreement that commits the country to increase the amount of protected lands and fresh waters to at least 17 percent of its total area. The 2011 Ontario Biodiversity Strategy pledged that the provincial government will achieve this target here. As Conor Mihell points out in his article on page 24, this means adding 70,000 square kilometres of well-connected protected areas that represent all of Ontario’s ecological regions. We have a very long way to go to meet the target, and progress since 2011 has been glacially slow. The goal may seem beyond reach, but Mihell identifies many clear opportunities to achieve it. So we are full of hope that we will be able to rally our 150-plus Nature Network member groups, diverse partners and tens of thousands of Ontarians to ensure that governments and other land conservancy organizations will rise to the challenge. Together, we can do Ontario proud by achieving the target. Ontario Nature has a long record of getting millions of hectares of wild spaces protected throughout the province. We have done it before and we will do it again. Ontario Nature Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 150 member groups across Ontario. Ontario Nature Officers – Directors President Kevin Thomason Past President Angela Martin Vice-President Otto Peter Secretary/Treasurer Ted Crichton Regional Directors Carolinian East Ron Corkum Carolinian West Anita Caveney Great Lakes West Peter Kelly Huronia Dorothy McKeown Lake Ontario North Cara Gregory Ontario East Cathy Keddy Northern West Vacant Northern East Franco Mariotti Directors at Large Joanne Brown, Lesley Lewis, Casey Richardson-Scott, Andrew Reeves, Tina Rosenstein, Janice Wright Ontario Nature Staff Executive Director Caroline Schultz Executive Assistant Jaklynn Nimec Director of Finance and Administration Kamilla Molnar Administrative Assistant Christine Ambre Conservation & Education Director of Conservation and Education Anne Bell Boreal Program Manager Julee Boan Greenway Program Manager Joshua Wise Conservation Science Manager Tanya Pulfer Conservation and Education Coordinator Sarah Hedges Conservation Science Coordinator Emma Horrigan Conservation Data Technician Bradley McGinn Nature Reserves Assistant Stephanie Muckle Conservation Science Assistant Smera Sukumar Membership & Development Annual Giving Manager Nicole Chamula Manager of Major and Planned Giving Kirsten Dahl Member Relations Coordinator Portia Mohlmann Database Coordinator Irene Milani Communications & Engagement Director of Communications and Engagement John Hassell Nature Network and Communications Coordinator Lisa Richardson Regional Nature Network Coordinator Barbara MacKenzie-Wynia Communications Technician Noah Cole Digital Communications Specialist Leyla Top Let us know what you think. Send your letters to onnature@ontarionature.org. Read insightful letters to the editor at ontarionature.org/letters. ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM SUMMER 2017 ON NATURE 5

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    Earth Watch A NEW WAY TO COUNT Technology is changing the way citizen scientists contribute to research projects. Smartphone applications streamline the submission of data from naturalists’ notebooks to conservation biologists. A new version of an app from Ontario Nature’s Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORAA) makes that process even smoother. By using the app to submit their sightings, members of the public can help track the distribution of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. This increases the collective knowledge of herpetofauna, which is then used to inform conservation science. Observations can be recorded offline in the field, then submitted when convenient. In addition, the app includes up-to-date information on all 48 species of Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians, with colour photos and descriptions. “My favourite new feature is the app’s ability to recognize geo-tagged photos, saving me from inputting location information,” says Christie Vandervlist, Interpretation Projects coordinator at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton. Observations can be submitted in less than 30 seconds using a smartphone or other mobile device. For Steve Marks, a member of the Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club, “the ability to swipe to switch between photos of individual animals, and see your precise location in relation to species’ range maps,” is a particularly useful feature. Users can also keep track of their sightings from submission through to incorporation into the database and species distribution maps online. The new ORAA app is available for Apple and Android devices free through the App Store, or at ontarionature.org/app. –Smera Sukumar ,Now you see it: The ORAA app tracks frog populations.

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    Ontario Nature’s 25th nature reserve The Sydenham River had flooded its banks, but that didn’t stop more than one hundred nature enthusiasts from gathering to celebrate the opening of Ontario Nature’s 25th nature reserve. On Sunday, May 7, Ontario Nature members travelled from near and far to join the reserve’s neighbours, local nature clubs and contributing partners to learn about the unique ecology of the area and the species that inhabit the river and surrounding woodlands. The area around the Sydenham River is widely recognized as a conservation priority due to the number of at-risk species recorded there and its forests in a landscape where only 8 percent of the natural cover remains. Larry Cornelis, local naturalist and head of the newly formed Sydenham River Nature Reserve Stewardship Committee, led the group on an interpretive hike through the parts of the property that weren’t flooded by recent torrential rain. A ridge dominates the southern section of the reserve and in spring provides unobstructed views of the large sycamore trees that grow near the river. This ridge, Cornelis explained, allows for the formation of vernal pools—critical habitat for many species of amphibians. The group was treated to a demonstration about freshwater mussels,led by Erin Carroll, a biologist with the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority, and Todd Morris, research scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Morris noted that the Sydenham River hosts the richest collection of freshwater mussels in Canada and functions as an important refuge for numerous species at risk. An aquatic survey last fall confirmed the presence of 15 species of ,Permanently protected: Celebrating the opening of the Sydenham River Nature Reserve. freshwater mussels, including seven endangered species (round pigtoe, round hickorynut, salamander mussel, rayed bean, kidneyshell, northern riffleshell and snuffbox). Next spring and summer, Ontario Nature staff, local naturalists and experts will conduct further inventories and map the reserve. This information will be used to develop an ecological restoration plan and ensure that habitat requirements for species at risk are addressed. Together with local member nature organizations, the local conservation authority and committed community members, Ontario Nature will protect this spectacular natural area in perpetuity as part of the broader plan for conserving the biodiversity of the Sydenham River watershed. –Kirsten Dahl ,Pollinator progress: Stratford is now more bee friendly. Straford joins Bee City program Thanks to the efforts of Ethan Elliott, a Grade 10 student and energetic member of Ontario Nature’s Youth Council, Stratford has become Ontario’s second Bee City, joining the ranks of only five other communities in Canada. The designation means an increased commitment from the city for pollinator protection and awareness efforts. “I’ve always had a passion for nature and how we can protect it,” says Elliott. Living in an agricultural community, he has come to understand the importance of biodiversity in farming. “The risks of pollinator decline are so huge and they are not taken seriously enough,” he says. Bee City Canada, a charitable organization established in 2016, urges communities and schools across the country to enact resolutions to promote healthy, sustainable habitats for bees and other vital wild pollinators. As part of the Youth Council’s ongoing campaign to protect pollinators, members have been approaching their schools and municipalities about Bee City Canada’s declaration programs. Elliott began work on making his hometown a Bee City in the summer of 2016. “Connections and getting people involved [were] the most important part[s] of this project,” he says. He collaborated with the Stratford Field Naturalists, and his position on Stratford’s Environment and Energy Committee was also useful in garnering support. “I didn’t foresee just how many committees and staff analyses the resolution had to pass through,” he says. “It was a great learning experience about the civic process for me.” The efforts Elliott has made, at just 16 years old, have sparked a conversation about pollinators in his community. “Bee City allowed me to make meaningful change and feel as if my opinions mattered,” he says. More information about the Youth Council’s pollinator campaign is available at ontarionature.org/pollinators. –Sarah Hedges PHOTOS (PREVIOUS SPREAD) DON JOHNSTON; (TOP LEFT) JAKLYNN NIMEC; (BOTTOM LEFT) DON JOHNSTON 8 ON NATURE SUMMER 2017 ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM

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    " Earth Watch Volunteer salamander surveys Salamanders often go unnoticed due to their small size and secretive nature, making it difficult to track their numbers across Ontario. Over the past two years, the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas has tried to improve our understanding of the distribution of salamanders by encouraging the public to participate in monitoring projects such as the Backyard Salamander Survey. One of the more common salamander species in Ontario is the eastern red-backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus). It is usually found in mature forests with deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous stands. Unlike other species of salamanders, the red-backed is fully terrestrial. While other salamanders deposit their eggs in water bodies such as vernal pools, red-backed salamanders place their eggs under logs, in rotting stumps or in other moist environments on the forest floor. Volunteers who participate in salamander surveys get their hands dirty by flipping logs, rocks or other objects in forests in search of these secretive animals. These citizen scientists can also monitor their own woodlots or one of five Ontario Nature properties where wooden boards have been installed for long-term research. Such boards provide habitat for salamanders, and the information gained by checking under the boards regularly allows researchers to estimate salamander numbers within a particular area. Rick Berry, a member of York-Simcoe Naturalists who helps steward the Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve near Newmarket, has played a central role in setting up and monitoring the salamander boards at that reserve. He knew little about salamanders before getting involved in the project, but his interest was soon piqued. “I started to do some reading about salamanders and amphibians to learn more about these animals and how to identify them,” he says. Since then, Berry has also helped recruit new volunteers, including local youth. As a participant in and spokesman for the project, Berry hopes to one day see the elusive Jefferson salamander. People who are interested in helping to document salamanders across Ontario can sign up to participate in this monitoring initiative by emailing atlas@ontarionature.org. –Emma Horrigan ,Herptile hideout: Salamanders can be found under aging boards. Wee Nlings NATURE STORE 636 Point Pelee Drive Leamington, ON N8i-i 3V4 sales@peleewings.ca Everything to Enjoy Our Natural World • Binoculars & Scopes t46 • Books, Field Guides • DVDs, Audio & Video • Wildlife Art & Craft • Clothing • Feeders • Astronomical Telescopes • Kayaks, Canoes & SUPs Canada's Largest Selection of Binoculars & Scopes • Enjoy Substantial Discounts • Field Test Optics Outdoors • Receive Expert Advice • Near Point Pelee National Park \-rde We Recommend Nf C.) Lifetime VIP No-Fault Warranty RAZOR HD SPOTTING SCOPE PHOTOS BY JEREMY BENSETTE PHOTO SMERA SUKUMAR Call for Fast Mail Order Delivery or Quote: 519-326-5193 1-877-326-5193 sales@peleewings.ca PeleeWings.ca ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM SUMMER 2017 ON NATURE 9

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    Your Canadian source for binoculars, spotting scopes and accessories -41 Great optics for less than you'd expect! CANADA lit To view Eagle Optics products visit your local Wild Birds Unlimited eagleoptics.ca TREE PLANTING? FUNDING SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE Paid for, in part, by the Government of Ontario If you are planting trees on your property, you may be eligible for funding assistance. Planting trees on your property helps fight climate change and increases wildlife habitat and water conservation. Forests Ontario is working with its tree planting partners across the province to deliver the Ontario government’s 50 Million Tree Program. If you have at least 2.5 acres of productive land, you could qualify. Call or visit us at: Forests Ontario 416.646.1193 www.forestsontario.ca/50mtp IA FORESTS ONTARIO Ontario How nature can heal People know in their gut that time in nature is good for them. Now, journalist Florence Williams has turned to science to find out how, and why. Williams’s new book, The Nature Fix, draws on recent research and her travel to destinations such as Korea, the United States and Scotland to show how strolling through city parks, looking out a window at vegetation and exploring wilderness bring a host of physical and psychological benefits. For example, it’s well known that natural settings lower stress in humans. Some people claim that birdsong is soothing, while another theory suggests that the smell of trees is calming. “The so-called pinosylvin in pine trees and the terpenoids in cypress trees both stimulate respiration and act as mild sedatives,” Williams writes. Time spent in green spaces may also make people less aggressive. Williams describes a Korean program that sends school children who bully others into forests “so they can learn to be nicer.” She also cites academic research that draws a correlation to crime: Chicago public housing with the largest number of “green views” has 56 percent fewer violent crimes than projects with the smallest number of such views. Nature may even be linked to overall happiness. Williams says that 58 percent of people in Finland pick berries – and Finns score among the highest in surveys on global happiness. Berry picking is the antidote to modernity: it’s low tech and takes people into the bush. While Williams teases out the implications for city planning – plant trees! – she does not address the broader relevance her findings have for world leaders. I would argue they need to get outdoors. This might help them view enemies with sympathy and reduce their proclivity to make war. Pierre Trudeau famously canoed wild rivers; perhaps the United Nations should conduct peace talks in the woods. Korean studies show children who participate in forest trips are more optimistic about their future. This is significant indeed. If people are to have the strength to work for nature’s preservation, they need hope – something Williams maintains nature itself can promote. –Gideon Forman 10 ON NATURE SUMMER 2017 ONNATUREMAGAZINE.COM

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