Parry Sound Nature Club
Enjoy photos & video from some of our events!
Watch recordings of these presentations here!
January: At a Crossroads: When Wildlife Meets Railways
Railways are a common feature across the landscape, however, their impact on wildlife is still poorly understood. We know that roads are responsible for the declines of many wildlife populations, particularly for reptiles and amphibians. Could railways be putting pressure on these vulnerable species as well? Kyle Vincent’s research focuses on weaving Indigenous Knowledge and Western science to investigate how railways impact wildlife along the eastern coast of Georgian Bay. He is investigating which wildlife use the railway and die as a result, where hotspots of mortality exist along the railway, and which environmental factors contribute to those hotspots. Kyle is a second year Biology MSc student at Laurentian University, co-supervised by Dr. Jacqueline Litzgus and Dr. Jesse Popp; working in partnership with Shawanaga First Nation and Magnetawan First Nation.
February: Explore Wabakimi Provincial Park
Wabakimi is the second largest park in the Ontario Parks system at just under 900,000 hectares, larger even than the province of Prince Edward Island. This huge sweep of Canadian Shield encompasses over 2,000 kilometers of canoe routes and contains upwards of 10,000 lakes. Join Evan McCaul, Assistant Park Superintendent, to learn more about the interesting natural and cultural features of this landscape.
March: Bundle Up! Turtles in the Winter
Join Hope Freeman in this presentation as she dives into some of the challenges turtles face over the winter season and how different wetlands may provide better protection.
April: From Fireplace to Pancakes: ASHMuskoka
What is ecological osteoporosis? Many of Ontario’s forests, including much of the Georgian Bay shoreline, still suffer decades of acid rain in the form of widespread calcium decline. The Friends of the Muskoka Watershed launched a community project to collect calcium-rich woodstove ash from 100s of residents because distribution in the forest can benefit and restore soil and forest health. Side benefits of ash additions are likely significant increases in carbon capture and increased sap flow in sugar maple. Join us for an update on how calcium can move from your fireplace to your pancakes, while restoring forest health and fostering a nature-based solution to climate change.
May: Learning with Oshkinigig
Experience the story of Oshkinigig: from hand-harvesting materials and construction, historic and current cultural significance, and future opportunities she brings. Participants will experience local Anishinaabek knowledge, culture and practices. Learning with Oshkinigig is as unique as Georgian Bay!
June: Embracing the Weeds: The Joys of Gardening for Insects with Native Plants
Baz Conlin is a lifelong naturalist based in Peterborough County. For the last 5 years, he has been gardening with native plants in an effort to support and sustain a wide variety of insects. Many of these plants were once considered undesirable, even noxious, but we know better now! But how should we incorporate these plants into our landscape? Where do we get plants? And what native plants attract the most beneficial insects? Baz will be sharing his mistakes and successes in his journey to answer these questions!
September: Lynx & Bobcats in Ontario
Dr. Jeff Bowman is a Senior Research Scientist with the Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section of the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, and also an Adjunct Professor in the Environmental and Life sciences Graduate Program at Trent University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick in 1999, and has been with NDMNRF since August 2001. Jeff leads Ontario’s furbearer and small mammal research programs, and has expertise in population and landscape ecology, and landscape genetics. He has conducted research on many species and ecosystems, including work on fishers, martens, lynx, wolverines, mink, wild turkeys, flying squirrels, and a variety of bat species.
October: Personality, Individuality, and the Social Behaviour of Bats
Caleb Ryan is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo studying the social biology of bats. Caleb’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach to studying animal behaviour by bridging gaps between psychology, sociology, and ecology. In his work, Caleb seeks to understand how individual animals are different from one another and how these differences impact the way they live their lives.
November: The Road Salt Problem: A Policy Conundrum
Presented by Norman Yan and Neil Hutchinson, from the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed. Each year In Muskoka, we add about a tonne of salt to our roads for every permanent resident. There are consequences as a result of road salt pollution. Drs. Yan and Hutchinson will review the water quality threats posed by road salt, and demonstrate that levels of chloride are already high enough in some lakes to be damaging entire aquatic communities. They will review the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed's work to identify the sources of that chloride in Lake Muskoka.
The Secret Life of Blanding's Turtles
Reta is a fourth year thesis student at McMaster University and has been working with freshwater turtles throughout her undergraduate career! Reta's talk will focus on the freshwater turtles of Georgian Bay, Ontario. Particularly focusing on the landscape and community ecology of Blanding's turtles, this talk will bring insight to help understand the importance of reptiles, their interesting life cycle, and various conservation plans to help their declining population. Join to learn all about turtles and how much fun it is to work with them!
Life in the Mauritius - Canada's New Noah
Eric Jolin was Canada's 30th New Noah, a special program by Wildlife Preservation Canada. Learn about the endemic flora and fauna of Mauritius, and the dedicated researchers who are working around the clock to save them from extinction. Going from working with the Massasauga Rattlesnake of Georgian Bay to one of the world's rarest snake species, the Round Island Boa, this was truly a once in a lifetime experience. If you're looking for a tropical escape this winter, join us in the warmth and see all about what it takes to work as an island restoration specialist.
Hidden Clues: How DNA can help us better protect amphibian populations
Out of all animal groups Amphibians are the most likely to become endangered, with an estimated 1/3rd of all amphibians at risk of extinction globally. To protect Georgian Bay’s amphibians from increasing threats, new and innovative monitoring techniques are needed. Environmental DNA is an emerging method of species detection that could greatly advance our ability to track species. Cameron Brown, a 4th year undergraduate student at McMaster University, has spent the last year researching how environmental DNA can be used to monitor Mole Salamander populations in eastern Georgian Bay.
Ontario Bats & The Canadian Bat Box Project
Bats in Canada face multiple threats, including habitat loss and the fungal disease white-nose syndrome. A popular way to provide additional roosting habitat for bats is installing bat boxes. However, there has been very little research done on the effectiveness of bat boxes in Canada, the best designs for our northern climate, and which bat species use bat boxes. As part of her PhD, Karen Vanderwolf is starting a citizen science national bat box project to address these knowledge gaps. Join us to learn more about bats, their current status, and how you can participate in this new citizen science research project!
A Place To Call Home: The Lapland Longspur
Lapland Longspur are one of the most common and abundant nesting birds on the Arctic Tundra, with a population estimate of 200 million birds worldwide, however, with current projections, they could lose up to 60% of suitable breeding habitat by 2050. Sarah Bonnett’s research focuses on how Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus) nest sites are influenced by food availability, vegetation, and elevation. Sarah is a second year MSc student in the Environmental & Life Sciences program at Trent University.
Lake Sturgeon Conservation on Georgian Bay: Weaving Western Science & Indigenous Knowledge
Carter Rouleau, Sturgeon Research Coordinator & Community Liaison at Shawanaga First Nation, will provide an overview of a collaborative project run by Shawanaga First Nation and the Georgian Bay Biosphere that aims to create the basis for a Lake Sturgeon conservation plan for eastern Georgian Bay. He will give a brief overview of Lake Sturgeon biology and discuss threats they face. Learn about Shawanaga First Nation's use of both modern scientific monitoring and traditional ecological knowledge gathering in the writing of a conservation plan, and the findings from the project thus far.
The Turtles of Skerryvore Community Road
Roads are known to have significant effects on the landscapes and habitats they bisect. Many studies throughout Ontario have shown the negative impacts of roads on reptile populations through direct mortality, habitat loss, and habitat fragmentation. With this in mind, the Maamwi Anjiakiziwin project began working on Skerryvore Community Road in the Township of The Archipelago, testing a new approach for partnership and roadwork activities. This presentation will highlight the partnership, knowledge gathering and sharing, and how used this approach benefited nesting turtles during routine road maintenance to create ecological, cultural, educational, and financial benefits.
Wildfire on Georgian Bay: Parry Sound 33
In the summer of 2018, the Parry Sound 33 wildfire burned over 11,000 hectares of the Georgian Bay Biosphere (GBB) rock barrens and wetlands landscape. The GBB is a known ‘hot-spot’ for both at-risk reptiles and soil carbon-rich peatland ecosystems. Given that wildfire frequency and severity are predicted to increase due to climate change it is likely that the risk of wildfire impacts to the landscape will increase over the next few decades.
W were joined by Dr. Mike Waddington in this presentation to understand the potential impacts fire has on the landscape and what research the McMaster Ecohydrology Lab is doing to examine the at-risk reptile habitat, the carbon loss from organic soil combustion and the altered hydrology from the potential loss of soil on the landscape.