Tuesday 19 February 2019

SAM Newsletter #20 Winter 2019

Corner Brook residents celebrated World Wetlands Day 2019 on Saturday, February 2nd, with a snowshoe on the old Hughes Brook Trail.

World Wetlands Day 2019: SAM pulls double duty with two events 

World Wetlands Day is a great time for SAM members to celebrate their stewardship and conservation achievements.This year SAM led the celebration with two events,  a snowshoe trip in Corner Brook and a Kids Club event at the Fluvarium in St. John's.
The Ramsar website is a great wetland education resource. Each World Wetlands Day Ramsar creates free communications materials available to the public.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd and it marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971. The Convention, called theRamsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that "provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources".  This years theme was "Wetlands and Climate Change".

Wetlands of global significance are designated Ramsar sites and protected under the Ramsar Convention. There are actually 37 Ramsar sites in Canada, and one in the province, The Grand Codroy Estuary.
The Grand Codroy Estuary, Newfoundland and Labrador's only Ramsar site! 
Despite some wintery weather, the SAM event drew a dozen people wanting to face the elements and learn a little bit about wetlands. Led by SAM Conservation Biologist, Liz Belanzaran, the group talked about wetland types, the services they provide, climate change, and how SAM members work towards conservation and stewardship.
SAM Outreach Coordinator, Diane Pelley, Making a "Wetland in a Pan" with Fluvarium Kids Club participants.
On the other side of the island in St. John's, SAM, Ducks Unlimited, and The Fluvarium partnered to celebrate World Wetlands Day during the Fluvarium's Kids Club program. The program, aptly called "For the Love of Wetlands", included a discussion on the 5 types of wetlands, the creation of a Wetland in a Pan and a fun round of Name That Bird!

Don't worry if you missed the program, The Fluvarium will be delivering the "For the Love of Wetlands" program for the rest of February, on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm! Kids Club is free with admission to The Fluvarium.
The Ramsar theme for World Wetlands Day 2020  is Wetlands and Biodiversity! If your community would like to celebrate World Wetlands Day 2020 and would like more information email samstewardship@gmail.com .

SAM Network News & Updates

  • SAM Conservation Fund Scholarship Application 2019  The application form for this years Conservation Fund Scholarship is now available on our website! Deadline is May 1, 2019
  • SAM AGM is being held in POUCH COVE Thank you to the Town of Pouch Cove for stepping up to host the Spring AGM this May. More details about the event along with online registration will be available in the months to come! Keep checking our SAM Business Meetings page on our website
  • Lewisporte Winter Carnival Snowshoe Join us on February 15th at 1:30 pm for a snowshoe/hike into the Southwest Brook Estuary Bird Watching Trail in Lewisporte just off Route 340. Learn about conservation, stewardship, and the local habitats!
  • Corner Brook Public Library Wetlands Program SAM Hosted a Wetlands Education program this month at the Corner Brook Public Library. Thanks to those who attended! Keep up to date on all SAM Events on our Facebook page or by emailing samstewardship@gmail.com
  • Wild Game Cookery, Fur and Feather (Cod Sounds) - February 17th  (SOLD OUT) SAM Conservation Biologist Laura King will be doing waterfowl identification 101 and speaking about SAM at this upcoming event. For more information about Cod Sounds follow the link

Corner Brook becomes SAM's 42nd Member

On December 17, 2018 SAM got an early holiday present when Corner Brook signed their Municipal Habitat Stewardship Agreement.

The conservation area in Corner Brook is known as Wild Cove, and covers about 388 acres. The area is considered to be of significant ecological importance for a couple of reasons. First the abundance of marshy vegetation supports large populations of waterfowl. Commonly seen are Greater Scaup and a diversity of gull species.

Greater Scaup are a medium sized diving duck with a rounded head. They are distinctly black and white, but upon closer inspection they have thin black barring on their back, a bluish bill, with yellow eyes, and males have a slight green iridescence on their heads. Females are brown overall with a darker head and a white patch next to the bill. Non-breeding males look like a cross between these.
Wild Cove Marsh provides excellent habitat for staging, nesting, and breeding for Greater Scaup and other types of waterfowl and gulls.
Secondly, southeast of Wild Cove, also within the conservation area, is a unique fen that supports three rare plant species. Rattlesnake root (Prenathes racemosa), Northern Bog Aster (Symphyotrichum boreal) and Showy Ladyslipper (Cypripedium reginae).

Northern Bog Aster are only known to be found in one location in the province, and that is the Wild Cove Conservation area. Rattle Snakeroot is a member of the Aster family, making it the endangered cousin of the dandelion. Both of these species are considered endangered in the province. 
Pictured left Northern Bog Aster; Pictured right Rattlesnake root.
Beautiful Showy Ladyslipper is a member of the orchid family. It is considered rare in Newfoundland and Labrador, with only a handful of known locations.
(Photo by D. Pelley)
The Showy Ladyslipper is a large and beautiful orchid, that may be at risk on the island. At times, orchid populations can be come damaged because enthusiasts can 'love them to death' by getting too close and trampling leaves and flowers or compressing soil. Always take care when photographing orchids and keep a safe distance.
Already participating in stewardship, the City of Corner Brook celebrated World Wetlands day, February 2nd 2019, with the help of SAM Conservation Biologist, Liz Belanzaran. Participants snowshoed over a frozen wetland and learned a little more about stewardship, conservation and native flora.

Keep an eye on our social media and website for more stewardship events happening in Corner Brook!
Extra extra, read all about it: SAM's favorite newsletters!
Feeling down about the environment? Can't seem to keep litter out of your communities? Looking for inspiration? Join an environmental newsletter!

Here is a list of our favorite newsletters, podcasts, and columns that keep us inspired!
1) Best Management Practices Knowledge Exchange: This platform is a space that Boreal forest professionals share their best management practices. Sign up for the webinar series and learn a little more about boreal wetlands!
2) Bird Studies Canada Enews: Keep up to date on all your bird-related news and conservation issues!
3) Food First NL Newsletter : Food First works with communities in NL to ensure everyone has access to affordable, healthy, culturally appropriate food. From raised beds, to wild berries, to growing potatoes, this newsletter and blog are always a good read.
4) eBird Newsletter:A great way to contribute to citizen science, eBird also had a newsletter with information on contests, bird spotlights, and a bird count year in review.
5) Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA): A non-profit association of business that promotes the development of clean technology and the growth of the green economy!
6) Audubon Newsletter: If you are a bird nerd this is the newsletter for you. With a monthly subscription to the newsletter you get beautiful photography, citizen science projects, and ways you can help birds and their habitats.
7) The Humber natural History Society: The HNHS is centered in Corner Brook. Their primary interest is the promotion, enjoyment and protection of all natural history resources. Their newsletter is a great resource for local events happening on the west coast of the island.
Don't feed the wildlife! : with SAM 
Conservation Biologist, Laura King
Recently, the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources issued a statement reminding people not to feed wildlife. So I had a conversation with Laura King, SAM Conservation Biologist, on why it can be a problem and what we can do instead to enjoy wildlife.
Laura gave us three reasons why feeding wildlife can be harmful.
First, it can change the natural behavior of wildlife. Wildlife can start to associate people with food. This can encourage wildlife to venture into roads, causing traffic situations, damage to property, and increase wildlife mortality. Also, in the case of geese & waterfowl, they might choose not to migrate if food provided by people is in abundance. 
Secondly, feeding animals can cause ecological shifts in our natural environmentsIt might cause an overabundance of one particular species (think of mallards in urban ponds), which could put pressure on natural foods like fish or plants. It may also selectively benefit certain species allowing them to out compete native species. 
Finally, feeding can also cause environmental issues. Over abundance of wildlife in one area can also mean high fecal counts in ponds and lakes. This can cause algae blooms, close our favorite swimming holes, and harm habitat for other species. Over abundance can also aid in spreading disease within wildlife populations.
Getting up close and personal with wildlife can be thrilling, but harmful to both us and them. So what can we do instead?

1) Take pictures from a safe distance, they are worth 1000 words!

2) Use Citizen Science apps like Seek and eBird to turn wildlife watching into a  nature game, while at the same time, contributing to our understanding of Wildlife.

3) Use bird feeders responsibly, and keep up to date on any warnings by bird and wildlife groups.
Winter Carnival Season: How SAM Communities are adding Eco-activities to the festival season
Chillfest, to Snowfest, to Community Winter Carnivals across the province, winter is a great time to be a tourist in your own town, take in some home-cooking, and participate in outdoor fun!

SAM member communities are also getting in the winter spirit. Check our our list of Eco-Activities to take in this Winter Carnival Season!
1) February 15th -LewisporteSouthwest Brook Walk/Snowshoe: Join SAM Staff on the trail at 1:30 pm for an afternoon in the Lewisporte Conservation Area! This family friendly event will include a hike into the Conservation area, bird watching with binoculars, and some wetland themed games. The trail is just off route 340.  
2) February 23rd - Pouch Cove & Flatrock Snowfest: Hike and Boil Up +  Ice Fishing Derby: These two SAM Communities have joined up to bring residents Snowfest! Enjoy a great morning hike to Medalsis Pond at 9:50 am, and head to the campsite for a meal of sausages and fresh bread. Then Join the Volunteer Fire Department for an Ice Fishing Derby at Marine Park at 1:30 pm. Prizes will be awarded! For more information contact The Town of Flatrock at 437-6312 or The Town of Pouch Cove at 335-2648.
3) February 24thCenterville Wareham Trinity - Hike/Snowshoe in Black's Brook Park: Hike one of the CWT SAM Conservation Areas and then enjoy a yarn  & a hot dog around the campfire. Nature activities for young and old! For more information about this free family friendly event, contact Brad Gibbons 678-2193. 
Looking for ideas how to bring conservation into your next community event? Contact samstewardship@gmail.com  
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