Friday, 1 May 2020

SAM Newsletter #27 Spring 2020

Save the Date!

June 13th, 2020

Despite these unusual times the work of SAM continues, although we are unable to see you all in person at this time. However, the Officers of the Stewardship Association of Municipalities invite you to Save the Date for our Annual General Meeting to be held June 13th, 2020. 

First we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the Town of Deer Lake for volunteering to act as hosts for the AGM and for completing initial preparations. However, due to the ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the SAM Officers Committee has decided that holding an in-person meeting will not be possible at this time. Instead, this year's AGM will be held virtually (details to follow). We will be in touch soon to invite SAM members to participate.

Stay Connected Through Conservation 

During this unprecedented time we have been practicing social distancing and staying inside as much as possible to protect the people of our province. This can make staying connected to nature and conservation challenging. We have pulled together some fun ways to stay connected to nature with your friends and family.
SAM and Nature NL co-host
Weekly Online Bird ID Trivia Nights
SAM is pleased to co-sponsor Nature NL's newest initiative - at home bird learning! SAM Conservation Biologist Laura King has been instrumental in getting this new program off the ground. Want to sharpen up your birding skills? Join birding experts virtually every Wednesday to practice bird identification in the Winged Wildlife Wednesday Series. Check out Nature NL's Facebook page for more information, or click here Wednesdays at 7:30 PM to join. 

Start prepping your community garden

Get your seedling kits out the basement and find a sunny spot in your house to get your seeds started. Also check out the funding announced this month from the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources,  for the Community Garden Support Program. They are accepting early applications and there is no deadline this year.

Follow a wildlife live stream

There are lots of animal webcams all over the world. From eagle nests to zoo cams there are lots of opportunities to watch wildlife live from our living rooms! We especially like the Sandhill Crane live stream from Audubon's Rowe Sanctuary. Audubon uses this live stream to educate people on the Sandhill Crane. Their vision is to protect and increase essential habitat for cranes, least terns and piping plovers on the Platte River.

Host an online bird quiz night

Practice your bird id skills and help science with the eBird Photo + Sound Quiz. Create an online Cornell account and all of your quiz answers and ratings will be recorded in eBird. Each custom quiz presents you with 20 birds that occur at a date and location of your choosing, pulled from millions of photos and sounds added to the Macaulay Library by eBirders around the world. Naturel NL has been running public quiz nights. Check out their Facebook page to learn more.
Need more ideas? Check out this list below 

Night Owls - SAM Conservation Biologists Experience with the Nocturnal Owl Survey

While we're still feeling snowed under, it's amazing to think that birds are continuing with their lives and getting their spring and summer lives ready.
Despite still feeling like winter, birds are going to start to reappear here in our province. Can you identify the bird in the image? No? Then it's time to break out the bird books and familiarize ourselves again with our feathered friends.
A Boreal Owl can be identified by its small stature, large square head and yellow eyes. They also sport a streaky breast and have tiny white spots on its back and crown. 
Here in Newfoundland and Labrador, there are a variety of wildlife surveys that normally take place each season. Due to the pandemic this year, surveys are on hold; however, we thought we'd share our story and some resources you can work on indoors.

Last year, my co-surveyor and I did our second year of the Nocturnal Owl Survey route in Bauline and Portugal Cove - St. Philip's. It was a truly unusual experience to stand by the side of the road at night, in your safety vest with your phone in hand, playing owl noises, quietly waiting to hear if the owls respond to you. The purpose of this activity is to monitor populations of owls along specific routes every year, so we can tell whether different species are present or not, and if they are increasing, decreasing, or staying at the same population levels.
While we are stuck indoors, you can still learn the sounds of all the owls in Newfoundland (Larkwire is a great way to do this).

In our case, we haven't seen or heard any owls on our route yet, but it is a fairly urban route - and maybe in future years we will detect some. There are lots of spots in central Newfoundland where there may be higher densities of owls - and you could be the one to hear them. If you spend this season working on learning the owls of Newfoundland, and their sounds, you'll be all set for a great survey next year. And even if you don't hear any owls, the sights and sounds of other birds and animals may make your night - we've stood in the silence as we appreciate all the sounds of the snipes flying around us, spotted other birds, cats, and foxes.
We have several different owl species in the province including Great Horned Owl, Short-eared Owl, and Northern Hawk Owl.
While we'll be missing out on the survey this year, we look forward to its return in 2021. It's nice to know that at some point owls and wildlife adventures will bring us together again. 

SAM Network News & Updates

  • Apply for Funding  Looking to get your next environmental stewardship project off the ground in your community? Find over 50 potential funding grants here. Need help? Email us for more info.
  • SAM Scholarship Deadline : SAM has been supporting young conservationists in our province since 2015.The $1000 scholarship recognizes a student from Newfoundland and Labrador that has a passion for environmental conservation and stewardship work in their community. Please note, due to early school closure due to COVID-19, we do not require a school transcript as part of the 2020 application and we have extended the deadline to apply to Sept 20, 2020. 
The reciepient of the 2019 SAM Scholarship, Alison Jeon and SAM Treasurer Cynthia Downey.

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