Column: April 7, 2016

Wildlife Speaker Series returns
 
The Wildlife Speaker Series is back for 2016, helping raise awareness about the importance of nature in making Ottawa a liveable City. The first session, on Tuesday, April 12, will focus on citizen science. From stream watch to tracking butterfly migration, citizen science is drawing ordinary people into some of the most important and transformative research of the 21st century.
 
Propelled by new technologies, especially social media, researchers are relying on residents to help collect and analyze scientific data at scales and in volumes never before feasible or affordable. Local conservation authorities, universities, conservation groups, naturalists clubs, provincial and national governments all have citizen science projects whose volunteers collect data on wildlife. In Ottawa, projects include monitoring birds, butterflies, bees, reptiles, frogs, water quality in streams and bio blitzes in natural areas.
 
Find out more on April 12 at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive. Starting at 6pm attendees can browse displays by local organizations active in citizen science, and then listen to presentations by two impressive speakers at 7pm:

  • Dr. Jeremy Kerr of the University of Ottawa, and the co-founder of Bumblebeewatch.org, will discuss how the public can become involved in ongoing research programs.
  • Andy Kenney, from the University of Toronto, will present a community-based approach to the stewardship of urban forests.

For more information on the Wildlife Speaker Series visit ottawa.ca.
 
Managing conflicts with wildlife
 
I recently received feedback from a resident who had a coyote visit her property. As this type of encounter is quite common in the rural setting, I thought it would be appropriate to provide some basic information on how to best manage living with wildlife.
 
Our wild neighbours have the same basic needs as we do: food, water and shelter. Sometimes, this can lead to conflicts. Homeowners need to animal proof their homes and property to try and prevent wild animals from moving into their walls or attics, rummaging through their compost bins, or visiting their yards. Visit ottawa.ca and ontario.ca/page/wildlife-and-nature for useful tips on managing wildlife conflicts. Residents can also go to the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre (wildlifeinfo.ca/conflicts.html) for humane and cost-effective solutions to common wildlife concerns.