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Dear fellow nature lover,

April showers bring May flowers. We hope that the rainy days are behind us and the sun is here to stay! With summer just around the corner, we’re busy planning events in communities across Ontario, and mobilizing to protect wild species and wild spaces.

Read below to see what we have planned and ways that you can get involved.

We’ve expanded our Petrel Point Nature Reserve!

Thanks to our supporters and a very generous gift of land from Joyce and John MacRae, we’ve added three and a half acres to our Petrel Point Nature Reserve on the Saugeen Bruce Peninsula. This nature reserve is often referred to as a “garden of wildflowers” and is an excellent example of the globally rare Great Lakes Coastal Meadow Marsh. The new addition will provide more protected habitat for a diverse community of carnivorous plants and orchids such as horned bladderworts, pitcher plants, showy lady’s-slippers and rose pogonia. There’s never been a better time to visit! We recently completed 550 metres of wheelchair accessible boardwalk so that everyone, regardless of age or ability, can enjoy this incredible property.

Save Ontario Species

You may have heard the news that Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks announced their proposed amendments to the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA). These changes would roll back protections for Ontario’s most vulnerable plants and animals, and give industry and developers the green light to destroy their habitats. You can read our blog ESA Review: Ten things you need to know PART II to learn more about these proposed amendments. If these changes go forward, the act would be repealed in everything but name, rending it pointless. With your help, we can remind the government that this is the Endangered species Act, not the Endangered Business Act. Ontario Nature is working alongside our friends, supporters, partners, and allies to oppose these changes. We hope you stand with us and the more than 3,000 people who have already signed!

You’re invited to experience the outdoors with Ontario Nature

Join us this summer at a nature event near you. Our Youth Council will be holding their annual Our Special Spaces events contributing to conservation efforts in their communities. On May 5, you can join these budding nature enthusiasts at Kiwanis Heydenshore Park in Whitby for a shoreline cleanup and pollinator monitoring event. We’ll be announcing events in Hamilton, Markham, Newmarket, and Peterborough, so keep an eye on our events calendar and on social media to find out more. You can find other Ontario Nature events, including an upcoming Communities, Trees & Wildflowers outing at our nature reserve on Pelee Island, on our events calendar. We’d love to see you there!

Disappointing decision for our pollinators

In November, Ontario Nature and our partner organizations were in court challenging Health Canada’s regulatory practices of a widely-used Thiamethoxam pesticides, which are toxic to pollinators such as native bees, butterflies and song birds. Our lawyers at Ecojustice argued that the government has failed to weigh the risk of Thiamethoxam on pollinators and has not conducted required public consultations of those risks in accordance with the Pest Control Products Act. The Federal Court recently dismissed the case as moot based on circumstance and timing without making any findings on the PMRA’s actions. “After such lengthy litigation, it’s disappointing that the Court did not to address Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency’s unlawful practice of registering pesticides without being reasonably certain that their risks are acceptable, as the law requires,” said Charles Hatt, Ecojustice lawyer.

Nature groups take to Parliament Hill for Nature Day

On April 9th, more than 50 delegates from organizations across Canada joined in Ottawa to meet with their local MPs and cabinet ministers on Parliament Hill for Nature Day. The delegates asked politicians to ensure Canada meets its international commitment to protect 17 percent of land and inland waters, and 10 percent of marine and coastal areas by 2020 as part of the United Nations Aichi Biodiversity Targets. We presented the Protected Places Declaration to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna. This document has been signed by over 356 nature groups and demonstrates that coast-to-coast, Canadians care deeply about protected areas and understand the importance of reaching the 2020 targets. Add your name alongside the nearly 7,000 other individuals by signing the declaration today.

The season to report your reptile and amphibian sightings

Do you hear the calls of the spring peepers and chorus frogs signaling that warm weather is on the way? Then it’s time to start reporting your sightings of frogs, snakes, salamanders and turtles with the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas! Each year engaged individuals submit their sightings to the atlas helping to increase our knowledge base of these species. And you can help! We have several resources including a comprehensive field guide, range maps, and tips for finding reptiles and amphibians that will help you along the way. By contributing sightings to the atlas, you directly support conservation efforts across the province.

And the Nominees are…

We’re thrilled to announce that ON Nature is a finalist for the National Magazine Awards in the Short Feature Writing Category. Our feature article “Root of Temptation” by Patricia Hluchy looks at wild American ginseng poaching in Ontario and the lack of conservation measures for this endangered plant. ON Nature connects readers to nature and conservation work across the province. You can find past and current issues of the magazine online.

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Photos © Bill Crowley, small white lady's slipper orchids - Justin Meissen CC BY-SA 2.0, Smera Sukumar, Thom Wilson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Nico CC BY-NC-SA 2.0, Jakob Mueller, Adobe Stock