Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The Simpson family have been working with bur oak trees for a long time.  An estimated 1,000 children and youth have planted more than 600 bur oaks along the Saint John River. Their article is in the December edition of Today's Parent magazine.  Well done folks!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Youth from Biodiversitymatters presented the Youth Accord and COP 10 at the Canadian Museum of Nature today.  Signatures were also collected. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Natural Park “Forest of Eume” (Spain)

On 24th November some students of secundary of Nature Voice Project, during a sunny but cold day, we walked along the paths of Natural park “Forest of Eume” (Spain) to study the flora and fauna, took some samples to make a herbarium, and learned the structure of river.
The trees forming the forest, are: oak, chestnut, laurel, hazel, maple, ash and so on. Among the many species of ferns include the royal fern(Osmunda regalis) and Woodwardia radicans. As for the animals that live in the river and inside the forest, highlight the, amphibians like the rare salamántiga Galician and many birds , even the very small owl and mammals such as otters living in its waters.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust launch of enhanced webpages to encourage adoptions

Meet Jaya, the Sumatran orangutan! 

Last Friday saw the launch of Durrell’s brand new animal adoption pages at durrell.org/adopt . The adoption area of the website has been improved and the new look has been unveiled in time for visitors to log on and adopt for Christmas. Picture by James Morgan.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


This beautiful frog is native to Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.  It loves lowland moist and wet forests that are relatively undisturbed.    Its brilliant red head and blue to purple legs make it a favourite for viewing as a visitor to these countries.  Photo by Michael Leveille

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Macoun Marsh, Ottawa, Canada

A trip to our urban marsh is always interesting.  As I walked along the path, I saw feathers floating down from the trees.  I followed in the direction of the falling feathers, only to discover a large Cooper's Hawk devouring a small bird.  Yikes, it sure was enjoying its meal!

Situation in Lake Naivasha

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has termed the situation in Lake Naivasha an environmental disaster, saying the lake risks drying up if urgent and sustainable solutions are not found to reverse the trend.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Lake-Naivasha-ruin-worries-PM-10606.html#ixzz16DNqh58V

Monday, November 22, 2010


The Lebanon lizard (Lacerta laevis) is a species of true lizard in the Lacertidae family. It is found throughout the Middle East.  It likes a varied environment but is often seen in dry, rocky areas.  It is threatened by habitat loss. Images by Mike Leveille


Biodiversity Presentation - Fredericton


Jack and Clara Simpson made a presentation to a group of interested people at their church, St. Paul's United in Fredericton. Their presentation included a slide show of Jack's trip to Nagoya, Japan in August to attend the International Youth Conference on Biodiversity and Clara's trip to Japan to attend the COP 10 conference in October. We collected over 20 signatures in support of the Accord.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Here are some photos looking back at Biodiversitymatters youth at COP10 in Japan this past October.  We are presenting the Youth Accord on Biodiversity with almost 5000 signatures from 83 countries.  From Pat and Jessica Walsh

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust launch of enhanced webpages to encourage adoptions

Friday saw the launch of Durrell’s brand new animal adoption pages at durrell.org/adopt . The adoption area of the website has been improved and the new look has been unveiled in time for visitors to log on and adopt for Christmas.  Check it out!

(Image of Pied tamarins from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)


WOW, over 1000 Bohemian waxwing birds have gathered around fruit trees in the Macoun Marsh study area this week.  They are a most beautiful sight as they move through the sky like ocean waves.  To add to the excitment a hawk was following them in search of a meal!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What's new at Notre Dame in Ottawa, Canada?

We are proud to have a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program for the Environment here at Notre Dame. Our grade 11 environmental science students benefit from reach ahead opportunities, experiential learning, special guest speakers and tons of other environmental and socially constructive learning. Visiting the farms and Algonquin Park were definitely highlights of the first semestre. We look forward to our Biodome visit in December and to hear from Chafic and all the good news from Japan!
If you think that this is the way to learn Science, and you completed Grade 10 Science, then you are more than welcome to check out our program at Notre Dame High School in Ottawa! We would love to have you!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Here is some info on the non-venomous rat snake from the book: 'Common snakes of Auroville' by Rajeev Bhatt.

Scientific name: Ptyas muscosus

Common name in Local Language of Tamil : Sarai paambu - 'paambu' in Tamil means snake

Habitat: Prefers rat and termite holes but found every where; very common in Auroville

Avg length: 150 cms              Max Length: 250 cms

Food of juvenile: frogs, lizards        Food of adult: Rodents, birds, frogs, etc.

Predated upon by: Monitor lizards, Man

Breeding time: March - July

No. of eggs: 10

Image above: This is a territorial dispute between 2 males

The rat snake is found close to human habitation because rodents are plentiful there. They are often mistaken for the venomous cobra. In South India, it is believed that the rat snake is the female of the cobra , which is false. It is also believed that the rat snake is addicted to milk, which is false too.
During the breeding season, this snake has a spectacular 'war dance'. During this dance, the two males rise vertically above the ground and twine around each other. They do not injure the opponent during this display which can last up to about 45 minutes at times. How the victor is decided is not clear, but the loser quietly leaves, and the victor moves cautiously to the female who is usually somewhere nearby.
 Today it is amongst the few protected species as large populations have been wiped out by humans who hunted it for its meat that is eaten and its skin.

From Priya

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


"The leatherback turtle can keep itself warm in cold water, dive over 1000 meters below sea level, travel thousands of miles and gulp down a Portuguese man-of-war but is threatened by the inert plastic shopping bag" - Mrosovky, N. 1987

The image above shows two containers- one with plastic bags (left), one with jellyfish (right).  It is no wonder that sea turtles mistaken these bags for food.  Image taken by Mike L. from the CMN 


Lucky students at St-Laurent Academy and Junior High experienced  a massive flock of waxwings on their way east in Ottawa, Canada.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2011 International Biodiversity Conference

29 July to 4 August 2011
Banos, Ecuador

We invite college professors and field experts
in wildlife conservation who teach biology,
biodiversity, geography, geology, and life
science to participate in our event.

The deadline for abstracts/proposals is 1 June

Enquiries: barkerb@wildspotsfoundation.org
Web address: http://www.wsfbioconference.org
Sponsored by: Wild Spots Foundation

Sunday, November 14, 2010

UN to hold film festival for children (The Jakarta Post )

As part of the International Year of Biodiversity, the UN and its international partners plan to kick off the 1st Science Film Festival Indonesia on Monday.
The two-week film festival, which would take place simultaneously in Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand, would screen 28 international films featuring various themes such as the origins of black holes, human genes, rainforests, and long space voyages. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

One fifth of animal species are under the threat of extinction.

A recent report published at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan claims that one fifth of animal species are under the threat of extinction.  The study, considered the most comprehensive of its kind, tracked 25,000 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes using data from the Red List of Threatened Species.


This is a baby White-nosed Coati (Coatimundi). In Spanish it is Gato Solo or Zuto. Its scientific name is Nasua narica. The adults usually grow up to about 55 centimeters.
I found this coati with 2 other adults and another baby in total they were 4.
They are similar to raccoons, and have a long nose for looking through leaves and dirt for food. I found these ones near the American Embassy. 
Mr. Panama


Nature Voice Project is the environmental work we have been developing for several years at Sagrado Corazón School in Ferrol (Spain).

One of the activities we are doing this school year is the cultural and scientific exchanges with Ytrebygda School in Bergen (Norway). Our goal is to exchange information about the estuary of Ferrol an fjord of Bergen. So we´ve made the next working groups:

1. Geological an historic wiews of the estuary and the fjord. How were they formed?
2. Physical and chemical conditions of the estuary and the fjord ( temperature, tide, salinity, exposure of light, wind, waves, and currents).
3.The plankton flora of the estuary and the fjord (pelagic, microscopical algae).
4. Seaweeds of the estuary and the fjord (benthos algae)
5.Animal life in the estuary and the fjord (evertebrats: snails, jellyfish, shellfish, crabs, shrimps)
6. Animal life in the estuary and the fjord (vertebrats: fish, birds and mammals).
7. Human activity in and around the estuary and the fjord. How it affects natural life in the estuary and the fjord?

Then our students will writte through e-mail or mail to exchange this information.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sumatra Road Map 2020

Indonesia government announced the RIMBA conservation landscape initiative at side event of UNCBD COP10. This is an initiative as a part of Sumatra Road Map 2020 that launched on May 2020 in Jakarta, Idonesia. more information link to http://www.savesumatra.org/index.php/newspublications/newsdetail/66, The photo by Desmarita Murni.


COP10 youth delegate Jessica Walsh-Moreau presented Nagoya events at St-Laurent Academy Elementary and Junior High School today in Ottawa, Canada.  The audience was made up of Grades 6, 7, and 8 students. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Our Biodiversitymatters youth team will be at the Canadian Museum of Nature on Sunday, November 28 to discuss COP10, YOUTH, and the ACCORD. 

Results from COP 10-Youth Edition

Youth had a strong presence at COP 10! The Japan Times reported there was a presence of 100 youth, half of which were from Japan. This strong presence has resulted in a new focal point for youth.

"...Convention on Biological Diversity President Ahmed Djoghlaf expressed his commitment to establishing a focal point for youth in CBD to better engage them in the process."-The Japan Times

It's great that all the hard work we've put into the Youth Accord, and other youth have put into other statements has probably contributed to this result! With 2010 being the International Year of Youth as declared by the United Nations there all kinds of opportunities for youth. You can visit www.cbd.int/youth/ to hear about youth initiatives related to biodiversity.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Bethany Winstone is from Acton, Ontario, Canada.  She's currently at the University of Waterloo Ontario, working towards a Bachelor of Environment and Resource studies with diplomas in Ecological Restoration and Rehabilitation and Environmental Assessment. From a young age she always knew she wanted to work towards making a positive impact on the environment. Throughout high school she was always interested but did not become immersed in passion till she attended university. At UW she was one of the only first years to become a board member on the University of Waterloo Sustainability Project (UWSP) which strives for sustainable practices, her primary focus was on education. She is passionate beyond all belief and looks forward to learning and educating others about the beauty that is the environment. She was involved in creating the combined youth statement at COP10. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

International Youth Declaration on Biodiversity- COP10

This youth declaration was written with the assistance of Biodiversitymatters youth with the help of a larger team of international students.  The Youth Accord on Biodiversity was used in its formation.    
       We, young people from around the world, your sons and your daughters, are the future at stake. We have been born into a world under threat, but we are coming of age in an unprecedented moment of international collaboration and our hearts lift to see those who have come together for change. We look up to you, the delegates of the Convention on Biological Diversity, our leaders and representatives, we turn to you for guidance and inspiration, and yet we watch with growing horror as biodiversity continues to be allowed to disappear. You grew up in a world whose richness and diversity awed the imagination. Your children deserve the same. We are here to work with you, and we will fight fiercely to hold our governments accountable, to protect our planet’s diversity for our children and for generations to come. We are certain this is as possible as it is necessary, and we are trusting you to take immediate and sustained action. Esteemed women and men of the Convention, we offer to you the undaunted energies and idealisms of youth. We have strong ideas for what needs to happen and how to make it real, and are eager to join you in confronting the challenges before us. You are the world leaders of today. You must ensure that we have a world to lead tomorrow.

We understand biodiversity to be the variety of life we find on Earth: the variation of genes, species, and ecosystems, along with the interactions between them. We are currently facing the sixth mass extinction of species and, as youth, we are concerned about our future. Our generation and the generations to follow will be most negatively affected by human-induced biodiversity loss.  We, the young people from around the world, need biodiversity to be conserved in order to sustain global ecosystems and life on our planet now, and in the future.  We believe we can, we know we must, halt biodiversity loss by 2020. We also recognize that this goal is achievable only if accompanied by a fair and legally binding international protocol on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing of the commercial value of these assets.


Take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020.

We, as youth, are greatly concerned with the CBD's inability to ratify crucial proposals in the past, and we insist that such failure cannot occur with the Post-2010 Target.  To ensure its success, the Post-2010 target must include unambiguous measurable numerical figures, it must indicate concrete actions, and it must set a definite time frame.  An increase in new funding must be made available, in accordance with Agenda 21 and Article 20 of the Convention. In regards to the bracketed text of the Post-2010 Target the Youth support the following:  Target 5, Target 6, Target 10, and Target 11.
We see it as crucial that the negotiations on Access and Benefit Sharing reach a legally binding protocol, one that acknowledges the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. Equal access to genetic resources and the resulting benefits thereof is a mandatory precondition for the conservation of biological diversity.

We must secure new sources of finance for biodiversity in addition to existing funding mechanisms. We support an ecosystem approach that recognizes that biodiversity has an intrinsic value and cannot be perceived merely in economic terms. As a supplement, assessments of the economic value of ecosystem services are a valuable tool for conservation.

We believe that the current focus on bio-energy has undermined progress toward biodiversity conservation and universal food sovereignty. Industrial scale bio-energy developments are increasing the demands for plant biomass, which places greater pressure on food supplies and ecological systems.  Investment in bio-energy, along with other new technologies such as synthetic biology and geo-engineering, present a potential threat to biodiversity and must be exercised with great caution, guided by extensive research and environmental impact studies. In addition, we support a continued moratorium on GURTs.



The opinions of today's youth should be incorporated into the negotiation of biodiversity conservation policy. Increased youth participation in CBD negotiations will require investment in education and awareness programs. Such investment will, in turn, strengthen the implementation of CBD objectives by engaging future generations in the conservation of biodiversity. In order for this youth presence to effectively represent diverse contingents from around the world, all young delegates should receive formal recognition for their contributions and should have access, according to need, to voluntary funding for participation costs, so that representative youth participation is guaranteed. Youth require access to the research community, policy makers, and the public for open discussion on matters concerning the Convention.
      We are committed to bringing a youth presence to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to coordinating the work of youth from different nations, and thereby creating a strong base for united youth representation within the Convention. To realize our Vision, we the youth representatives commit ourselves to applying our collective knowledge, expertise and resources in order to sustain and promote biodiversity for the benefit of all. We also commit to an evaluation of our joint efforts and we will report our success and challenges to the Convention on a bi-annual basis.

COP10 Excursion to 400 year old Sushi Factory - Clara Simpson

Sushi - A rare delicacy. On the day after our arrival in Japan, our group went on an excursion to Lake Biwa. Among other very interesting things, we visited a Sushi factory. This was not an ordinary Sushi factory. The sushi there does not look (or smell) like the sushi that you buy in your local supermarket. This Sushi was a made from an ancient family recipe and they have been making this sushi for 400 years in the same barrels and in the very same room. This sushi has been kept in a barrel filled with salt, rice, and of course, the fish, for three years, under heavy weights. After having the entire process of the sushi-making explained to us in vivid and fascinating detail, we were invited out to the store at the front of the storehouse for a taste-testing. I selected a piece of the fish, and handed my camera to Emily to film the momentous event. As I had seen numerous others try the sushi and make faces of utter disgust, I was prepared for the worst, however, even after all my preparation, I was not prepared. I put the fish in my mouth and began chewing, at first, I tasted nothing, then, the most horrible taste in the world exploded in my mouth. The taste is too horrible to even describe. In the video which Emily took, I made the most hilarious faces, however, and they accurately portray my reaction to the taste. My advice to you is this: If you see someone eat something weird and they make a face of utter disgust, don’t try it yourself!!!

North Halton Biodiversity Youth Conference (Ontario, Canada)

Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources (P.O.W.E.R) is hosting BioDiversity Matters 2 – Youth Conference.

BioDiversity Matters 2 builds on the first BioDiversity youth conference (Feb 2009) and hopes to mainstream BioDiversity by providing educational workshops, displays and networking opportunities for youth Grades 7-12.

Register your school’s participation here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DDPJ7ZB

Who Should Attend

Teachers and students from North Halton (Halton Hills & Milton). Open to both Public & Catholic Boards.
Designed for students from Grades 7 -12
We hope to have 6-8 youth representatives (maximum of 10 attendees) per school.

Tues Nov 23rd

Time 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Christ the King Catholic Secondary School
161 Guelph Street,               

To be arranged by schools participating in this event. We are looking at the potential for some schools to share bus transportation.

Register Your School’s Participation: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DDPJ7ZB 

For more information:
(905) 873-1820
Christine Upton

Monday, November 8, 2010


The Secretary-General welcomes the adoption of an historic new protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity on Saturday morning, 30 October, in Nagoya, Japan, which sets ground rules for improving access to, and the equitable sharing of, the world's genetic resources. The new treaty, he said, provides an innovative approach to conserving and protecting the world’s rapidly diminishing living resources, while providing benefits to all, in particular, local communities in developing countries.

For more information please see: http://www.cbd.int/cop10/

Sunday, November 7, 2010


As the seasons pass, one cannot help but be fascinated by our mature butternut tree at the Macoun Marsh.

Children are known to hug this tree as they pass by because they know that this is an endangered species.  While most of these trees are disappearing due to a nasty canker fungus, this tree is doing quite well.  The fungus kills the cambium in elongated patches.  In early spring the cankers may excude a blackish fluid which dries to form sooty patches.  Most young trees cannot survive with this canker.

Animals love this tree, especially the gray squirrel.  They are the masters of butternut conservation.  Planting the seeds everywhere is a great conservation technique.  

In November, the butternuts have lost all their summer leaves.  A proud little white-breasted nuthatch descends the massive arms of the tree, uttering a continual series of nasal whistles.  These birds will often hide food in the crevices of the bark on trunks and branches for later use.     

A female downy woodpecker is a common visitor to this tree.  Ta, ta, ta, ta, you can hear the vibrations as you sit under the trunk.  This bird's head is always in motion, and my presence is ignored!

A tree is more than the sum of its parts... It is also the myriad of life that makes this place their home.