Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Keepers at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust are delighted to announce the birth of a healthy male black lion tamarin. The baby, born on 22nd March, represents a great achievement for the conservation charity as this is the first black lion tamarin baby to have been successfully bred outside of Brazil in the last eight years.

For more information see:  

Monday, May 30, 2011


We have recieved considerable rain in the month of May.  One excellent side to this rain is the crazy-looking fungi that are growing throughout our marsh area. 

Velvet foot fungus (Flammulina velutipes)

Slug eating a Morel

Dead-man’s fingers (Xylaria polymorpha)

Coral fungi

Thursday, May 26, 2011


26 - 30 SEPTEMBER 2011

THEME: Reshaping Our future through A Green Economy and Sustainable Lifestyle

Check out:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In My Panamanian Backyard

This is a picture I took in my backyard.
It is a juvenile Great Kiskadee with one of its parents.
The baby had just left the nest at this point so it was still trying to fly.
A cat tried to go for the baby, so with gloves I picked it up.
I had to be careful though because these parents are very protective and will dive at you.
I carefully placed it on a branch and in the morning it flew off safe with its parents.

Mr. Panamá

Monday, May 23, 2011

Conservation at Durrell 2011-2015 (UK)

See the Durrell Conservation Programme here: http://www.durrell.org/Home/Conservation//
Image above from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust


Tree swallows are nesting now.

Chimney swifts are a threated species here in Canada because of loss of habitat.  

We have been unable to identify this beetle!

Tree frogs are singing every night.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


About 40 Ottawa area young people took part in today's wonderful conference on sustainability and biodiversity.  It was hosted by Ashbury College partnered with St-Laurent Academy and Biodiversitymatters. 

Our keynote address was by green economy educator and Ottawa City Councillor David Chernushenko.

We had a presentation by Genevieve Grossenbacher from USC Canada.  She discussed our food choices and how to vote with our fork!

Hugh Robertson, his wife, and son put 1 bag of garbage out during a three year period.  He discussed how he did it and the morality around climate change.

Little Ray's Reptiles presented endangered species during lunch. 

A soft-shelled turtle!

Being a tree for "Darth Vader" the Eastern Ratsnake

Albino snapping turtle

This is a big turtle!

Raptor discussions and how DDT affected them in the past.

Chafic brought his pet bearded dragons.

Canadian Museum of Nature scientist Noel Alfonso presented on taxonomy and particularily on fish biology.

Torry Reid from Organic Growers discussed our local food choices. 

Our biodiversity poster.

We planted an oak and a spruce on the grounds of Ashbury College.

Youth of all ages took part!
A special thank you to Ashbury College for hosting the event, Gillian, ASLA, and all the organizers from Biodiversitymatters.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Reptile and Amphibian surveys along the Rideau River (Ottawa, Canada)

This past school year, I volunteered for a local organization called Sustainable Living Ottawa East, where I organized SIX reptile and amphibian surveys along the Rideau River. What’s a reptile and amphibian survey you ask?! It’s when you go out and search for reptile and amphibian species in a certain area (like the Rideau River), and write down what you see/hear. The data collected is sent to other organizations who use it to better understand the species and help protect them!

On Saturday, May 14, I attended two of these surveys (one in the morning and one at night), along with several community members AND five reptile and amphibian experts who helped us find and identity species. In total, we found 95 individuals including Bullfrogs, Green Frogs, American Toads, Leopard Frogs and even a baby snapping turtle (awwww)! 

If you and your family would like to be part of this awesome project, we still have two surveys left! They will take place on Saturday, June 18, from 9am to noon and from 9pm to 10pm. Visit www.sustainablelivingottawaeast.ca and download a volunteer package to find out more about our last surveys of the season! Hope to see you there J

Jessica Pelow

Friday, May 20, 2011


A special day at the Biosphere in Montreal.  Our biodiversity team did a great job reading the International Youth Declaration on Biodiversity created in part by the youth involved in our Not-for-Profit group Biodiversitymatters.  This declaration was written and edited by international youth with the Biodiversity Convention in Nagoya, Japan last October.     

Video message by Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf (Executive Secretary of the CBD)

Presentation area

Tree planting on Biosphere grounds by students from St-Laurent Academy with polar explorer and scientist Jean Lemire

The dome!

The Biosphere's studio area

A quick visit to the biodome

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Run for Biodiversity! (Ottawa, Canada)

Help USC Canada sweat the big stuff this May in Ottawa
Run for Biodiversity!
Are you a passionate runner, or perhaps love jogging or going for long walks? Would you like to experience the beauty of the nation’s capital in May, when nature has sprung back to life, biodiversity is thriving, and the tulips are in full bloom?
If you answered yes to these questions, then USC Canada warmly invites you to join us for a uniquely healthy and meaningful experience:
·         Come visit Ottawa at a beautiful time of the year
·         Run or walk in one of the six events on Race Weekend, May 28-29
·         Help raise funds for USC’s work with farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
We call it our Run for Biodiversity, in honour of the millions of farming families who help nurture and preserve our planet’s biological diversity. Biodiversity is all about food and farmers. It is the essential ingredient that both nourishes and is nourished by USC’s partner communities around the world. Much is at stake for us all, and in a real sense, USC is helping farmers plant the Seeds of our very Survival.
How do I register to Run for Biodiversity?
USC Canada has been selected as an official Participating Charity in the Ottawa Race Weekend. To support USC and Run for Biodiversity, it’s as easy as one, two, three!
1.   Runners should first register through the Ottawa Race Weekend as regular participants. NB: during the registration process, you do not need to specify you are participating in USC’s Run for Biodiversity, this is done during Step Two below.

2.   Runners should contact David Rain at rain@usc-canada.org indicating they are Running for Biodiversity.

3.   David will contact all Running for Biodiversity Team members to coordinate our fundraising efforts leading up to Race Weekend in May.
All are welcome, so don’t be shy. There are race events for all shapes, ages, and sizes – from the 2 km family run/walk all the way up to the full 42 km marathon!


This has been such a wet spring- rain, rain, and more rain.  With cooler than normal temperatures life has been slow to emerge.  Despite this, many animals are making appearances.  Here are some of my photos. 

Wood duck (Male)

Baby cottontail rabbit

Dryad's Saddle Fungus

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Down to 50, conservationists fight to save Javan Rhino from extinction

These rhinos are critically endangered. (Public domain photo 1930)

Preserved in the Raffles Museum, Singapore (1931) I cannot imagine seeing this head in real life.  It is a disgusting reminder of how we mistreat our natural heritage. (Public domain photo in most countries)

Read Mark Szotek's article on Monabay at http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0517-szotek_javan_rhino.html

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tarantulas Shoot Silk From Feet, Spider-Man Style

Tarantulas shoot silk from "spigots" in their feet to climb slippery surfaces, a new study says.  See http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/05/110516-spiders-tarantulas-webs-spider-man-science-animals/


While the gorilla is the largest of all the primates, it is not deserving of its fierce King Kong image. Five different races or ‘sub-species’ of gorilla are currently recognised, all of which face a severe threat of extinction in their native equatorial African habitat. The gruesome and growing illegal trade in gorilla ‘bush meat’ and the all too common problem of habitat loss are the main reasons for the decline of these magnificent apes.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has kept western lowland gorillas since 1959 – the year it opened. The first to arrive was two-year-old female N’pongo, who died in 1999 at the grand old age of 42. To date, 15 valuable babies have been born here; most are now at other zoos and continue to make a valuable contribution to the breeding programme for their highly endangered species.  See the Durrell website for more information on their valuable conservation work.  http://www.durrell.org/ 

Photographs supplied by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)


Gray squirrel

 Painted turtle swimming

Toads mating

Colourful caterpillar of the Ctenucha virginica moth

Sharp-shinned Hawk