2017 was another great year for biodiversity in the province! Every year, for the International Day for Biodiversity (IDB), BEAN awards micro-grants to individuals and groups around the province who are hosting an event or project that directly teaches or improves biodiversity. These events typically run in May and June around the International Day for Biodiversity, which is celebrated on May 22nd, and applicants can request funding up to $500. This year, BEAN received 58 applicants and funded 25 events. These events consisted of:
- Invasive species removal and awareness training
- Creation of Pollinator habitats and native plant sales
- Biodiversity celebration, exploration and education days
- Water festivals and shoreline restorations
- Biodiversity educational song and video creations
Here are success stories from some of this year’s IDB grant recipients:
“The Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council received a BEAN grant to support our Annual General Meeting which featured a very successful native plant sale and a captivating guest speaker. Kellie Sherman from the Ontario Invasive Plant Council educated guests in attendance (seasonal and year round residents) on the importance of native species for local biodiversity and increased understanding around the problems associated with, and management of, invasive species. Our guests learned about their role in supporting and protecting biodiversity and had their questions about invasive and native plants answered during and following the presentation. The theme of biodiversity fit very well with our annual native plant sale and we were thrilled to have sold a total of 565 native plants this year! Eastern Georgian Bay is a beautifully diverse region and we were so pleased that the BEAN grant could help us spread the word about biodiversity, its importance, and how we all have a role to play in maintaining biodiversity in this special place!” –Katrina Krievens, Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council
“The Invading Species Awareness Program obtained BEAN (Biodiversity Education and Awareness Network) funding to conduct a Garlic Mustard pull at Ken Reid Conservation Area (Kawartha Conservation) on May 17, 2017. This year marked the ninth consecutive year for this successful and worthwhile event. Seven volunteers pulled 20 yard waste bags of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate) from two noticeably smaller sites, thanks to the ongoing efforts to eradicate the invasive plant.
Considered one of the most aggressive invaders of forest habitats in Ontario, garlic mustard poses a major threat to biodiversity and species at risk in the region. Originating from Eurasia and Northwest Africa this plant came to North America as a garden herb in the early 1800s. Since then it has escaped the garden and has invaded a wide range of habitats including forests, fields, and shorelines; often forming dense stands which can double in size in just four years. The plant is not a valuable food source for wildlife. Garlic mustard is a biennial plant, flowering on the second year. The garlic mustard pull targeted the flowering plants which are easily visible and recognizable. At this stage the plant has invested a great deal of its energy into the flowers, and the seeds have not yet formed. The bags of garlic mustard were placed under a tarp to bake in the sun to ensure complete mortality before being taken to a landfill site. Kawartha Conservation would like to thank BEAN, the volunteers, and the Invading Species Awareness Program for the funding, participation, organization, and dedication to conservation efforts.” –Benjamin Teskey, Conservation Areas Technician, KAWARTHA CONSERVATION
“The Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre serves as a multi-faceted hospital (home of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre) and is the only dedicated Turtle Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre in Canada. The OTCC is a registered charity and is largely funded by private donations. Our approach to Conservation addresses the causes of Ontario’s turtle population decline and the impact this has on the biodiversity of our wetlands. Our Education and Outreach program provides attendees with the knowledge and skills to become “active stewards” of Ontario’s turtles and the importance of biodi
versity. In 2015, ground was broken to begin the construction of the OTCC Outdoor Education Centre.
In 2017 we were thrilled to qualify and receive a generous grant from BEAN! With this grant we were able to purchase plants, soil, mulch and funding for bussing. Four classes of grade two students from a local school were bussed into the centre in order to plant two beautiful pollinator gardens on June 27-2017. These gardens are now a focal point in the Outdoor Education Centre. The four classes were broken up into groups, where they learned the importance of pollinating gardens and that wider species diversity, leads to greater ecosystem stability. Biodiversity is a measurement of how many different types of organisms are found in an ecosystem. The greater the biodiversity, the healthier the ecosystem. Through education and hands on application, the students learned that everything counts and everything is connected.” –Wendy Baggs, Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre
“On Saturday, June 24, 2017, Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre hosted the “grand opening” of our pollinator garden. Our Centre’s mission is to rehabilitate sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. In addition, we seek to educate and equip the public with ways they can help their local environment so the species we rehabilitate have a safe place to live.
For many years, our Centre has had an overgrown and unfinished back plot of land. Over the past two years, dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to divide up plots, lay the sidewalk bricks, and set up a compost system and rain barrel. This past year, we had gardening volunteers who grew native plants from seeds, and then as the plants grew in their trays, they were brought back to the garden to be planted. All of this was in preparation for our garden “grand opening”, which happened at the end of National Pollinator Week.
Our event was open to the public, and looked to increase awareness about native plant species that are beneficial to pollinators, and the role pollinators have in the ecosystem. Attendees came throughout the day, and spoke with our gardening volunteers, learned about our Centre, and took home free milkweed, tomato, and lupin seeds. Families searched for different plant species and gardening tools during the scavenger hunt, and participated in a turtle shell repair craft.
The weather held for most of the day, and it was amazing to discover some of the distances families had driven to attend the event! It was heart-warming to hear animal rescue stories individuals told us, as well as discuss their gardening problems and questions. This was a wonderful way for Wild at Heart to reach out to the community, and we are thankful to BEAN for allowing us to make this event possible!” –Monica Seidel, Wild at Heart Wildlife Refuge Centre
“I wanted to take the time to thank BEAN and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters for their support of our invasive species removal efforts. Not only did we make great strides in removal of Phragmites but we have also educated the broader community through volunteer sessions and engagement with our local radio station 107.5 DaveFM. Morning radio host Darryl Law took time to visit rare staff, and shared our approach with his audience.
With 24 different habitats and more than 3,300 species on our properties, the goal of rare is to preserve its sites and their ecosystems intact and in perpetuity, for the community to enjoy in their natural states. Through expert management, sensitive lands and research sites are protected while the public enjoys 8 km of trails, extensive community gardens and regular interpretive events. Thank you for being a part of that!” – Dr. Stephanie Sobek-Swant, rare Charitable Research Reserve
If you are interested in hosting your own event for the 2018 International Day for Biodiversity, applications will be open in mid-January until mid-March with events occurring in May and June. Details can be found on our website or you can contact us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.