Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity with Another Successful IDB Grant Year!

Cover photo: Eel Walk on Parliament Hill, Credit: Plenty Canada
By Jordan McArthur, BEAN Coordinator 

2018 was another successful year for BEAN’s International Day for Biodiversity Program! This year, the Convention on Biological Diversity celebrated their 25th anniversary, which was reflected in the 2018 IDB theme “Celebrating 25 years of Action for Biodiversity”. Every year, BEAN awards micro-grants up to $500 to projects and events that directly improve or teach biodiversity. Past supported projects have included BioBlitz events, invasive species removals, shoreline cleanups, educational outreach events, and more! With 80 grant applications received this year, the most to date since the inception of the grant program, it is clear that action for biodiversity is becoming an increasing priority and BEAN is thrilled to be able to support this very important work!

Congratulations to all of 2018’s successful IDB grant recipients! BEAN was able to support the following 27 projects this year:
• 2 Rivers Festival – a project of Wellington Water Watchers
• Bruce Station Horticultural Society – Pollinator Hotel
• Forests Ontario – Envirothon Championship Legacy Project
• FreeTheFalls – Windsock Eel Making Workshops
• Friends of Minesing Wetlands – 2nd Annual Minesing Wetlands BioBlitz
• Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority – Ganaraska Forest BioBlitz
• Friends of Second Marsh/ General Motors – Feathered Friends Festival
• Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve – Georgian Bay Water Festival
• Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital – Pelee Island Reptile Blitz
• GreenUP – BioBlitz for Biodiversity
• Junction Creek Stewardship Committee Inc. – Annual Junction Creek Festival & Trout Release
• Kingston Field Naturalists – 20th BioBlitz of the Kingston Field Naturalists
• Lake Simcoe Conservation Foundation – Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority Annual BioBlitz
• Mississaugi First Nation – Shikimkwe Nji (“For our Mother Earth”)
• MTM Conservation Association – Fourth Annual Tiny Marsh BioBlitz
• Nature’s Calling Environmental Education – International Day of Biodiversity Festival
• Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust – Blitzing the Moraine 2018 – Uxbridge BioBlitz
• Ontario BioBlitz – Ontario BioBlitz- Lynde Creek Watershed
• Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters – Invasive Plant Pull
• Ontario Nature – 2018 Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas BioBlitz
• Parry Sound Public School – Treetops Community Forest BioBlitz
• Plenty Canada – Eel Walk
• Prince Edward County Field Naturalists – PEC BioBlitz 2018
• Rare Charitable Research Reserve – City Nature Challenge: Waterloo Region
• Renfrew County ATV Club – RCATV Sensitive Habitat and Biodiversity Training, Awareness and Trail Identification
• Thames Talbot Land Trust – Adopt-a-Patch Garlic Mustard Workshops
• Wintergreen Studios – Wintergreen Studios Land Art BioBlitz 2018

Here are testimonials from some of the supported projects:

My experience with BEAN has been wonderful. Our creative “Eel Project” synchronized with the mandate for BEAN which is to promote the protection of our biodiversity. We were linking to a Government of Ontario supported initiative(BEAN) which made little groups like us feel that we’re ALL working together on this thing. It felt very encouraging. Thank you for your help. It really aided in both giving the public a sense of the legitimacy of our efforts and enabling the affordability of several aspects of our project-where mine in particular would have been the windsock Eel making workshops.” – Free the Falls, Windsock Eel Making Workshops

Group looking at aquatic bugs in Willow Creek (Credit: K Stephens)

“The Friends of Minesing Wetlands received a BEAN grant to support our 2nd Annual Minesing Wetlands BioBlitz on June 2, 2018. Amateur naturalists and interested residents joined local scientists on guided hikes to learn about and document as many different plant and animal species as they could find in the Minesing Wetlands.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather on the day of our BioBlitz. All of our guests met at the beautiful Historic Fort Willow, lathered up in sunscreen, and were eager to get out into the field. Before we left the Fort, we had already spotted a handful of species, including a Swamp Darner Dragonfly! Split into groups, we saw the unique landscape of the Minesing Wetlands and the diversity that comes with it. By the end of the day we had identified a total of 233 different species!

With BEAN’s support of our Minesing Weltand BioBlitz we were able to engage and educate the community about the importance of biodiversity and citizen science. Identifying a plethora of species, guests began to appreciate the complexity and importance of natural systems while fostering a greater understanding of the natural world. Not only was the BioBlitz a wonderful way to reach out to the community, meet new people and learn new things about nature, but the data we collected was compiled to understand larger biodiversity trends within this internationally recognized wetland. The Friends of Minesing Wetlands would like to thank BEAN, our partners, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority and Ducks Unlimited Canada and our volunteers for making this wonderful event possible. ” – Friends of Minesing Wetlands, 2nd Annual Minesing Wetlands BioBlitz

To increase awareness and reduce the spread of invasive species, area Directors were trained to build and implement a Clean Equipment Station for use during ATV events, trail maintenance days or for private use at home (Credit: Renfrew County ATV Club)

New and experienced riders were all educated on the importance of biodiversity and invasive species prior to the event. Riders were provided with the Clean Bike Protocol pamphlet which has been printed is also being installed on our welcome boards.” – Renfrew County ATV Club, RCATV Sensitive Habitat and Biodiversity Training, Awareness and Trail Identification Project

On Monday, May 28th, 135 volunteers planted 420 trees and shrubs at two sites on the University of Waterloo campus as part of the Ontario Envirothon Legacy Project. Total restoration area is 1867 square meters. The Legacy Project took place during the Ontario Envirothon Championship event, providing a hands-on opportunity for Envirothon participants to give back to the local community.
Volunteers were provided with a short introduction on proper planting techniques by a representative from the Grand River Conservation Authority. In addition, participants were taught about the importance of native species, restoring local biodiversity, plant cover to support migration of species and invasive species management. Throughout the event, volunteers were monitored to ensure that proper tree planting techniques were applied. Additionally, during the planting, plants were mulched and tree guards applied as required.” – Forests Ontario, Ontario Envirothon Championship Legacy Project


A City Nature Challenge participant shares her nature observation of an Eastern Red-backed Salamander by photographing it with her cellphone and uploading it to the iNaturalist app (Credit: Jenna Quinn)

Our 24 hour BioBlitz produced a good tally of species(exact numbers not yet available) in the Helen Quilliam Sanctuary of the Kingston Field Naturalists. Final tally and report will appear in the September issue of the Blue Bill (quarterly journal of the KFN). We celebrated our 20th BioBlitz with T shirts and a cake for all participants. The guided walks to educate people to new species in a big variety of taxa were most successful. A total of 942 species were recorded!” – Kingston Field Naturalists, 20th BioBlitz of the Kingston Field Naturalists

This was a successful event! We significantly increased youth participation. Some keeners decided to go out at 4:30 am although official start wasn’t till 6. We incorporated an indigenous perspective.”- MTM Conservation Association, Fourth Annual Tiny Marsh BioBlitz


Spring had not quite ‘sprung’ but we still had a great amount of participation in the first ever City Nature Challenge in Waterloo Region. More than 2500 nature observations were made over four days from April 27-30th of 430+ different species including an Elktoe (vulnerable species of freshwater mussel), Short-eared Owl (Special Concern), Eastern Ribbonsnake (Special Concern), Kentucky Coffee-tree (Threatened) and the quintessential Canadian species- a beaver! 40% of sightings in Waterloo Region were of birds, followed closely by plants at 35%. More than 10 public and private events were hosted across Waterloo Region and together with individuals who contributed sightings and identifications on iNaturalist, 400+ people participated in The Challenge. In total, the City Nature Challenge contributed nearly 450,000 nature observations to iNaturalist worldwide, an amazing display of the power of citizen science.” – rare Charitable Research Reserve, City Nature Challenge: Waterloo Region

Thank you to everyone who applied for a grant this season and for all of your hard work making a difference for biodiversity! Keep an eye out on our NEW Facebook page for more photos from IDB 2018.

The 2019 grant season will be underway beginning in January- be sure to keep an eye on our social media or sign up for our mailing list so you don’t miss a thing!

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