I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Canadian Wildlife Federation

My family occasionally donates to the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) and I recently received an issue of their Canadian Wildlife magazine.  I intended to do a posting about a couple of lesser known invasive species that people would not normally consider, but alas, I visited their website in my quest for information and have spent most of my time cruising around their website, subscribing to their magazine, and signing up to receive their free e-newsletters.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation was founded in 1962 and has grown to include approximately 300,000 members.  As a Canadian, non governmental organization they focus entirely on species and habitats at risk in Canada and are funded entirely by public donations.  Their stated mission is as follows:

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is dedicated to ensuring an appreciation of our natural world and a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat by:
  • informing and educating Canadians;
  • advocating responsible human actions; and
  • representing wildlife on conservation issues.
The amount of information contained on the CWF website is almost overwhelming.  I am sure it would take me hours to peruse the whole thing, but whatever you might be looking for with regard to nature you will probably find it on their website.  Mildly curious about butterflies, bats, bees or birds? They have a poster for you.  Want to know more about Canada's species of plants or animals? They have a whole section dedicated to flora and another for fauna, broken down into mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles and amphibians.  Check out the Hinterland Who's Who for ideas you can implement in your backyard or, for the more ambitious, see their ideas for broader community projects.  

In addition to their Canadian Wildlife publication they also have two magazines geared towards children.  One called Wild, geared towards 6 to 12 year-olds, and Your Big Backyard for children aged 3 to 5.  The description for Canadian Wildlife suggests that the articles are accompanied by some of the "best nature photography in the world".  I have to say that the magazine I received (March/April 2011) had some of the most beautiful pictures of birds I have ever seen. 

The photographs were taken by Roy Hancliff in the backyard of his Salmon Arm, BC home using a technique he developed using "multiple flashes and super-high shutter speeds of up to 1/20,000th of a second".  The result is some awesome action shots of a variety of birds including pine siskens, the northern flicker, stellar jays, and hummingbirds.  Of the photographs included in the article the one of the Northern Flicker is my favourite.  Coincidentally when I visited his website it was the first picture that came up on his home page.  If you like nature pictures I would highly recommend checking out his site.  He has a gallery and you are able to order prints of his pictures.

If you are someone who would like to help the natural environment around you, but are not sure how to get started, I would highly recommend the CWF website as a beginning.  Even projects as simple as incorporating native plants into your landscaping, or building a bat house, can have a positive impact on the surrounding environment.  For my part I have been working on plans to improve the boulevard outside my home for the last two years.  I have decided on planting native trees and shrubs and also plan to incorporate some of the other ideas from the CWF.  My project will be getting a boost on Thursday when the Municipality of Saanich puts in a big leaf maple tree.  I will post a picture of the current state of the boulevard and add pictures as things progress.

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