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Long Point Turtles – We need your help

Click Here to Donate  Every spring,  many of you who reside or travel within the Long Point Biosphere Region will have seen our female freshwater turtles risking their lives to crossroads and lay their eggs. And every spring, passionate Wildlife Road Watch volunteers like the celebrated Long Point turtle rescuer John Everett work through the heat, rain, and bugs to save as many of these vulnerable ladies as possible. 

In 2024 our crew outdid themselves, not only by helping hundreds of turtles navigate roadkill hotspots, but also proving nest protectors and excavating nests in spots where the emerging hatchlings would have no hope of survival. 

Well over 800 of these excavated eggs were transported to the Marshview Welcome and Education Centre at Long Point Eco Adventures to incubate for the 2024 summer. These eggs are the first ever collected for the Long Point Biosphere Region Turtle Hatchery and Exhibit!

They include midland painted, snapping, and norther map turtle eggs. Our mentors and colleagues at the Turtle Lab in the London Watershed Conservation Centre graciously took in many more clutches when we reached our processing capacity.  This included all of our threatened Blanding’s turtle eggs.

None of this would have been possible without the generous donations our community contributed alongside support from the Long Point Biosphere Region, Eco Adventures, Scott Gillingwater and his Turtle Lab team in London, our amazing Wildlife Road Watch volunteers, Environment and Climate Change Canada through the LPWF Priority Place’s Road Ecology Working GroupEco-Kare International, and Eco Canada.

We now have an urgent need for materials and funds to complete the task and, we hope, establish the hatchery as a permanent facility serving the Long Point Biosphere Region.

If we’ve done it right, thousands of hatching turtles will peck their way out of their shells in the years ahead.  But each  must be health checked, measured, weighed, and finally released into the marsh and this must be within 1 km of where their mothers originally laid them. At the same time, we hope to have a multi-faceted exhibit in place to educate students, visitors, and area residents about the need for road ecology projects. This will help address the core problem facing our turtles (deaths on roads) that make volunteer road patrols and nest excavation necessary.

Please consider contributing to the Long Point Biosphere Region Turtle Hatchery!

Click Here to Donate

Or Volunteer for Wildlife Road Watch

If you are not able to contribute financially but wish to help another way, please consider joining Wildlife Road Watch, our volunteer program.  You  will be trained to safely help turtles cross roads and to identify turtle nests for excavation along several key nesting hotspots.

If you are interested, please consider subscribing at wildlifeonroads.com  or reach out to Lauren atlnightingale@eco-kare.com for more information.

For more on what’s happening in the Long Point Biosphere check out our newsletter here.

Art Exhibition to Benefit Biosphere

JC Lee, a Norfolk County artist whose  paintings celebrate nature and rural landscapes with a touch of  emotion and fantasy, will be donating proceeds from an upcoming art show to the Long Point Biosphere Region and other local conservation organizations.

His “Magic of Norfolk” art exhibition will run from August 10 to August 25, 2024 in the Mass Market Gallery space at Port Dover’s Beach Reads Bookstore.  The exhibition will showcase  oil and mixed media paintings of landscapes and wildlife in Norfolk County.  Though JC’s works are detailed and set in the reality of the natural world, their effect is magnified through the juxtaposition of varied colours, textures, patterns, composition and perspectives.  

“Because so much of my art has been inspired by Norfolk County’s natural environment, I wanted  to direct some of the proceeds to local organizations helping to protect it,” says the artist, who will be donating 30 per cent of all sales from the “Magic of Norfolk” to be split between the Long Point Biosphere, the Long Point Basin Land Trust, and ALUS Norfolk. 

JC will also donate 30 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of a specific painting, “The Black Sheep,” to Pride Haldimand Norfolk.  His latest painting titled “Hope” will be unveiled and on sale at the exhibition with his other works. Everyone is invited to the opening reception on Friday August 9, 2024 from 5 to 7pm.

Ontario Government Grant supports Long Point Biosphere Strategy

Port Rowan, ON – On Friday, June 21, 2024, local MPP Bobbi Ann Brady met with representatives of the Long Point Biosphere Region (LPBR) in Port Rowan, Ontario to launch a new project to strengthen the organization’s capacities to support sustainable development, conservation programs, and outreach and outdoor education collaborations in Norfolk County. The project was made possible thanks to a $126,000 Resilient Communities fund grant from the provincial government’s Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF).

“The Long Point Biosphere is an important connection between people and nature,” said Bobbi Ann Brady, MPP Haldimand—Norfolk. “This funding will help the committee better develop a strategy to deliver its mandate to enhance the ecosystem and community well-being while uniting people with nature.”

First awarded in January 2024, the grant will support transformation of the LPBR’s strategic plan and commencement of an organizational review.  To this end, the LPBR has signed an agreement with the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere to draw on its “best in class” operating model and expertise in developing new partnerships, diversified funding sources, and stable program staffing systems.

“The Long Point Biosphere is one of Canada’s most important ecological areas with an exceptional agro-ecosystem,” said Biosphere Chair Tom Via. “The funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the help of partners like Birds Canada and the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere will make a vital contribution to our long-term planning which enables support of conservation and sustainable development in the region.”

The LPBR is a non-profit corporation with a mandate to promote the Long Point Biosphere Region. Bordering Lake Erie and extending to all of Norfolk County, the Biosphere is the region with the highest biodiversity in Canada as well as being home to over 200 species at risk, the world’s longest freshwater sand spit formation, and other unique natural settings.

“Whether it’s helping people learn new things, connect with their community, or simply have fun, organizations like Long Point Biosphere deliver experiences that make a difference,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Gaming. “That’s why grant support through the Ontario Trillium Foundation is so important. This funding will help ensure they remain at the heart of the community for decades to come.”

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Ontario government with a mission to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Last year, OTF invested more than $110M into 1,044 community projects and multi-sector partnerships. Projects aim to enhance economic well-being, foster more active lifestyles, support child and youth development, provide spaces for people to come together and connect, and create a more sustainable environment. Visit otf.ca to learn more. 

LPBR Contact for Media Inquiries: dick@longpointbiosphere.com 

Biosphere Partners plan first “Conservation Crawl”

With support from Norfolk County and local partners, the Long Point Biosphere Region will be launching an annual excursion called the “Conservation Crawl” in conjunction with Port Rowan’s Bayfest celebrations on Labour Day Weekend 2024.

The initiative has been awarded support under the Norfolk County Community Grants Program.  The funding will cover the cost of bus shuttle services to help visitors and residents learn more about conservation organizations such as Birds Canada and sustainable businesses such as Long Point Eco-Adventures.  We also intend to celebrate our Long Point Turtle Hatchery project with exhibitry for public viewings of the facilities and baby turtles. In keeping with the “Crawl” theme, the initiative will also promote visits to local wineries and brewing operations.

“The funding from Norfolk County gives us the greenlight to reach out to others and begin planning the Conservation Crawl stops,” said Tom Via, LPBR Chair, adding that the Biosphere will collaborate with community organizations for maximum impact. “We have a rich portfolio in the Biosphere’s Amazing Places program already and are looking forward to celebrating the work of our other friends.”

In announcing the Community Grants funding, Norfolk County noted the unique approaches applicants offered to meeting priorities in environmental conservation.  Mayor Amy Martin commended recipients such as the Long Point Biosphere saying, “your dedication to enhancing the quality of life in Norfolk County is inspiring.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the Long Point Biosphere Conservation
Crawl, can contact: communications@longpointbiopshere.com

JAMES EDWARD “JIM” WILSON (1953 – 2024)

The Long Point Biosphere Region (LPBR) joins with the many friends and family members  mourning the March 27, 2024 passing of Jim Wilson, a highly respected and valued LPBR volunteer.  Jim loved the outdoors, camping, fishing, and canoeing, and this led him to active involvement in the drive to preserve Norfolk County’s natural heritage.

Jim began working with the Biosphere in 1995 as a manager when the first Smithsonian Institution / EMAN (Ecological Management Assessment Network) survey plot was installed in Backus Woods.  This project, initiated with the help of area school students, was an inspiring start to broader ecological monitoring efforts in the area and the basis for better reporting on ecosystem changes.

Jim then took over the Biosphere salamander monitoring program and led it as a volunteer for two decades.  His work created one of the longest-running data sets on salamanders in North America and helped establish the stability of terrestrial salamander populations in our region.  This achievement was documented and confirmed in recent years by Dr. Pat Chow-Frasier’s lab at MacMaster University.

For this work, Jim was honoured with the Dr. Thomas Brydges Award at an EMAN national gathering. The award recognizes “volunteers who demonstrate enthusiastic leadership and commitment to advance ecological monitoring and research in Canada.”

Jim’s dedication benefited the Long Point Biosphere in many ways beyond the salamander program drawing media and broad public interest.  He and his son Nick (both are pictured together here), who served as Biosphere President for several years, were, for example, featured in the popular TVO documentary Striking Balance. The documentary showcased the important link between salamander populations and the overall health of Southern Ontario’s Carolinian Forest.

“Dad was always proud of the work he did with the Long Point Biosphere and loved to share pictures and stories about it whenever he could,” said Nick Wilson, adding that he was glad to have the opportunity to spend so much time over the years sharing in one of his father’s great passions. “Dad understood the importance of the work we were doing and showed a real commitment to it.”

His family has asked that donations be made to the Biosphere or the London Regional Cancer Program in Jim’s memory.

Recent Newsletters

SUMMER 2024 Biosphere Beacon

In this issue, we review our new projects, look to the future, and remember a special volunteer. 
Click individual links below.

SPRING 2024 Biosphere Beacon

In this issue, we celebrate our recent successes and special partnerships. 
Click individual links below.

FALL 2023 Biopshere Beacon (Highlights listed below)
Click here for the  full newsletter

  • Parliamentary Secretary’s visit to Long Point
  • Georgian Bay’s Ganawenim Meshkiki’s funding of Long Point Road Ecology
  • Over 50 Area Schools joining Project Feederwatch
  • Nature Canada’s renewal of funding for Long Point Programs
  • New – The Isabella Brink-Read Youth Summit Award

SUMMER 2023 Biosphere Beacon (Highlights listed below)
 Click here for the full newsletter 

  • Spooky Hollow helps meet national biodiversity goals
  • Join us on Wandering Wednesdays
  • We’re participating in the Birds Canada Birdathon, and we need your help!
  • How many of Norfolk County’s 22 Amazing Places have you visited?
  • We’re helping connect students to nature
  • Announcing a documentary about the Biosphere – we’ll have an extravaganza and fundraiser featuring a special showing, stay tuned!
  • Artists from indigenous and international backgrounds collaborate
  • Protecting turtles, snakes and more from the dangers of crossing the road

Local Groups Discuss Priority Place Progress

On March 12, 2024, members of the five Working Groups that have been established under the Long Point Walsingham Forest (LPWF) Priority Place collaborative met with key partners in Port Rowan to reflect on progress and obstacles encountered under the initiative.  The individuals attending the meeting represented a diverse array of local NGOs and included a representative from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), the funder of the program.  The assembly, the first face-to-face meeting of the Working Groups since the Covid-19 shutdown, sought to enhance communications and outreach opportunities.

The meeting featured contributions from coordinators of the Working Groups: Road Ecology, Open Country, Agricultural Runoff, Forested and Treed Swamps, and Invasive Species. The event was enriched by the presence of notable guests including Tom Masschaele from Norfolk County Council, environmental expert Peter Zuzek, representatives Jess and Fawn Sault from the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Julia Sunga from the ECCC’s Canadian Wildlife Service.

Dr. Sunga shared insights into ECCC’s new larger Carolinian Zone Priority Place and discussed what changes may be experienced by the partners of the LPWF Working Groups. Participants were asked to consider the implications for their work and to consider new collaborative partnerships with players in the larger Zone.

While attendees acknowledged challenges, there was a unanimous sense of achievement regarding the strides made toward the goals set by the respective Working Groups. Discussions also highlighted new ventures and underscored the pivotal role of Priority Place funding in bolstering and expanding collaborative habitat restorations.

Cynthia Brink, the event’s organizer from the Long Point Biosphere, reflected on the meeting as productive and a significant step forward, expressing optimism for the organization of similar future engagements.

100 Area Schools supported in Project FeederWatch







Students at over 100 schools in our region will have the resources to participate in the 2024 edition of Project FeederWatch, one of North America’s most engaging education and citizen science initiatives, due to the generosity of Armstong Milling Co. Ltd. of Hagersville.

Armstrong is donating bird feed to all of the schools in our area in conjunction with the acquisition of bird feeders at a highly discounted rate thanks to Doerksen County Store in Port Rowan.

Project FeederWatch is an international research and education collaboration led by Birds Canada and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  The project depends on volunteers like students in the Long Point Biosphere region who collect vital data on bird populations.  The inventory takes place at different times throughout the year.  The observations made by students and other volunteers help to measure changes in the range and abundance of bird species and help ensure the health of their habitat.

With funding from Nature Canada, under its Naturehood Outdoor Education Program, the Long Point Biosphere Region has been actively promoting Project FeederWatch with area schools for several years . The Biosphere’s Cynthia Brink has overseen the distribution of educational kits to the schools to magnify the Feederwatch experience.

“Project FeederWatch  is a wonderful way for students to build a connection to nature,” said Brink. “We are delighted that the support of Armstrong and local firms like the Doerksen Country Store will allow the school program to continue and expand in our region.”

Armstrong, a Hagersville-based firm, is Canada’s leading Wild Bird Food manufacturer. 

Anyone can join Project FeederWatch and take part in a  survey.  Find out more Click Here. 

 For a FeederWatch live cam Click Here

12th Annual Research and Conservation Conference

The Long Point Biosphere Region is pleased to invite you to submit a proposal for a presentation or poster at our 12th Annual Research and Conservation Conference.  Click here for letter of invitation.

  • Date: Friday, November 1st , 2024
  • 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Location: Port Dover Lions Community Centre

As one of Canada’s 19 Biosphere Reserves in Canada designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Long Point Biosphere Region provides support for research, monitoring, education, and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of biodiversity conservation and sustainability.

This year’s Research and Conservation Conference is an excellent opportunity for academic and student researchers, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the public to take part in a lively exchange of ideas related to local environmental sustainability and conservation.

We invite proposals for paper presentations and stand-alone poster presentations.  Proposals must be relevant and/or applicable to Long Point Biosphere Region.

Submission instructions:

All proposals must be submitted by June 25th, 2024.

The conference organizing committee is accepting two distinct types of proposals. Presentation and Poster proposals – proposals should be submitted HERE

  • Conference Presentation: to fit segments time slots of 20 minutes (including 5 minutes for questions and answers). Presenters will be scheduled throughout he day in the most appropriate order based on the topic. Shorter presentations will also be considered and evaluated based on available time slots.
  • Conference Poster: Selected poster projects will be displayed at the venue for attendees to browse and discuss with representatives.

All submissions should clearly state the type of submission (e.g. individual paper, conference poster, thesis presentation, etc.) and include an abstract of 200–300 words including:

  • The topic of study
  • Goals and objectives
  • Key findings and conclusions
  • Institutional affiliation and contact email of the contributor(s).

Presentations must be formatted in Microsoft PowerPoint.

Acceptance confirmations will be sent on July 15, 2024.

There will be a small registration fee of $45.00 for adults and $25.00 for students to cover the cost of a healthy lunch, snacks and coffee breaks. We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Summary

Call for Papers / Poster Submissions Deadline June 25th, 2024

Notification of Acceptance July 15th, 2024

Presentation Schedule Release September 5th, 2024

Event Registration Open / Close Now / November 1st, 2024

Cynthia Brink, Conference Coordinator at: conference@longpointbiosphere.com

Cell phone: 226-567-0465

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2023 Biosphere Conference called “Best Ever!”

Featuring new format enhancements and a robust lineup of presentations, the 2023 Long Point Biosphere Region Research and Conservation Conference garnered enthusiastic praise from its 120-plus attendees. Many labeled it the “best ever” in the event’s eleven-year history.

Taking place on Friday, November 3, 2023 at the Port Dover Community Centre, the annual conference showcased recent discoveries and conservation efforts within the Biosphere. For the first time, poster presentations, exhibits, and displays enjoyed dedicated space in a separate room, providing participants with more flexibility to explore information and discuss issues outside the main program schedule during breaks.  Organizations like Birds Canada, the St. Williams Conservation Reserve Community Council, ALUS, McMaster University, and many others had displays.

Amid the UN decade of Ecological Restoration, which aims to both prevent and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, the conference main stage research presentations shed light on numerous restoration projects and research within the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place. Papers such as the Southern Seed Strategy, Recovering Tallgrass Butterfly Communities, and Insect Biomass Trends were among the highlights.

The conference commenced on a positive note with the Long Point Biosphere Region’s heartfelt Land Acknowledgment, followed by an opening ceremony from Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations. Keynote speaker Peter Zuzek presented a concerning overview of geomorphology issues impacting the Long Point sand spit. Reviewing recent data and geological history, Zuzek highlighted how changes in habitat size and condition affect the broader natural environment. Structures along the Lake Erie coast, such as retaining walls and armoring, were noted for impacting the Long Point sand spit, causing it to shrink as sand is transported into deeper waters.

Zuzek emphasized that while sand spits typically grow over time in the natural environment, Long Point has lost over 300 hectares to erosion in the past 50 years. Collaborating with communities and other stakeholders, Zuzek and his colleagues are actively working to find solutions.

Cynthia Brink, Biosphere program manager and conference organizer, noted, “This provided an excellent opportunity for people to share information and plan research collaborations. It also served as a great opportunity to connect the community and students from a local high school with the amazing work being accomplished right here in their county.”

The annual Biosphere Conference, open to anyone interested in the region, its natural environment, and development, has proven to be a valuable platform for fostering collaborations. Organizers are excited to build on this year’s success in 2024. The conference is supported by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in the context of the Long Point Walsingham Forest Priority Place project. 

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