Headshot of Tom Via, ChairHello Friends and Supporters of the Long Point Biosphere Region,

The Long Point area was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in April 1986.  In speaking with supporters and reading through historical materials looking back over 38 years, I see there have been many engaged and dedicated people who have made meaningful contributions to the preservation of our Biosphere and the plants and animals who live here.

In this respect, I recently became aware of the passing of a highly respected and valued Biosphere volunteer who dedicated himself to the betterment of our Biosphere, Mr. Jim Wilson.  Amongst many contributions, Jim took over the salamander monitoring program and led it as a volunteer for over two decades.  For his work, Jim was nationally recognized and awarded as a volunteer who demonstrates enthusiastic leadership and commitment to advance ecological monitoring and research in Canada.   We join Jim’s family and friends in mourning the loss of this amazing man, and I wish to dedicate this edition of ‘The Biosphere Beacon’ to Jim Wilson in recognition of the important work he did for the Long Point Biosphere.

While we are enjoying the summer, the Biosphere team has been very busy making things happen and also planning for the fall.  I am pleased to announce our AGM will be held at Bird Studies Canada offices in Port Rowan on Tuesday September 24, 2024, details and agenda to follow.  We are also planning for our 12th Annual Conservation and Research Conference, which will be held in November, and we are calling for papers and poster presentations and expect another record turnout!

As an enhancement to the robust annual ‘Save the Turtles’ campaign, this year, for the first time ever, our Long Point turtle eggs can stay close to home. We are excited to announce a brand-new turtle egg incubation program in partnership with Long Point Eco Adventures, who have graciously provided space in their new building for four incubators where we can safely house up to 4,000 turtle eggs. But we need your help. We are still short of our goal to get our turtle lab up and running, and the clock is ticking. Please consider donating if you are able.

Earlier this year 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 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.

Finally, 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.  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.

I encourage you to go to our website to find out more about how the Long Point Biosphere team has been making a difference in Norfolk County in the areas of protecting our Biodiversity and keeping Conservation top of mind!

All the best,

Tom Via

Chair, Long Point Biosphere Region

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