Sciensational Sssnakes!!

Conservation Through Education

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Earth Day!!!

Happy Earth Day everyone!!!

Last night after an all-day school program, I spent an hour or so walking around the property, looking at things to do, but mostly just enjoying nature. This is one of my favorite times of the year- the sun is warm but the temperatures are still on the cool side, the suckers are moving upstream to spawn, and the Spring Peepers are calling in search of mates. I watched a beaver for a while, and pondered our on-going "dispute"; I'd like to pick which trees he cuts down and he disagrees with me! Still, even if he does take the wrong tree sometimes, I love having him around- his dam has raised the creek level enough that water now flows through the old gravel pit ponds, probably like it used to in the past. After watching for a while, I noticed a second beaver in the willows on the north side of the pond! This is the first time I've seen two at the same time, and the first real evidence of a beaver "family". They may be starting to build a lodge in the pond, which would be very cool. I'm sure they'd consider it an improvement over the bank lodge in the creek they're using now. I hope that they don't eat all the willows, though, as I'm hoping the Gray Treefrogs will be back to breed in them this spring. Over the last few years, the ponds were drying up too quickly for them to reproduce successfully, so with luck there will be an improvment in their numbers now.

More about Earth Day. What an excellent idea, to have a day celebrating the Earth, home to all of us. The idea apparently originated in San Diego, put forth by a fine sounding fellow named John McConnell in 1969, as an international day to celebrate, and contemplate, the present and future of our planet. Of course, the original Earth Day was (and still is) the vernal, or spring, equinox- March 20th, the date when day and night are the same length. Here in Canada, however, March 20th is still usually pretty cold/snowy/slushy/muddy, so we delay into April when the weather is typically much more suitable for outdoor festivities. Unfortunately for the Couchiching Conservancy (http://www.couchichingconservancy.ca), a wonderful local conservation group, the weather hasn't co-operated today for their inaugural Earth Day events at the new Grants Woods Conservancy Centre. I highly recommend checking this spot out; it is a stellar example of what southcentral Ontario's forests used to be like.

I wonder if Earth Day is delayed even further in Nunavut, perhaps into June or July? Do they even celebrate Earth Day up there?

Anyhow, regardless of the date, I hope everyone will think about how they can minimize their impact on the environment, and how they can protect and restore natural habitats for the plants and animals that we share the planet with. With this in mind, I've put up a photo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scisnake/10502752/) of American Toads mating in a small pond in our old backyard in Toronto. All it took was a little rubber liner, some rocks, water, and a shovel to create a successful breeding location for these amphibians. Okay, I admit the whole backyard was a lot more elaborate; perhaps I'll make it the subject of a future entry. The point is, everyone can do something, and I hope some of you will!

Posted by Jeff Hathaway at 9:49 AM | Comments (1)  

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