Book Award — Winner

The word is out – the winner in the PEI Book Awards competition this year in the non-fiction category is:

Congratulations to all the authors!

This is a landmark book in biological writing on PEI, years in the making and it is wonderful news that they are being congratulated in this way!

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Bain Bird Count

Please find below, information for the Bain Bird Count this weekend Saturday May 30, Rain date May 31, 2020 (with apologies for the late notice).
This event has few rules for counting. Anyone can go anywhere and count alone, or together with others (maintain physical distancing). Count species and numbers and send results to Dan McAskill   Put in checklist order if you  can.
We’re now under the “Renew PEI, Together” Phase 2 COVID-19 rules. See below:
Stay safe and enjoy your day.


                 Advancing Citizen Science Since 1969

Phase 2 COVID-19  rules:

Before leaving your home, you must self-assess for COVID-19 symptoms by undertaking temperature and conducting a COVID-19 symptom checks. Symptoms include a new and/or worsened cough, fever and/or chills, difficulty breathing, a runny nose, a sore throat, or a headache. If these symptoms are present or you have a fever (a temperature greater than 38.0 degrees), you should self-isolate and call 811 for direction. You will be asked about contacts, and should therefore be encouraged to take note of where they’ve been and who they’ve been in contact with recently.

Starting May 22, 2020

Continued: Limited outdoor and indoor personal gatherings and physical contact

  • Members of the same household may gather outdoors with up to 10 other individuals from different households.
  • Members of the same household may gather indoors with up to 5 other individuals from different households, for activities such as watching a movie and/or socializing.
  • Maintaining physical distancing is important during any gatherings with those from outside your household (2 metre or 6’ 7”).
  • You may extend your household unit by one or two members, who are important to supporting your household or who you feel may need closer contact and support (ex: hug, handshake, etc.)
  • If sharing food, no buffet style serving and do not share utensils
  • Do not share equipment/items among people from different households (e.g. telescopes).

Continued: Limited non-contact outdoor and indoor recreational activities

  • Allow recreational activities while maintaining physical distance (e.g. birding)
  • Do not share equipment among people from different households for recreational purposes.
  • Must follow the personal gathering limits.


Co-workers and neighbours can carpool or share drives if physical distancing is maintained. If you wish to carpool the rules are:

  • if only one seat across vehicle (e.g. 1/2 ton) – only one person (or possibly one household);
  • if two rows of seating Driver and a person in rear right seat provided the seats are equipped with a seatbelt;
  • if three or more rows, 1 person per row in a zig-zag pattern.
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The Winner Is

Online and mail-in balloting took place in March and April 2020 to select a lichen emblem for PEI. The clear winner was Frayed Ramalina (Ramalina roesleri). Nature PEI will be recommending the winner to the Government of PEI for consideration as an official provincial emblem. Thanks to all who reviewed the proposal and voted!

Frayed Ramalina (Ramalina roesleri)

Frayed Ramalina – Robert Harding  photo

Frayed Ramalina (Ramalina roesleri) is a lichen that structurally resembles a branch or twig. It is found especially on hardwoods and conifers near the coast and less often on rock or wood.  It is finely crafted in pale white to yellow-green with main branches about 2 mm in diameter and powdery growths at the tips, called soredia, that enable vegetative reproduction. In North America, the Frayed Ramalina is distributed mainly in Canada and it can be found in northern forests around the globe. It is common in Prince Edward Island where it has been found in coastal bogs and woodlands throughout, and in some interior woodlands. This lichen may have some medicinal benefits. In Prince Edward Island, 328 lichen species have been recorded to date. The three other contenders in order based on their votes were:

Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria)

Lungwort – Diane Griffin  photo

Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria) is named for its lobed growth habit showing ridges and depressions like lobes of a lung. The lobes are as much as 12 cm wide and 7 cm broad. This lichen is found in shady locations on the trunks and branches of larger deciduous trees like maple and American Beech, and less commonly on conifers and mossy rocks. Lungwort has a tan to gray look when dry but is bright green when wet. If in doubt as to its identity, simply pour water on it and watch it turn bright green. The underside is fuzzy orange brown with paler patches. Though one of the fastest growing lichens, it does not reproduce until about 25 years old. It contains several acids that discourage snails and slugs from eating it and is widely believed to have medicinal properties. It has also been used a source of dye. Over-collecting in some countries has contributed to its scarcity, and it is also affected by air pollution and acid rain. Car exhaust prevents its growth in urban forests. Lungwort is distributed in suitably moist habitats on four continents and throughout Prince Edward Island. It is regarded as a species typical of old forests.

Pink Earth (Dibaeis baeomyces)

Pink Earth Lichen – Robert Harding  photo

Pink Earth Lichen (Dibaeis baeomyces) is usually found on disturbed soil where competition from moss, herbs, shrubs and other lichens is limited. For example, it thrives on well-drained road banks in full sun where it helps to hold soil in place and build more soil. The whitish grey lichen body that covers the soil is called a thallus, and in this case it has a warty appearance. The fruiting bodies (apothecia) of the Pink Earth Lichen consist of a short stalk, about a half a centimetre, topped by a tiny turban of unmistakable pink. Its distribution is circumpolar in the northern hemisphere but in North America it is found mostly in the east. Though poorly documented on PEI by those who study lichens, it is common and can definitely be found throughout Prince Edward Island.

Bushy Beard Lichen (Usnea strigosa)

Bushy Beard Lichen – Robert Harding photo

Bushy Beard Lichen (Usnea strigosa) is found in open sites on branches and trunks of white spruce and other conifers, and on deciduous shrubs and trees, including oak trees. Its pale yellow-green branches may have a reddish brown central cord, but this bushy lichen is most easily identified in the field because its branch tips support round bristly discs of pale yellow or even pinkish. These are the fruiting bodies known as apothecia. This species is distributed worldwide including in eastern North America where it is at the northern edge of its range in Prince Edward Island. It is common throughout the Island but is still poorly documented by those who study lichens. As with other lichens, it may have medicinal properties, perhaps providing relief from a headache.

The actual vote count was:

Frayed Ramalina (Ramalina roesleri) 156

Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria) 110

Pink Earth Lichen (Dibaeis baeomyces) 61

Bushy Beard Lichen (Usnea strigosa) 54

Thank you to all who helped in the selection process.



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March 3, 2020 meeting – Decline of  Eelgrass in Estuaries

At Nature PEI’s upcoming meeting, Dr. Michael van den Heuvel will discuss the decline of  eelgrass in Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence estuaries. Seagrasses are salt water adapted flowering plants that are threatened by human activities around the globe. In the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, eelgrass, the native seagrass is also impacted by human activities, particularly due to increases in nutrients from land-based activities. Dr. van den Heuvel will share the findings of a study conducted in local estuaries to determine the means to monitor changes to eelgrass health. Potential factors affecting eelgrass were examined, and it was determined that nitrogen loading was the dominant factor relating to eelgrass decline.

 Dr. van den Heuvel grew up in Northern Ontario and completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Waterloo, and a PhD at the University of Waterloo where he started his research career studying chlorinated dioxins and furans and their effect on fishes exposed to pulp and paper mill effluent. After a post-doc studying aquatic reclamation in the oil sands, Dr. van den Heuvel immigrated to New Zealand and was employed by the New Zealand Forestry Research Institute where he worked on a variety of issues including pulp and paper effluent, nutrient enrichment and eutrophication and endocrine disruption.  Dr. van den Heuvel returned to Canada in 2005 for a Canada Research Chair in Watershed Ecological Integrity and for the past 14 years, Dr. van den Heuvel has worked on oil sands, pulp and paper, eutrophication, sediment effects, pesticides, fisheries, and environmental flows in Canada and PEI.

All are welcome to the Carriage House, Beaconsfield, Tuesday March 3 at 7:30 p.m. to meet Dr. van den Heuvel and learn more about eelgrass and the decline of this ecologically significant species in our local estuaries.

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Nature PEI – Members night – Feb 4, 2020

Nature PEI Members night is nigh! All are welcome to share in this fun and informative evening featuring nature photography and stories from members. Expect a spectacular array of photos – from bugs to birds and everything in between – with members on hand to tell the story behind their pictures. Gerald MacDougall will host the evening, warming us with his own unique brand of environmental humour. We encourage everyone to join us at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 4, for a photographic journey of our Island’s natural wonders through the eyes of Nature PEI members.

membersnightHummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) (Large)

Hummingbird Clearwing (Hemaris thysbe) : photo courtesy of Don McLelland

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Summerside Launch of Mammals Book

The Summerside launch of Mammals of Prince Edward Island and Adjacent Marine Waters will take place Sunday, February 2, 2020 at the Eptek Centre.  Kim Riehl will present the marine mammals and Rosemary Curley the terrestrial mammals. Books will be on sale at the launch. All are welcome.

Mammals Invite Postcard SummersideSummerside Book Launch Poster blue background

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Birding Down Under – topic for Jan. 7, 2019

Nature PEI will be ushering in the New Year with their Annual General Meeting (AGM) and a  special  presentation on  “Birding Down Under”  with local naturalists Diane Griffin and Rosemary Curley.  Diane and Rosemary  will highlight their experience with an amazing variety of habitats and birds in Australia, profiling a small slice of the 850 Australian bird species from north Queensland to Tasmania and noting in passing some memorable moments with non-birds. Most bird species seen were endemic to Australia , but some familiar species were also encountered. A guided tour to 4 endangered species rounded out the expedition.

Diane and Rosemary are both graduates of Acadia University,and are long-time members of Nature PEI who have participated in the Maritime Breeding Bird Atlas projects, Christmas Bird Counts and backyard birding.  Diane is currently serving in the Senate of Canada and Rosemary is co-author of a recent book on PEI mammals.

All are welcome to join us at the Carriage House, Beaconsfield, Tuesday, January 7th at 7:30 p.m. to meet Diane and Rosemary and learn more about Australia’s unique birdlife.

Beaconsfield is located at the corner of West and Kent St. in Charlottetown.

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Christmas List

If anyone hasn’t acquired the latest addition to their collection of Prince Edward Island books – The Mammals of PEI and Adjacent Marine Waters, published by Island Studies Press is available in better bookstores and is an excellent documentation of the mammals who have called PEI and surrounding waters home in the past and currently. Richly illustrated with maps photographs and artwork, no home library is complete without a copy.

Mammals of PEI

This community-supported book would not have been possible without the sponsorship of: Nature PEI, the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, the PEI Wildlife Conservation Fund, PEI Forests, Fish, and Wildlife, and Purity Dairy.  We wish to acknowledge with great gratitude all the organizations and individuals that made this book a reality including:

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The impact of outdoor cats on native wildlife species.

Recent research on the impact of outdoor cats on native wildlife species has been revealing and Nature PEI was pleased to share this research with the public in October 2019 when Dr. Dave McRuer, a wildlife health specialist employed by Parks Canada and based at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) in Charlottetown, PEI, was our guest speaker.

With both media and public interest in this topic remaining high we have decided to make available the slides from the presentation through our website.

Here is the presentation in .pdf format.

Nature PEI Cat Talk McRuer 2019

As well media articles are also available:


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Let’s Talk Waterfowl – Open House

We recently received this invitation:

We are going to have an open house to talk about waterfowl management in PEI.  You can distribute the following invitation to your members, and other potentially interested groups and individuals.

Let’s Talk Waterfowl – Open House

Thursday November 28, 2019     7pm – 9pm

PEI Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Charlottetown

Staff from the Canadian Wildlife Service will provide information on the following topics and will be available to answer questions regarding waterfowl on Prince Edward Island.

Migratory Bird Regulations – Modernization

Migratory Gamebird Hunting Regulations – Proposed Changes 2020-2022

Migratory Gamebird Hunting Permits

Black Duck Management

Resident Canada Goose Banding Program

North Atlantic Population Canada Goose Tracking Study

Other Topics and Questions

Question and Answer Period after each presentation

For more information, to register, or to submit questions, please contact Al Hanson 506 364 5061 or

Registration is not required but will help in planning for seating and refreshments.

Alan Hanson
Head – Aquatic Assessment, Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment and Climate Change Canada / Government of Canada / Tel: 506-364-5061

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