Bain Bird Count — 2022

Saturday May 28, 2022– Nature PEI’s Bain Bird Count will be held across the Island. Birders and anyone interested in increasing their skills are encouraged to form teams and submit lists for our spring count. For info, please contact Dan McAskill at jdmcaskill@pei.sympatico.ca

The Bain Bird Count is named after Island naturalist and writer, Francis Bain.

“At the peak of his career Bain wrote two books. The Natural History of Prince Edward Island, published in Charlottetown in 1890, detailed the geology, botany, and zoology of the province, and was authorized as a textbook for the Island’s primary schools. A year later his Birds of Prince Edward Island was published. A record of about 152 species, it was the first substantial contribution to Island ornithology. Although in recent years more comprehensive works have been published, Bain’s book remains for some species the most thorough description available.”

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Tuesday May 3, 2022 – Nature PEI

River Herring and Freshwater Mussels at Nature PEI Meeting, May 3, 2022

Kyle Knysh of University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Biology Department will be the speaker at the  Nature PEI Meeting on May 3 , 2022, 7:30 PM at the Carriage House, corner of West and Kent Street, Charlottetown. He will describe a unique project completed in 2022 involving species detections through the use of environmental DNA.

In 2022, UPEI and Nature PEI collaborated in a first assessment of river herring and freshwater mussel distribution on PEI. River herring consist of Alewives , also called gaspereau, and the lesser known Blueback Herring. The Alewife Floater is a freshwater mussel species dependent on river herring for its longterm survival and dispersal.  Also assessed was the distribution of the Eastern Pearlshell, a freshwater mussel that is dependent on Atlantic Salmon in order to complete its life cycle. The mussels, in turn, filter high volumes of water and contribute to healthy streams that support fish. Limited known distributions of the Alewife Floater (two locations) and the Eastern Pearlshell on PEI suggest that they may be at risk of local extinction.

Kyle Knysh is an ecologist with research interests in aquatic ecosystems and invertebrate biology. His research focuses on community ecology and investigating multiple stressor effects on biodiversity. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Ecology at the University of Alberta, a Master’s thesis at in freshwater entomology at UPEI, and is presently a Ph.D. Candidate at UPEI investigating pollution-related impacts on estuary crustaceans, with a focus on amphipods. Additionally, he has collaborated on citizen science projects on invasive species and fish-invertebrate interactions, including Nature PEI’s Freshwater Mussel and Herring Project (using environmental DNA). 

For more information: Kyle Knysh  knyshk@gmail.com

                                         Rosemary Curley rcurleypei@eastlink.ca

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Two species of freshwater mussels believed to be at risk in PEI

“The preliminary results of this first study of its kind bring worrying conclusions, according to the professor in the department of biology and head of research, Michael Van Den Heuvel.

“These species could certainly be considered endangered species. These populations on the island are in danger, even endangered, because we have so few populations of these two species.”

  • from  Michael Van Den Heuvel, Professor in the Department of Biology at UPEI
  • See full article
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JOB OPPORTUNITY

Job Opportunity — Coordinator – Nature PEI

JOB OPPORTUNITY

Coordinator – Nature PEI

Organization: Nature PEI

Location: Prince Edward Island (primarily homebased but could include participation in person elsewhere in day and evening promotional work

Duration: Fulltime, about 45 weeks until April 30, 2023 (possibility of extension based on funding)

Hours: 37.5/week

Salary: $21-$23/hour, based on experience

Start Date: May 15 2022 or earlier

About Us:

Nature PEI, legally incorporated as The Natural History Society of PEI Ltd., is a non-profit charitable organization focused on sharing information about wild species and promoting the conservation of the flora and fauna of the province.  We believe that conservation action aimed at retaining species at risk is long overdue on PEI. It is our immediate focus.

Job Description & Responsibilities:

This position will help build sustainable capacity for Nature PEI toward a comprehensive approach to educating residents of PEI about which species are at risk of extinction in the province, with a focus on forested and coastal regions where most species at risk live.  

We are looking for a highly motivated individual to coordinate local projects and initiatives while working to conserve at risk species, resulting in more resilient forested and coastal landscapes. This job is based in Prince Edward Island.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Research and write strategic funding applications
  • Plan and coordinate the delivery of several projects from beginning to end, including financial tracking, final reports, etc.
  • Track and report on project activities to Nature PEI and its partners and funders.  Provide project updates at board meetings
  • Supervise other Nature PEI staff (if needed)
  • Support, coordinate and manage educational efforts of Nature PEI regarding species at risk.  Motivate target audiences to understand the extent of species at risk and recognize these species in our coastal and forested landscapes.  Develop educational resources to raise awareness.
  • Plan and coordinate species at risk workshops, webinars, and meetings and related events related to species at risk in PEI’s forested and coastal landscapes.
  • Provide educational opportunities to watershed groups, other conservation groups, and newcomers to PEI.  Promote iNaturalist and e-bird as tools for recording presence of species at risk including bumble bees and birds.
  • Promote best management practices for species at risk conservation across PEI.
  • Work with the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre to present general maps of species at risk on PEI and determine SAR hotspots, if any.
  • Continue to build a web and social media presence for Nature PEI and increase awareness of invasive species
  • other duties as assigned
  • Qualifications and Skills:
  • Graduated from a recognized post-secondary institution with a minimum of a 2-year diploma or degree in a field of study related to natural resources/environmental sciences, or equivalent work experience
  • Knowledge of species at risk in PEI, federal and provincial legislation pertaining to species at risk, and environmental legislation
  • Knowledge of species at risk management in coastal and forested ecosystems
  • Ability to work with the public and a variety of stakeholders concerned with species at risk
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and oral/written communication in English Experience applying for funding and grants is an asset
  • Strong computer skills, especially as related to design of social media posters and brochures, also use of Word, Excel, Power Point and online meeting programs, and familiarity with citizen science platforms
  • Attention to detail and superior organizational skills, experience in meeting planning, coordination, and delivery
  • Creative problem solver, quick learner, ability to consider a variety of viewpoints
  • High energy and passion for Nature PEI’s mission
  • Curious and self-motivated with the ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Able to work occasional weekends and weekday evenings
  • Valid drivers license and access to a reliable vehicle

Benefits:

  • Flexible work hours and the opportunity to work from home.
  • Ability to work with a recognized non-profit organization and help with the success and direction of conservation of species at risk on PEI
  • Opportunity to collaborate with many like-minded organizations and government agencies that are committed to improving the health of PEI’s wildlife populations.
  • Career development opportunities

To apply for the Position: Send your cover letter and resume to Nature PEI c/o rcurleypei@eastlink.ca  no later than April 29, 2022, with Coordinator, Nature PEI as the subject line.

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Nature PEI Job Opportunity

JOB OPPORTUNITY
Coordinator – Nature PEI
Organization: Nature PEI
Location: Prince Edward Island (primarily homebased but could include participation in person elsewhere in day and evening promotional work
Duration: Fulltime, about 45 weeks until April 30, 2023 (possibility of extension based on funding)
Hours: 37.5/week
Salary: $21-$23/hour, based on experience
Start Date: May 15 2022 or earlier

About Us:
Nature PEI, legally incorporated as The Natural History Society of PEI Ltd., is a non-profit charitable organization focused on sharing information about wild species and promoting the conservation of the flora and fauna of the province. We believe that conservation action aimed at retaining species at risk is long overdue on PEI. It is our immediate focus.

Job Description & Responsibilities:
This position will help build sustainable capacity for Nature PEI toward a comprehensive approach to educating residents of PEI about which species are at risk of extinction in the province, with a focus on forested and coastal regions where most species at risk live.
We are looking for a highly motivated individual to coordinate local projects and initiatives while working to conserve at risk species, resulting in more resilient forested and coastal landscapes. This job is based in Prince Edward Island.
Specific responsibilities include:
• Research and write strategic funding applications
• Plan and coordinate the delivery of several projects from beginning to end, including financial tracking, final reports, etc.
• Track and report on project activities to Nature PEI and its partners and funders. Provide project updates at board meetings
• Supervise other Nature PEI staff (if needed)
• Support, coordinate and manage educational efforts of Nature PEI regarding species at risk. Motivate target audiences to understand the extent of species at risk and recognize these species in our coastal and forested landscapes. Develop educational resources to raise awareness.
• Plan and coordinate species at risk workshops, webinars, and meetings and related events related to species at risk in PEI’s forested and coastal landscapes.
• Provide educational opportunities to watershed groups, other conservation groups, and newcomers to PEI. Promote iNaturalist and e-bird as tools for recording presence of species at risk including bumble bees and birds.
• Promote best management practices for species at risk conservation across PEI.
• Work with the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre to present general maps of species at risk on PEI and determine SAR hotspots, if any.
• Continue to build a web and social media presence for Nature PEI and increase awareness of invasive species
• other duties as assigned

• Qualifications and Skills:
• Graduated from a recognized post-secondary institution with a minimum of a 2-year diploma or degree in a field of study related to natural resources/environmental sciences, or equivalent work experience
• Knowledge of species at risk in PEI, federal and provincial legislation pertaining to species at risk, and environmental legislation
• Knowledge of species at risk management in coastal and forested ecosystems
• Ability to work with the public and a variety of stakeholders concerned with species at risk
• Excellent interpersonal skills and oral/written communication in English Experience applying for funding and grants is an asset
• Strong computer skills. especially as related to design of social media posters and brochures, also use of Word, Excel, Power Point and online meeting programs, and familiarity with citizen science platforms
• Attention to detail and superior organizational skills, experience in meeting planning, coordination, and delivery
• Creative problem solver, quick learner, ability to consider a variety of viewpoints
• High energy and passion for Nature PEI’s mission
• Curious and self-motivated with the ability to work independently or as part of a team
• Able to work occasional weekends and weekday evenings
• Valid drivers license and access to a reliable vehicle
Benefits:
• Flexible work hours and the opportunity to work from home.
• Ability to work with a recognized non-profit organization and help with the success and direction of conservation of species at risk on PEI
• Opportunity to collaborate with many like-minded organizations and government agencies that are committed to improving the health of PEI’s wildlife populations.
• Career development opportunities
To apply for the Position: Send your cover letter and resume to Nature PEI c/o rcurleypei@eastlink.ca no later than April 29, 2022, with Coordinator, Nature PEI as the subject line.

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City Nature Challenge 2022

https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/city-nature-challenge-2022-greater-summerside-area-pei

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City Nature Challenge 2022

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Nature PEI Upcoming Events

April 5, 2022, 7:30 pm. Nature PEI Members Night with Gerald MacDougall. Location: Carriage House, 2 Kent, Charlottetown. All are welcome.

April 9, 2022, 2:15 – 4pm, Nature PEI hosts a workshop on How to Use iNaturalist, with Robert Harding and Rosemary Curley. All are welcome. Location: Carriage House, 2 Kent, Charlottetown. Get ready for the City Nature Challenge!

April 11, 2022, 12:30 – 5 pm, Prince Edward Island Invasive Species Council AGM, Farm Centre, 420 University Avenue, Prince Edward Island.

April 19, 2022 ,7- 9 pm, Nature PEI hosts a workshop on a Mushroom Discovery and Atlas Project plus how to use iNaturalist, with Ken Sanderson, Robert Harding and Rosemary Curley. Location: Carriage House, 2 Kent, Charlottetown. All ae welcome Use iNaturalist to record your nature sightings and get ready for mushroom fun and City Nature Challenge!

April 22, 2022 Earth Day

April 26, 2022, 6:30-8:30. Nature PEI hosts a workshop on how to use iNaturalist, with Robert Harding and Rosemary Curley, Location: Eptek Centre, Heather Moase Drive, Summerside. All are welcome. https://inaturalist.ca/projects/city-nature-challenge-2022-summerside-pei

April 29 – May 2, 2022. City Nature Challenge in Greater Summerside Area and Greater Charlottetown Area. Use iNaturalist to record your nature sightings.

May 3, 2022, 7:30 pm. Nature PEI meeting featuring Freshwater Mussels and River Herring with speaker Kyle Knysh. All are welcome Location: Carriage House, 2 Kent, Charlottetown.

May 28, 2022– Nature PEI’s Bain Bird Count. Birders are encouraged to form teams and submit lists for our spring count. For info, please contact Dan McAskill at jdmcaskill@pei.sympatico.ca

June 5, 2022 World Environment Day

June 7, 2022 7:30 pm. Nature PEI meeting featuring Shifting Sands/ Sea Change with artist Brenda Whiteway. Location: Carriage House, 2 Kent, Charlottetown. 

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PEI Species at Risk:

Species at risk ‘simply not protected’ on P.E.I., says new report

Three other provinces in Atlantic Canada have standalone laws to protect species at risk

Nancy Russell · CBC News · Posted: Mar 21, 2022 6:00 AM AT | Last Updated: March 21

Lisa Mitchell, executive director of the East Coast Environmental Law, said the federal government has legally listed 25 species in P.E.I. as endangered, threatened, or of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. (Parks Canada)

A new report from the East Coast Environmental Law is called Simply Not Protected, which is also how the group describes species at risk and their habitat on Prince Edward Island.

Two P.E.I. organizations, Nature P.E.I. and Island Nature Trust, said the report is right on target and are challenging the environment minister to respond immediately to the report’s recommendations. 

P.E.I. is the only province in Atlantic Canada without a standalone law to protect species at risk.

Instead, on P.E.I. that protection is supposed to come from the Wildlife Conservation Act, which has been in place since 1998.

In 2017, the bank swallow was listed as a threatened species in Canada, having experienced a 98 per cent population decline over the last 40 years. (Island Nature Trust )

“Not only has the minister not taken the steps that need to be taken to protect species in the province, the minister hasn’t even taken the most basic step of actually identifying the species that are at risk,” said Lisa Mitchell, executive director of the East Coast Environmental Law.

“You’ve got a law that’s been on the books for 23 years, and not one species has been designated for protection on P.E.I.”

Provincial protection needed

Mitchell said the federal government has legally listed 25 species in P.E.I. as endangered, threatened, or of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act, including seven endangered species, eight threatened species, and 10 species of special concern.

You’ve got a law that’s been on the books for 23 years, and not one species has been designated for protection on P.E.I.​​​​​— Lisa Mitchell, East Coast Environmental Law

“There’s a certain role that the federal government can play when it comes to federal lands, like national parks, and specific species that they have jurisdiction over, like migratory birds, for example,” Mitchell said. 

“But all the other work that needs to be done to protect species and their habitat in the province has to be done by the provincial government, anything that’s going to be done on provincial lands, or privately owned lands in the province.”

The report included recommendations for immediate action, including re-establishing an advisory committee under the Wildlife Conservation Act to identify species at risk, and recommend ways to protect them and their habitat.

The bank swallows build their nests in the cliff, which can suffer erosion from winter storms. ( Island Nature Trust)

But Mitchell said the larger goal would be for Prince Edward Island to create a more modern piece of legislation. 

“At this point, we would recommend that Prince Edward Island have a standalone statute,” Mitchell said.

“That there be some focused attention on creating a modern law that will be more transparent, that will actually look at the biodiversity crisis in a broader way.” 

A barn swallow spotted during a survey of P.E.I. fishing harbours by Island Nature Trust. (Island Nature Trust)

‘It’s sad’

Shannon Mader, species at risk program manager at Island Nature Trust, said the report has some good recommendations.

“As a land trust, protecting habitat for wildlife and protecting wildlife is what we do, and I think that Islanders demonstrate to us over and over again that this is something that they care about,” Mader said. 

“So to think that this hasn’t been prioritized by our government, and that there is no legal protection for these species, it makes me really sad.”

Shannon Mader spends her days trying to protect habitat and species at risk on Prince Edward Island. (Sean Landsman )

“The piping plover is a species that is on the brink on P.E.I. but they’re certainly not the only one. We’re losing a lot of our birds, namely the bank swallow, barn swallow, bobolink, Canada warbler. These are all species that are at risk of disappearing from our landscape,” Mader said.

“So do we, as a society, want to have wildlife there for a future? Do we want to protect the most vulnerable among them? And if we do think that that’s a priority, then this legislation is crucial.” 

We would have liked to see movement on this decades ago. So it really it can’t happen quickly enough.​-—Shannon Mader, Island Nature Trust

The president of Nature P.E.I. is also calling for immediate action in response to the report, to protect species at risk on P.E.I.

“We haven’t protected them here, so that’s what the report says. It says we haven’t lived up to any of our commitments, which is pretty much true. So I think it’s right on the money,” said Rosemary Curley.  

“Either modify the existing act, or bring in a new standalone act that will protect species at risk in the province. I would go with either, so long as it will work.” 

Rosemary Curley, president of Nature P.E.I., says she worries about the impact of climate change, accelerating the loss of habitat and species. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

‘We need actions’

Curley said there is a piece of legislation that was in the works, about 10 years ago, that she thinks could be easily revived. 

“It’s not a party issue, all parties are pretty much the same in not doing anything about it,” Curley said.

 “In 2021, we met with two ministers, Minister Jameson and then Minister Myers. We asked them to reconstitute the advisory committee for the species at risk and we asked them to improve the legislation so it will be possible to protect species. 

“They indicated interest, but that’s words, but we need actions.”

The bobolink was classed as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2010 and protected under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2017. (May Haga/State of Canada’s Birds)

Curley said there has been an added challenge because the wildlife division has come under 14 different departments over time, creating a lack of continuity with departments and ministers. 

She said the situation is also complicated on P.E.I. because of the amount of land that is privately-owned.

“Governments are always nervous about infringing on landowners’ rights,” Curley said.

“Nevertheless, there are many environmental laws that tell you you can’t do this on your land, you can’t fill in the wetland, you can’t run your machinery through the stream and all sorts of things. So I don’t think that’s a very good excuse.

“There’s still time. And the sooner something happens, the better.” 

Mader describes the piping plover as ‘a species that is on the brink’ on P.E.I. (Submitted by Island Nature Trust )

In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for the Environment Department said: “The report implies that because no species are listed under provincial species at risk legislation that the province is not protecting endangered and threatened species, but this is not true. 

“All individual animal species at risk that occur in P.E.I. are legally protected by either the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or the Provincial Wildlife Conservation Act.”

It goes on to say that the province is making significant, ongoing investments to protect sensitive wildlife habitat on P.E.I., actively monitors populations of many sensitive wildlife species, and works with Environment and Climate Change Canada, as well as local partners, to address threats related to species at risk in the forested landscape.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Russell

Nancy Russell has been a reporter with CBC since 1987, in Whitehorse, Winnipeg, Toronto and Charlottetown. When not on the job, she spends her time on the water or in the gym rowing, or walking her dog. Nancy.Russell@cbc.c

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