Another year is drawing to a close and despite considerable pandemic induced challenges we have many successes to share, thanks to the creativity and months of hard work by our Biosphere volunteers and staff.
Through the support of generous organizations, government grants, Biosphere memberships, donations and EcoAdventures purchases, we are able to continue to work on our conservation projects and public outreach.
Read on to find out what's been happening at the Biosphere!
Gravel Gran Fondo 2021 - A Huge Success!
We are so fortunate to have Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Board Member Mike Campbell and his wife Jean who organized this year's massively successful Gravel Gran Fondo event.
The Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association is grateful for the support of the many local sponsors, over 100 volunteers and the 400 cyclists who participated to make this event the most successful fundraiser in our history.
For more pictures from photographers Ed Matthews and Dave Knipe that capture the spirit of this ride, visit https://www.edmatphoto.com/Clients/Bruce-Gravel-Gran-Fondo-2021
Community Climate Action Plan
Will Meneray and Ryan Matheson have been busy working on a variety of initiatives for a Community Climate Action Plan, funded byEnvironment and Climate Change Canada. To date they have had over 1000 community members participate in various elements of the project. In September, they offered an information webinar on heat pumps and in October, they held an online event for members of the community to join a conversation on Climate Change and Climate Action.
One of the highlights of their work is the launch of the online “Climate Hub”, your path to fully reimbursed energy audits, energy retrofit grants of up to $5600 and invaluable information on energy efficiency, electric vehicles and climate action news.
Due to their efforts, there have been 8 heat pumps installed on the peninsula to date and 50 plus audits are in progress. Education and outreach, coupled with the Biosphere Association'sinstallation of 50 Level Two chargers at local motels and campgrounds, has resulted in increased electric vehicle purchases.
If you have questions about EVs, heat pumps or energy audits, or if you would like to be involved in the creation of the Community Climate Action Plan, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With help from the Greenbelt Foundation, EcoAdventures has been developing a branding initiative called Amazing Experiences. They are unique and memorable travel and tourism products within Ontario’s Greenbelt. Amazing Experiences is based on the Canadian Biosphere Reserve Association’s Amazing Places program. While Amazing Places seeks to advertise undiscovered corners of the country to potential visitors, Amazing Experiences offers experiential products in areas where further tourism promotion is unnecessary. These experiences may include exploration on foot, escape rooms, canoe and bike programs, winter snowshoeing, skiing and more. The goal is to encourage mindful and responsible tourism as visitors traverse these beautiful and fragile ecosystems.
EcoAdventures would also like to acknowledge Ontario Trillium Foundation support to offer multi-day camping experiences starting next year. We'll keep you posted about this exciting opportunity!
Visit the website at myecoadventures.ca for more information on new upcoming fall hiking and winter snowshoe adventures.
Thanks to funding by EcoCanada,Krista Dovaston was hired as Digital Skills Ecosystem Technician, overseeing the removal of over 1000 square meters of invasive Phragmites from 20 locations around the Peninsula.
Phragmites is a non-native reed that becomes an aggressive spreader, causing damage to native plants and animals in our wetlands and beaches. They spread through disturbance due to shoreline development and watercraft. The best way to prevent the spread is to not disturb these areas in the first place. Once it takes hold, it must be properly removed and carefully disposed of.
Bayside Astronomy - Preserving our Dark Skies
We are losing our dark skies! It is estimated that 1/3 of the earth’s population (around 2.5 billion people), 80% of North Americans and 60% of Europeans, can no longer see the Milky Way. Have you ever seen the Milky Way? From 2012-2016, the surface of the planet that is artificially lit at night time grew by more than 2% each year.
How do we know things are getting worse? We can measure the darkness of our skies using something called an SQM-L Sky Quality Meter.
The last time a survey was done on the Bruce Peninsula was back in November of 2010. Why so long ago? It is very difficult to get the right weather conditions and the right schedules for those doing the monitoring as all monitoring must be done on the same night.
Graham Thomas and Mike Campbell from the BPBA recently attempted to take some readings on Sun November 7, and while all readings were taken, the humidity may have been too high for accurate results. It was good dry run, but we hope to get out again if the weather cooperates.
BP Native Plants and Gardening
For all of you plant and gardening enthusiasts, visit the Biosphere’s new Facebook Group page BP Native Plants and Gardening. The group was created by the Biosphere Association for native plant and gardening lovers to come together to share their experiences and knowledge! Whether you are an avid gardener, farmer, house plant collector, balcony gardener, or just looking to get more involved in the wonderful world of native plants, this is the place for you. Visit and join our Facebook Page: BP Native Plants and Gardening
Albemarle and Karst Study
This 2021-22 Environment Canada and Climate Change project funded through their Eco Action program will enable the last phase of our restoration work of the Albemarle Brook, a cold water stream with potential for re-introduction of the historical trout population. With funding for alternative livestock watering systems and fencing in the targeted karst spring areas, we are protecting and extending the near-pristine water quality that emerges at the springs through to the main section of Albemarle Brook. Livestock water systems, fencing and focused areas of bank rehabilitation are key to the restoration of the headwater springs and upper Albemarle Brook.
Working with the farming community and partners, this project is protecting important karst springs and their source area, the riparian and cold-water stream channels of three upper Albemarle Brook sites and a provincially significant wetland.
An important part of this project will be to gain an understanding for documentation of the karst aquifer system feeding the source of Albemarle Brook. We have been working with an interdisciplinary team of Waterloo University students, mapping specialists and karst researchers to better define the risks to the quality and quantity of the water flow to the karst springs. Project results will be measured by water quality improvements through before-and-after water quality analysis.
Bioremediation Project Update
The bioremediation project has continued to make great strides in finding best practices to reduce phosphorus and nitrates present due to soil erosion into local streams. Professor Bulent Mutus and Doctoral candidate David Ure, from the University of Windsor, have developed a new cellulose-based biofiltration material that is more efficient than tomato roots in binding phosphorus. They will be continuing their research to discover binding agents that are commercially viable, and they plan to conduct more field testing and find additional test sites. Tyler Hayes also continues to be a great support for this project.
Red-Headed Woodpecker Project
When Red-Headed Woodpeckers were declared an endangered species, the BPBA , with the help of Dr. Elizabeth Gow (Birds Canada, University of Guelph) and Olivia Wilson, EcoCanada funded Ecosystem Technician, began research on finding nests and breeding locations on a property in Northern Bruce Peninsula.
With over 27 volunteers doing point counts and cavity nest searches, they confirmed nine breeding locations. They also found three nests after extensive searches and numerous hours of early morning work. Over 122 species of birds were observed, including 11 species at risk.
In order to continue this project next year, we will need to give an amazing summer job opportunity to another university student. Eco Canada might fund 75% but we will need to raise the other 25%. If you wish to donate to this project, please visit our Donation Page.
We Need Your Help!
Looking for a Unique Holiday Gift? Do you have someone who can be hard to buy for and you want to give them something interesting and useful? What about a Gift Membership to the Biosphere Association or a donation in their name, or an EcoAdventures Gift Card, so they get to choose their own adventure while supporting our important environmental initiatives!
The Biosphere Association is always looking for new volunteers. We have a variety of ways you can get involved. Some of these include: helping at Bayside Astronomy, being a volunteer guide, removing invasive plants, planting trees and helping with fundraisers. If interested, please email us at: email@example.com