The Biosphere News
We are now at the midsummer point here on the incredible Saugeen Bruce Peninsula. This has been a season different from any in memory, with pandemic restrictions and historic high water that has changed the shoreline and limited access to some places. Even so, the Biosphere Association is busy as ever working on conservation projects and giving visitors meaningful experiences in nature. From our EcoAdventures programming to work on species at risk, invasive species and our focus on clean water, we stand committed to this very special place. We know you'll be interested in what's been happening, so read on!
Reconnect Family and Friends Naturally
Eco Adventure tours are up and running now in a format that respects Covid-19 guidelines for social distancing. All EcoAdventures will be conducted in social bubbles of 10 people so that everyone aside from the guide will be able to interact with one another without having to social distance. There is no set schedule. Call and we will try to customize to your interests and share with you the unseen Bruce. Special kids activities developed by Board Member Laura Sagermann can be included. We are currently accepting no-risk bookings for groups of up to ten people. Please visit: https://myecoadventures.ca. or call Graham or Rick at 226-277-0944.
Build Your Bubble Groups - Together, Try to Solve our FOREST ESCAPE
City Escape Rooms where you solve a series of puzzles to get out of locked room or solve a mystery are very popular. So we are putting the final touches on an Escape Room located in the forest. Build bonds with your bubble group as you challenge yourself to solve the puzzles and riddles in our Forest Escape and learn fun facts about Bruce ecology. Call 226-277-0944 to book and match wits with our EcoAdventure’s Program Manager, Graham Thomas, who devised this fun adventure. Can you solve it??? Minimum group size of 6 people.
In other news, the BPBA received a Bruce County Innovation Award this past winter with prize money to support the purchase of an eight person touring canoe for the EcoAdventures program. As the Covid-19 situation improves, we are hoping to get canoe adventures up and running. In addition to this, the BPBA recently applied for a grant from the Greenbelt Foundation. If we are successful in obtaining this grant, the funds will be dedicated to further development of the EcoAdventures program.
Gravel Gran Fondo?
Last year’s Gravel Gran Fondo fundraising bike ride organized by super volunteer and Board member Mike Campbell was a great success, raising over $25,000 for our important work. Unfortunately, we have been forced to postpone this year’s ride both due to Covid-19 and the storm damage to the Cabot Head Road. We look forward to planning another exceptional ride for 2021, as we will have lots of time to prepare.
Explore, Learn, Make a Difference.
Keeping our water clean
Bioremediation Project Moves Forward with New 2020 Agreement
Thanks to University of Windsor researchers David Ure and Bulent Mutus, a new bio filtration material has been developed to cleanse nutrient laden water before it enters streams and other watercourses. The Biosphere helped with its initial testing and a journal article showing 70% reduction in phosphorus loading was published. Throughout the first half of this year, Biosphere Association Vice Chair, the tireless volunteer John Rodgers and Chair, Elizabeth Thorn, have been continuing this work with Professor Bulent Mutus of the University of Windsor.
We are proud to report that the Biosphere Association has now signed a MOU with the University of Windsor to collaborate on the further testing of a new water filtration product that removes phosphorus and nitrates in agriculture settings.
The first stage of this project will be the production on the Northern Bruce of sufficient biofiltration material for one of our test sites.
As a whole, this project fits in with the Biosphere’s goal of promoting sustainable economic development in the Bruce Peninsula. Co-op students will be working with us this summer and fall in the Bruce, thus creating an expanded academic presence.
Our pasture meetings, open to the public, highlight our ongoing commitment to working with the local farming community, to preserve and restore our waterways (Six streams Initiative).
2020 Pasture Meetings (Trillium Project Events)
Due to the pandemic, our 2020 meetings & tours are now being offered through online call-in presentations and ‘self-guided’ car tours. Details may change, get info and register for events at:
or contact Mel: 519-820-2358 /email@example.com
July 30, 4-7pm: Grazing & fencing: convoy tour -Owen Sound
Aug 11, 8-9pm: Managing manure in the yard & field
Online/call-in with Christine Brown, OMAFRA @manuregirl
Aug 20, 4-7pm : Fencing & watering systems: convoy tour in
Aug 28, 7:30-9pm: Soil compaction webinar
See ontariosoilnetwork.eventbrite.com for details
Sept 1, 8am: Grazing, around the world
Geraint Powell, Nuffield Scholar joining us from England!
See the Brochure
Biosphere Acts Again to Reduce Septic System Pollution
The BPBA is entering the fourth year of its partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to help residents and cottagers replace or improve underperforming or failing septic systems that back onto watercourses. Our areas of focus for this project are the Stokes River, Old Woman’s River, and most recently, Little Lake. By the end of this year we will have supported the replacement of 40 septic systems and inspection and repair of 120 others.
There are hundreds of older septic systems throughout the province that may be polluting nearby bodies of water. Many municipalities, including Northern Bruce Peninsula, do not require re-inspections of existing systems. This means that defective systems often go unchecked. Pollution from septic systems can contaminate our water in a number of ways, such the release of harmful E. coli bacteria, and the creation of algal blooms. For this reason we are continuing to operate this successful project.
So far this year, four, $4000 grant cheques have been written to resident owners, and more funds are available for septic system replacement and repair. If Biosphere Association members have friends or family who may be interested in attending upcoming socially distanced workshops on septic system replacement, please contact Elizabeth Thorn at 519-377-5166.
Over the past several summers, thousands of people have reveled in the starry wonders shared by our dedicated volunteers of the Biosphere’s Bayside Astronomy program. Regrettably, this summer’s program has been cancelled due to Covid-19. It is too difficult to operate the telescopes while maintaining adequate social distancing between volunteers and members of the general public. We look forward to the return of this hugely successful program, led by Doug and Paula Cunningham. Although the program is cancelled for the time being, there is still plenty to see in the night sky. We encourage you to check out our Facebook page to learn more about what’s currently visible over the Bruce Peninsula. Dedicated Dark Sky Chair, Mike Warkentin provides wonderful sky viewing advice.(https://www.facebook.com/baysideastronomy/)
Image Comet Neowise by Mike Warkentin
Additionally, the observation deck and marina at Lion’s Head are still accessible to the public. Please observe social distancing rules when using these spaces, and exercise caution around the rocks that have accumulated on the beach.
Species at Risk and Invasives
Help Protect Red Headed Woodpeckers on the Bruce
The BPBA is continuing to monitor and document four breeding pairs of the endangered Red Headed Woodpecker on the Peninsula. Thanks to Mike Bulter and Wendy Rodgers for helping spot them. The overall number of these birds has been declining in recent years. As a result, the federal Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) recommended in 2018 that the Red Headed Woodpecker's species at risk status be increased from threatened to endangered. The driving factor behind this decline is the habitat losses that have occurred throughout Southern Ontario. Red headed Woodpeckers tend to breed in large, standing, dead or dying trees (where they can make cavities), especially those that are close to open areas, meadows and grazed pastures that provide for the species’ insect-centered diet. However, this habitat is increasingly threatened. It is for this reason that the BPBA is looking to generate funding for a habitat enhancement stewardship program that would start sometime this fall. If you are interested in assisting us or donating, please contact Elizabeth at (519) 377-5166. We need to accumulate matching funds to qualify for a grant.
Efforts Against Invasive Phragmites Continue
The BPBA is continuing to participate in efforts to remove invasive plant species. The Nature Conservancy of Canada recently received significant funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to support the fight in the Bruce Peninsula against invasive species including phragmites over a three-year period. The Biosphere Association is pleased that this important work is continuing, and are collaborating with the NCC by sharing our data, contacts and extensive experience.
Membership and Donations
Thank you to all who support the Biosphere Association with memberships and to our many volunteers.
We are always looking for more members and volunteers to continue our work. Membership is only $20. Please add your voice to support efforts on the Northern Bruce - to protect our coastal and interior wetlands, improve water quality, ensure forest connectivity and conserve our natural night sky. If you are interested in helping out, just give us a shout!
Here is the link to our online membership form (to pay with credit card):
To print a membership form and mail it in with a cheque, here is the link:
Please Consider Giving a Donation
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that have donated, big or small, to the Biosphere Association. Your support is critical to our continuing operations!
If you would like to give a donation to help us continue our conservation work here on the Bruce, you can follow this link to our website donation page:
Special Thanks To:
The Biosphere Association would like to thank the staff of Caframo Manufacturing of Wiarton, ON for their continued, generous support of our efforts. Being chosen as their Charity of the Year was a significant and needed financial and morale boost during these tough times.
We would also like to thank Ethan Meleg for donating high quality images to us for the 2020 Calendar. For those who love Ethan’s amazing photography check out his website: http://www.ethanmeleg.com. We sill have a few 2020 calendars left and if you would like they can be purchased at $5.00.
Next year, the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory will benefit from Ethan’s generosity so to order your 2021 calendar go to www.bpbo.ca.
Finally, a big thanks to our summer student Paul, Biosphere volunteers Tim and Elizabeth, and Rick, our tech guy, for pulling this newsletter together!
Connect with Us
If you have any questions, want to learn more, or are interested in volunteering, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Our mailing address is:
Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association
P.O. Box 3, Tobermory, Ont. N0H 2R0
Copyright © 2016 Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association