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For the birds — and for people who want birds

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Two approaches to birding: 1. Go to where the birds are. 2. Get the birds to come to you.

A few weeks ago Rob Stavinga, whose day-job is watershed resources technician with Kawartha Conservation but whose full-time passion is birds, demonstrated the first. He led two groups on “owl prowls” at Ken Reid Conservation Area, where, as of January, 2019, a total of 176 bird species have been reported.

Last week he addressed that second approach. After a nudge from his wife, he reluctantly put down his binoculars (he’d been checking out redpolls at his feeders) and made his way to Ops Community Centre to present a “Backyard Birding” workshop, one of a number of educational events being sponsored by the Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust.

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Burnt River grapples with flooding as Ford slashes funding

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Burnt River flooding continues. Photo: Geoff Coleman.

Flooding in the Burnt River and Fenelon Falls area continues, as sandbags are filled for resident pickup at the Burnt River Works Yard. Meanwhile, the PC government under Premier Doug Ford has slashed flood funding by 50 per cent to the conservation authorities that do this work. While the Burnt River area is not under Kawartha Conservation’s purview, the Fenelon Falls area is.

The Gull and Black rivers are at very high levels due to snowmelt and heavy precipitation. Water levels are being managed as best as possible but flooding is likely to occur in areas prone to flooding along these rivers.

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On the Owl Prowl at Ken Reid Conservation

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The Northern Saw Whet loves dense forests.

The first rule of Owl Prowl is: You do not talk — about Owl Prowl or anything else — when you enter the owl’s world. Listen, listen, listen, is the advice offered by Rob Stavinga, the avid birder leading the prowl.

We — the lucky few who snapped up the spots for Kawartha Conservation’s first prowl –are gathered in the Ken Reid administration centre on a Saturday evening to learn about owls and hear some pre-prowl tips.

Rob wants us to become a bit owl-like ourselves, though from his introduction, it’s clear we’ll never come up to owl standards. There are 22 of us, including an excited and excitable three-and-a-half year old named Ian, and we have none of the sound-dampening adaptations of owls, so we’re just not going to be completely soundless.

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Permaculture: A better approach to gardening for your health, wealth, and environment

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If you want to be an environmentally conscious gardener or homeowner, it may be worth considering an alternative method to planning your property. The traditional North American suburban lawn and garden typically requires much maintenance, generous amounts of watering and the addition of fertilizers and chemicals in order to be successful.

These activities degrade land and incorporate pollutants into the local environment. Quite recently, around the world, a new movement has brought hope for the future of our planet, and it starts with the homeowner.

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Learning from the first ‘farmers’ how to save the earth

in Environment/Opinion by

There is something about a drive through the country that is deeply satisfying. Green fields divided by tree lines or split rail fences. The occasional dry stone wall. Cattle or sheep dotted in the fields and cozy farmhouses flanked by wooden barns. An idyllic picture of a pastoral farming way of life.

When the first settlers came to Canada and encountered the Indigenous people of these lands, they did not realize that the land they were looking at also reflected a pastoral, farming way of life. There was so much lush greenery. The woods seems so thick and the animals so abundant. This was nothing like the farms they had left behind in England and France and Spain. This land didn’t appear to be managed. It didn’t look controlled. And it certainly didn’t look as though anyone was trying to raise crops or breed animals.

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Healthy Environment Plan 18 months in the making

in Environment/Municipal by
Holding the Healthy Environment Plan: Tracy Richardson, Councillor, Denise Williams, Project Lead.

The Healthy Environment Plan has been 18 months in the making, involving a 60-member working group and consultations with more than 2,600 community members.

Council Champion Tracy Richardson kicked off the presentation by sharing that “the Healthy Environment Plan is a transformational plan that maps out high-level strategies for reducing greenhouse gasses over the next 10 years. It addresses changes in our growing seasons, droughts, flooding, impact of freeze-thaw cycles and warmer lake temperatures. This is a community plan; it was created with the community and will be carried out by all of us as we seek to cope with climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

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Kawartha Lakes adopts its first Healthy Environment Plan

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At the March 19 Committee of the Whole meeting, the Healthy Environment Plan was recommended to be adopted by Council. The Plan has been 18 months in the making, involving a 60-member working group and consultations with more than 2600 community members.

Council Champion Tracy Richardson kicked off the presentation by sharing that “the Healthy Environment Plan is a transformational plan that maps out high-level strategies for reducing greenhouse gasses over the next 10 years. It addresses changes in our growing seasons, droughts, flooding, impact of freeze-thaw cycles and warmer lake temperatures. This is a community plan; it was created with the community and will be carried out by all of us as we seek to cope with climate change adaptation and mitigation.”

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Lindsay one of 74 places across Canada in global climate strike 

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There were 123 world nations involved in youth-led action for climate change today, involving 2,099 cities and towns, with 74 of those towns in Canada. Lindsay was one of those places, with nearly 75 people showing up on a damp March day to lend their voices in demanding more political action to solve the growing threat of climate change.

Spearheaded by *Alexis Benns, a Grade 7 student at Central Senior Public School, participants met at Victoria Park in Lindsay and slowly marched down the north side of Kent Street and back up the south side to return to the park.

She credits her fellow Grade 7 friends Katrina Navy and Gabrielle Matthew for their help and support to make it possible.

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‘Car culture’ prevails for new downtown after earlier public push-back

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Cycling and pedestrian advocates who attended last night’s public meeting at the Lindsay Armoury were not pleased to see that the main features of Lindsay’s downtown will remain largely unchanged in its revitalization initiative.

Well over 100 people showed up to hear what City staff and urban planning firm CIMA+ representatives had to say about plans already in place, and to give feedback on some initiatives still up for grabs. But for the most part the downtown vision has been set – Lindsay will retain its angled parking and there will be no bike lanes.

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Think you own your waterfront? Don’t be so shore

in Community/Environment/Opinion by

While the thought of the lake lapping the shore is not exactly top of mind these days, we Canadians do what we must, keeping warm in winter with reveries of cottage life, when the sun will shine again.

The question of where your property ends and Crown land begins along the shoreline is a topical issue for property owners bordering water. The growing concern surrounding climate change, including the decline of water levels and erosion of shorelines, threatens to muddy the waters even further.

So where does a waterfront property owner stand in 2019? It is commonly thought that a property abutting water extends to the natural boundary of the lake or river, while the Crown owns the foreshore, meaning the bed of land under the water. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Not exactly.

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