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New App Encourages Hunters to Become Citizen Scientists

New App Encourages Hunters to Become Citizen Scientists
A new interactive tool is allowing British Columbians to help wildlife biologists monitor moose populations and inform conservation efforts. The B.C. Moose Tracker app, available through iTunes , lets users upload information on the number, sex and location of moose they encounter in the wild directly to an online database. The data will the help the Province monitor moose populations by alerting staff to emerging issues.   The app also includes a digital version of 2016-2018 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, a searchable, interactive summary of hunting regulations throughout British Columbia. The app supports the Province's ongoing efforts to strengthen its moose management strategy through the modernization of licensing, inventory and research methods. B.C. Moose Tracker was developed in consultation with the B.C. Wildlife Federation and with the financial support of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "Hunters hold a tremendous amount of knowledge about what's happening out on the landscape,"said Ross Peck, Chair of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. "They have long supported - and participated in- important conservation initiatives, and this app provides a new means for them to contribute to the sustainable management of wildlife in B.C." To download the new BC Moose Tracker app, click here .   ...
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Mural Highlights Burrard Restoration Project

Mural Highlights Burrard Restoration Project
Students from North Vancouver elementary schools are helping create a giant stream mural at Mosquito Creek , one of four estuaries restored with funding from the Burrard Inlet Restoration Program . The mural, created by artist Ron den Daas, is a colourful reminder that the streams and estuaries along the Inlet were once prime salmonid habitat.   While salmonids remain an important part of Vancouver’s identity, the growth of the city caused many of its salmonid streams to disappear . Those remaining have been heavily degraded by urban and industrial development.     Mosquito Creek estuary was reduced to less than 1% of its historical size, and that remaining sliver was devoid of suitable habitat for salmon or trout. In a recent article in the North Shore News , the Squamish Nation’s environmental co-ordinator, Randall Lewis, shares his memories of a much more vibrant ecosystem, and references elders’ stories of birds so numerous they “blocked out the sun”. While it’s unrealistic to expect we can rewind these highly altered habitats back to their undeveloped state, the restoration work that’s taken place at Mosquito Creek and other estuaries on the Inlet is a start, offering hope and inspiration to biologists, artists,...
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New Program Boosts Funding for BC Conservation Lands

New Program Boosts Funding for BC Conservation Lands
    The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced a new funding program to help NGOs cover the costs of looking after BC’s conservation lands. The HCTF Land Stewardship Fund will provide approximately $125,000 a year for activities that improve habitat on conservation properties owned and managed by NGOs. There are more than 100,000 hectares of NGO-owned conservation lands in British Columbia, encompassing a wide range of habitat types. The properties are found in every region of the province, but tend to be concentrated in biodiversity “hotspots”, such as the South Okanagan, Lower Mainland and Gulf Islands. In these areas, the purchase of private land has become an important – but expensive –tool for protecting key habitats from human development. Laura Matthias, Land Manager and Biologist with the Salt Spring Island Conservancy, says the new granting program is a wonderful new initiative that will help fill a strong need for resources to maintain or rehabilitate lands that were purchased or donated for their conservation values. “It’s a big undertaking to raise the money required to purchase these properties, and we’re very grateful to the many individuals and organizations that help make it possible,” explains Matthias. “What is often forgotten...
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Schools Grow Connection with Nature

Schools Grow Connection with Nature
The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) has announced it will provide over $62,000 for 25 BC schools selected to participate in its Wild School program . The 3-year program provides teachers and students of K-8 schools with free resources, training and support for environmental learning, outdoor field experiences and connections to conservation work in their communities. Three schools within the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District#27 have been accepted into the Wild School program: Marie Sharpe Elementary, Horsefly Elementary and 100 Mile Elementary. Calvin Dubray, Principal at Marie Sharpe Elementary , says the school is looking forward to beginning the program next fall, especially since it will coincide with the start of their new Nature Kindergarten program. “Our staff and students are currently engaged in place-based education and we are seeing deeper, richer learning happening,” says Dubray. “We are excited about the additional opportunities and experiences the Wild School program will offer to enhance our outdoor learning initiatives.” The Wild School program evolved from the successful Science in Action program that began in 2006. Science in Action was a single year program focused on providing K-8 teachers and schools with resources to support hands-on, active learning through science. In 2012, Science in Action...
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Meet the 2015 Fisher Den Box Kits

Meet the 2015 Fisher Den Box Kits
We received the following video update on the Fisher Artificial Den Box Study from biologist Larry Davis. Davis and his team are trying to determine if female fishers will use human-constructed den boxes to raise their young, as there are very few of the fisher's natural denning sites left in some areas of their range. "Fisher require large diameter trees with heart-rot cavities for reproduction," says Davis. "These trees are rare in managed landscapes."   2015 was the third year of this HCTF-funded project, and Larry and his team continued monitoring the 56 installed den boxes to see if they were being used by fishers. “We have been successful in attracting fishers to 50% of the den boxes, with many of the structures used for resting during winter," reveals Davis. "We identified 45 fisher samples using hair snaggers located at the entrance to the den boxes. Of these, 14 were identified as being unique females, with 8 of them using the structures more than once, and 4 of them detected at 2 different den boxes.” During the 2015 reproductive season, two fisher females used artificial den boxes to give birth to and raise their young. The video features footage of...
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