John Acorn

A Little Grain and a Lot of Birds

This week is a special episode that was especially fun to make. Sometimes, when we have an extra cool story that the whole Terra Informa team is invested in, we all go on a field trip together. A couple Sundays ago, we travelled to a Grain Terminal in the City of Edmonton to see some rare birds of prey and meet the folks who watch and photograph them there.

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A Little Grain and a lot of Birds

In class this semester, Edmonton-famous professor and naturalist John Acorn told his students about a special place in the city that attracts hundreds of pigeons each day, who in turn attract rare birds of prey who feed on them. Terra Informer Amanda Rooney took several friends and fellow Terra Informers to the Alberta Grain Terminal in North Edmonton to take it in. In this story, we see hundreds of pigeons, one very lucky sparrow, some merlin falcons, and a prairie falcon.

What’s Happening

Green Drinks: Green Economy

Green Drinks is a gathering of Edmonton’s green-minded professionals to meet new friends, network, and indulge in a local brew. This event takes place at the Yellowhead Brewery on Wednesday, March 1st and featured guests include HEATHER SPEERS, the Project Coordinator for the MacEwan University’s social innovation hub project; Mark Anielski an economic strategist specializing in measuring well-being and happiness and also award-winning author of The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, and many more. Get more info on eventbrite.com.

Aboriginal Law Speaker Series

Also in Edmonton, check out the Aboriginal Law Speaker Series hosted by the University of Alberta’s Aboriginal Law Students Association. The series start March 6th with Eriel Deranger, who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing on Terra Informa about Alberta Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Crisis. The speaker series is free and more information can be found on Facebook event.

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Photos by Cameron Blais.

Taking a Bite Out of Shark Fin Sales + John Acorn on Field Guides

This week on the show, a look at the fight against shark finning in Edmonton and on the high seas. We talk to a member of Fin Free Edmonton to ask why the group is trying to get a ban on shark fin sales in the city. Then we take you out to Florida, to talk to a special agent who helps catch shark fin poachers in the act. Lastly, we shift gears to ask naturalist John Acorn why field guidebooks are so popular, and what they’re really all about.

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A NOAA official lays out a haul of confiscated shark fins

Agents like this at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration help enforce the US ban on finning sharks. Photo credit: NOAA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Edmonton group pushing ban on shark fin sales

Shark Fin Soup has become a culinary faux pas in recent decades. Animal welfare advocates have argued fiercely that it is inhumane to remove a shark’s fin and then allow the animal to die by discarding the rest of the body back into the ocean. University of Alberta Law professor Cameron Jefferies is a member of Fin Free Edmonton, an organization fighting for a municipal ban on shark fin products, which are still used in soups in some Chinese restaurants. CJSR’s Natalia Knowlton spoke with Jefferies in Edmonton for the CJSR Edition.

More on this story: Metro, Fin Free Edmonton on Facebook

Catching shark finners on the high seas

Have you ever wondered how shark finners get caught? The US strengthened its laws against shark finning in 2011, banning the practice for almost every shark species in American waters. Paul Raymond is a special agent with NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. He’s helped enforce the US laws protecting sharks. Chris Chang-Yen Phillips reached him in Florida to ask how they do it.

More on this story: Wired, Oceana

John Acorn on Field Guides

From our archives, we’re catching up with one of Canada’s most avid naturalists. John Acorn is an entomologist, television personality and author of 17 books. His best known role is probably as the host of “Acorn: Nature Nut” the popular tv show on all things creeping and crawling. But when he’s not writing television shows, teaching students or working on his research, John Acorn is often at his desk writing field naturalist guide books. If you think there’s not much controversy in how to draw or write about a few butterflies or beetles, think again. Terra Informa correspondent David Kaczan spoke with John Acorn.

More on this story: John Acorn’s guide to Ladybugs of Alberta

John Acorn Interview, Exploring the Gaia Hypothesis

John Acorn is an entomologist, television personality and author of 17 books. He’s best known role is probably as the host of “Acorn: Nature Nut” the popular tv show on all things creeping and crawling. But when he’s not writing television shows, teaching students or working on his research, John Acorn is often at his desk writing field naturalist guide books. If you think there’s not much controversy in how to draw or write about a few butterflies or beetles, think again.

Does the earth seem uncannily comfortable? Certainly, levels of nutrients, atmospheric gasses, salinity, temperature and more seem just right for life. Could it be that life itself is creating the conditions it requires, and if so, does that make the entire earth some kind of super organism? David Kaczan finds out in this piece on the ‘Gaia Hypothesis.’

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John Acorn

photo courtesy John Acorn