wildlife

Wolves in Alberta’s Athabasca Oilsands

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Interested in environmental research? Wolves? Moose? Wolves eating moose? The oilsands? Maybe a bit of monkey chat? Well we’ve got an episode for you!

This week on Terra Informa, we have an full episode interview with researcher Eric Neilson, on his on the effects of human disturbance in the Athabasca oilsands region, on the hunting behaviour of wolves.

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Photo by: Doc List (Flickr)

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Book Club: Being Caribou

Male caribou with big antlers strutting across a meadow

Grab an ice cold drink and settle into your lawn chair: it’s the Terra Informa Summer Book Club! You’re invited to read along with us and share comments or reviews via email, twitter or on facebook. This month, Yvette Thompson leads a discussion on Karsten Heuer’s non-fiction book, Being Caribou.

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Turning Perspectives Upside-down

It's a visualization of the Blatchford Redevelopment, on the site of the old City Centre Airport. Photo credit: Perkins + Will/City of Edmonton

A visualization of the Blatchford Redevelopment, on the site of Edmonton’s old City Centre Airport. Photo credit: Perkins + Will/City of Edmonton

This week on Terra Informa, two new stories that have us envisioning, and then questioning our future environmental perspectives, with a story on the new Edmonton Ambleside Ecostation and the Blatchford Redevelopment project, in “Treadmill”, and then a story about one woman’s deep shift in her perspective on knowledge of our planet in this week’s Eye-opener. We’ll also revisit a really fun story about the red squirrel of the Yukon and the tricks it employs to stay alive in the great North with “The Little Squirrel that Could”.

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Great Bear, Green Screen, and Great Lakes

This week, we talk about two “great” things in the Canadian ecosystem, the Great Lakes and the Great Bear.
And, we have the inside look at a documentary called The Carbon Rush, that tries to connect viewers emotionally with the impact of carbon credit programs in the global south.

Great Bear, Green Screen, and Great Lakes

The Spirit Bear has become symbolic of the Great Bear Reserve of Northern BC. Photo Credit: Valard LP

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Canadians for the Great Bear 

The use of charismatic megafauna is an important tactic used to raise attention to important issues. The proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline threatens many species in the Northern Western BC area, but the WWF had seemed to choose the Great Bear as an ambassador to the ecosystem they are trying to protect. Kyle Muzyka talks with the WWF vice president of conservation and pacific, Darcy Dobell, about the use of the Great Bear as an ambassador, and how the pipeline is merely an obstacle in the scheme of things.

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Green Screen: The Carbon Rush

Next up, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us a Green Screen review of The Carbon Rush. It’s a documentary that tries to do something brave – making viewers connect emotionally with the hidden underbelly of carbon markets. But does it live up to its own hype?

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State of the Great Lakes

The Canadian and US governments recently renewed their commitments to cleaning up Canada’s fresh water bodies by amending the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. This new plan expands the scope of concern to include issues like impact of climate change, and the protection of lake species and habitats. To get a better sense of the problems currently facing the Great Lakes, we contacted Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a charity that’s working to help make the lakes safer, cleaner, and healthier for the public. Last fall, Hamdi Issawi spoke to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s Vice President, Krystyn Tully, on the state of the Great Lakes.

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Food or Friend?

This week, we’ve been wondering: how do people decide when an animal is food and when it’s a friend? We will be talking to a wildlife biologist who’s also a hunter, and to two Edmonton-area farmers who raise pigs for very different reasons. And one more tasty morsel for you: George Stroumboulopoulos, host of CBC’s The Hour, talks about tiny ways Canadians can live a little greener.

Food or Friend?

Micro pigs from Angela Hardy’s farm in Sherwood Park, Alberta. This week we’re asking how we decide when animals are food, and when they’re friends.

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Hunter/Biologist

When is an animal a friend and when is it food? Kieran O’Donovan straddles an interesting an interesting line that gives him a pretty unique perspective on when an animal is a friend, and when it’s dinner. He’s a wildlife biologist and documentary filmmaker, but when he goes home to the Yukon, he’s also a hunter. Terra Informa’s Natalee Rawat sat down with Kieran to talk about how he sees our relationships with other animals.

Pets vs. Food

Remember Wilbur the pig from Charlotte’s Web? He was the runt of the litter, turned pet, threatened to be food, only to be saved by a spider. Terra Informa’s Nicole Wiart talked to Alberta Micro Pigs’ Angela Hardy and Irvings Farm Fresh’s Nicola Irving. The two of them both raise and breed pigs in the Edmonton area, one for food… the other for pets. Throughout the interviews, Nicole noticed strange similarities between both women and the way they viewed the pigs, despite raising, breeding, and feeding them for incredibly different purposes.

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Strombo and One Million Acts of Green

George Stroumboulopoulos, the host of the Hour on CBC, was at Grant MacEwan University here in Edmonton to speak about activism. Kyle Muzyka was at the speech, and in addition to speaking about activism, Stroumboulopoulos also spoke about a program generated to help Canadians become a little more green. As one of the many forces driving the “One Million Acts of Green” program, Strombo talks about how it started as a plan doomed to fail, and became something truly special.

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What’s Happening

Geological Wonders of British Columbia Lecture in Kamloops, BC
Over in BC, the Kamloops Exploration Group is hosting a talk on Geological Wonders of British Columbia this month. Bruce Madu will be speaking at the TRU Mountain Room as part of the group’s 2013 Lecture Series. Bruce is a geologist and the Director of the British Columbia Mineral Development Office in Vancouver. They provide resources on coal and mineral mining for government and industry, so it should be a fascinating opportunity to get to hear from someone who lives in the mining world, and ask some questions. That’s March 28 in the TRU Mountain Room in Kamloops, at 7 PM, and the talk is free. The lecture series continues April 4, when Ann Cheeptham will be talking about cave microbialites.

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Women in Science Lunch in Sydney, Nova Scotia
Over on the east coast, this April 6, Cape Breton University is hosting its Third Annual Women in Science Event. Meet fellow female scientists, learning about careers in science, and pick up some cool swag. They say last year’s Women in Science “Lunch and Learn” brought over 100 young women out from all over Cape Breton Island. This year, they’re hosting another Lunch event and a daylong Women in Science Retreat, filled with activities, giveaways, food, and learning. The event is aimed at young women in junior high, high-school, and just starting out in university. That’s at the Vershuren Centre on Cape Breton University Campus on April 6. It starts at 11 am, with lunch at 12, followed by a full afternoon of events. The cost is $10 per person.

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Wolf Skinning Workshop in Whitehorse, Yukon

Since we’ve been talking so much about hunting this week, we figured we’d shoot for a wild event coming up. On April 13th, the Yukon Trappers Association is hosting a Wolf Skinning Workshop at the Beaver Creek Community Club in Whitehorse. They’re a volunteer-run group, and this time they’ve rounded up Robert Stitt to run the workshop. It starts at 9:30 in the morning, and goes until, well, until you’re done. Call 667-7091 or email yukonfur@yknet.ca for more info.

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Updrafts and Uprisings

Updrafts and Uprisings

Northern Saw-Whet Owl photographed by Rick Leche

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Girl Gone Wild: Owls

This week, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips is up in a tree with Jamie Pratt, creator of the Girl Gone Wild documentary series. They’re investigating – hoo else? — Alberta’s owl species. Listen in to hear owl calls, the dark symbolism of putting an owl on your barn door, and the shocking truth about Harry Potter’s pet owl Hedwig.

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Idle No More

From round-dance flash mobs in front of the Prime Minister House, and West Edmonton Mall, road blockades, and rallies across the country, Idle No More has been called a movement, an awakening…..
It has been called the largest, most unified, and potentially most transformative Indigenous movement at least since the Oka resistance in 1990.

Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips and Kathryn Lennon bring us some interviews from Idle No More in Edmonton, on December 21st, 2012.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Whether you live in the heart of the city, out in the country, or on the Arctic coast, birds bring a little sunshine into the winter months. Every February, bird watchers team up for one of North America’s largest bird counts, but this isn’t an event that’s limited to professionals. From seasoned experts to novices, Canadians are breaking out the binoculars to help scientists better understand where birds are found and how their distributions change with time. Dick Cannings is one of the organizers of the Great Backyard Bird Count. Back in February, Steve Andersen called Dick to ask him how it works.

Banff Springs Snail, PowerShift 2012, and Musician Richard Garvey

Banff Springs Snail

The Banff Springs Snail, Physella johnsoni

On this week’s show we start off small. On Girl Gone Wild this week, Jamie Pratt shares a slimy story on the Banff Hot Springs snail. Then we move to PowerShift, a big undertaking that will mobilize youth around climate justice. We end off with the music of the talented Richard Garvey.

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News

Ontario’s Liberals Losing Touch

On September 19, Ontario Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller released the first volume of his 2011/2012 annual report to the Legislature. The report, entitled “Losing Touch,” criticizes members of the Liberal government for failing to respect the public’s right to be involved in environmental planning and policy. According to Ontario’s 1993 Environmental Rights Bill, the government is required to make environmental proposals and decisions available for public comment.

More on this story: Globe and Mail, The Star, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, York Region

Halkirk Wind Farm Nearly Done

Hold on to your hats, Albertans! The village of Halkirk will soon be home to the province’s largest wind farm. Owned and operated by Capital Power, the Halkirk Wind Project is nearing the end of construction and is scheduled to begin commercial operation by the end of this year. The facility will use 83 turbines to generate 150 megawatts of clean power. That’s enough to power 50,000 homes—weather permitting.

More on this story: Global Edmonton, Calgary Herald, Capital Power

Girl Gone Wild: Banff Springs Snail

From the time we’re little, most of us are told to be proud of what makes us unique – what sets us apart. But what if the thing that made you different was also the thing that made you vulnerable? On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips brings us the story of the endangered Banff Springs Snail from wildlife documentary filmmaker Jamie Pratt.

More on this story: Parks Canada , CBC Calgary ,Girl Gone Wild Documentaries

 PowerShift 2012 – Building a Climate Justice Movement

Do you want to see a shift in the way we power our society, and who has power? A shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy? More power to the people? Want to learn skills and meet passionate youth from across the country? From October 26-29, youth from across Canada are invited to come together in Ottawa-Gatineau to mobilize around climate and environmental justice. Kathryn Lennon catches up with PowerShift Coordinator Tasha Peters to learn more.

More on this story: PowerShift Canada, Huffington Post

Musician Richard Garvey

The world of contemporary folk music defies clear definitions or explanations. From the birth of sub-sub-genres to use of non-traditional instruments, it has exploded into a borderless menagerie of noise and ideas. However, some would argue that you can’t improve on timeless inspiration. Richard Garvey is a born-and-raised Ontarian whose modest discography echoes a generation of youth that longs for environmental justice and social change.

More on this story: Richard Garvey.ca, CBC Music

What’s Happening

2012 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-grant Program

October 1 marks the deadline for the final round of applications for the 2012 Grassroots Communities Mining Mini-Grant Program. The mini-grants program supports communities across Canada and the United States that have been adversely affected by mining. The grants will go toward protecting the personal, as well as cultural and ecological well-being of impacted communities. To learn more, visit the Indigenous Environmental Network website at ienearth.org where you can find the application form and additional contact information.

IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training!

On November 9 and 10, the IMPACT! Sustainability Champions Training program will be coming to Guelph, Ontario. The two day training program, brought to you by The Co-operators and Natural Step Canada, is designed to empower students and help them develop sustainability projects in their own communities. Attendees will have to opportunity hear feedback from peers and mentors by connecting with other sustainability champions. IMPACT! alumni are also welcome. Participation is limited and the application deadline is September 30, so visit thenaturalstep.org to apply online.