There's always something new to discover at FortWhyte Alive.
The troubling results were discovered by a research team who pooled their data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl surveys, and ten other datasets.
These results showed that 1 in 4 birds have disappeared from our ecosystems.
Ninety percent of affected birds came from 12 families, including warblers, sparrows, blackbirds and finches -- birds we see here at FortWhyte Alive, known and loved by our birding community. Other populations experiencing declines are Barn Swallows and Baltimore Orioles, mistakenly still considered common as we watch them fly by during Birding and Breakfast sessions in spring.
Out of context, this information may not seem significant -- besides, there are still birds when you look out your window, right? But the smaller numbers and limited diversity of birds have wide-reaching impacts. Roles played by birds in our ecosystems include the distribution of plant seeds and control of insect outbreaks, which can cause problems in agriculture and forestry. Without birds, humans and our environment face the consequences.
Several factors play into declining bird numbers, including habitat degradation, climate change impact, pesticide use, and deaths due to window collisions and domestic cats. While these are large issues, the good news is there’s hope.
We’re already experiencing the benefits of people who have taken action in the past. Thanks to wetland conservation efforts, the waterfowl population has increased by 34 million in the last 50 years. It goes to show how improving habitat for wildlife can have incredible impact.
Here at FortWhyte Alive, our lakes and ponds play a role in Winnipeg’s waterfowl migration, where thousands of geese practice their flight pattern in the fall. As bystanders, the show is spectacular.
As an individual, you can make a difference with small actions like installing bird-safe windows in your own home or providing backyard habitat. We quickly noticed the reduction in bird collisions after making our own windows bird-safe.
FortWhyte Alive is the best place to go birding within the city. Throughout the year, over 150 species of birds can be spotted here at FortWhyte. Our forests, grasslands, marshes, wetlands, lakes, and positioning along the Mississippi Flyway make us a great spot to pull out binoculars. Join us on the trail!
At FortWhyte Farms we grow youth, food, and community.
In the garden and in the commercial kitchen youth learn about responsible land stewardship, food systems, and waste reduction as they build communication, teamwork, and money management skills. They are our most valuable ‘crop’ - youth who are engaged citizens and climate change leaders.
Youth like Kara, a 16-year-old Fort Richmond Collegiate student who has volunteered and worked on the Farm, experience pride and meaning in their work as community members come to buy fresh vegetables.
“I liked thinking about how I could just watch it grow and how it could become something,” Kara reflects. “It wasn’t like there was much but eventually it would grow into something bigger. And I liked that it would be able to feed a lot of people.”
Kara’s awe at plants’ rapid growth and change parallels what I’m privileged to see in youth. As they build relationships and work as a team they are learning to live in balance with each other and nature.
It’s your philanthropy that empowers youth to become stewards of this planet. A responsibility and opportunity we all share. If you share my belief in this generation of climate champions please give generously.
Feel good giving gifts this season that are more than just things -- they're carefully made, nature-inspired items that contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. That's because shopping at The Nature Shop means giving a locally-made gift that's as special as the one you're giving it to, all while supporting environmental education.
Not sure where to start? Browse through our gift guide, or visit The Nature Shop to discover something entirely different.
For sustainable living:
For keeping cosy:
For kicking back:
For bird enthusiasts:
The gift of experience:
Take some time out this holiday season and experience the magic of intentional gift giving. Choose from a selection of experiences, perfect as a stand-alone gift or a stocking stuffer, to inspire your loved ones.
Find these gifts and more at our lowest prices of the season at The Nature Shop's Holiday Shopping Event!
Now that migration season has come to a close, we can’t help but reflect on its wonderful ability to bring people together. This season we watched nearly 1300 visitors take in the magic of migration.
One of our volunteers, Barbara, noticed how migration was able to spark conversation between strangers. She remembers one particular evening where a visitor had an app that tracked the space station. He shared his app with others, and slowly the deck of strangers became a group of friends who enjoyed watching the geese, gulls, cormorants, and space station all at once together.
We are incredibly grateful to have this opportunity at FortWhyte, but even more so for the volunteers who run the show. Without them, this community wouldn’t be able to come together to enjoy the beauty of migration.
A perfectly cool evening and a cloud-covered sky added a certain chill to our spooky forest. We had 187 racers enjoying the beautiful night, championing either a 5km or 10km race.
Thank you to all who dressed up and everyone who participated in our race under the cloak of darkness, all in support of environmental education at FortWhyte Alive. You're the best!
The costumes that these troopers donned were incredible — runners included a few witches, glow stick ghosts, ladies from the 80s, and so many more!
As always we need to thank our amazing crew of FortWhyte Alive volunteers. We couldn't do what we do without them — they are the real MVPs! Also, a big thanks goes out to Winnipeg Search and Rescue for ensuring all racers made it out of our trails safely.
Special thanks to all of this year’s supporters who provided goods and services for your race day needs:
Great job to all who participated and finished! Check out race results:
Even if you didn’t place, everyone who gets outside to support environmental education is a winner in our eyes, so thank you! Thanks to your combined efforts, we managed to raise approximately $4,500.00 for environmental education.