No Experience Necessary: Your Guide to Becoming A Canadian Conservation Hero

Before we get started, let’s be clear.

Being a conservation hero with the Canadian Wildlife Federation will not require you to:

  • Identify tree species by their Latin name on your next hike
  • Host a public forum on Canadian animals at-risk
  • Start an eco-fundraiser for your community

You may have seen past “Conservation Heroes” receiving awards from CWF for a variety of reasons.

BUT! While every action, individual and specific interest in wildlife is important to us, we are here to tell you that it can very easily be your name on the press release, awards trophy and banquet reception honouring today’s Conservation Heroes.

Whether you submit your name now, or plan to enter for next year, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Nominating has never been easier!

awards on ipad

Our newer, easier online nomination is just one click away. The submission deadline is January 31, 2019, so check it out now: Nominate Online

2. We’re looking for Canadians of all ages

© backwoodsmama.com
© Backwoods Mama

Conservation actions big and small contribute to the protection of our country’s natural heritage. So share with us those who deserve to be recognized!

3. Look in your own backyard

boy twine outside

Does your community have someone who attends all the town hall meetings in support of a greener community? Do you have a local teacher, student or neighbour who goes the extra mile to make a difference? That’s exactly who we want to hear about.

4. Ask Google

Browse the internet or national papers to see who deserves the spotlight. It’s okay if you don’t know the individual at all. Imagine if they win and you’ve brought their work to the forefront?

5. Find inspiration from those who’ve paved the way

man holding try by river

Take a look at the Conservation Heroes from 2018 who we are proudly featuring on our website. See what kind of actions blew away the committee last year.

And before you get started, we should be clear, if you WANT to learn tree species, or host forums or raise eco-funds/awareness for your community YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT. But those aren’t the only ways to shine when it comes to wildlife and habitat. Have a question? Let us know.

Ready to start a nomination? We think you’re starting to look like a Conservation Hero already!

Helping wildlife in your own backyard

Here are some ideas you can share with family and friends, and take part in to make winter wildlife a priority at home!

  • Keep bird feeders full and clean them off after storms.
  • Build bird houses for the spring.
  • Walk around your property to see if any egg masses from damaging tent caterpillars or gypsy moths can be removed.
  • When you take down the Christmas tree, place it in your backyard as a winter shelter for birds.
  • Put out suet and fat mixes to keep birds warm and give them lots of energy.
  • Make spring clean-up easier by spreading a water-permeable “drop cloth,” such as landscape fabric, under your bird feeder to catch sunflower hulls.
  • Decorate outside trees with strings of unsweetened cranberries, apple slices and orange bits—birds will enjoy this!
  • Take advantage of time indoors to research local wildlife and its needs.
  • Keep track of birds that visit your feeders.
  • Participate in the Christmas bird count. Take your bird-watching hobby to the next level and join the annual Christmas Bird Count. The information gathered is used to generate long-term data on population dynamics and the health of North American birds. To find a “count circle” near you, visit the Bird Studies Canada website and follow the Volunteer Programs link to the Christmas Bird Count.
  • Plan and prepare. Write yourself a list of anything you might need for spring and design any new beds you’re planning to add.

Learn more about the winter world of wildlife by joining CWF’s Below Zero campaign.

The 8 Best Canadian Winter Activities Ever

When there’s so many cold-weather months in Canada, we definitely have destinations perfect for a winter family getaway. And if you aren’t travelling, take this as inspiration and look up what your own city offers with these ideas in mind:

1. Skating

Skating

So many communities create outdoor rinks. If you’re lucky, some lakeside neighbours might also clear the snow for some fun too! You probably already know about Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, but did you know about the World Pond Hockey Championships?

Destination Idea: Plaster Rock, New Brunswick for the World Pond Hockey Championships February 8-11, 2018

2. Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

Check into your local provincial or national park to see if they offer rentals or guided walks. A great idea is also to check out retailers like Canadian Tire, or even second-hand websites such as Kijiji to see if any neighbours are selling theirs for an inexpensive family adventure nearby.

Destination idea: Jasper National Park, Guided Snowshoe Walk, Alberta

3. Maple Syrup

You probably can’t get more Canadian than maple syrup in the snow. It’s a fun and rewarding experience for the family, especially the tasting part (if you are visiting a location that already has some for purchase, even better!).

Destination idea: Sugar Moon Farm, tours tasting & hiking, outside Halifax, Nova Scotia

4. Photography

Winter Photography

There is lots to be seen and just because there may be snow on the ground doesn’t mean it isn’t a great time to share. CWF has teamed up with iNaturalist to create an app that is ideal for sharing your wilderness experience with Canada.

Destination idea: Your backyard, local trails, or community park!

5. Skiing/Snowboarding

Snowboarding

Fresh air and adventure at all levels, from beginner to expert. Snowboarding and skiing are great ways to get fresh and be right there amongst the trees, mountains and Canadian winter habitat. CWF is equally interested in environmental best practices for the hills. Learn more about what My Sustainable Canada has put in place to ensure the hills work together with the environment.

Advocacy idea: Ask the owners at your ski hill if they follow best practices for wildlife and habitat, and encourage them to follow suit if they haven’t already!

6. Tobogganing

Tobogganing

Sledding down the smallest hill on your front lawn, local park, or “the big hill” most places seem to have, is a popular winter pastime. Remember to bundle up! There are some cozy new winter CWF toques on our online store, support wildlife conservation while staying warm!

Destination bonus: It’s FREE! At the top of the hill, stop and take a deep breath. Winter may be long and extremely cold, but sledding is a fantastic way to have fun.

7. Winter Carnivals

Check your community website to see if your town hosts winter festivals. These usually bring out hot chocolate, sometimes ice sculptures, games and activities.

Search idea: Just type “Winter Festival” followed by your town or closest big city to see what comes up.

8. Last but not least…Treasure Hunt

No snow in your neck of the woods? Look no further. GeoCache! You’ll need:

  • A mobile phone with GPS enabled (or GPS unit)
  • Warm clothing & snacks
  • Log onto the CWF Geocache website
  • Start your treasure hunt!

Decide on a cache, enter its coordinates on your GPS, and go out and try to find it. Caches are hidden in nearly every major (and minor!) town across the world. Currently, there are more than 800,000 hidden geocaches. All caches contain a logbook or paper scroll to sign when you find it; some caches contain small treasures. You can also hide your own caches and post them online for others to find. It’s a worldwide treasure hunt.

Learn more about the wonders of winter by joining CWF’s Below Zero campaign.