Canadian White-Nose Syndrome Workshop

bat blog


From October 16-18th I attended the first Canadian white-nose syndrome workshop organized by the Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre.

The meeting took place in Ottawa and the purpose was to write an action plan for dealing with WNS in Canada. The meeting was attended by government staff, staff from non-government organizations, university professors, and museum staff involved with WNS/bat monitoring and/or research.

On the first day, meeting attendees sat in on the Canadian Wildlife Directors committee meeting. The goal was to inform them of the issue and how they might get involved. We were fortunate in having 2 USA attendees to present the USA approach to WNS management. The rest of the meeting involved breaking into smaller groups to work on different aspects of the Canadian plan. As well, the 3 labs in Canada involved in WNS research presented their findings to the National Wildlife Research Centre and the workshop attendees – I was one of these presenters!

The idea for this meeting was concocted at the annual WNS symposium in the US which I have been fortunate enough to attend for the last 2 years. The Canadian meeting was a success and a great deal of progress was made on writing the action plan. Even better, we were able to meet each other face-to-face, network and learn what everyone else was doing. WNS research being conducted in Canada is generally not well known among Canadians. Before this meeting, our only contact with each other was through periodic conference calls. I expect this meeting will result in better contact and collaboration between Canadian colleagues and will hopefully be repeated next year. Sharing information is critical as new information related to WNS becomes available.

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Image Credit: New Brunswick Museum/Karen Vanderwolf

This Week in Our Garden


Rosa Carolina rosehip
Rosa Carolina rosehip
[PHOTOS: CWF]               


The weekly reports on our Wildlife-friendly Demonstration Garden, here at CWF headquarters in Ottawa, have had a long break and will join the garden in going dormant for a while.

The leaves have slowly changed colour, berries have been eaten and petals were shed, leaving behind seed heads for hungry mouths this autumn, winter and maybe even early spring. We still have a few remaining blooms, however, despite the frosts that have visited us. Below are what I saw on my rounds this week :

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Above, flat-topped white aster (Doellingeria umbellata – formerly Aster umbellatus) seed heads, with a few lingering flowers in the background.

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White wood aster (Eurybia divaricata) still going strong!

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New England aster (previously called Aster novae-angliae, now Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) only has a few blooms left.


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False sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) has several flowers still.


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A few Rudbeckia blooms add colour to the browns and greys of this bed.


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The naturally pink and white yarrows have both blooms and seeds.
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Pink obedient plant is a later bloomer than the white ones, extending colour in the garden.

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Pearly everlasting flowers bloom long on the plant, as well as last long as a dried cut flower.

Rosa carolina rosehips - sarah - 300px (2) Rosa carolina rosehips - sarah - 300px (1)

Rosehips add colour with leaves and fruit.

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A new addition to our garden this year, winterberry (Illex verticillata) has bright red berries that should stay plump for several months. They have male flowers on one plant and female on another, so if you get this plant and you want the bright berries, be sure to check for both sexes.


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In addition to the bright reds of maples and yellows of beaked hazelnuts, serviceberries (above) show their own pretty colour as do…

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Royal ferns (left) and this species of Solomon’s seal (right).

I hope you are enjoying the autumn splendours in your own garden or local park. If you are wondering what gardening jobs and wildlife help might be good to do at this time, check out our Gardening Calendar!

Blue and Green Coloured Honey



Have you heard about the bees in France and their blue and green coloured honey?

There’s a biogas plant that processes waste from a Mars chocolate factory – also the maker of M&Ms. Rather than going from flower to flower collecting nectar, these bees have been gathering the colourful sugar/residue from M&M containers at the biogas plant. The result – blue and green coloured honey.

The M&M waste will be covered in the future to prevent this from happening again. Just goes to show what ends up in our environment can have more consequences than we think.

Upcoming Bat Field Season

The onset of fall means we will be starting our field season soon – in November.

I’m really not sure what we will find – presumably there will be SOME bats, even though some of our sites last year ended up with 0 bats. This field season will consist of visiting our sites to count the bats and check on the ibuttons that are deployed in the caves to measure temperature.

I’ll be sure to let you know what we find as soon as I can.

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There’s not always a lot of room getting in and out of some of these caves

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Another tight squeeze!

Photo Credits: New Brunswick Museum/Karen Vanderwolf

St. Croix River

St. Croix River

Image Credit

This month we’re going to New Brunswick to the St. Croix River. This river runs 185 km between New Brunswick and Maine.

The St. Croix River provides lots of exceptional habitat with its open lakes, floodplains, tidal estuary, and marshes. Here you can find 13 plant species that are known to be rare to the area such as the cardinal flower and high bush lueberry as well as ospreys and bald eagles.

This river offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in canoeing, experiencing whitewater rapids, camping, boating, viewing wildlife, hiking, cross country skiing or snowshoeing—this lake will not disappoint!

Fall Colours

Fall Colours

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An article I recently read explains that the early spring and dry summer experienced in many parts of Canada this year may impact the display of fall colours.

Chlorophyll gives leaves their green colour. In fall when day length gets shorter and overnight temperatures get cooler, trees stop replacing chlorophyll which allows other pigments, including the ones responsible for the beautiful oranges and reds, to become visible.

But, according to this article, the early spring and dry summer may cause leaves to change colour earlier this year and they be not be so colourful.

How are the colours in your area? I’m seeing beautiful fall colours and can’t wait to get out and explore some nature trails this long week-end!

National Tree Day at CWF

National Tree Day

To celebrate National Tree Day and CWF’s 50th Anniversary, we planted trees! With the help of students at the Kanata Montessori School (across the road from our headquarters in Ottawa), Tree Canada and Dolco, we had a huge red oak planted as well as 20 white pine and white spruce seedlings.

National Tree Day

These native trees will grow and add even more wildlife habitat to our area, providing food in the form of nuts and seeds (and indirectly, bugs) as well as shelter for nesting and hiding from predators and inclement weather.

National Tree Day

If you are thinking of planting a tree, consider those species native to your area. If you need inspiration, visit a local nature centre or wild space that hasn’t been modified over the years, check out field guides in your library or local bookstore or visit our online Native Plant Encyclopedia.

Some tips for planting include choosing a species that will suit the growing conditions your property offers (soil, moisture, lighting) and allow space for it to grow both upwards and sideways! If the plant has a large root system, plant far enough away from your house, well and septic bed to avoid underground issues. And remember to water the ground often enough and deeply enough so that the roots deep down get enough moisture while they are establishing themselves.

For more information, read Planting Trees in our’s How To section.

Gardening Guide Available for Eastern Ontario

Eastern Ontario Gardener's Guide

Check out CWF’s latest article on pollinators in the Eastern Ontario Gardener’s Guide, 3rd Edition. In addition to listing garden centres, this handy guide includes articles, tips, lists of local farmer’s markets and garden tours, online groups and behind the scene stories of organizations listed.

Look for it in eastern Ontario stores, available now and through 2013.

If you know of a gardening guide elsewhere in Canada that might like to publish an article from us, let us know!