Greater Hardisty Walking Maps Now Available!

The official Greater Hardisty Walking Map for the City of Edmonton‘s map series is now available.  A HUGE thank you to Sheila for leading this project!  The online version can be found on the City of Edmonton’s website at:  www.edmonton.ca/walkmap.  Copies of Community Walking Maps are available free of charge and distributed at the following locations:

Edmonton Public Libraries

–Community Services Offices

–Community League Halls

Nature Notes – Edmonton Naturalization Group

By Capilano resident Terri Lynn Perron – Wildlife Biologist & Master Naturalist for the City of Edmonton

I haven’t noticed any ladybugs stretching their legs after their big winter sleep yet; however the Northern Alberta Birding Hotline reports Bluebirds are making their return along with Varied Thrushes east of Edmonton.  Could it be!?  Spring at long last?  It is time to earnestly start my seeds indoors and rake my yard (the south facing yard at least).  Yippee!

I always think about the Edmonton Naturalization Group (ENG) this time of year.  Each spring I try to educate myself on one or two new native plants that would grow better in my sun-scorched flower beds than the annuals I have planted in the past.  Making contact with the fine folks at this organization has opened my world to a new way of gardening.  Did you know that if you volunteer a few hours of your time with ENG they will provide you with free seedlings/seeds of beautiful native plants to grow in your own yard?

The Edmonton Naturalization Group is an informal group of people in the Edmonton area who like to grow native plants and promote their use in gardening and landscaping to a wider public.  ENG members raise native plants at the City of Edmonton’s Oldman Creek Nursery and maintain a demonstration native bed at the John Janzen Nature Centre.  Volunteers also rescue native plants from areas of city development and relocate them to their nursery.  The ENG use these plants for naturalization projects (schools, etc.) and as a seed source.  In 2004, ENG published Go Wild! a gardening book that provides information on how to grow native species, where to see them in the wild and where to buy local native plants and seeds.  I highly recommend it.

Visit their website at http://edmontonnaturalizationgroup.org/ to learn about projects they are involved in, how to volunteer, read interesting articles and get a heads up on upcoming events such as plant sales.

Nature Notes – Common Redpoll Bird

 By Capilano resident Terri Lynn Perron – Wildlife Biologist & Master Naturalist for the City of Edmonton

  

There are many fascinating survival adaptations that our resident animal friends possess to endure our long winters.  I recently learned of a new one of which I thought I would share.  The Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) is an energetic little finch that often forages in small flocks.  Unlike chickadees, which roost in nest boxes or tree cavities to keep warm, redpolls keep warm by eating huge amounts of food during the daytime and storing some of it in the upper end of their digestive tracks.  This semi-digested food becomes available during the night and provides fuel for their tiny bodies until they can get back to foraging the next day.

  

Most of the Redpolls nest in the Low-Arctic Tundra and boreal forest then come further south during early winter.  As the snow gets deeper these little finches largely forsake most natural areas and start drifting into urban sites with bird feeders.  Look for Common Redpolls eating from the catkins (seed bearing structures) of birch trees or visiting feeders and heated water baths in winter.  Look carefully at your feeders and you will note the great variation in colour patterns.  Older males tend to be the more brightly coloured ones.  Offering nyger, thistle or black oil sunflower seeds are your best bet to attract these little beauties.

BECOME A MASTER COMPOSTER IN YOUR COMMUNITY

The City of Edmonton is looking for Volunteer Master Composter Recyclers who know all about composting, recycling and how to reduce waste. They love to share what they know and the city will train them to become Master Composter Recycler extraordinaires!

What does it take to get started and be engage in a greener city:

  • complete a 40-hour course
  • volunteer at least 35 hours
  • teach friends and neighbours what they learned

What great opportunities await the Master Composter?

  • Show co-workers how to grasscycle
  • Teach newcomers what to recycle
  • Give a presentation about reducing waste
  • Help a neighbour start a compost
  • Be a compost mentor at a community garden

Application deadline: February 7, 2013

For more info., go to the City of Edmonton website at www.edmonton.ca

Nature Notes

By Capilano resident Terri Lynn Perron – Wildlife Biologist & Master Naturalist for the City of Edmonton

     Last month my toddler said at the breakfast table “Bacon is perfect!”  Many folks, particularly of the male persuasion, would agree that there are two ingredients that make just about any food delicious: butter (fat) and bacon. Many birds also agree.

Terri’s Favorite Summer Suet Recipe:

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Nature Notes – The Role of Trees

By Capilano resident Terri Lynn Perron – Wildlife Biologist & Master Naturalist for the City of Edmonton

 

Trees play a vital yet undervalued role in a city environment.  Please reflect on the amazing advantages of having a large tree in your yard as you tootle around this spring, pruning and yard cleaning.  It’s true some mature trees must be removed for safety or property damage reasons.  However, if you are considering cutting down an old tree for aesthetic reasons only, I would challenge you to first contemplate the gnarly beauty of an old master craftsman’s hands…or the faces of withered tribeswomen on National Geography.  With age and imperfection, come wonderful stories of survival and adaptation.

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