Pollinators (and people predators) galore

Bee on Hedysarum (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

Bee on Hedysarum (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

After the relative calm of my June field work on Nature Conservancy of Canada land near Riding Mountain National Park, I was kept very busy observing insects in July and August. In total I saw approximately 64 insect species making over 1,200...

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Wolverine sighting at Courage Lake

Wolverine at Courage Lake, Manitoba (Photo by Christian Artuso)

Wolverine at Courage Lake, Manitoba (Photo by Christian Artuso)

Many of you will know how much I have poured my heart and soul into coordinating the Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas over the past six years. Some of you will also know how much emphasis I have placed on point counting (an extremely useful method...

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New Manitoba emblems reflect the province's natural heritage

Plains bison (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Plains bison (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

On June 10, 2014, three new emblems received Royal Assent to be amended to The Coat of Arms, Emblems and the Manitoba Tartan Act. Big bluestem was chosen as Manitoba’s Official Grass emblem, plains bison as Manitoba’s Official Mammal...

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The science behind conservation: Behind the scenes with the Manitoba Region’s Scientific Advisory Network

Giant hyssop, tall grass prairie, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Giant hyssop, tall grass prairie, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Over a decade ago, a colleague contacted me to see if I would be interested in serving on a new science committee of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Manitoba Region. As an ecologist working in the province for many years, I...

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Pack your bags, zebra mussels!

Zebra mussels (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Zebra mussels (Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Back in the fall of 2013, zebra mussels were found in Lake Winnipeg — much to everyone’s alarm. The news broke and it seemed almost instantly that organizations like Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship leapt into action to come...

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Wolves and cougars and bears, oh my!

Beautiful view (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

The beautiful view from one of my research plots (Photo by Diana Bizecki Robson)

For most of my career I have studied prairie plants, mainly because prairies are among the rarest ecosystems in Canada owing to the fact that they’ve been almost completely converted into cropland. As a result, I have never had to worry...

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Take a second look: Look-alikes in nature offer surprises in the field

Red bartisia (Photo by Kristian Peters, Wikimedia Commons)

Red bartisia (Photo by Kristian Peters, Wikimedia Commons)

It was late on a hot August day. I and my field partner were hiking across the tall grass prairie on one of our newly secured properties when we found a withered little reddish-purple plant. At first glance we thought, “Dang, that looks like...

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What should we do about invasive species?

Leafy spurge (Photo by Ed L/pawpaw67)

Leafy spurge (Photo by Ed L/pawpaw67)

Invasive alien species (IAS) have been identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. It’s therefore no surprise that controlling and eradicating them is one of the top...

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Turtle conservation: The land between the waters

Snapping turtle (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

Snapping turtle (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

Many years ago I was surveying for endangered grassland birds in the treeless, sandy native prairies that straddle the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. I came across a painted turtle walking determinedly towards...somewhere. The turtle and I were...

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Citizenship and biodiversity conservation

Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, British Columbia (Photo by Tim Ennis/NCC)

Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, British Columbia (Photo by Tim Ennis/NCC)

Biodiversity conservation is no longer a topic reserved for scientists. It’s an issue that impacts all Canadians. That’s the message that was repeated by panelists at a University of Manitoba discussion on biodiversity that I attended...

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