Volunteers Needed for Bioblitz in Oak Lake and Routledge Sandhills
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), in partnership with Manitoba Important Bird Areas Program, is investing in nature in the Oak Lake and Routledge Sandhills Natural Area.
On July 15, from 8 am to 1 pm, the not-for-profit land conservation organization is inviting volunteers of all ages and experience levels to help search for rare and elusive sandhill plants and animals in the beautiful Routledge sandhills while teams of birders conduct extensive surveys throughout the Oak Lake/Plum Lakes Important Bird Area (IBA).
The public is also invited to participate in a short workshop being hosted by Dr. Robert Wrigley at 7 p.m. at the Oak Lake Royal Canadian Legion on the topic of Manitoba’s Tiger Beetles. Following the workshop, Tim Poole of the Manitoba IBA Program will lead a short walk to look for birds near Oak Lake Resort.
Participants will be helping to catalogue and count plants, animals and fungi — critical information that will inform future management and conservation efforts. The event is also intended to raise awareness about the incredible diversity of the area, and how special and important the region is.
People may register by visiting conservationvolunteers.ca or by calling 204-725-5969.
Through its Conservation Volunteers program, NCC offers Canadians a chance to help restore and care for some of Canada’s most important natural places. At the same time, people have fun and enjoy being involved in skill-building, socializing, their own health and wellness and get a feeling of accomplishment. Taking action and investing in nature is good for people and our communities too.
“Volunteers are instrumental in helping us care for conservation lands coast to coast,” says Rebekah Neufeld, NCC Manitoba’s conservation operations program coordinator. “Caring for our natural spaces is something we can all do together. So, when people volunteer to come out and help, we get more done, faster and we make a bigger impact for wildlife and for wild places. Oak Lake and the surrounding area provides diversity of habitats for birds and other wildlife. The tapestry of sandhills, native and non-native grasslands, wetlands, broadleaf woodlands and open water provides habitat for many migratory and breeding birds. Monitoring by volunteers helps us to build up a long-term picture of bird populations in this region and is a critical component in their conservation.
• The Nature Conservancy of Canada has been working in the Oak Lake Sandhills and Wetlands Natural Area since 1979. Encompassing a portion of the Oak Lake/Plum Lakes IBA, this area supports globally significant concentrations of waterbirds and represents important habitat for numerous at-risk prairie-endemic species, such as Sprague’s pipit and small white lady’s-slipper. The sandhill slopes are the only place in Manitoba where one can see the threatened prairie spiderwort. The endangered prairie skink, Manitoba’s only lizard, also lives on the sandhill slopes alongside a suite of rare plants, such as smooth goosefoot and silky prairie-clover.
• Since 2006, the NCC’s Conservation Volunteers program has led to over 16,000 Canadians completing over 1,385 conservation projects across the country.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada is the nation's leading land conservation organization, working to protect our most important natural areas and the species they sustain. Since 1962, NCC and its partners have helped protect more than 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres), coast to coast, with more than 25,495 hectares (63,000 acres) in Manitoba. Visit natureconservancy.ca/mb.
Manitoba is home to some of the most outstanding sites in the world for concentrations of birds. The importance of these sites to the maintenance of the world’s bird populations is recognized internationally through their designation as Important Bird Areas (IBAs). The Important Bird Areas program, initiated by BirdLife International in the 1980s, came to Canada in 1996 and is coordinated nationally by Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada. The Canadian IBA Program identifies, monitors and protects the most essential places in Canada for birds so that conservation action can be directed in the most effective way possible. There are nearly 600 Important Bird Areas across Canada that provide habitat for threatened birds, large groups of birds and birds found almost nowhere else on Earth. Visit importantbirdareasmb.ca
This event is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP), a unique public-private partnership led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). To date, $277.5 million has been invested in the NACP by the Government of Canada to secure our natural heritage. Additionally, more than $500 million in matching contributions has been raised by NCC and its partners.
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