Holy Bat Project, Toronto!
Ontario Partnering with Local Community Group to Protect Urban Bats
Ontario is supporting an innovative species-at-risk project that is putting hi-tech tools into the hands of the public to help track Toronto's urban bat population.
With support from the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, the High Park Nature Centre will lead a community urban bat project where youth stewards will teach the public about bat habits using song meters and hand-held bat detectors during evening nature walks. Families will be invited to borrow detectors to measure bat activity close to their homes and contribute to the data being collected on bats in the city.
This is among 106 innovative species-at-risk projects across the province this year that are receiving support from Ontario to help protect our province's most vulnerable species, such as the piping plover, rusty-patched bumble bee, and little brown bat.
Investing in projects that strengthen our communities and the environment is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow. The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths -- its people and strategic partnerships.
- In 2014-15, the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund will provide up to $5 million to support 78 new projects and 28 ongoing multi-year projects.
- The fund is available to individuals and groups, including landowners and farmers, Aboriginal communities, academic institutions, industries, municipalities and conservation organizations.
- The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario recognized the province’s efforts to protect the habitat of endangered piping plovers, which have started nesting in Wasaga Beach Provincial Park for the first time in 70 years.
- Now in its eighth year, the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund has helped restore over 24,000 hectares of important habitat, while also supporting over 2,100 jobs and an estimated 256,600 hours of volunteer work.
- Ontario recently introduced legislation to fight invasive species that threaten our province’s biodiversity by disrupting food webs, degrading habitat and introducing parasites and disease.
- Volunteering for a local stewardship project that restores natural habitats is a great way to participate in the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter.
- Ontario is home to over 30,000 species, with more than 200 currently considered at risk.
- See the list of Species at Risk projects underway in your area.
- Read more about the High Park Nature Centre.
- Missed the live bats at the event? Watch Dr. Paul Faure show Rick Mercer around the McMaster Bat Lab.
“Projects such as this help us appreciate the role all species play in our province’s ecosystem and show us that we can work together to protect Ontario’s natural spaces and the plants and animals that live in them. Through these community efforts and government action, such as our recently introduced Invasive Species Act, we can safeguard our province’s biodiversity.”
“The High Park Nature Centre is dedicated to promoting awareness and respect for nature through our outdoor environmental education and park stewardship programs. The Urban Bat Project, supported by Dr. Brock Fenton from Western University, is an amazing opportunity for the High Park Nature Centre to engage and educate the community about some of the most vulnerable species found in Toronto and provide opportunities for families to actively participate in innovative citizen science projects.”
“I look forward to working with Toronto residents to discover what bats use the air space over High Park. We know there are resident big brown bats in the park, but it remains to be seen if the park also is used by migrating bats in the spring and in the fall.”
Dr. Brock Fenton