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Toronto Field Naturalists
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Youth Sponsorship Recipients
The Toronto Field Naturalists would like to congratulate Alice Cheng, Edan Tzadok, and Emily de Brito for qualifying for the TFN Youth Sponsorship Grant that will send them to Ontario Nature's Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership in September. These forward-thinking and commendable high school students will learn about climate action, everyday sustainability, freshwater life, how to lead a nature hike, and other topics useful in becoming the next generation of conservationists.
August Photo Spotlight
Eastern Red Backed Salamander by Ken Sproule
Battling Sea Lamprey
Posted August 2017
Sea lampreys were introduced to the Great Lakes in the early 20th century through shipping canals. The devastation they caused to sport and commercial fisheries led the government to create programs to control the species. Such controls include using chemicals to kill lamprey larvae, and using traps and barriers to prevent adults from moving upstream to spawn, thus disrupting their cycle. These controls have reduced the population of sea lampreys by 90%, but they also affect native fish, and the chemicals potentially harm the watershed.
Grant Brown, a biologist at Concordia University, has discovered a natural compound to control the population of sea lampreys. When a lamprey is injured it releases a compound into the water that warns other lampreys of danger. The researchers tested to see if using this compound in a real-world situation would prevent the lampreys from going upstream to spawn. The controlled tests were successful in deterring a significant number of lampreys, so the team is looking at next steps in the research. One such step is creating a synthetic compound that can be produced in large amounts. Currently they are collecting the substance from the lampreys themselves.
More information on the study can be found here
Caterpillars and Plastic Bags - Good News!
Posted July 2017
A developmental biologist and amateur beekeeper has come up with a new way to get rid of used plastic bags: Make waxworms eat them. Full article here
TBG Ravine Symposium
Posted June 2017
Registration is open for the 2nd Annual Ravine Symposium
at Toronto Botanical Garden! Spend the day enjoying tours, talks, panel discussions, and displays that explore the question "How do we restore ecological function to urban ravines?"
TFN is very pleased to be a part of this interesting and important event. We'll be leading a few morning hikes, hosting a display, and more than a few panelists and speakers are TFN members. Hope to see you there!
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