Vernal Pools: The Exuberance of Life
Speakers: Don Scallen
Date: Apr 17
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Our regular meeting location
Outing: Hiking Marcy Woods
Date: Apr 30
Time: 10:00 pm
Location: Meet at end of Holloway Bay Road

One of the most familiar signs of spring is the calls of frogs and toads. These nightly serenades are part of the mating ritual of our local amphibians. Sadly, these species are often affected by pollution and habitat loss.

Our April speaker, Don Scallen, will talk about vernal ponds, an important breeding habitat for our amphibian friends. Vernal ponds are temporary pools of water that are often dry for part of the year. In early spring, they are replenished with winter rains and snow melt. Considered to be a special type of wetland, the ponds are usually devoid of fish, thus providing a predator-free environment for newly hatched amphibian and insect species.

Don's presentation will highlight the “exuberance of life” that can be found in this habitat. He has been visiting vernal pools in the Halton Region for three decades to learn about the diverse and fascinating life they support.

Don Scallen is president of the Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club and writes a regular nature blog at http://www.inthehills.ca/blogs/notes-from-the-wild/. This spring, two of his articles on vernal pools will be published in Ontario Nature Magazine and a regional publication called In The Hills. Please join us for a great introduction to this fascinating topic.

Don't forget our annual outing to Marcy Woods on Sunday, April 30th. We will be looking for spring wildflowers and maybe the elusive Pileated Woodpecker. We might even hear frogs calling!

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The increasing conflict between human activities and the biosphere is unsustainable – the climate is changing, biodiversity is decreasing, habitats are being lost and most ecological systems have been significantly altered. If human society is going to prosper in the future, we must immediately adopt ecologically sustainable practices. In 2002 the U.N. Environmental Program proposed the "Melbourne Principles" as a guide to an equitable and sustainable future. In 2009 the Region of Niagara incorporated these principles into the Regional Policy Plan. The Bert Miller Nature Club is now asking that everyone in the environmental community become familiar with the Melbourne Principles and insist that they be applied in their communities as the standard of practice.

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