Happy November all!
We hope that you are all enjoying the turn of the seasons as winter begins to take hold across the country. For those already missing the warmer months and more bountiful biodiversity, we hope that this newsletter featuring the KBA Canada Photo Contest winners brings some comfort.
Since the end of summer, the KBA team has added over 20 KBAs to the KBA Canada registry, including sites like Fundy National Park KBA in New Brunswick, Minesing Wetlands KBA in Ontario, and Ivvavik National Park KBA in Yukon. New KBAs continue to be added every month, as KBA Canada pushes towards submitting proposals for all species-based KBAs in Canada by the end of 2024. For those interested in collaborating on or reviewing proposals for any Candidate KBAs – or even just staying in the loop on particular sites – please reach out to us.
For those interested in the results from the KBA Canada end-user assessment report, which was commissioned to help us better understand how KBA information is perceived and could be most effective in conservation and land use planning, a summary of findings will soon be available. Stay tuned for more details, and thank you to all who took the time to respond to join interviews or fill out the survey related to this end-user assessment over the summer and fall.
KBA team on the move
The last few months have been especially exciting for KBA Canada as team members led or attended several workshops and in-person meetings across the country. In mid-September, the Québec KBA team at Université de Sherbrooke, joined by WCS Canada’s KBA Technical Coordinator, Chloé Debyser, led a KBA expert workshop at les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Magdalen Islands). A few weeks later, Birds Canada KBA Coordinator, Amanda Bichel, and WCS Canada KBA Assessment and Outreach Coordinator, Peter Soroye, joined the Southwest Manitoba Priority Place Gathering led by Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. Later in October that same pair co-led a KBA workshop with the kihci-okâwîmâw askiy (Great Mother Earth) Knowledge Centre at University of Saskatchewan, with WCS KBA Indigenous Outreach Associate, Thomas Komarniski. October also saw Peter and WCS Canada’s Ontario KBA Coordinator, Robyn Rumney, join the Latournell Symposium at the Royal Botanical Gardens (which happens to be within the Dundas Valley to Cootes Paradise Candidate KBA). In November, KBA Canada Director, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne, joined the KBA team from BC Nature for a celebration of the Victoria Harbor Migratory Bird Sanctuary Centennial and a series of meetings with other KBA Canada partners and government about KBA identification and use in conservation decision-making. To round things off for the month, KBA Ecosystem Coordinator, Lucy Poley, joined an in-person workshop on Manitoba alvars, including a visit to the Marble Ridge Alvars Candidate KBA.
KBA Canada Photo Contest winners
The 2023 KBA Canada Photo Contest was a smashing success, collecting over 110 submissions from dozens of photographers. Submissions across the four contest categories – Fauna, Flora and Fungi, Landscapes and Scenery, and People and Conservation – truly showcased the incredible variety and beauty of KBAs across Canada. An enormous thank you to the many photographers who submitted entries, and to the judges at KBA Canada who were left with the enormous task of trying to pick favorites. For your enjoyment, we’ve collected here the top photos from each category. Visit our website for more details on the winning images, and keep an eye on the KBA Canada social media channels as we reveal the winners and (many!) amazing honorable mentions.
Fauna: 1st place photo – Master of the Marsh by Kris Cu
The Fauna category displayed the marvelous diversity and behaviors of wildlife within KBAs. Kris Cu’ delightfully composed photograph of an American Bittern stalking through a marsh captures a moment in life of a secretive vertebrate in the Fraser River Estuary KBA.
From Kris: “The American Bittern is the quintessential marsh bird: silent, secretive and stealthy. Early one morning at my local wetland in the Fraser River Estuary KBA, I quietly observed and photographed this bird on the hunt. I admired its patience and focus as it navigated carefully along the reeds.”
Flora and Fungi: 1st place photo – Solar-powered Moss by John Reynolds
More than any other category, the photos submitted to the Flora and Fungi were magical in their ability to transport viewers into the hidden worlds of traditionally over-looked species and places. John Reynold’ photo exemplified this, capturing the mesmerizing miniature world that exists within moss on a fence in the ƛ̓ÉXƏTƏM Candidate KBA.
From John: “This Common Pincushion moss was growing on a split rail fence at ƛ̓ÉXƏTƏM / Colony Farm Regional Park. The twinkling drops of water on their capsules caught my eye, and I took the photograph using natural light.”
Landscapes and Scenery: 1st place photo – Cypress Hills overlook by Katelyn Luff
Photos in the Landscapes and Scenery category captured the breathtaking landscapes, habitats, and scenic views within KBAs, perhaps capturing the character of each site better than any other category. Katelyn Luff’s winning photo of the gorgeous vista in Cypress Hills Candidate KBA invites onlookers into the scene, inspiring viewers to step into a world of soft pastel skies and verdant hills patched with wildflowers and pockets of forest.
From Katelyn: “View from the Conglomerate Cliffs in Cypress Hills Provincial Park, SK (proposed KBA).”
People and Conservation: 1st place photo – A close look at the Cardinal Divide by Amy Tucker
If a picture is worth 1000 words, submissions in the People and Conservation category were essays describing the efforts, initiatives and people dedicated to conserving (and enjoying!) KBAs in Canada. Amy Tucker’s photo of naturalist Patsy Cotterill examining a moss during a bioblitz in the Cardinal Divide (which overlaps with the Whitehorse Wildlands Candidate KBA and McLeod River Candidate KBA) does an excellent job of telling the story of the volunteers and experts whose expertise and passion form the backbone of the KBA program.
From Amy: “In July 2023, conservation-minded volunteers and organizations banded together for a bioblitz in the Cardinal Divide area to collect as many species observations as possible. Patsy Cotterill, pictured has been returning to this area for decades and led a small group of keen young people to learn about the area.”
We are always looking for more stories about KBAs and the fascinating species within them. If you have a story about a KBA or a potential KBA species that you’d like to share, write to us at KBA Canada.
As always, please get in touch if you have questions or if you want to learn more.
Canada Key Biodiversity Areas Assessment and Outreach Coordinator / Coordonnateur de l’évaluation et de la sensibilisation des zones clés pour la biodiversité