Photo by Yves Aubry ECCC
From Arctic breeding grounds to the farthest tip of South America, this bird has one of the longest voyages in the animal kingdom. Now, decline of habitat and a key food source on the trip are making the endangered species’ travels even more hazardous. Canadian-U.S. researchers are going along for the virtual ride to learn how to help.
Continue reading . . .
Western Sandpiper slurping up biofilm that appears critical for their migration to Alaska. Photo by Tomohiro Kuwae
By MARGARET MUNRO — Special to The Globe and Mail
A proposed port expansion south of Vancouver has the “potential for significant adverse effects” on migratory birds that stream north from South and Central America en route to their breeding grounds in Alaska, according to the federal environment department.
Western sandpipers, which touch down on the Fraser River delta in the spring to feed on energy-rich “biofilm” on the tidal mudflats, are most at risk and could suffer “species-level consequences,” says a submission from Environment and Climate Change Canada to the panel reviewing the $2-billion Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project. Continue reading . ..
By Margaret Munro, TheTyee.ca
The Scouts are working up a sweat digging holes for young cedars and vine maples, while the Starbucks baristas are on their knees planting ferns.
The “rewilding” of Everett Crowley Park, in the southeast corner of Vancouver, aims to make more space for wild things in the city’s increasingly concrete landscape. Or, as the [Vancouver] park board recently said, the project is part of its “vision for an urban environment in harmony with nature.”
It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely place.
Everett Crowley Park, which the board now describes as a “biodiversity hotspot,” is home to one of the most abused chunks of real estate in Vancouver – the old city dump. Continue reading . . .
Vancouver has lost hundreds of hectares of canopy in just two decades.
The logging crew made short work of the forest, tearing down the trees, yanking out the roots and feeding the branches — just coming into bud — into a shredder.
The forest, clearcut this spring to make way for the massive River District development in southeast Vancouver, was a wild tangle of cottonwoods and shrubs that made ideal habitat for woodpeckers, chickadees and hummingbirds.
The birds scattered as the trees fell. And migrating songbirds, such as the yellow warblers featured in the River District’s promotional materials, now arriving in “bird friendly” Vancouver will have to look elsewhere for food and nesting sites. Continue reading . . .
Scientists rallied on Parliament Hill on Sept. 16, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick CP)
By MARGARET MUNRO, Special to The Globe and Mail
As prime-minister-designate Justin Trudeau and his Liberals take control of the federal government, Ottawa’s media managers are sure to line up to defend the virtues of media control. After almost 10 years under Stephen Harper, the managers have honed the art of controlling and blocking access to federal researchers, crafting “media lines” that seldom answer the questions asked and frustrating journalists.
Mr. Trudeau has vowed to reopen the lines of communication and take the “muzzle” off federal scientists. Even a modest improvement in communication would be welcome. But a return to more open government will require not only new policy, but also a new mindset in the bureaucracy the Conservatives have left behind. Continue reading . . .
Outreach nurse Jacey Larochelle searches Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside to check up on HIV-positive clients.
(Rafal Gerszak for the globe and mail)
VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail
One afternoon last week, CDs, clothes, tools – as well as sex and drugs – were for sale on the sidewalks of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, the pungent scent of marijuana hanging in the air and stench of urine wafting out of alleys.
Outreach nurse Jacey Larochelle strolled through the crowd looking for one of her 27 clients who are HIV-positive. Many of them are “polydrug” users with mental health issues and several are in the “survival sex trade” making as little a “$5 for a blow job,” she says. They can earn a bit more if they don’t insist on condom use.
Larochelle connects her clients with social workers and support staff, who can help with housing, transportation and financial problems, and direct them to addiction treatment programs that dispense methadone at neighbourhood pharmacies.
But her prime objective is to get her clients onto antiretroviral therapy. The potent medications, if taken once a day, can stop HIV’s assault on the immune system that eventually leads to AIDS, which is deadly. And they can prevent virus from spreading to their sex partners. Continue reading . . .