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photo courtesy of Gerry Clements

Carolinian Canada Launches Elgin Natural Heritage Inventory: Time to Count Your Turtles, Toads and Tulip trees! Spring is a time to delight in the bright splashes of colour, the crisp air filled with song, and the feeling of life seeping back into the landscape. Our environment appears to take a collective stretch, shake off the winter blues, and turn its face to the sunshine. It is against this backdrop that Carolinian Canada is launching the Elgin Natural Heritage Inventory. This is an invitation to everyone to get outside, explore the County, and contribute to an important initiative by helping to record Elgin's rich diversity of plants and animals.

"We aim to increase our knowledge of rare species and habitats. But every observation will help. Just getting people looking will undoubtedly generate a lot of interesting records!" says Jarmo Jalava, Carolinian Canada's Director of Ecosystem Recovery.

The project is a priority because most species records in Elgin are more than 30 years out of date. Carolinian Canada and partners including the Thames Talbot Land Trust, Ontario Nature, Elgin Federation of Agriculture, Elgin County and local conservation authorities made this discovery while working on a Conservation Action Plan for Elgin.

As with other successful "citizen science" initiatives, community members will be critical in collecting information. Data will then be used by our partners to track species and make sound conservation decisions.

Anyone interested in nature can help. Carolinian Canada has developed a detailed Participant Guide and appointed local coordinators. "Our Guide will help the average person know what to look for, where and when to look, what information to collect and how to submit it," explains Jalava.

The full Guide is available to registered participants. For more information, to register, or see highlights from the Guide, visit Carolinian Canada's website, www.carolinian.org or email ElginNHI@carolinian.org. Join our mailing list to keep informed of all upcoming events, including Elgin Inventory workshops.

The West Elgin Nature Club, St. Thomas Field Naturalists, and Otter Valley Field Naturalists are active partners and will provide more information about the Inventory at upcoming meetings - all are welcome. Join a Club to connect with local experts, explore nature and meet others participating in the project.

The Carolinian Canada team would like to acknowledge the generous assistance provided by the Government of Ontario, as well as the support of our numerous partners.


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