World Migratory Bird Day brings awareness and education to the need to protect migratory birds and their habitat – at all different levels, in all parts of the world. Here at the Greenbelt Foundation we recognize the importance of protecting nature for all flora and fauna and strive to work with organizations dedicated to protecting our natural heritage.
As nice as it would be to just lay a blanket protection over all nature in Ontario (and the world), we recognize the need to tackle this issue with a multi-stakeholder, science-based approach. Working with other stakeholders brings a more complex and thorough understanding of the issues being tackled in environmental protection to the forefront of land use and planning.
The best example of the Greenbelt Foundation’s constant dedication to preserving our natural heritage systems is the success of the Cootes to Escarpment Paradise. A past grantee this EcoPark system is also a World Biosphere Reserve that contains land that is now managed by nine different organizations.
How does this tie into World Migratory Bird Day?
Well, what makes this land significant for our migrating birds is the fact that it contains the Cootes Paradise Marsh. A 320-hectare river-mouth marsh with glacial plateaus, 16 creeks, and 25km of shoreline, it’s considered to be one of the most important migratory waterfowl staging habitats on the lower Great Lakes and holds the designation as an Important Bird Area of National Significance. Here you can see species like the Least Bittern, Caspian Tern, Merlin Hawk, Indigo Buntings, White Pelican and more as they fly to warmer weather in the winter or return home in the spring.
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The vision for this park was based on the understanding that to protect our natural world we need to take a systems approach and the result speak for itself. Our birds now have a permanently protected space to migrate too, giving them a place to rest and nest, and an opportunity for all people to enjoy, learn, and discover the wildlife we have at home. The diverse and unique areas of the Greenbelt hold many treasures and pleasant surprises, all worth cherishing and protecting.