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Kawartha Lakes looking to become a Bird Friendly City

DAN CEARNS The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes is taking a step towards becoming a ‘Bird Friendly City.’

The Bird Friendly City initiative was created by Nature Canada in 2019. At a meeting on Tuesday, October 10th, Autumn Jordan, an Urban Nature Organizer for Nature Canada, and Jamie Morris from the Kawartha Lakes Environmental Advisory Committee explained the initiative to councillors.

“It’s an action plan that municipalities of all sizes can take to help prevent key threats birds face in our built-in environments, as well as create a sense of community and local environmental stewards. There are currently 20 certified cities and towns as bird friendly in Canada,” Ms. Jordan stated.

She noted this program was created “after consultations with various stakeholders, municipal staff and other environmental non-government organizations.”

“Common backyard birds, migratory birds, and species at risk are all unfortunately in decline due to a variety of factors such as collisions with windows and vehicles, increased pesticide use, habitat loss, climate change and cats,” Ms. Jordan explained.

As a bird friendly city, Ms. Jordan said some of the steps the municipality can take include “creating and hosting relevant nature events such as World Migratory Bird Day” and “mitigating key threats to birds through progressive policies.”

One of the key pieces of information Ms. Jordan learned about the City of Kawartha Lakes is that “Kawartha Lakes has the highest population of Ospreys in North America.”

Mr. Morris stressed “there are no budgetary or financial implications for council” in seeking this designation.

“Clearly, council values the natural environment. An Osprey in flight represents [City of Kawartha Lakes] on signage and communications. The vision statement in council’s strategic plan is ‘thriving and growing communities within a healthy and natural environment.’ Habitat and ecosystem protection and enhancement is one of the goals in our Healthy Environment Plan,” Mr. Morris added.

As a benefit to the municipality, Mr. Morris said this designation could allow the municipality and local organizations to be eligible for more grant funding.

Ward 2 Councillor Pat Warren was in full support of the municipality becoming a ‘Bird Friendly City.’

“This is such an important initiative. I can’t stress it enough,” she said. “I think it’s just a win-win situation.”

Councillors later voted to “authorize the Bird Friendly Kawartha Lakes team to submit the certification application to Nature Canada to designate the City of Kawartha Lakes as a Bird Friendly City.” However, as the decision was made at a Committee of the Whole meeting, the decision still needs to be ratified at a council meeting later this month.

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