Celebrating National Wildlife Week: Owls and More at JDI

April 8, 2013:  Company Marks Increase of Almost 600 Conservation Sites as Part of Its Unique Areas Program since 2011.

National Wildlife Week raises awareness about the importance of wildlife, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity throughout Canada.  To celebrate the week, people are encouraged to go outside and discover the biodiversity in their neighborhood.

John Gilbert, J.D. Irving, Limited’s Fish and Wildlife Biologist, believes maintaining biodiversity is essential in growing healthy forests.  “The data gained from the annual owl surveys starting next week is a great asset to our best practices in managing all the values in the forest,” said Gilbert.

While understanding owl populations is important, JDI’s commitment to bird habitats goes much further.  Today in New Brunswick, Maine, and Nova Scotia, 217 conservation areas on JDI-managed land have been set aside for bird habitat.  In total, JDI has over 1150 sites in its Unique Areas conservation program – an increase of almost 600 sites since 2011 and a 700% growth since the program first began almost 20 years ago.   

For JDI Woodlands employees, national wildlife week marks a longstanding event on the annual forestry calendar.  Each year during the month of April and the first two weeks of May, volunteers like JDI Woodlands employees and staff with Bird Studies Canada perform the annual Atlantic Canada Nocturnal Owl Survey, during which they monitor breeding owl populations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.  With help from Bird Studies Canada’s training materials, the volunteers keep track of the number and species of the various owls that answer the recorded calls played on portable CD players.

The goals of the program are as follows:
-Obtain information on distribution and relative abundance of nocturnal owls in the Maritimes
-Collect information that will assist with estimating population trends of nocturnal owls at provincial, regional, and continent-wide scales
-Determine habitat associations of nocturnal owls

The owl count information provided by Bird Studies Canada is important long-term data that is useful in informing JDI where there might be high concentrations of certain species of owls.  JDI field staff undergo annual environmental training regarding which species of owls and what specific habitats they might encounter during forestry operations.

Kelly Honeyman is a Naturalist with J.D. Irving, Limited in Saint John, NB.  He has done the owl survey every year since the program started in 2001.  He says the owl survey is a great opportunity for a family outing.  “For my kids, spring hasn’t officially arrived until we begin owling,” said Honeyman.  “This night-time adventure is always an exciting time for my family.  Whether we simply hear the owls calling back to us, or they begin “swooping” us during the monitoring, there are a lot of great memories created on nights like that.”

Anyone interested in participating in the owl survey or finding out more about owl monitoring in Atlantic Canada can contact Holly Lightfoot at 506-364-5185 or at bsc_atlantic@bsc-eoc.org.

CONTACT:
Geoff Britt
(506) 648-2609
Britt.geoff@jdirving.com