Every fall and winter, Nature Manitoba offers a series of indoor presentations featuring guest speakers on relevant, local, nature-related topics.
They are usually on Monday evenings at 7:30pm, and take place at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre (340 Provencher Blvd) on the second floor (Salle Antoine-Gaborieau). Admission is only $3 ($2 for members).
The best reason to get off the couch and learn something new!
Monday, January 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm.
Presented by John Morgan, Prairie Habitats, Inc.
Donated to the Canadian Department of National Defence in 1911 by Sir Henry Pallot, the St. Charles Ranges became a training centre for soldiers heading to the battlefields of WWI, WWII, Korea and Afghanistan. This little known 400+ hectare gem with a view of Winnipeg's skyline has been completely protected by military personnel for over a century. The St. Charles Ranges is the largest tall grass prairie remaining in the central Red River Valley. Several biological studies have been undertaken there, with vegetation and wildlife data dating back to the 1870’s. This includes some of Canada’s first aerial photo vegetation maps from 1929, insect species new to science and nearly 200 native plants. Biologist John Morgan will reveal the fascinating history of this amazing site, and tell us about its uncertain future, as development plans threaten its very existence.
Monday, January 19, 2015 at 7:30 pm.
Presented by Dr. Robert Currie, Professor and Head, Dept. of Entomology, University of Manitoba
Honey bees and some other pollinators have suffered high rates of population loss since 2006. While the problem has been extensively investigated, no single factor has been identified that can explain all instances of colony losses. Multiple factors are believed to be involved, including inability to control parasitic mites, viruses and other pathogens, nutrition, pesticides (both environmentally applied and beekeeper applied) and unpredictable environmental conditions. In this presentation, I will discuss the most critical factors affecting honey bees and native pollinators in Manitoba.
Monday, February 2, 2015 at 7:30 pm.
Presented by Dr. Steve Ferguson, Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans (Freshwater Institute, University of Manitoba)
The Arctic ice-free season has increased in area and duration providing killer whales with an expanding arena for predation. A research group called “Orcas of the Canadian Arctic” set out to understand this change. Initially we compiled a database to document the historical occurrence, distribution, feeding ecology, and seasonality of killer whales in the region. Sighting reports, anecdotal evidence, Inuit traditional ecological knowledge, and photographic identification indicated that killer whale occurrence is increasing. Killer whales fitted with satellite transmitters showed that the whales moved from bay to inlet during the summer while feeding on bowhead, beluga, and narwhal whales. The tagged whales left the Arctic region prior to heavy ice formation in the fall. Tissue analysis showed differences between killer whales from the Arctic and Atlantic regions. Atlantic killer whales fed on both marine mammals and fish, whereas Arctic killer whales preyed upon whales and seals but not fish. Prey use different strategies to minimize the risk of being eaten by killer whales. In response, killer whales have learned specific attack methods for each of their prey. As the Arctic warms, the bowhead, beluga, and narwhal whales are at risk from increasing predation by killer whales. Is this how the Arctic will be transformed?
Monday, March 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm.
Presented by Randy Mooi, Curator of Zoology at the Manitoba Museum
(* Date and Program Change: This Discovery Evening was originally scheduled for March 2, but will now take place on March 9th.)
September 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (ectopistes migratorius). In the mid-1800's, the species was considered the commonest bird in North America, with population estimates as high as five billion: flocks are famously described as darkening the sky and breeding colonies numbered in the tens of millions. Yet within 50 years, they had disappeared from the wild. Although Manitoba did not host massive breeding colonies, the scanty historical accounts include mention of massive flocks.. How common was it here? Where did it breed? When did it disappear? What physical evidence of the species is there for the province? What role did Manitobans play in its disappearance? Join Dr Randy Mooi on a sleuthing expedition as he tracks down the history of the Passenger Pigeon in Manitoba.
Monday, March 16, 2015 at 7:00 pm.
Presented by Christian Artuso, Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas Coordinator
(NOTE: Presentation to follow A.G.M. which starts at 7 pm)
From 2010 to 2014, over 1,000 skilled and dedicated volunteers travelled to almost every corner of Manitoba in an unparalleled effort to complete a comprehensive survey of the distribution and relative abundance of all bird species that breed in the province. This volunteer army donated over 40,000 hours of survey effort and completed over 36,000 point counts, summing to a staggering total of over 300,000 records of 299 species, including five species confirmed as breeding in Manitoba for the first time. These data will redefine our understanding of many Manitoba birds. We will discuss some of the highlights and interesting findings and swap a story or two of the many trials and tribulations along the route to this extraordinary success.