GOLD

Bea Laporte & LauraNAME: Beatrice Laporte
LOCATION: Merrickville, Ontario, CANADA
AWARD DATE: March 21, 2011

ANIMALS

  • MAMMALS

  1. Raccoon Procyon lotor
  2. Snowshoe Hare Lepus americanus
  3. North American Beaver Castor canadensis
  4. Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus
  5. Meadow Vole Microtus pennsylvanicus
  • BIRDS

  1. Osprey Pandion haliaetus
  2. Canada Geese Branta canadensis
  3. Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum
  4. Ruby Throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
  5. American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
  6. Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
  7. Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
  8. Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
  9. European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
 

REMARKS ON THE FIVE SPECIES
OF MOST INTEREST TO BEA:

The Blanding’s Turtle was my best find because this species of turtle is a “species at risk” here in Ontario and is considered to be endangered or threatened throughout its range. Habitat fragmentation and destruction as well as the fact that it can take them up to 25 years to be able to reproduce, are a few of the difficulties this turtle faces. I feel very fortunate to have crossed paths with one. For more information on the Blanding’s Turtle you can go to Nature Canada’s website  and read their profile, which also features my picture.

Photographing butterflies and moths has now become my passion! Last summer I kept seeing Red Admiral butterflies fluttering around my home, but every time I tried to get close with my camera, I would get within three feet and they would fly away. And often as I was walking away in frustration, another one of these pretty butterflies would fly close by, like it was teasing me, and I was off again. After about two weeks of unfruitful attempts there came a day that I was determined to make that the day I would finally get a picture. I began working on my yard, gathering branches and sticks off my lawn and putting them into our fire pit, and that’s when I spotted the next Red Admiral which after fluttering by decided to land right on my chest, right there beneath my nose! There wasn’t a thing I could do with my camera around my waist and my hands full, so all I did was take a good, close look. But later that day, one of these pretty butterflies took pity on me and allowed me to have a photo session with it.

Photographing a Snowshoe Hare was quite exciting because I would often flush them out when I was walking through the woods, and I didn’t even know they were there until they made that dash to safety, stomping their feet loudly as they raced away, so catching a shot of one seemed almost impossible. Until I came upon one who seemed as curious of me as I was of him, so he paused long enough for me to snap a picture before he darted away like all the others.

Spiders are something that I never really paid much attention to, until I started photographing them. That’s when I discovered their eight eyes, hairy bodies and fangs kind-of creeped me out and that I actually had a little bit of arachnophobia. At the same time these little creatures fascinated me, seemingly as aware and frightened of me as I was aware and wary of them. I also discovered that spiders can actually have very beautiful patterns.

One fine day in June a friend of mine took me to see some Moccasin Flowers (or Pink Lady's Slippers) that grew on the forest floor in a conservation area not far from where I live. They grew under White Pine trees, spread across large areas, so many of them in some places that you needed to watch where you were putting your feet while photographing them. What a feeling to behold these beautiful pink jewels of the forest floor that I didn’t even know were there until a thoughtful friend brought me to see them to share in their wonder.

BEA'S ESSAY:

I’ve learned that the diversity of organisms just in my own backyard is absolutely incredible! It never ceases to amaze me to think that we all had the same beginning; that we all evolved from the same spark of life and branched off into such distinct and assorted life forms, filling in every niche were life is possible, and even in some places seemingly impossible to support life.

I’ve learned that all living things exist together in a tangled web of dependency, with every organism relying on other organisms to keep them alive. I now can understand that if enough species on earth become extinct it would break the chain of dependency causing a collapse of those ecosystems.

Healthy plant and animal species are the basics of healthy ecosystems, and humans depend on ecosystems to supply food, purify the air and cleanse the water; basically everything we need to survive! When species become at risk, it is a sign that the ecosystem is collapsing and the health of these absolutely vital ecosystems are in danger. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that losing one plant species can trigger the loss of up to 30 other insect, plant and higher animal species.”is what I’ve read.

Here are some ways we all can help: Recycle, reduce and reuse. Use public transportation, walk or ride your bike. Recycle old clothes, books, toys, etc. by donating them. Turn off electrical devices when not using them. Bring your own bags to the store. Plant a tree. Put out a birdfeeder/birdbath/birdhouse in your yard. Compost. Avoid using harmful chemicals in your home or yard. Plant native plants in your garden instead of non-native and this will attract native > birds, butterflies and other insects, maybe even some endangered ones. Learn more about endangered species. Share your knowledge with others. And remember… together we can make a difference.

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