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Articles by Jill Sturdy

Jill has been working to protect wilderness and wildlife for more than a decade. Jill holds a BSc in Environmental and Conservation Sciences, with a major in Conservation Biology from the University of Alberta. She first became involved with CPAWS as a volunteer in university, and in 2001, joined the staff at CPAWS-Northern Alberta. Originally from Edmonton, Jill moved to Ottawa in 2005 to work at the CPAWS National Office. She became actively engaged in nation-wide campaigns, including CPAWS campaign to protect the South Nahanni watershed in an expanded national park reserve, and even had the incredible opportunity to paddle the mighty Nahanni! As the National Conservation Coordinator, Jill works closely with the CPAWS chapters across the county to protect Canada's wilderness and wildlife, including protecting Canada's Boreal Forest and woodland caribou.

A Lorax at heart, Jill is dedicated to protecting all things wild. Now, as a new mom, she hopes to instill the wonder of nature in her young son. Jill lives south of Ottawa with her son and partner.

Species at Risk: The Greater Sage Grouse

I love the Prairies. Maybe it’s because I’m a prairie girl – you have to be from the prairies to really appreciate them. Maybe it’s the vibrant colours: the straw-coloured fields contrasted against the stark transition to the big (huge) open blue sky that seems to go on forever. Whatever it is, the prairies leave a strong mark in my heart whenever I go back. To me, the Prairies are synonymous with Grasslands, a critically important ecosystem for many vulnerable species, including the highly endangered (and very unique) greater sage-grouse. North America’s largest grouse species, sage-grouse may be most known for their courtships. Males perform spectacular courtships in leks as they strut and fan out their long black and white pointy tails and inflate their throats making a popping noise.

Species at Risk: Debunking the bat myth

Although it may appear that some bats, like the little brown bat we found in the CPAWS office, are abundant, many bat species are actually declining at quite a drastic rate. Take for example the tri-coloured bat, a species whose population levels have been on a harsh decline recently. Although not yet listed under the federal Species at Risk Act, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has issued an emergency assessment of the species and has designated it as endangered given its rapid decline in population size.

Species at Risk: The Leatherback Sea Turtle

I love turtles – especially sea turtles. My favourite is the Leatherback – the largest of all turtles and the world’s largest reptile. They are unfortunately critically endangered globally, and Canada is no exception. Both the Atlantic and Pacific populations in Canada are listed as endangered under the federal Species at Risk Act.

Why a strong federal endangered species law matters

Currently, most, but not all, Canadian provinces and territories have an endangered species law, but the strength of these laws and how effectively they protect species and their habitats varies across the country. As we all know, wildlife don’t recognize provincial boundaries, so it is important to have a consistent standard that applies across the country with strong measures to protect at risk plants and animals, and the habitat they need to thrive. It doesn’t make sense for protection measures to change when a caribou or other at-risk animal crosses a provincial border.

Celebrating Parks Day One Hike at a Time

July 21st is Canada’s annual Parks Day – a day to celebrate our beloved parks. Canada is blessed with amazing and wonderfully diverse parks across the country, many of which I’ve had the opportunity to explore. Some of my favourite park moments include hiking in Alberta’s Wilmore Wilderness Park, paddling the mighty Nahanni, taking a break from canoeing and relaxing on a sun-kissed rock in Algonquin, and swimming in Meech Lake in Gatineau Park, just to name a few.

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