Aug 23: A Bee or not a Bee? Learn about the thousands of bee species in our environment

 

Jagged Ambush Bug, by Michelle Sharp

Jagged Ambush Bug, by Michelle Sharp

Saturday August 23rd, 11 am.

Without bees our ecosystem would collapse and humankind would perish, and yet few of us know much about the many species of bee which we rely on for pollination of the food we eat.

Laurence Packer is one North America’s foremost bee experts, and everywhere he travels, he discovers that bees are disappearing. The consequences of not taking action to protect them are frightening.

Packer will discuss the many myths about bees, and will help to identify the numerous species which inhabit the Urquhart Butterfly Garden. He will also go through the steps that all of us can take to protect and help to save these fascinating insects.

Did you know that only female bees sting, and that many bee species do not sting at all? Or that most bee species are not social and live solitary lives? Or that many of the insects we think of as bees are not bees at all? Laurence Packer is a hive of interesting bee facts.

Join this free workshop on Saturday August 23rd at 11 am. Please bring a chair. If it rains the session will be held in the Air Force Club next to the Garden.

This session is part of the UBG Summer Series

The Summer Series 2014 is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Aug 16: Guided Butterfly & Bird Identification Walk: Matt Mills

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye

Matt Mills is an experienced naturalist with a skill at identifying birds and butterflies. This is the second in a series of four Guided Walks with Matt.

Butterflies and birds change from week to week, and you never know what you might see. The Guided Walk takes about an hour and begins at 11am on Saturday August 16th . Please bring a chair. If it rains the walk will be cancelled.

This workshop is part of the UBG’s Summer Series.

The Summer Series is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation.

Dragonflies and their Kin: Brenda van Ryswyk

Dragonfly, July 1 2014, by Michelle Sharp

Dragonfly, July 1 2014, by Michelle Sharp

Saturday August 9th, 11am

Back by popular demand, Brenda van Ryswyk will host a workshop about dragonflies and damselflies as part of the UBG’s Summer 2014 Series.

Dragonflies and damselflies are powerful hunters, performing amazing feats of aerial agility to gobble up scores of smaller insects. Their life cycle is fascinating, beginning underwater before crawling to land, shedding their skins, and then taking to the air.

Due to the proximity of the Desjardins Canal, there is a great diversity of these creatures at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden. Brenda van Ryswyk is a well known local expert on both dragonflies and damselflies. In this session Brenda will show participants how to observe, identify and recognize some of the most common species in our area.

Bring your own chair if you can — last year, we didn’t have close to enough seats for Brenda’s excellent talk.

Part of the 2014 Summer Series

The Summer Series 2014 is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation

Aug 2: Guided Butterfly and Bird Identification Walk, with Matt Mills

Baltimore Checkerspot, by Mike Veltri

Baltimore Checkerspot, by Mike Veltri

Guided Butterfly & Bird Identification Walk: Matt Mills

Saturday August 2nd, 11am

Some butterflies are as big as your hand and others small as a fingernail. Some are drab and shy while others are bold and colourful, like the well-known Monarch butterfly.

It frequently takes an expert to determine exactly what species of butterfly is flitting past in search of a suitable mate or a host plant on which to deposit eggs. The abundance of both host plants and flowering nectar sources at the Garden has been key to successfully attracting butterflies.

The many shrubs at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden provide a home for nesting songbirds, while view of the the Desjardins Canal give visitors an opportunity to see herons, ducks and other water birds.

Matt Mills is an experienced naturalist with a skill at identifying birds and butterflies. The guided walk with Matt takes about an hour and begins at 11am on Saturday August 2nd. If it rains the walk will be cancelled.

This event is part of the UBG Summer Series.

The Summer Series is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation.

July 26: Insect Lives and Loves, with Jerry Bloom

Grasshopper, by Ron Rowan

Grasshopper, by Ron Rowan

Saturday July 26th, 11am, Rain or Shine

Jerry Bloom is a scientist and an educator. He has been a bug guy since the age of 4, with a lifelong emphasis on grasshoppers, as befits a native of Saskatchewan. “My grandmother never reconciled herself to the idea of my bringing grasshoppers into the house to watch television with me.” said Jerry. He went on to make a livelihood out of determining whether the grasshoppers might really have been capable of seeing the television. Now Bloom lives on a property in rural Flamborough, which he manages for maximum insects biodiversity.

There is a long list of insects that Jerry has worked with, including flesh flies and hissing cockroaches, and he is known to be one of the most knowledgeable entomologists in these parts.

The Urquhart Butterfly Garden plays host to a vast array of insects during the summer months. Jerry Bloom is coming to unlock their secrets for us at the free workshop on Saturday July 26th, 11am. Bringing a chair is recommended.

Part of the UBG Summer Series

The Summer Series 2014 is funded by the Dougher Fund of the Hamilton Community Foundation

Starting July 19th, UBG Summer Series

UBG Summer 2014 PosterThe Urquhart Butterfly Garden is excited to announce our 2014 Summer Series. Starting July 19th, we will be hosting workshops with experienced naturalists and guided bird and butterfly ID walks in the garden with Matt Mills.

Matt’s free Guided Butterfly and Bird Identification Walks will begin Saturday August 2nd at 11am and continue every second Saturday: August 2nd, 16th, and 30th, and September 13th. Matt is an experienced naturalist and public educator, and many people who attended his walks last year can attest that he’s great at opening our eyes to the huge diversity of life that exists alongside us in Dundas and Hamilton.

 

The free public workshops will cover a range of subjects and will occur on alternating Saturdays starting July 19th at 11am.

July 19: Butterfly Gardening for Everyone! From backyards to balconies

July 26: Insect Lives and Loves: Find out about the insects around you

August 9: Dragonflies and their Kin

August 23: A Bee or Not a Bee? Learn about the thousands of bee species in our environment

Sept 6: Plant & Herb Lore and Bird Calling

Want updates and reminders about these events as the summer goes on? Follow us on facebook.

July 19: Butterfly Gardening for Everyone: From backyards to balconies

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly Speyeria cybele, by Ron Rowan

Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly Speyeria cybele, by Ron Rowan

On July 19th at 11am at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden, Dundas, Matt Mills will be discussing Butterfly Gardening for Everyone: from Backyards to Balconies.

Matt has been interested in butterflies and their habits for almost 20 years, and has a great deal of knowledge about gardening for butterflies. He specializes in the use of native pl;ants to attract pollinators but will also discuss valuable cultivated varieties.

No space is too small for butterfly gardening – provided it gets some afternoon sun” said Matt. “Not everyone has the space to grow a garden of native plants and shrubs, but there are many compact annuals which are highly attractive to butterflies and can be grown in containers and window boxes.” He continued, “However, it is important to be very selective because some flowers smell and look terrific but do not provide the nectar which pollinators require”.

Get the scoop on butterfly gardening from an expert on Saturday July 19th, 11 am, at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden, Dundas.

Butterflies need all the help we can give them.

Announcing the UBG Photo Competition!

Photo Contest PosterThis summer, we invite you to participate in the Urquhart Butterfly Garden (UBG) Photo Contest. Take your camera for a walk in the garden and share your best photos with us. We especially invite youth to participate. Courtesy of Burlington Camera, we have two cameras available for loan to groups or individuals who need them, just contact us at urquhartbutterfly@gmail.com to arrange for a time.

Entry categories:
1 – Butterflies and moths
2 – Insects, Spiders, and Bugs,
3 – Birds and Other Wildlife
4 – Plants and Flowers

Entrants:
Youth 10 – 17
Adult 18+
Please read on for contest details and how to enter.

Awards:
First Prize in Butterfly Category $100 cash
Other First Prizes Gift Certificates to value of $100
Second Prizes Gift Certificates to value of $50

Awards courtesy of:
First Ontario Credit Union; the Hamilton Conservation Authority; Royal Botanical Gardens; Canadian Tire Dundas & others.

Award Ceremony and Exhibit:
The Award Ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday September 20, 2014 at the Air Force Club on King Street East in Dundas. There will be an exhibition of the photographs for three days prior to the ceremony and 3 days afterwards.

Judges:
Sandy Bell Conservation Authority; Julie Bridger, Dundas Valley School of Art; Cathie Coward, Hamilton Spectator, Hamilton.

Judging criteria will include:
originality; composition; artistic merit & technical skill

Photo Contest RulesRules:
– Photos must be taken from the paths of the Urquhart Butterfly Garden between July 5, 2014 & August 30, 2014
– Photos are to be submitted without any digital editing beyond cropping, adjustments to exposure, sharpness, and minor colour correction.
– Entries must be received no later than August 30, 2014
– 2 photos per category (maximum 8)
– The Urquhart Butterfly garden reserve the right to use the photographs, with credit, on our web site, in an exhibition, and finalists may be published in the local newspapers. Images remain the copyright of the photographer

To enter:
In body of email include the following information: Name; Address; Telephone number; Age (if 17 or under); Date and time of day each photo was taken; plus please make a concerted effort to identify the species which is the subject of each photograph.

Entries must be received by email as digital files at urquhartbutterfly@gmail.com no later than midnight August 30.

Photos should be:
a) jpeg format
b) maximum horizontal size 1800 pixels and minimum horizontal size 1200 Pixels
c) maximum vertical size 1200 pixels and minimum vertical size 800 pixels
d) minimum resolution set at 200 ppi
f) maximum of 5mb in size

Good Luck!

 

2014 Summer Programming in the Garden

Surprised Eastern Chipmunk, by Michelle Sharp

Surprised Eastern Chipmunk, by Michelle Sharp

Building on the success of last year’s Summer Education Series, this year, the Urquhart Butterfly Garden will be hosting two exciting programs: A photography contest and a series of nature interpretation walks. The interpretive program will begin in July, while the photography contest will begin on June 15th. We will be releasing more details as the season advances, but for now here’s a taste of what’s to come:

The interpretive walks will be led by Matt Mills, a skilled naturalist and public educator based in Dundas, and other naturalists who will focus on particular themes, such as Dragonflies or Spiders. The UBG is quite compact but very diverse, making it an ideal site for discovery without requiring much walking.

The photography contest seeks to build on and highlight the community of photographers who have already made the UBG a popular destination for their craft. There will be two divisions, adults and youth under 18, each with three categories: butterflies, other insects (spiders, centipedes, and such included), and birds. A first and second prize will be awarded in each category, and photos will be displayed in September.

Keep checking back here for more details on these programs! You can also get updates on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Urquhart-Butterfly-Garden/677434358948946

A New Season in the Garden

Baltimore Checkerspot, by Michelle Sharp

Baltimore Checkerspot, by Michelle Sharp

As the soil thaws after a long, harsh winter, a new season is beginning in the Urquhart Butterfly Garden. We are excited to build on the success of last year’s Summer Education Series and to welcome even more people to the garden this year to meet the plants and creatures that call it home.

One of those creatures, the Baltimore Checkerspot, is being celebrated on the front cover of The Wood Duck, the journal of the Hamilton Naturalists Club. This rare little butterfly was spotted in the garden for the first time last year. The photograph of the Baltimore Checkerspot on this post was taken by Michelle Sharp, whose work is also featured in the Wood Duck.

This issue of the Wood Duck also includes the results of the 2013 butterfly study, detailing the which butterflies were seen when and where in the city last year. Look for Michelle’s amazing picture of an American Snout taken in the UBG this past October! The full issue of the Wood Duck is available for download at the HNC website: http://hamiltonnature.org/publications/wood-duck/

We’ll be posting updates here about sightings and programing in the garden, so keep checking back. Or find us on Facebook!