Give a ‘hoot and howl’ for wildlife

As part of a Feb. 9 workshop, Scarborough residents were encouraged to mimic owl and coyote calls in the name of environmental preservation.

The workshop, Hoot and Howl, was hosted by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) at Curran Hall Community Centre.

Zoologist Erin Bullis, 26, has hosted this event for the past three years. She uses the workshop to raise awareness about dwindling wildlife populations, and species living in both Morningside Park and Highland Creek.

“We figure out what style of event and what topic might work best for this community,” she said. “We are looking for an event to draw some people out of this neighbourhood and engage them in the environment, and educate them about some species.”

One of the lessons Bullis uses is owl calling, where participants go outdoors and make hooting noises. She uses the event to educate participants about possible environmental issues the area is facing, as well as wildlife in the area.

According to TRCA employee Keri McMahon, the reason the association finds the conservation of parks, such as Morningside Park, so important is because wildlife and green space has seen a sharp decline.

“The number of plant and animal species that originally existed here has decreased dramatically due to urbanization,” she said.

McMahon suggested disconnecting downspouts and planting shrubs as some ideas to help maintain the city’s ecosystem. She said too much storm water can damage existing pipes and cost residents more money in the long run for maintenance work.

Both Bullis and McMahon host these workshops across the GTA, to help residents preserve the envionment.