Media

The David Suzuki Foundation is regularly consulted by media on issues relating to sustainability and conservation. Our scientific and policy experts welcome requests. To reach a Foundation staff member for comment, media are urged to contact a communications specialist (listed on the right side of this page). If you wish to use content from this website, read our copyright and permissions page. Please see the press releases below for our latest news, reports and events.

Markham becomes Canada's first monarch-friendly city

April 12, 2016

Mayoral proclamation launches ambitious strategy to help monarch butterflies

MARKHAM, ON, April 12, 2016 — The City of Markham was officially declared as the first Canadian municipality to become a "Monarch-Friendly City". A special proclamation was unanimously passed by Markham's City Council earlier this week to raise awareness about the decline of the monarch butterfly and the species' need for habitat.

"Markham is proud to be a municipal leader undertaking this important initiative to support pollinator populations including monarch butterflies and bees," said Mayor Frank Scarpitti. "Three quarters of the food we eat depends on pollinators like monarch butterflies. The City of Markham has an important role to play in educating the public and supporting monarch habitats in our city parks, community gardens, natural spaces, municipal facilities and public lands."

The City of Markham's monarch initiative is supported by Markham City Council, which endorsed a series of actions including: launching a public outreach campaign; collaborating with local gardening and conservation groups; additional butterfly-friendly plantings on city properties; creation of the world's first municipal milkweed nursery; and encouraging residents to sign the David Suzuki Foundation's Monarch Manifesto.

"The City of Markham is setting an inspiring example for municipalities throughout the migratory range of the monarch butterfly," said Jode Roberts, manager of the David Suzuki Foundation's #gotmilkweed and Monarch Manifesto campaigns. "While this effort is aimed at helping monarchs, it will also support hundreds of other essential local pollinators — like wild bees, honeybees and butterflies — that call Markham home."

Council also directed staff to develop a City of Markham Bee Strategy to protect bees, and include exploring a Bee Proclamation and evaluate opportunities for honeybee hives within the City of Markham.

"This week's proclamation is another example of how we strive to protect and enhance the City of Markham's natural features and green spaces to bring us closer to our goal of building a sustainable community," said Chair of Markham's Environmental and Sustainability Committee, Valerie Burke, Ward 1 Councillor.

While the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico was 3.5 times higher this winter than last, populations have declined by more than 80 per cent over the past two decades. Underscoring the perils facing monarchs, a single snowstorm in early March killed up to 11 million monarchs before they left for their multigenerational journey back to Canada. A new study estimates the population has up to a 57 per cent chance of reaching "quasi-extinction" levels over the next 20 years.

This week, the David Suzuki Foundation launched its third annual #gotmilkweed campaign that encourages Canadians to plant milkweed in their yards, parks and schoolyards. The campaign has inspired more than 10,000 milkweed plantings in Toronto, with another 11,000 people across the country pledging to help monarchs via the Monarch Manifesto. All proceeds from #gotmilkweed support the David Suzuki Foundation's efforts to conserve monarchs and other pollinators through research, advocacy and innovative initiatives like the Homegrown National Park Project.

To download a copy of the report from staff, click here.

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti: fscarpitti@markham.ca or 905-475-4872
Media inquiries / interview requests: Dennis Flaherty, 905-415-7520 dflaherty@markham.ca
Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation: 647-456-9752; jroberts@davidsuzuki.org; @joderoberts

Province heeds science in commendable wolf and coyote hunt decision

April 5, 2016

Ontario, April 5, 2016 — The David Suzuki Foundation and Ontario Nature welcomed Ontario's decision yesterday to maintain current hunting regulations for Ontario's northern wolves and coyotes. In December, 2015, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry proposed to address declining moose populations by making it easier to kill wolves, removing any limit to the number of coyotes that could be killed by licensed hunters, and opening up the hunt to non-residents.

The David Suzuki Foundation, Ontario Nature and other organizations argued that science does not support predator control as a long-term, successful means of managing moose and other prey populations. "We are happy to see that the government has based its final decision on science and precaution," said Anne Bell, the Director of Conservation and Education at Ontario Nature. "Enlightened wildlife management calls for more than shot-in-the-dark solutions that unwisely target top predators like wolves and coyotes." There are many potential factors contributing to moose decline in Ontario in recent years. The one certain factor is hunting pressure by humans. Appropriately, the Province has been implementing changes to the hunting regime, and is seeking to better understand the causes of moose decline.

"We hope to have turned the page on this issue," said Rachel Plotkin, Ontario Science Projects Manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. "For centuries wolves and coyotes have been treated as vermin and problem animals when really they are linchpins in healthy, functioning ecosystems. They continue to be scapegoated and killed as a result of misguided management decisions. This has to change."

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation: 647-456-9752; jroberts@davidsuzuki.org
John Hassell, Ontario Nature; 416-786-2171; johnh@ontarionature.org

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Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. Ontario Nature is a charitable organization representing more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 150 member groups across Ontario. For more information, visit ontarionature.org.

The David Suzuki Foundation is a Canadian non-profit environmental organization dedicated to finding solutions through science-based research, public engagement and policy work. To find out more about the David Suzuki Foundation, visit www.davidsuzuki.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Got milkweed, Canada?

April 4, 2016

David Suzuki Foundation expands popular campaign to support monarch butterflies

TORONTO — The David Suzuki Foundation will encourage Canadians to plant milkweed in their yards, parks and schoolyards this spring with its third annual #gotmilkweed campaign, in support of dwindling migratory monarch butterfly populations.

"Monarch butterflies had a good winter, but they remain perilously close to extinction," said Jode Roberts, manager of the David Suzuki Foundation's Got Milkweed campaign and Toronto-based Homegrown National Park Project. "Planting milkweed and other pollinator-friendly plants in our gardens, schoolyards and parks is the best way citizens across the country can help bring them back."

While the number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico was 3.5 times higher this winter than last, populations have declined by more than 80 per cent over the past two decades. Underscoring the perils facing monarchs, a single snowstorm in early March killed up to 11 million monarchs before they left for their multigenerational journey back to Canada. A new study estimates the population has up to a 57 per cent chance of reaching "quasi-extinction" levels over the next 20 years.

"Milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and is the primary source of food for monarch caterpillars," said Roberts. "Scientists have identified milkweed planting as the most important action people can take to help support threatened monarch populations."

The online #gotmilkweed campaign offers three types of milkweed plants native to eastern Canada that can be purchased individually or as kits. For the first time, the sale also includes milkweed seed packets that will be mailed in early May. People living outside of the range of the eastern monarch population are encouraged to contribute $25 to the campaign, so the David Suzuki Foundation can plant milkweed on their behalf. The French version of the campaign can be found here.

The #gotmilkweed campaign has inspired more than 10,000 milkweed plantings in Toronto, with another 11,000 people across the country pledging to help monarchs via the Monarch Manifesto. All proceeds from #gotmilkweed will support the David Suzuki Foundation's efforts to conserve monarchs and other pollinators through research, advocacy and innovative initiatives like the Homegrown National Park Project.

For more information, please contact: Jode Roberts, David Suzuki Foundation: 647-456-9752; jroberts@davidsuzuki.org; @joderoberts

Budget 2016 contains many small steps, no large leap, on environment

March 22, 2016

The David Suzuki Foundation welcomed today's federal budget as the first in almost a decade that seriously commits funding to climate change and clean energy, habitat conservation and a healthy environment.

The David Suzuki Foundation welcomed today's federal budget as the first in almost a decade that seriously commits funding to climate change and clean energy, habitat conservation and a healthy environment.