Event: Nature Smarts DiscoverEstevan.com
Partners invited to host nature-based events this fall in celebration of trees, bees, butterflies, and nature in our city.
The City of Austin’s Urban Forest Program has begun preparing for the 5th Annual Roots & Wings Festival and invites area nonprofits, City partners and other community groups to participate in this combined celebration of Arbor Day and Monarch Appreciation Day.
Area nature enthusiasts are encouraged to apply to host a Roots & Wings community event. This two-week festival, which is free to participants, offers many opportunities to bring the festival close to home and connect communities. Multiple City of Austin departments and external partners support this annual event. This year’s Roots & Wings Festival will focus on amplifying the efforts of the diverse organizations that help connect the Austin community with nature.
“This year, we’re excited to support events planned by organizations across our community,” said Emily King, the City of Austin’s Urban Forester. “By moving fully into this model, we know that the Roots & Wings Festival will have a greater reach and stronger cultural significance, allowing more of our Austin neighbors to reap the many benefits nature provides.”
Funding is available to help support community-led programming. Additional resources, such as marketing and programmatic support, are available to all accepted applicants. To be eligible for participation and potential funding, partners must submit completed applications by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 5. Learn more about funding to help support community-led programming here.
Participating organizations must plan to host events between Saturday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Nov. 5, and proposed events must align with the Festival’s mission of “celebrating Arbor Day and Monarch Appreciation Day and connecting all members of our community to nature by advancing equitable access.” Organizations that traditionally do not offer nature-based programming and those who work with communities in high-priority zones identified in the Community Tree Priority Map are strongly encouraged to apply.
Throughout its brief history, the Roots & Wings Festival has sought to better connect Austinites to trees, pollinators and nature. This year’s festival holds extra significance, occurring months after Austin earned its certification as a Bee City USA Affiliate, recognizing our community’s commitment to conserving pollinators.
Potential participants with questions can contact Jess Wright, Roots & Wings Festival Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chilliwack’s Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve celebrates 20 years with free event – Chilliwack Progress
The folks at Chilliwack’s Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve are getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the wetlands.
Back in 2002, folks flocked to the grand opening of the reserve and the Rotary Interpretive Centre, and on June 23, organizers are hoping to draw another big crowd to mark the past two decades.
“We’ve achieved an awful lot in the last 20 years. It’s well-loved and well-used,” said executive director Camille Coray.
She said the events planned for that day are coming together nicely.
The free event runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 23 where there will be guided walks, a bannock truck, tables and displays by several local conservation organizations, and a formal program.
There will be two guided walks during each of the following time slots: 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The formal program, which goes from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., will include a welcome and introductions from the Indigenous community, the City of Chilliwack, Environmental and Climate Change Canada, and the Rotary Club of Chilliwack, followed by keynote speaker, Dr. Carin Bondar, speaking on the importance of wetlands.
“It’s an opportunity for people who were involved at the beginning to continue to be involved,” Coray said.
It was May 15, 2002 when the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve and the Rotary Interpretive Centre officially opened.
“Welcome to the public opening of this wonderful reserve,” said then-mayor Clint Hames, as a heron flew high overhead. “I think this will become one of the most-visited places in the Lower Mainland.”
Since May 2002, a total of 353,300 people have come through the doors of the interpretive centre.
Larry Stinson with the Rotary Club of Chilliwack was also at the grand opening 20 years ago and is expected to be at the anniversary celebration on June 23.
“It gives me great pleasure to complete Rotary’s gift to this nature reserve by presenting the Rotary Viewing Tower, which will allow viewing without causing any disturbance,” Stinson said in 2002.
Back then, about 90 to 100 heron nests were nestled high in the trees. Today, staff and volunteers have counted about 60 nest, but there’s likely more, Coray said.
Each active nest has two adult herons and about three to five eggs. There’s about a 60 per cent mortality rate for the chicks, which means about one to two chicks per nest will survive.
“The babies are very loud even though you can’t see them,” Coray said. “You can just hear them chittering non-stop. They’re definitely being territorial.”
Back in 2002, herons were blue-listed meaning it’s a species of “special concern.” Coray said that hasn’t changed over the past 20 years as the birds are still blue-listed.
The interpretive centre will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on June 23 and all proceeds from the gift shop that day will be put toward the creation of a 24-by-36-foot education pavilion/covered picnic area that will hopefully be built at the reserve in the next couple of years.
Once built, the pavilion will be surround with lots of interpretive signage that will cover the history and ecology of the area, including information on Indigenous communities.
The 20th anniversary of the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve and Rotary Interpretive Centre is Thursday, June 23 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 5200 Sumas Prairie Rd. For more, go to chilliwackblueheron.com. Folks are asked to sign up for the free guided nature walks, though there will be some drop-ins allowed on the day of. Registration is at chilliwackblueheron.com/upcoming-events.
– with files by Jennifer Feinberg
Do you have something else we should report on?
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Songs for Nature Showcase Concert Featuring Megan Nash – June 25th – GlobalNews Events
The Songs for Nature (S4N) team is hosting a showcase concert, to celebrate the fun times they’ve had at Last Mountain Lake and the LML National Wildlife Area (NWA). The show features Juno-nominated Megan Nash. The concert will feature special guests and ten S4N alumni, all playing songs inspired by nature and camp experiences. The performers include: – Megan Nash – Ellen Sagh – Alyssa Woolhether – Corey Bryson – Tom Kennedy – Wanda Gronhovd – William John Stewart – Rhonda Gallant-Morari – Rebecca Lascue – Roberta Miranda – Shelley Neumier Bring your own chair!
What’s the buzz with pollinators? Help nature’s fertilizers at these June events in Ann Arbor
ANN ARBOR – Birds, bees, butterflies and bats work hard to keep Tree Town green by carrying pollen between flowing area plants.
On Saturday, June 25, the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation will help local pollinators by clearing weeds and invasive plant species at two parks.
Between 9 a.m. and noon, volunteers will gather at the Dolph Bioswale and remove aggressive non-native plants so as to create a bountiful ecosystem. According to a release, community members can meet NAP workday helpers at the trailhead off Parklake Avenue.
Read: Let’s talk about Michigan’s invasive trees and shrubs: How to identify them and the threat they pose
Starting at 1 p.m., volunteers can meet at Lakewood Nature Area to clear invasive weeds so that Lakewood pollinators have better access to the nature area’s unique Kentucky coffeetree plants. Volunteers will meet at the park entrance on Sunnywood Drive and will work until 4 p.m.
The two Ann Arbor events are planned as part of National Pollinator Week, a nationwide effort by the nonprofit Pollinator Partnership.
Tools will be provided but participants should plan to wear long pants, gloves and close-toed shoes, says a release.
Online preregister for NAP events is encouraged. Register to help at Dolph Bioswale here, and at Lakewood Nature Area here.
Read more: What you can do to help prevent spread of invasive pests, protect plant health this summer
Copyright 2022 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.
Microfluidic chain reaction of structurally programmed capillary flow events – Nature
Chip design and fabrication
The chips were designed using AutoCAD (Autodesk) and exported as .STL files for 3D printing. CCs encoding MCRs were made with a digital micromirror display (DMD) 3D printer (Miicraft 100, Creative Cadworks) using a transparent resin (Rapid Model Resin Clear, Monocure 3D) purchased from filaments.ca. The following printing parameters were used: the layer thickness was 20 µm and the exposure time 1.5 s per layer, whereas the exposure time for the base layer was 10 s with four transition buffer layers. Following completion of the print, the chips were cleaned with isopropanol and post-cured for 1 min under ultraviolet (UV) light (Professional CureZone, Creative Cadworks).
Microchannels with cross-sections ranging from 250 × 100 to 1,500 × 1,000 µm2 were fabricated and hydrophilized by plasma activation for 10 s at approximately 30% power (PE50 plasma chamber, Plasma Etch).
CCs were sealed with a delayed tack adhesive tape (9795R microfluidic tape, 3M) forming the cover.
Paper capillary pump
Filter papers (Whatman filter paper grade 4, 1 and 50 Hardened, Cytiva) were used as paper capillary pumps for all experiments except the SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay. The pore size from 4, 1 and 50 hardened is in decreasing order, and flow resistance and capillary pressure increase with decreasing pore size.
For the SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay, absorbent pads (Electrophoresis and Blotting Paper, Grade 238, Ahlstrom-Munksjo Chromatography) were used as pumps.
Chip-to-chip connections for the 300 capillary flow events
To obtain a leakage-free connection, a thin layer of uncured photoresin, prepared by mixing poly (ethylene glycol) diacrylate (PEG-DA MW 258, Sigma-Aldrich) and Irgacure-819 (1% w/w), was applied to all of the chip-to-chip interfaces. Next, the chips were assembled and exposed to UV light in a UV chamber (320–390 nm, UVitron Intelliray 600) at 50% intensity for 30 s to cure the resin and seal the connections.
Videos and image processing
Videos and images were recorded using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3K. Structural images of the chip and the embedded conduits were obtained using micro-computed tomography (Skyscan 1172, Bruker) and used to confirm the dimensions. Contact angles were measured on the basis of side view images (n = 3) and analysed using the Dropsnake extension in Image J.
Modelling and calculations
The theoretical burst pressures of capillary SVs were calculated by solving the flow field using the finite element method with COMSOL Multiphysics v.5.5. Experimentally measured contact angles (100º and 40º for the cover and the channel, respectively) were used to solve two-phase capillary flow using the level-set method. The capillary flows leading up to the SV was solved for a time period of 0–0.02 s with a time step of 1 × 10−5 s. The inlet pressure was varied with 10 Pa increment for each simulation until a burst was observed.
Experiments on pressure thresholds for capillary SV and RBV
We 3D-printed modules to evaluate SV/RBV with different cross-section areas. Each module contained three SV/RBV for replicate results. SV/RBV consisted of a two-level SV based on a geometrical channel expansion, as described elsewhere12. The chips integrated a conical inlet/outlet for tubing connection to a microfluidic flow controller system (MFCS-4C) and Fluiwell package (Fluigent) with fluidic reservoirs containing 5% red food dye in MilliQ water solution (see Extended Data Fig. 4 for setup images and Fig. 2 for contact angles). MAESFLO v.3.3.1 software (Fluigent) controlled the application of positive or negative pressure to calculate the burst pressures of the SV (liquid burst into air link) and RBV (receding meniscus), with increments of 0.1 mbar (roughly 10 Pa).
SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay
SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein was purchased from Sino Biological, Inc. (40588-V08B). Human Chimeric antibody against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein was purchased from Genscript Biotech (A02039). SIGMAFAST 3,3ʹ-diaminobenzidine tablets were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich. Biotinylated Goat-anti-Human antibody was purchased from Cedarlane (GTXHU-003-DBIO). Pierce streptavidin poly-HRP (21140) was purchased from ThermoFisher.
Nitrocellulose membranes (Whatman FF80HP Plus nitrocellulose-backed membranes, Cytiva) were cut into 5.2-mm-wide strips using the Silhouette Portrait paper cutter (Silhouette). Membranes were striped with a 5-mm-wide test line of 0.25 mg ml−1 SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein delivered using a programmable inkjet spotter (sciFLEXARRAYER SX, Scienion). The test line consists of four lanes of 50 droplets of about 350 pl printed 100 µm apart from each other. Eight passes of 25 droplets were used for each lane on even and odd positions to allow solution absorption in between passes. The membranes were then dried for 1 h at 37 °C before blocking by dipping into 1% BSA in 1× PBS solution until completely wet, then retrieved and left to dry for 1 h at 37 °C and then stored with desiccant at 4 °C until use the next day.
Connection of capillary pump and nitrocellulose chip to MCR chips
Nitrocellulose strips were mounted following standard lateral flow assay assembly protocols. The nitrocellulose strip was connected to a glass fibre conjugate pad (G041 SureWick, Millipore Sigma) on one end, and to an absorbent pad (Electrophoresis and Blotting Paper, Grade 238, Ahlstrom-Munksjo Chromatography) serving as the capillary pump at the other end. All three were attached to an adhesive tape serving as the backing layer. For the saliva antibody assay, the nitrocellulose strip was sandwiched between three absorbent pads (15 × 25 mm2) and clamped with a paper clip. For the food-dye demonstrations a single absorbent pad (25 × 45 mm2) was magnetically clamped to the nitrocellulose membrane.
Saliva assay protocol
Human saliva was extracted with oral swabs (SalivaBio, Salimetrics), followed by centrifugation and 1:10 dilution with 0.22 µM filtered phosphate buffer saline containing 1% BSA, 0.1% Tween 20. Human chimeric antibody against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein at 0 to 1,000 ng ml−1 was spiked into diluted saliva and loaded to the sample reservoirs. Three replicate measurements for concentrations of 0–10 ng ml−1, two replicate measurements for concentrations of 30–300 ng ml−1 and one measurement for 1,000 ng ml−1. Biotinylated goat anti-human antibody at 0.5 µg ml−1 and streptavidin poly-HRP at 0.5 µg ml−1 were used to detect the human antibody. Control line in the nitrocellulose strip confirms reagents delivery and colorimetric reaction completion.
Image analysis on the nitrocellulose strips
After drainage of all reservoirs, the nitrocellulose membrane strip was removed, placed on a support and left to dry for 1 h.
The dry strips were imaged using (1) a flatbed scanner (mfc-9970cdw, Brother) at a resolution of 600 dpi and (2) using a Huawei P10 smartphone with a 12 megapixel image sensor and a rear camera with a 27 mm focal length (Huawei) in a customized box. The box was cut and folded with black cardboard paper to block ambient light when imaging with the smartphone. The box had two slots fitting the size of camera and nitrocellulose strip, respectively, to ensure accurate alignment of the strip for readout. Images were taken with on-camera dual tone light-emitting diode flash at full power. Analysis of smartphone-taken and scanned images was done as follows.
Mean grey values of nitrocellulose test lines were extracted with ImageJ 1.48v (ImageJ, public domain software, W. Rasband, National Institutes of Health) within a 100 × 10 pixel rectangular area. Local background grey values were taken at 2.5 mm (0.1 inch) above each test line (following direction of the flow) for the same rectangular area, and subtracted from test line values. The normalized standard curve was then generated by subtracting negative control signal value (0 ng ml−1) from all data points.
The limit of detection was calculated using the three-sigma criterion using a non-linear four-parameter logistic curve fit of the log-transformed data with OriginPro 8.5 SPR (OriginLab Corporation).
Automated microfluidic TGA (Thrombochip)
Citrated human plasma (P9523, lot number SLBX8880), fluorogenic thrombin substrate Z-GGR-AMC and Enoxaparin were purchased from Sigma-Aldrich; Batroxobin was from Prospec; Technothrombin TGA RC High reagent was from Diapharma; Human thrombin, non-patient plasma that were immuno-depleted of Factor V and Factor IX, and Factor VIII inactivated were from Haematologic Technologies; (4-(2-hydroxyethyl)-1-piperazineethanesulfonic acid) (HEPES), and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and CaCl2 were from Sigma-Aldrich.
The purchased pooled human plasma (collected in the United States in a Food and Drug Administration licensed centre site no. 268, as specified in the Certificate of Origin supplied by the manufacturer) was prepared by the manufacturer from whole blood collected by standard industry method using 4% trisodium citrate as an anticoagulant, pooled and then centrifuged. The resulting plasma was 0.45 µm filtered and lyophilized. Factor V- and Factor IX-depleted plasma were immune depleted; Factor VIII-depleted plasma was prepared by chemical depletion. The plasma preparations were assayed to ensure the activity of the remaining factors by the manufacturer.
Human plasma (pooled normal or factor depleted) were defibrinated by the addition of batroxobin (final concentration 0.6 BU ml−1). The mixtures were incubated at room temperature for 20 min, followed by an extra incubation at 4 °C for 1 h. The mixtures were then centrifuged at 10,000g for 10 min to remove the fibrin clot and other debris. Defibrinated plasma were collected from the supernatant.
A solution containing 21% defibrinated plasma (plasma defibrination is needed to prevent clogging of the microfluidic channels by the fibrin clot), 48% Technothrombin TGA RC High reagent (high phospholipid and relipidated tissue factor content) and 20 mM CaCl2 in 25 mM HEPES at pH 7.4 was loaded into the sample reservoirs of the thrombochip. A substrate solution containing 420 µM Z-GGR-AMC, 30 mM EDTA in 25 mM HEPES at pH 7.4 was loaded into the reagent reservoirs. The concentration of plasma, activation agent and substrate were optimized to yield a peak thrombin concentration and time of 150 nM and 200 s. All solutions were equilibrated to room temperature for 20 min before loading. Coagulation-inhibited plasma contained Enoxaparin at final concentrations of 0 to 1.0 anti-Xa units ml−1 or IU ml−1. The samples and reagents were loaded on the chip after initiating the coagulation cascade. The paper pump was connected to the chip to start the flow after 5 min from initiating the coagulation cascade. Fluorescence signals generated in the reaction chambers were monitored by illuminating the thrombochip with UV light at 365 nm with 20 W (realUV LED Flood Light, Waveform Lighting) and the visible 440 nm fluorescence emission signals measured by imaging at 5 s intervals using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3K digital camera (f/3.5, Exposure time: 2 s, ISO-200). The rate of fluorescence signal generation in each reaction chamber (that is, the slope of the recorded fluorescence generation curve) is a measure of the rate of substrate turnover by thrombin and was used to deduce the amount of thrombin generated using a standard curve. Image J was used to analyse the images for fluorescence intensity.
Standard curve for thrombin quantification
Ten human thrombin solutions at concentrations ranging from 0 to 300 nM in 25 mM HEPES at pH 7.4 were loaded into the ten sample reservoirs in the thrombochip. A substrate solution containing 420 µM Z-GGR-AMC, 30 mM EDTA in 25 mM HEPES at pH 7.4 was loaded into the reagent reservoirs. The standard curve was constructed by plotting the slope of the recorded fluorescence generation curve in each reaction chamber against the known thrombin concentration of the solution that was loaded to the corresponding sample reservoir.
Further information on research design is available in the Nature Research Reporting Summary linked to this paper.
‘Magical’: Fairies fly in to Burnaby for children’s nature event in May
Parents and kids can dress up as fairies, elves and animals in this nature-themed spring event.
Fairies will flutter into Burnaby Lake Regional Park for a whimsical gathering of mirth and magic on Saturday, May 21.
Metro Vancouver is hosting the popular Forest Fairy Gathering event, hoping to encourage children to use their imaginations and play in nature.
Guests are encouraged to dress up as fairies, gnomes or woodland creatures. Children can build fairy homes and participate in the Elf Olympics (which includes a trail walk).
Mona Matson, a special events assistant at Metro Vancouver Regional Parks who is coordinating the event, said fairies are symbols of spirits that protect nature.
“By exploring the realm of fairies and gnomes, it helps to inspire nature protection, as well as connection,” Matson said.
She noted that regional parks have a mission to connect people with nature, in order to lead people to care for the parks in return.
“We try to bring people together to have a shared experience in the park, to get excited about nature and wildlife so that people want to learn more and then become stewards of the parks themselves,” Matson said.
Irene Lau, chair of the Burnaby Lake Park Association, called the event “magical.”
“It’s a really fantastic event in the sense that you really get kids interested in nature at a really young age,” Lau said. She said the park association helps teach children about invasive species, like English ivy.
This is the first year since the pandemic that the event is back to its full capacity. The first fairy gathering event was held in 2013.
In past years, Matson has dressed up as a forest gnome in a red polka-dot dress, striped tights and mushroom accessories.
“We want to have places for people to recreate and enjoy the park, but it’s also much more about protecting the ecosystems and nature,” Matson said.
The Burnaby Public Library will also host two story times in the mushroom circle behind the Nature House.
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at 4519 Piper Ave., near the Burnaby Lake Nature House. For more information, call 604-432-6359.
Event: WWF’s Run to Restore Nature
WWF’s Run to Restore Nature is a fun, family-friendly event taking place from May 7-15 across Canada. The distance you go for wildlife is up to you—walk, run, wheel or even skip the 5 km Swift Fox Sprint, 10 km Tiger Trek or the Great Half-Marathon Caribou Migration (21 km). Do the entire distance in one go or tackle it one day at a time. There is no fee to register. Every dollar you raise and every step you take is a step forward for nature and wildlife. Register today as an individual or with a team of colleagues, students, friends or family.