The Sadness of the Snowy Owl

I came across this beautiful Snowy Owl chilling out in a tree, just scouting around for a morsel of mouse or gopher or whatever else was out and about on this unseasonably warm November day.

snowy owl two

But the sad part of the tale is this…..

habitat two reduced

Right behind the few scruffy trees where Snowy sat was this pile of bulldozed trees and brush…habitat lost for Snowy and not much gained for the farmer that did it.

It’s become an all-too-familiar sight in southern Manitoba and the question that no-one seems to want to answer is “Why?”

I’m sure Snowy would love to know too.


Five Reasons to Recycle Your Old Cell Phone


The average Canadian purchases a new cell phone about every two years according to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association’s 2014 National Cell Phone Recycling Study. Only 10 per cent of them recycled their old one, with 40 per cent opting to just store it away. Odds are a lot of those cell phones tucked away in drawers or closets will one day end up in the landfill.

So why should you recycle that old cell phone or mobile device?

  1. It’s good for the environment.

Cell phones contain many non-renewable materials that can be recycled and reduce the environmental impact of extracting replacements. A UK study by the University of Surrey showed that country has an estimated 85 million unused phones which contain about four million tonnes of gold that would release an equivalent of 84,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere if replaced. E-Cycle says recycling one million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 33 cars off the road for a year.

  1. Clean up the Landfill.

Cell phones that end up in the landfill waste all the components that could be re-used, and can cause environmental pollution from some of the toxic substances they may contain – such as mercury, arsenic, chemicals, and lead. Recycling one Lithium-Ion battery prevents the contamination of enough water to fill three Olympic swimming pools, says e-Cycle.

  1. Save energy.

Manufacturing new cell phones takes a lot of energy and e-Cycle says that every 42 cell phones recycled saves enough energy to power an average household for a year.

  1. It’s easy.

There are many convenient ways to recycle your old cell phone, including the national Recycle My Cell program, which lists local drop off points in each province on its website at If there’s no drop off depot nearby you can also print a mailing label and mail your old cell phone in to the program postage free. It’s also worth checking with your local municipality to see if it accepts mobile devices as part of its recycling or hazardous waste collection programs.

  1. Helping Charities.

The Recycle My Cell program also makes a donation to a number of charities for every mobile device that is returned trough various recycling programs. These include Tree Canada, Food Banks Canada, Jour de la Terre Québec, Future First, the Provincial Association of Transition Houses of Saskatchewan and many other local charities across the country.

Just remember to clear your device of all personal information before you recycle it. Instructions for how to do this are also on the Recycle My Cell website.

Copyright 2015, Angela Lovell

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The Value of Birds

Birds 3 Dec 2013

Ask any avid bird watcher – the ranks of which I am happy to say I have recently joined – about the value of birds and they will not hesitate to use the word priceless. But now there is data to support the notion that birds do provide both tangible economic benefits, and important cultural, and ecological value.

Economic Value of Birds

Researchers at the University of Washington recently surveyed residents of two cities – Seattle and Berlin – to assess the economic value of having common birds in their backyards and parks. In Seattle, the value placed on enjoying common bird species – such as finches, jays, crows and magpies – was around $120 million annually and around $70 million in Berlin.

The survey asked residents how much they spent on bird feed and how much they would be prepared to pay to conserve bird species.

In a Science Daily article, Professor John Marzluff, co-author of the study says; “This paper shows that our interactions with birds actually have a pretty high economic return to the community where you live. We know that having a livable, green community that attracts birds also increases the value of homes in that area. This paper shows there’s an economic service birds are providing.”

Cultural Value of Birds

Birds 10 Dec 2013Another paper that was recently published – The Condor: Ornithological Applications takes a closer look at the relationship between urban people and birds. Researchers surveyed 912 residents in urban neighbourhoods around Chicago, and asked questions about their awareness of different bird species, and their feelings about them.

The survey focused on the cultural ecosystem services that birds provide as opposed to the economic ones – such as eating insects to reduce pest populations, such as mosquitoes, in urban areas, and increase crop yields in rural regions.

Cultural benefits, such as spiritual enrichment, aesthetic experiences, inspiration, and educational value, were responsible for many of the positive feelings that respondents had towards birds in their area. “We found especially high levels of agreement among our respondents regarding the aesthetic benefits of birds in neighborhoods. The value of an aesthetic experience, such as the view of a cardinal out the kitchen window, is difficult to quantify but is nonetheless a valued experience,” says the paper.

Few found birds a nuisance, although a small number expressed a mild dislike of bird droppings and nests in gutters etc. And popular myths about some bird species did appear to play a role in the negative perceptions of some residents. “Our results indicate that several common and visible urban species, such as the House Sparrow, European Starling, and Blue Jay, may attract attention for their negative qualities. The House Sparrow and European Starling are both non native species that tend to congregate in noisy groups. The Blue Jay, although colorful and native to the United States, has a raucous, harsh call and is sometimes seen as a “bully” that dominates birdfeeders. There is some evidence from other studies that people exaggerate negative effects of birds to a point that their perceptions do not accurately represent reality…. It is possible that negative qualities of certain common bird species may “stick” with residents (more so than positive aspects) and affect their perceptions of other birds in the neighborhood,” says the paper.

The results of the survey also showed that most residents had no idea of the actual number of species of birds around them. “People do not fully experience the biodiversity in their own neighborhoods, and increased species richness in a neighborhood does not translate to increased perceived species richness by residents,” say the researchers.

Why Birds Matter

It seems that unless we place a value on something we rarely treasure it, but if we stop to celebrate the return of the Robins as a signal that spring has arrived, or listen to songbirds singing for the joy of being alive, perhaps it will remind us that we are a part of nature, not apart from it.

2015, Angela Lovell.

Welcome to Angela Lovell’s new website.

Hi everyone

Welcome to my new website and blog which I will be updating regularly with some creative thoughts and stories and articles that I hope you’ll enjoy. I’ll also provide links as we go to stories past and present as they appear in other media.

Contact me using the contact form below.

Looking forward to  a new era of inspired creativity!

And if you are wondering about the header image for my new site – all the credit goes to fabulous artist, Leona Graham.

Talk soon

Angela Lovell.

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