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Glenelm in a time of COVID-19

Dear neighbours,

We find ourselves in strange, unsettling times with the COVID-19 pandemic having reached Winnipeg and a state of emergency declared by the province of Manitoba. Here are a few reminders and words of encouragement:

Help your neighbours:
Now is a crucial time to check in with your neighbours and see if they need help with getting groceries or other supplies. This is especially important for members of our community who are older or have chronic health conditions that make them high risk.

If there are neighbours you don’t know or whose names you forget or who you’ve never really connected with before, this would be a great time to drop a note in their mailbox with your name and phone number or address.

As many have said – social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Let’s make sure every household in Glenelm knows that someone is looking out for them!

Stay connected:
Aside from staying in touch with your neighbours by phone or email, you may also want to join the Glenelm Facebook group.

We will use our email newsletter to send periodic updates and suggestions for staying connected, supporting each other, and keeping our spirits up. Suggestions welcome, too!

Stay informed:
Turn to trusted news sources for reliable, accurate information on the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:

Upcoming GeNA events:
We don’t know how long social distancing will be required and so all forthcoming GeNA events are on hold for the time being.

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2019 Christmas Bird Count

Thanks to Glenelm resident Natalie Reinhart for contributing this wonderful article and photo, and our apologies for the delay in running it!

This year the Christmas Bird Count, also known as the CBC, was held on December 15, 2019. A brisk day found my husband Brent and I bundled up, walking the streets of Glenelm counting birds as part of this annual event. This was our first CBC, and we were thrilled to cover the community where we live with the expert advice and help of Richard Staniforth, who has done the CBC in Glenelm for roughly the last 15 years. 

Our day started with the help of fellow-CBCers Anne and Jan, where we prowled Elmwood Cemetery.  We expected the Cemetery to yield a greater number of birds given the large mature trees, but were disappointed by the relatively low numbers of birds seen.  Regardless, Brent and I trekked on, hopeful with what we might see in the remainder of the Glenelm area. We were happy to see the usual suspects: Black-capped Chickadees, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, and even the birds that can be considered a little ‘less exciting’: Common Ravens, Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows, and European Starlings. Unfortunately, we did not spot any rarities.

We took a mid-morning break (and warm-up!) at Richard and Diana Staniforth’s for tea and a snack; we were thrilled to meet them for the first time and hear more about past CBCs. They were both so helpful in sharing past CBC experiences, and we enjoyed their stories of bird antics in the Glenelm community.

The CBC in Winnipeg ends with a potluck and compilation of bird sightings at the Bronx Community Center.  Brent and I were regrettably unable to attend, but we heard it was a good time had by all. The counts from the Winnipeg area this year were unfortunately lower than in years previous. We hope that this was a “one-off” day and are anxious to see what 2020’s CBC brings!  We are excited to be a part of this yearly event and encourage anyone else who may be interested to participate in a CBC or backyard bird count to get involved.

Picture caption: White-breasted nuthatches are year-round residents in Manitoba.  They like eating sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet, especially in winter.  Nuthatches are able to hang upside down from branches, and you’ll often see them stashing seeds under tree bark – saving them for later!

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Spring 2020 Neighbourhood Updates

More urban forestry funding secured!

The GeNA Tree Committee & our Trees Please coalition allies successfully lobbied for an additional $2 million/year in urban forestry funding in the 2020-2023 City of Winnipeg budget – check out this CBC article to see one of the ways we raised awareness: Demonstrators strike a pose to urge city to care for Winnipeg’s tree canopy

photo credit: George Feenstra

Bear Clan Patrol comes to Elmwood!

Members of the Glenelm, Chalmers and broader Elmwood community have joined up to start a Bear Clan Patrol for our part of the city.

There was a great article in the Herald about the group, featuring GeNA volunteer John King, who said “It’s about giving back to the community, taking pride in the community…We’re just trying to help people.  It’s a way to meet your community, make friends, and feel good about contributing to the neighbourhood … It’s about nine kilometres a night, and that’s all good too, great exercise.”

Thanks to John and all the Bear Clan Patrol volunteers out there making a real difference!

Herald article: Bear Clan helping keep streets safe: Elmwood chapter officially on patrol
Global article: Winnipeg’s Bear Clan Patrol expands to Elmwood neighbourhood

Find the Elmwood Bear Clan Patrol on Facebook

2020 ReLeaf Program

Great news! Trees Winnipeg is proceeding with the 2020 ReLeaf program using mail and email orders. The deadline for orders is May 1, 2020. This is a marvelous way to add new trees or replace trees damaged in last fall’s storm at an unbelievable price of only $55 per package, and learn to care for your new trees at the same time.

The Trees Winnipeg offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19 but staff are available to answer questions by phone.

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Owls in Glenelm

A new installment of nature notes from our resident nature columnist, Dr Richard Staniforth. Stay tuned for this year’s Christmas Bird Count in the coming weeks as well.

The clues are: a feathery face peering out of a duck nest box, or a noisy bunch of birds squawking at something hidden in a dense bush. There are owls in Glenelm!  Sometimes, Eastern Screech Owls will roost or even nest in nest boxes that have been put up for Wood Ducks. On other occasions chickadees and nuthatches have spotted an Eastern Screech Owl hiding in a bush and have decided that if they make enough noise then the owl will fly away. Crows and Blue Jays do the same thing when it comes to the much larger Great Horned Owl which may also be found in our neighborhood. These are good ways of finding owls in Glenelm!

Great Horned Owls have become scarcer in recent years, but would have been recorded annually on our regular Christmas Bird Counts until just a few years ago. Nowadays, we are fortunate to catch sight of one – usually in Elmwood Cemetery or in one of those massive Eastern Cottonwood trees that grow on the riverbank. During our 45 years of living on Glenwood Crescent we have noticed this decline in the numbers of Great Horned Owls but an increase in the little Eastern Screech Owls.

We are fortunate that Eastern Screech Owls have nested in one of our nest boxes and successfully raised their young owlets; three owlets in 2019 and four during the previous year. The owls are secretive and we usually do not see them until after the young birds have left their nest and are trying out their flight skills. Young owls flopping about on the lawn have needed help to get back to a tree branch. On other occasions we have seen the young owls out in the open and waiting to be fed by the parents, like when Di looked out of the kitchen window one evening to see three owlets and one adult lined up on the railing of our sundeck – if only we had a camera handy!

On another occasion after a shower of rain, the young owls were in a nearby bush while an adult was pulling earthworms out of the lawn for their food. The worms were long enough that the owl had to stretch to its full height to pull the worm out of the ground; quite a sight! The adult would fly back and forth to the young birds carrying fresh worms! Later that day, when the rain had returned the adult owl was seen taking shelter beneath our eaves.

Sometimes on a still night we may hear an owl call, especially when we are lying in bed with our windows open. The Great Horned Owl has a bellowing “Oohoo, hoo, hoo”, while the call of the Eastern Screech owl is a very soft, quavering “oooooooo”. I find that this call is hard to hear unless the owl is pretty close!

Other kinds of owls pass through our neighborhood but are not frequent. Over the years, we have seen a Boreal Owl and a Long-eared Owl, but only on single occasions. Perhaps if you have seen owls in our neighborhood you can let us know about them, just for the record!

Photos from top to bottom (1) Roosting in a wood duck nest box (2) Hiding in a dense bush is what they do best (3) Young owl recently out of a nest (4) Sheltering under the eaves during a thunderstorm.

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Recap: 2020 Glenelm Snow Sculpture Challenge

On February 1st, Glenelm was transformed into a veritable winter wonderland! Mild weather and growing enthusiasm resulted in record participation – more than 35 snow sculptures throughout the neighbourhood! Our streets were full of sightseers throughout the weekend, as folks from Glenelm and beyond strolled about, looking at all the marvelous creations.

In fact, there are so many great photos of all the sculptures – including some with the sculptors themselves! – that we can’t include them all in this email. Here are just a couple to give you an idea of the creativity and talent demonstrated by our Glenelm neighbours. Please head on over to our website to see the gallery of 100+ photos of all the creations… you will be AMAZED!! There’s also a map of all the locations; many of the sculptures still look great, so take a walk around and see them if you haven’t yet.

The “challenge” part of this event is not competition – it’s an invitation to get outside during the winter and have some fun! Rather than naming winners this year, we opted to give out dozens of participation prizes to encourage people to join in and not take things too seriously.

Thank you to all who participated or cheered on the sculptors… You are contributing to the truly vibrant atmosphere of our neighbourhood!!

Big thanks to photographer Robert Dearden for his gift of photography, and to our local business sponsors for supporting this special event. Please show them your support in return!

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