Spring birding festivals

The songbirds are returning and bringing spring with them!

Catch a bird-banding demonstration, take in a nature photography workshop, or sign on for a bird-themed hike with our park naturalists.

If you love songbirds, you won’t want to miss the Ontario Parks spring birding festivals:

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The beaver: architect of biodiversity

Ontario Parks is recognizing iconic Canadian species this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Next up, we join Natural Heritage Education Specialist Dave Sproule for a chat about the ecological and cultural significance of the beaver, which became Canada’s official symbol in 1975.

We all know beavers are industrious. They builds dams, canals and sturdy homes called lodges, which are warm in winter. They repair all those dams and collect enough food to survive long northern winters.

We know beavers are well-suited to the Canadian environment. Beavers are amphibious – more at home in the water than on land — with webbed hind feet, nostrils that can close, a third see-through eyelid that protects the eye when they’re underwater, and a big flat tail that acts as rudder while swimming.

The biggest reason to celebrate the beaver during Canada150, however, is that the beaver built Canada, shaping both its historical and ecological landscape.

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Ecosystems and music

Not sure exactly what “ecological integrity” means? Today’s Earth Day post from Park Biologist Shannon McGaffey explains how ecological integrity is like music.

Synergy: the creation of a whole that is bigger than the sum of the individual parts

If you are listening to a symphony, you are not listening to two violins, one piano, three flutes, etc. You are listening to music, an art that breaches the realms of spirituality. Music naturally generates measurable energy, but also produces energy beyond that, an energy that humans can feel, but just can’t quite grasp and understand.

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Canadian canoe culture

“If it is love that binds people to places in this nation of rivers and in this river of nations then one enduring expression of that simple truth, is surely the canoe.”

— James Raffan, adventurer, acclaimed author and Director Emeritus of the Canadian Canoe Museum

Through the stories of five paddlers across Ontario, “THE CANOE” underscores the strength of the human spirit and how the canoe can be a vessel for creating deep and meaningful connections.

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Chilling out by the lake: arctic-alpine disjunct plants along Lake Superior

Today’s post comes from Park Naturalist Lesley Ng of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Did you know there are blooming beauties which are adapted for the arctic tundra or alpine environments? In short, they like it cold!

And we don’t need traverse tundra or climb mountains to see them. We just need to take a spring hike along Lake Superior’s shoreline.

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Spring paddling safety

Itching for ice out? We certainly are.

But spring weather can be fickle. Hitting the lake too early, failing to respect weather conditions or paddling beyond your skill level isn’t just risky — it’s downright dangerous.

We chatted with Paul Smith, Superintendent of Kawartha Highlands Signature Site, to get some top do’s and don’ts for spring paddling safety:

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Bumble bee conservation volunteer opportunity at Pinery and Awenda

Today’s post comes from Hayley Tompkins and Sarah Johnson, biologists with Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative.  

Calling all nature lovers! If you’re available June 24-25, 2017, we have a great program to help conserve pollinators that you can be a part of!

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Eyes on the skies — April, 2017

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

For those of us in Ontario, April is that transition month between winter and spring weather. The snows start to melt away, the lakes start to open up and, by month’s end, the first buds may appear on the trees. Because of Daylight Savings Time, we now have later sunsets and sunrises, and more time to enjoy the activities of the day.

Here are our astronomical highlights for April, 2017:

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