Let’s go plogging!

This post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.

As the snow melts in the spring, you can often spot leftover trash along our roads, sidewalks, and trails.

How many times have you walked past this trash while out for a walk, run, or jog? Did you pick it up, or leave it on the ground?

A new environmentally friendly workout trend is encouraging you to stop and pick up litter during your outdoor exercises.

It’s called plogging, and it’s an amazing way to keep our environment and our bodies healthy at the same time.

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Keeping turtles off the hook

Today’s post comes from Amy Tanner, Biology/Ecology Intern with Ontario Parks’ Southwest Zone. 

Before heading out for a fun day of fishing, we all go through our checklists. Have we got:

But here are two questions many people don’t ask:

  • what other living things could I accidentally catch while fishing?
  • do I know how to handle an unexpected catch?

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Don’t leave it hanging

Our trees are spectacular organisms. They make oxygen, can live to be quite old, have beautiful foliage, provide homes and food for countless wildlife, and through transpiration of water through their leaves, can even influence the weather.

Maybe our trees do deserve some form of decoration or recognition?

I was out in my park the other day, and with the leaves gone, I did notice some brightly coloured decorations on a tree down the trail.

Continue reading Don’t leave it hanging

Forever protected: why Petawawa Terrace belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every one belongs in Ontario Parks. Our great system of protected areas is based upon a model of representation. In today’s post, Biologist Lauren Trute tells us Petawawa Terrace’s story.

For many families in the area, Petawawa Terrace Provincial Park is literally a park in their backyard.

Unlike many provincial parks in Ontario, Petawawa Terrace is not pristine wilderness. Locally known as the “fish hatchery park,” the 215 ha park is located in the heart of the Town of Petawawa.

This little parcel of protected land belongs in the Ontario Parks system because it gives us a glimpse into Ontario’s history, and represents provincially significant ecosystems and species.

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Going batty at Ontario Parks

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Supervisor Alistair MacKenzie and Bat Stewardship Technician Heather Sanders.

Bats are the only mammal capable of true sustained flight, and with over 1,300 species and counting, they make up the second largest order of mammals.

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Just keep swimming: the perilous journey of turtle hatchlings

Today’s post comes from Olivia Pomajba, a summer student at Rondeau Provincial Park.

A turtle hatchling making its way to water reminds us of the perilous journey we all face in life.

The world must seem incredibly vast to these centimetre-long hatchlings, and they face many challenges.

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The Spotted Salamander, harbinger of spring

Salamanders are iconic and influential members of northern forest communities. As one of the most abundant vertebrates in eastern North American forests, salamanders are considered “keystone species” because of their disproportionate roles as predators and prey in regulating food webs, nutrient cycling, and contributing to ecosystem resilience-resistance.

In addition to fulfilling key ecological functions, amphibians are our modern-day “canaries in the coal mine,” serving as a measure of environmental health.

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The pannes of Presqu’ile

The late-winter wait for spring can be almost painful. Enough of cold, snow and hibernating wildlife. When can I go outside without a jacket? Disappearing snow, robins on the lawn might be enough for some, but not for me.

Then finally…Yes! I hear it. rrrrRRRRT, rrrrRRRRT, rrrrRRRRT! The Presqu’ile Provincial Park pannes have come through once again with my first real sign of spring – the calling of the Western Chorus Frogs.

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Darlington’s daring wetland restoration

In today’s post, Zone Ecologist Corina Brdar shares the exciting restoration story that’s been unfolding at Darlington Provincial Park.

There’s nothing like seeing an idea turn into reality, is there?

Especially when the idea is an enormous one, and it takes tons of cooperation from all kinds of players.

Continue reading Darlington’s daring wetland restoration

How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

Preserving ecological integrity is a priority for all of us here at Ontario Parks. But just what does ecological integrity look like? Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros explains…

When I start many of my evening programs at Algonquin, I often ask the audience if they like nature.

Usually I get a lot of hands up in the air, but there are always a few that don’t put their hands up. I tell those people, “You might be in the wrong place, because Algonquin is crawling with nature.” I know these folks may have not been paying attention to what I was saying or chose not to participate in my survey, but it always gets a laugh from the crowd.

However, this did get me thinking about why we go to parks over staying home or visiting a big city…

Continue reading How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?