Batmobiles in the northwest!

Today’s post comes from Evan McCaul and Steve Kingston, ecologists with Ontario Parks’ Northwest Zone.

Did you know that bats play important roles in our ecosystems and are unique in being the only type of mammals that can truly fly?

All bats in Ontario are nocturnal predators that feed primarily on insects like moths and mosquitoes. There are eight different bat species across Ontario, including three species at risk: the Little Brown Bat, the Northern Long-eared Bat and the Tri-coloured Bat.

Continue reading Batmobiles in the northwest!

9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

Many of our in-park Halloween events feature campsite decorating contests.

But certain decorations can be harmful to the environment.

Here’s how you can create a super spooky campsite AND protect Ontario’s ecological integrity at the same time.

Continue reading 9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

5 cool facts about skinks

If you’ve ever seen a Five-lined Skink, you know just how cute they are!

The Five-lined Skink, which looks a bit like a salamander, is the only lizard species native to Ontario. And while researchers continue to study skinks, we still don’t know very much about what they do on a day-to-day basis, particularly from September to May when they’re hibernating.

Here are five cool things we DO know about Five-lined Skinks, courtesy of Alistair MacKenzie, Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

Continue reading 5 cool facts about skinks

Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles

Today’s post was written by seasonal student Heather Van Den Diepstraten from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s not just students and birds on the move this fall.

As the cold weather approaches, reptiles are trekking across Rondeau Provincial Park in search of hibernacula (places in which wildlife overwinter). Researchers for Wildlife Preservation Canada are busy tracking the movements of snakes, turtles, and skinks within the park as they find suitable habitat for their hibernation.

Continue reading Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles

A forest of friends

Today’s post comes to us from Heather Stern, a naturalist at Bon Echo Provincial Park

Many people visit parks each summer for vacation, relaxation, adventure, or more generally, a break from city life. These are all great reasons to get outside and enjoy nature.

However, while visitation to provincial parks is increasing, we want knowledge of the plants, animals, and the unique habitats that these parks protect to increase too.

Continue reading A forest of friends

IBAs of Ontario Parks: the Frontenac Forests IBA

Welcome to the September installment of “IBAs in provincial parks,” brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.

Break out the champagne! We don’t often add new IBAs to the Canadian family of sites, so when we do, it’s a special occasion.

The all-new Frontenac Forests Important Bird and Biodiversity Area encompasses Frontenac Provincial Park and Queens University Biological Station (QUBS), and is designated for one of the most beautiful warblers around – the Cerulean Warbler.

Continue reading IBAs of Ontario Parks: the Frontenac Forests IBA

Monarch Butterflies

Today’s post was written by summer student Danielle Bullen from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s that time of year again, and across Ontario, we’re starting to see those beautiful orange and black wings.

Monarch Butterflies come all the way from Mexico over a few generations, depending on the amount of milkweed available during their travels, spending summer here in Ontario.

Continue reading Monarch Butterflies

Invasive Species Fighters: keep our lakes great

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Invasive Species Centre.

Our Great Lakes are Great with a capital “G,” and we want to keep them that way.

Ontario Parks offer pristine outdoor experiences with nearly two dozen provincial parks situated on the Great Lakes.

Did you know that Asian carps are not established in the Great Lakes, but threaten almost all aspects of our cherished lakes? Learn more about these fishes and what you can do to keep them out.

Continue reading Invasive Species Fighters: keep our lakes great

By paddle and boot: citizen science in the backcountry       

This post was written by David LeGros, park naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Are you an explorer? Heading out into parks on a journey of discovery, anxious to see what is on the next lake, around the bend on the portage, or even what might turn up at your campsite?

Me too. I love exploring the backcountry on canoe trips, and I love getting to know Algonquin a little bit better every time. I am also an avid naturalist, so I like to identify the things I see when I’m out there (and no, I don’t know all the species).

Lately, I have become obsessed with iNaturalist (ask my wife). So when we were planning our last canoe trip, I gently guided the route to be in a place where few nature nerds have made records before. For the glory, but also for real/good reasons too.

Continue reading By paddle and boot: citizen science in the backcountry       

Be an invasive species fighter! Clean, drain, dry your boat

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Invasive Species Centre.

Ontario is home to wonderful lakes, rivers and streams. Unfortunately, some of these waterways are home to aquatic invasive species such as Zebra or Quagga Mussels.

These species can be spread from one waterbody to another through watercraft that have not been properly cleaned, drained and dried between uses.

Continue reading Be an invasive species fighter! Clean, drain, dry your boat