Our 2016 parks pass is more than just a pretty flower

summer passNoticed the dainty purple flower adorning the 2016 summer pass for Ontario Parks?

It may surprise you to learn that when Ontario Parks staff discovers that flower in a park, they often rip it out by the roots.

That’s because spotted knapweed is…

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Don’t feed the foxes

Today, we want to share an important message about how we can keep our foxes (and other wild creatures) safe.

Foxes are extremely intelligent, able to multitask and quickly clue in to patterns. They remember where they found food, and will return to that spot to search for more.

But sometimes, foxes are too clever for their own good.

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The turtle who swam off with my wedding ring

In today’s post, Brad Steinberg, our Natural Heritage Education & Learning Coordinator, shares the story of how he (kinda) proposed to a Blanding’s turtle.

It was September 30, the last day of trout season in Algonquin Provincial Park. I was trudging out a portage with a canoe over my  head when I saw it: a big, beautiful Blanding’s turtle, perched right on the edge of the old roadway.

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Don’t deck the Scots pine for Christmas

If you’ve visited Presqu’ile Provincial Park lately, you’ve probably spotted staff and volunteers cutting down happy pine trees (during the Christmas season!) and feeding them (*GASP*) into the woodchipper.

You might even have pulled over to ask, in a little Cindy-Lou Who voice: Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?

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Why parks matter

David Bree (Senior Natural Heritage Leader, Presqu’ile Provincial Park)

Why do Parks Matter?  Unfortunately that is becoming an increasingly pertinent question in an age where screen time outweighs nature time on a regular basis.

Working in a park, I can answer that question in a number of ways.  The most obvious perhaps is that parks provide protection for a great many habitats, which in turn provide space and resources for the animals and plants of the province to function in a normal fashion.  This is in essence the definition of biodiversity, a whole bunch of things living and interconnecting in a complex web.  This is a bit of a catch word these days, but maintaining a high biodiversity in our world has been shown to make for a more robust and healthy environment. And a healthy environment is integral to our survival – it supplies our air, our water and our food, just to name the most obvious and crucial elements of life.  While to me this is a compelling and obvious argument, it has become sterile to many ears that have been bombarded by warnings of environmental doom and gloom all their lives.  After a while people just don’t hear.

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Take only selfies and leave no footprints

The sights and sounds of spring are upon us and that means planning your next trip to your favourite provincial park.  In order to preserve the delicate ecosystems that make our parks so incredibly beautiful and bountiful, we all have a part to play.

The consequences of disturbing these ecosystems could be catastrophic, today and for future generations.

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5 ways to make every day Earth Day in Ontario

Visiting your nearest provincial park is a start

As people around the world prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Ontarians have everything they need right in their own backyard. With more than 330 provincial parks covering 8.2 million hectares of parkland, Ontario is a veritable playground for all things fun and environmental.

Here are five ways you can enjoy the spirit of Earth Day in April and throughout the year:

Learn to camp

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Turtle doctor helps Blanding’s preemies

By: Corina Brdar, Southeast  Zone Ecologist, Ontario Parks

There is some cutting edge research on preemie health and survival taking place in Ontario Parks.  The “preemie” babies in question are Blanding’s turtles –a species at risk in Ontario.  Each year the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (KTTC) in Peterborough takes in injured (or sadly, dead) female Blanding’s turtles and rescues their eggs.  Injured turtles treated at this unique animal hospital are “induced” to release their eggs using oxytocin, just like an expectant mom would be.  The eggs are hatched at the centre and raised until they are 2 years old.

Left: Hatchling room at KTTC Right:Lynda Ruegg, a conservation technician with the KTTC, collects data on a headstarted Blanding’s turtle that she’s following in a provincial park.

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