The life of a resource steward

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Rogge, a travelling resource steward for the Northeast Zone.

I first started working for the Northeast Zone Resource Steward Program back in 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago.

At the time, it was a relatively new job in Ontario Parks. The program had only been around for a few years, and few of us existed.

Several parks were created in 1999, the majority of which were “non-operating” provincial parks. They generally do not have facilities or dedicated staff. Many protect recreational waterways and nature reserves protect rare flora, fauna and geological landscapes.

This is where we, the resource stewards, spend most of our time. In these wonderfully beautiful and diverse places.

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EDDMapS: report your invasive species sightings

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

Outdoor adventurers: we need your help. Invasive species are infiltrating our parks and protected areas, but if we don’t know where they are, it’s tough to stop their spread.

Become an Invasive Species Fighter by reporting any suspected sightings of invasive species!

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The long road to Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Preserve

Today’s post comes from Charlotte Westcott, a Discovery Program staff member at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As the sun sets, the stars begin to appear. Like old friends, their familiar glow brings us home no matter how far away our house may be. Our friendly acquaintances, the constellations, trace their way across the sky. The white glow of the Milky Way emerges slowly to drown out its fainter neighbours.

Far away from the light pollution of major cities, Lake Superior Provincial Park’s night sky is one of the darkest in North America.

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Responsible anglers are nature’s superheroes

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

Fishing can be enjoyed in every season, and this means that we can keep the health of our lakes and waterways top-of-mind year-round.

In Ontario, the Fishing Regulations control live bait to prevent the spread of infectious fish diseases (like viral hemorrhagic septicemia), unwanted fish species, and invasive species.

Let’s buff up on our bait facts to help protect our lakes and become invasive species fighters. Your training begins now.

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Secret life of parks: Algonquin

Today’s post comes from David Legros, an Algonquin Provincial Park naturalist.

Our parks are way more than just places to hike a trail, lay on the beach or roast a marshmallow.

Don’t get me wrong – they are amazing places to do these things, but there are often deeper stories and meanings to the place we love to visit.

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Planning to bring your own firewood to the park?

A single piece of firewood can destroy millions of trees.

Throwing a few pieces of firewood into the trunk of the car before a camping trip might seem like a good way to plan ahead, but those logs could destroy a forest.
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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.

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Emergence of the Dragonhunter

Today’s post comes from Evan McCaul, Ecologist with Ontario Parks’ Northwest Zone. 

While conducting an ecological inventory of Brightsand River Provincial Park, Ontario Parks staff witnessed and recorded a large scale emergence of dragonflies, including a Dragonhunter, the largest clubtail dragonfly in North America!

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Why driftwood matters

Today’s post comes from Laura Myers, Senior Park Interpreter of Neys Provincial Park.

Driftwood – it makes a great bench to watch the sunset, a balancing beam to play on, or that perfect element to your photograph.

There’s something about driftwood that gives beaches that rugged beauty factor. Walking on a beach, listening to the waves and the birds, and looking at the different pieces of driftwood can be wondrous and relaxing.

Has a piece of driftwood ever caught your eye and made you wonder where it originally came from? How it got that far up the beach? The size of the wave that put it there? What species of tree or how old it is?

Each piece of driftwood has its own journey and its own story. But its story isn’t over when it washes up on the beach.

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Forever protected: why Holland Landing Prairie belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every park belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Zone Ecologist Corina Brdar tells us Holland Landing Prairie’s story. 

“The mosquitoes have been exceedingly troublesome these two days past. It is almost impossible to sleep during the night, for they are quite as plentiful and every way as michievous [SIC] as during the day.”

Sounds familiar, huh?

This isn’t a comment from a frustrated camper – it’s a 200 year old journal entry by a Scottish explorer visiting what is now known as Holland Landing Prairie Nature Reserve.

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