Guess how many bee species call Ontario home?

When we think of bees, we often picture Honey Bees. We imagine a swarm buzzing around a honeycomb hive.

But the Honey Bee is just one of 400 different types of bees in Ontario (and we’re discovering new bee species all the time!).

And Honey Bees aren’t even a native species.

In fact, Honey Bees are relatively new to Ontario. They were an agricultural import, brought to North America for honey production and crop pollination. Before Honey Bees crossed the ocean, Ontario’s major pollinators were native bees, whose behaviour is often very different from the stereotypical honey bees.

Here are five other types of bee buzzing around our parks:

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Habitat fragmentation: the daily wildlife obstacle course

Today’s post comes from Jess Matthews, a Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Imagine your commute to work or school.

Now imagine that multiple mysterious obstacles are now in your way. Your standard commute changes from a leisurely drive, bike or walk to a series of tests that slow your progress and may even endanger your life!

This is what wildlife across the province face as they move to find resources, mates, and suitable habitat for their offspring.

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Spring flooding at Ontario Parks

Due to this spring’s high water levels, many provincial parks experienced flooding that delayed their opening or closed their trails and campgrounds.

Our staff have been working hard to help our parks dry out and re-open for visitors. Take a look at what our teams had to contend with this spring:

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IBAs of Ontario Parks: spring migration on Lake Erie

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

Did you know Saturday (May 13, 2017) is International Migratory Bird Day! What a wonderful reason to highlight sites renowned for migrating songbirds!

In today’s post, we’re chatting about two of Ontario’s southern-most Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas:

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What’s a bioblitz?

Today’s post comes from Martha Martens, a Natural Heritage Education leader from Killbear Provincial Park.

I’ll admit: when I first heard the word “bioblitz,” I was confused. What does this strange word mean?

It might be helpful to break the word down in order to understand: “bio” means “life” and “blitz” means a  “sudden, energetic, and concerted effort, typically on a specific task.”

So a bioblitz is a brief period of time, usually 24 hours, that experts and amateurs come together to specifically record all nature sightings in a given area. All the records are compiled into a single data set of the biodiversity of that location at that point in time.

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Does the darkness need our protection?

Today’s post comes from our Natural Heritage Education Coordinator Brad Steinberg.

Not many researchers like being kept in the dark…

…except, that is, for scotobiologists!

Scotobiology is the science of darkness, a research topic that is growing in importance. Many birds, amphibians, insects and plants (and us!) have evolved to rely on uninterrupted periods of darkness during the night.

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Ecosystems and music

Not sure exactly what “ecological integrity” means? Today’s 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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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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IBAs of Ontario Parks: tundra swans and spring songbirds

This installment of our 2017 blog series IBAs in provincial parks — brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada —focuses on the spring migrations at two of our southwestern parks.

On my recent trip to Rondeau Provincial Park / IBA for the Wings of Spring festival and the Port Franks Forested Dunes IBA (close to Pinery Provincial Park), one thing was clear…

…tundra swans make a big impression.

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