5 small ways we protect what’s precious

Here at Ontario Parks, preserving the province’s ecological integrity is always on our minds.

You’ve heard about our bigger projects, like:

But did you know ecological integrity is part of our everyday jobs?

Check out these five “mini” ecological integrity tasks:

Continue reading 5 small ways we protect what’s precious

Beach therapy: some TLC for our most popular shorelines

Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Jenni Kaija, who shares a story of ecological restoration unfolding at Long Point Provincial Park.

As I made my way down to the sandy shoreline of Cottonwood campground in Long Point Provincial Park, I was overjoyed to spot a huge flock of gull and tern species resting just off shore.

Fall is one of my favourite times to spend time in our provincial parks. Everything was quite peaceful, and the birds seemed to be enjoying the quiet as much as I was.

Continue reading Beach therapy: some TLC for our most popular shorelines

A naturalist’s letter to Santa Claus

One of our naturalists left his letter to Santa out on his desk, and we wanted to share a copy, in case anyone out there wants to lend Mr. Claus a hand this year.

Dear Santa,

I don’t really need a lot this year as I have the privilege of working in one of our great provincial parks: Presqu’ile. Perhaps you’ve visited or seen it as you fly over?

It is pretty easy to pick out from the air, sticking into Lake Ontario like it does. We get lots of birds landing here on migration to rest, which many people like to come and see. You’d be welcome to have a break here too.

Continue reading A naturalist’s letter to Santa Claus

Making Pinery more butterfly friendly

In today’s post, summer student Barbara Alber shares a project she completed this year at Pinery Provincial Park.

Butterflies. They’re beautiful, they’re ecologically significant, and they’re one of the only insects that doesn’t make people squirm.

They’re also in trouble.

Continue reading Making Pinery more butterfly friendly

Billions travel Ontario’s migration superhighways

Today’s post comes from Brad Steinberg, our Natural Heritage Education and Learning Coordinator. An avid birder, Brad identifies several “migration superhighways” and the role provincial parks play in protecting Canada’s Important Bird Areas. 

Being stuck in traffic sucks. Especially with young kids.

This sentiment recently ran through my head while mired in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, Ontario. (My conclusion was reinforced when my son loudly announced his urgent need for a bio-break.)

But as frustrating as highways can be; they are vitally important to us, providing a reliable route from one place to another.

Continue reading Billions travel Ontario’s migration superhighways

Join us for Algonquin’s “Meet the Researcher Day”

Today’s post comes from wildlife biologist Patrick Moldowan.

Within Algonquin Provincial Park, wildlife researchers work within an outdoor laboratory of a massive scale!

You might find them tucked away amid the dense forest, waist-deep in a wetland, or investigating a wolf den.

Welcome to the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station (WRS)!

Continue reading Join us for Algonquin’s “Meet the Researcher Day”

Downed trees become habitat for eastern red-backed salamanders

Today’s post comes from Laura Sagermann, a Natural Heritage Education leader from Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Across Ontario, our provincial parks protect a wide range of diverse ecosystems and habitats from human impact, urban development and other environmental threats.

However, this protected land is not immune to invasive species. These are non-native species that have been introduced (either purposely or accidentally) and have negative effects on a region.

At Bon Echo, the latest invasive species to be found is the insect-fungus combination responsible for beech bark disease.  Continue reading Downed trees become habitat for eastern red-backed salamanders

Hunting dragons, discovering damsels

During the summer of 2015, several research projects were conducted at Murphys Point Provincial Park, but one in particular attracted the attention of staff and public alike.

With long-handled nets in hand, park staff — led by expert volunteer Bev Edwards — could be seen thigh-deep in the vernal ponds, streams and lakes located within the park.

What were they doing?

Surveying for odonates (that’s dragonflies and damselflies to most of us).

Continue reading Hunting dragons, discovering damsels

The trouble with balloons

Today’s post comes from David Bree, our Senior Natural Heritage Education Leader at Presqu’ile Provincial Park, and passionate protector of Ontario’s shorebirds.

I don’t know Jason. But I do know he turned six sometime in the last two months and he had a wonderful party with cake, presents and balloons, surrounded by friends and family.

I hope he had a good time, but I wonder if he knows the legacy of his sixth birthday — from my perspective — is unsightly litter, extra work and possibly untimely death.

Continue reading The trouble with balloons

Saved by the fence

Happy World Turtle Day! Today’s post comes from Shannon McGaffey, our Assistant Park Biologist at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Earlier this month, a crew of seven park staff – rangers, maintenance workers, administration staff and biologists – spent the entire day installing turtle fencing along the side of the busy Highway 60 in Algonquin.

Continue reading Saved by the fence