It’s aster season!

Today’s post comes to us from Natural Heritage Education Specialist Dave Sproule.

Around the middle of August, Ontario’s landscape starts to change colour. A bit of gold here, swaths of white there, and even a touch of purple in places. No, it’s not fall yet, although the odd maple tree may think so. It’s actually the “second flowering of summer,” and it lasts well into the autumn.

While many of the flowering plants in the landscape have quit for the season, the asters and goldenrods are just getting going.
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Under the Volcano Trail at Neys Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Grace McGarry and Meghan Drake, Discovery Program staff at Neys and Mark Puumala, Resident Geologist at the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.

Neys Provincial Park is a special place. It has so many qualities that stand out when compared to other parks.

One of these qualities is the park’s Under the Volcano Trail. This stunning trail is entirely along the coast of Lake Superior.

This trail has some interesting features waiting to be discovered. Let’s take a look at what makes this trail special.

To start, the name says it all. This trail takes you along the route of what was once an active volcano where the coast of Lake Superior is now!

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The curious Conopholis plant

Today’s post comes from Maddie Bray, a naturalist at Awenda Provincial Park.

As park naturalists, we get asked all sorts of questions about various organisms that live within the park. Campers will describe the call of a bird they didn’t quite see or the colouring of an insect that was just too quick to photograph.

One of these questions in particular always seems to come up in the summertime – what are those pale yellow things sticking up out of the ground?

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The Ontario Parks Discovery Program: 75 years in the making

In 1944, Algonquin Provincial Park decided to try something new.

They hired Professor J.R. Dymond, Director of the Royal Ontario Museum of Zoology, to deliver guided hikes for park visitors. Those first interpretive programs were a success and what would become the Ontario Parks Discovery Program was born.

Seventy-five years later, roughly 300 Discovery staff in over 70 parks continue to engage visitors with stories of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage and encourage them to explore further.

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5 cool facts about skinks

If you’ve ever seen a Five-lined Skink, you know just how neat 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.

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Behind the Scenes: working with the Discovery Program at Samuel de Champlain

Today’s post comes from Heather Stern, a Discovery Leader at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park.

So you think you want to work with the Ontario Parks Discovery Program…

Every spring, while interviewing potential Discovery Program staff, someone inevitably asks, “What can I expect to do in this role?”

This is always a great question, but it can be difficult to answer. Every day will likely look slightly different, and your responsibilities will vary depending on the season.

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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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Kettle Lakes: a land shaped by icebergs

The deep green boreal forest of Kettle Lakes Provincial Park contains 22 beautiful little lakes. Of these lakes, 20 are called actually “kettle lakes” by geographers.

So what is a “kettle lake?”

To answer that question, we first must look at how kettles are formed.

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