BioBlitz at Sleeping Giant

Team members from our Northwest Zone, including Barb Rees, Evan McCaul, Lesley Ng, Renée Lalonde, Laura Myers and Kyra Santin, combined to share the results of Sleeping Giant’s summer BioBlitz! 

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park isn’t just home to beautiful cliffs and hiking trails. The park also plays host to a diverse group of plants and animals.

Sleeping Giant celebrated this biodiversity with its very own two-day intensive BioBlitz from June 17 to 18.
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Invasive species alert! Water chestnut 101

Today’s post is from Amanda Reed, a digital media organizer in our main office.

Did you know European Water Chestnut is an invasive species?

This destructive plant gained a foothold at Voyageur Provincial Park, and without the ongoing efforts of park staff, it would take over beaches and destroy our wetland. Continue reading Invasive species alert! Water chestnut 101

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.

Continue reading Why driftwood matters

BioBlitz at Murphys Point

Ontario’s provincial parks are home to a diverse array of plants and animals. What better way to take a snapshot of this amazing biodiversity than through a BioBlitz?

Murphys Point Provincial Park hosted its very own BioBlitz on June 10-11, 2017.

The 24-hour event brought staff and volunteers together to explore and catalogue the park’s natural species.

Continue reading BioBlitz at Murphys Point

Snapping Turtles

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, a Natural Heritage Education Specialist at Algonquin Provincial Park.

I spent most of my youth in rubber boots and obsessed with nature. I was always looking for interesting animals and plants.

There are a few creatures then, just like now, that always inspire me.

Top of my list: the Snapping Turtle.

Continue reading Snapping Turtles

Calling all citizen scientists: come to the Killarney Butterfly Count

For the 19th year in a row, Killarney Provincial Park is hosting its Annual Butterfly Count.

And if you’re heading to Killarney on July 8, 2017, we’d like your help!

Continue reading Calling all citizen scientists: come to the Killarney Butterfly Count

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:

Continue reading Guess how many bee species call Ontario home?

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.

Continue reading Does the darkness need our protection?