Kakabeka Falls inspires student art

Big thanks to the students of Valley Central Public School, especially Sara Miller (grade 7) and Trenten Scott (grade 8), for writing this post about their recent trip to Kakabeka Falls.

In September, students from the Valley Central School Learning Academies visited Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park for some outdoor learning.

The main intention of the trip was to plant trees in case the Emerald Ash Borer spreads into their forests. However the students also took the time to sketch landscapes, rock formations, trees, and — of course — the beautiful falls themselves.

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The year of high water at Presqu’ile

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

It was a wet year for provincial parks in 2017.

If you visited Lake Ontario this spring, you know water levels reached record highs. By early May, the lake was 10 cm higher than the highest it had ever been since records started in 1918. This is also a full metre higher than average.

The damage this caused has been well-documented. At Presqu’ile Provincial Park, we had flooded facilities, lost land to erosion, and had to close for four weeks in June to prevent more damage to our soggy landscape.

The flood was certainly an inconvenience to us, but what effect did it have on the nature and wildlife of the park?

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Underground, underwater or frozen solid: how do frogs & toads spend the winter?

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, one of our Algonquin Provincial Park naturalists.

As the crisp fall days get colder and the occasional dusting of snow whitens the landscape, we know that winter is just around the corner. For the countless songbirds of our forests, they avoid our cold winters and lack of food by migrating south. Other animals are adapted to the cold conditions and may grow a thicker coat of fur or feathers. Some, we think, have the enviable ability to sleep away the long Ontario winter by hibernating.

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Owl-induced whiplash

In today’s post, Alistair MacKenzie, Naturalist Heritage Education Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park, recounts a dramatic encounter with an eastern screech owl.

We desperately needed to confirm breeding evidence for eastern screech owls in our survey squares for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas back in 2005.

It was our last chance given that the atlas was wrapping up the collection period and I was frustrated since I confidently knew that screech owls did indeed breed in the park, but sadly we just hadn’t managed to be in the right place at the right time to confirm it.

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8 fun facts about spiders

Today’s post comes from naturalist Pilar Manorome from Rondeau Provincial Park.

Are you afraid of spiders? Our eight-legged friends are the kind of “creepy crawlies” that many people like to pretend don’t exist.

One of my goals as a naturalist is to break down those barriers with fun facts that can make those “less-appealing” creatures sound like they would be a hoot at any of your Halloween parties.

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5 cool facts about skinks

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