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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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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Comet NEOWISE

Our night sky seems to be a fixture of perfection.

While the stars rise and set, and the sun, moon and planets do appear to move against the starry backdrop, little other changes are apparent.

However, that stillness does get punctuated from time to time by ghostly interlopers — the comets!

And right now, our eyes are fixed on Comet NEOWISE!

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The very hungry caterpillars

If you’ve seen an Ontario oak tree recently, you’ve likely been introduced to the invasive Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar).

Gypsy Moth caterpillars were first introduced to North America in the late 1860s, and are voracious eaters! Their favourite cuisine is oak leaves, but in particularly bad outbreak years — like this one — they can spread to many other tree species.

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Pinery’s Loch Ness Monster

Today’s post comes from Megan Loucks, Discovery Lead at Pinery Provincial Park. 

If you explore Pinery’s Old Ausable Channel, you might see a variety of fish swimming, water lilies floating in the sun, or even a beaver ducking into its lodge.

However, we have recently received reports of a large reptilian creature swimming just below the surface.

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The cat and the Mudbug: a guide to using iNaturalist

Cellphones have changed our lives in many ways. It seems like there’s an app available to cater to our every need, from baking to banking and all things in between.

In Ontario Parks, we generally encourage green time over screen time, however there’s one app we believe every visitor should have on their phone.

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Open eyes, open mind: nature journaling with kids

In today’s post, Discovery Leader Carlin Thompson from Sandbanks Provincial Park shares her top tips for nature journaling with kids.

We did it, parents! We made it through another winter.

The struggle of tackling young children into layered outerwear and the scavenger hunts for matching mittens now seem like a distant memory. What sweet relief.

But before the unbridled joy of shucking the outerwear gives way to sunscreen-application-induced carpal tunnel and the din of summer boredom, let’s capitalize on our children’s excitement to be outside.

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A forest of friends

Today’s post comes to us from Heather Stern, a naturalist at Bon Echo Provincial Park

Many people visit parks each summer for vacation, relaxation, adventure, or more generally, a break from city life. These are all great reasons to get outside and enjoy nature.

However, while visitation to provincial parks is increasing, we want knowledge of the plants, animals, and the unique habitats that these parks protect to increase too.

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