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)!
What’s the Wildlife Research Station all about?
Established in 1944, the WRS is a pioneer of biological research, wildlife conservation, and ecological education.
Field research stations around the world play an important role in understanding today’s biggest biological challenges, from climate change to invasive species.
The goals of the WRS are:
- to educate scientists, the public and policy makers
- to conserve biodiversity, ecological integrity and a culture of field-based research
- to inspire environment stewardship, a community of collaboration and a connection with nature
These goals fit perfectly with Ontario Parks’ own mandate to “enable scientific research and support the monitoring of ecological change on the broader landscape.”
A priceless asset to field biology
The Wildlife Research Station has hosted 60+ years of small mammal studies, 50+ years of gray jay studies, 40+ years of turtle and songbird studies, and 10+ years of squirrel and salamander studies.
That’s a lot of data!
The Wildlife Research Station also helps training the next generation.
Every year, the WRS hosts dozens of researchers, most of whom are eager undergraduate assistants and graduate students collecting data for their thesis projects. The WRS provides influential hands-on research opportunities that take learning beyond the lecture hall.
What happens to all the research?
Researchers typically publish their findings in peer-reviewed scientific journals, or present them at closed-circle international conferences. They may also be called upon to inform wildlife management decisions for the province.
WRS researchers also help Ontario Parks (and organizations around the world) by:
- providing critical baselines for maintaining biodiversity
- documenting environmental change
- providing findings for evidence-based policy and decision-making
- advising on how to maintain ecological integrity inside and outside of protected areas
However, much closer to home there is something very special going on and we hope that you’ll stop by our…
“Meet The Researcher” Day!
The ninth annual “Meet The Researcher” Day takes place rain or shine on July 28, 2016, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, at the East Beach Picnic Pavilion.
Want the latest insights on flying squirrels, smallmouth bass or gray jays?
Chat with dozens of researchers – including WRS biologists, Harkness Laboratory of Fisheries Researchers, and Algonquin cultural historians – and explore interactive public exhibits on the studies they have been conducting in and around the park. The event will also include a charity BBQ by The Friends of Algonquin Park and door prizes.
This event is suitable for all ages and is wheelchair accessible.
Learn about the wildlife that calls Algonquin home and the researchers that use the park as their outdoor laboratory!