How to get a good night’s sleep while camping

Worried about how restful it is sleeping outside?

Studies show sleeping away from artificial light and waking up with natural sunlight can reset your circadian rhythm which will help you feel refreshed after a better night’s sleep.

But to get a good night’s sleep, it’s important to stay warm, dry and comfortable.

Here are some tips for comfy sleeping while car camping:

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Ouimet Canyon: a northwestern birding hotspot

Today’s post comes from our Northwest Regional Planning Ecologist Bill Greaves.

Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park is typically visited for its jaw-dropping geological feature, but it’s also one of the better birding hotspots in the Thunder Bay area.

What might you see at Ouimet Canyon?

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Spring carp fishing

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.

Have you ever targeted common carp?

When most people see a carp for the first time, they’re blown away by their size. Carp are one of largest fish species roaming our waters here in Ontario and as you can probably tell by the big smiles, they’re an absolute blast to reel in! They are open to be targeted year-round and are typically found in relatively shallow water throughout the open water season.

As such, carp are one of the first species I target in the spring while I wait for other seasons to open. There’s nothing quite like starting off the open water season chasing fish that can average over 20 pounds!

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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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Spring birding festivals

The songbirds are returning and bringing spring with them!

Catch a bird-banding demonstration, take in a nature photography workshop, or sign on for a bird-themed hike with our park naturalists.

If you love songbirds, you won’t want to miss the Ontario Parks spring birding festivals:

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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.

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The beaver: architect of biodiversity

Ontario Parks is recognizing iconic Canadian species this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Next up, we join Natural Heritage Education Specialist Dave Sproule for a chat about the ecological and cultural significance of the beaver, which became Canada’s official symbol in 1975.

We all know beavers are industrious. They builds dams, canals and sturdy homes called lodges, which are warm in winter. They repair all those dams and collect enough food to survive long northern winters.

We know beavers are well-suited to the Canadian environment. Beavers are amphibious – more at home in the water than on land — with webbed hind feet, nostrils that can close, a third see-through eyelid that protects the eye when they’re underwater, and a big flat tail that acts as rudder while swimming.

The biggest reason to celebrate the beaver during Canada150, however, is that the beaver built Canada, shaping both its historical and ecological landscape.

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Ecosystems and music

Not sure exactly what “ecological integrity” means? Today’s post from Park Biologist Shannon McGaffey explains how ecological integrity is like music.

Synergy: the creation of a whole that is bigger than the sum of the individual parts

If you are listening to a symphony, you are not listening to two violins, one piano, three flutes, etc. You are listening to music, an art that breaches the realms of spirituality. Music naturally generates measurable energy, but also produces energy beyond that, an energy that humans can feel, but just can’t quite grasp and understand.

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