By paddle and boot: citizen science in the backcountry       

This post was written by David LeGros, park naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Are you an explorer? Heading out into parks on a journey of discovery, anxious to see what is on the next lake, around the bend on the portage, or even what might turn up at your campsite?

Me too. I love exploring the backcountry on canoe trips, and I love getting to know Algonquin a little bit better every time. I am also an avid naturalist, so I like to identify the things I see when I’m out there (and no, I don’t know all the species).

Lately, I have become obsessed with iNaturalist (ask my wife). So when we were planning our last canoe trip, I gently guided the route to be in a place where few nature nerds have made records before. For the glory, but also for real/good reasons too.

Continue reading By paddle and boot: citizen science in the backcountry       

Greetings, Boozhoo, Aaniin, Sekoh, Wachay, Ullakut!

National Indigenous Peoples Day invites us to learn more about Indigenous history, perspectives and culture, and helps us build stronger relationships rooted in mutual respect and understanding.

We’re taking the opportunity to spotlight some of the wonderful partnerships and events shared with us by Indigenous leaders and communities across Ontario:

Continue reading Greetings, Boozhoo, Aaniin, Sekoh, Wachay, Ullakut!

14 must-see Ontario trails

Whether you’re conquering a rocky scramble or taking a leisurely stroll across a boardwalk, we’ve got the perfect trail for you.

How many of these must-see trails from around the province have you explored?

Continue reading 14 must-see Ontario trails

Find yourself here

Here’s to the moments that took our breath away…the moments we knew — at our core — that people were meant to be outside.

We hope you’ll continue to find yourself at Ontario Parks throughout your life, finding new moments of discovery, connection, and wonder.

Continue reading Find yourself here

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.

Continue reading The cat and the Mudbug: a guide to using iNaturalist

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

Just keep swimming: the perilous journey of turtle hatchlings

Today’s post comes from Olivia Pomajba, a summer student at Rondeau Provincial Park.

A turtle hatchling making its way to water reminds us of the perilous journey we all face in life.

The world must seem incredibly vast to these centimetre-long hatchlings, and they face many challenges.

Continue reading Just keep swimming: the perilous journey of turtle hatchlings

The Spotted Salamander, harbinger of spring

Salamanders are iconic and influential members of northern forest communities. As one of the most abundant vertebrates in eastern North American forests, salamanders are considered “keystone species” because of their disproportionate roles as predators and prey in regulating food webs, nutrient cycling, and contributing to ecosystem resilience-resistance.

In addition to fulfilling key ecological functions, amphibians are our modern-day “canaries in the coal mine,” serving as a measure of environmental health.

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How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

Preserving ecological integrity is a priority for all of us here at Ontario Parks. But just what does ecological integrity look like? Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros explains…

When I start many of my evening programs at Algonquin, I often ask the audience if they like nature.

Usually I get a lot of hands up in the air, but there are always a few that don’t put their hands up. I tell those people, “You might be in the wrong place, because Algonquin is crawling with nature.” I know these folks may have not been paying attention to what I was saying or chose not to participate in my survey, but it always gets a laugh from the crowd.

However, this did get me thinking about why we go to parks over staying home or visiting a big city…

Continue reading How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?