Enhancing biodiversity in Killarney’s tree plantations

This article was written by Connor Oke, a marketing intern at Ontario Parks, using information provided by Ed Morris, Ontario Parks’ northeast zone ecologist. 

When Killarney Provincial Park was established in 1964, park managers faced a problem: what to do with old fields belonging to former homesteads within the park’s boundaries.

To prevent the spread of weedy species, they decided to plant trees, including White Spruce and Red Pine, and regrow the forests.

Continue reading Enhancing biodiversity in Killarney’s tree plantations

A naturalist’s letter to Santa Claus

One of our naturalists left his letter to Santa out on his desk, and we wanted to share a copy, in case anyone out there wants to lend Mr. Claus a hand this year.

Dear Santa,

I don’t really need a lot this year as I have the privilege of working in one of our great provincial parks: Presqu’ile. Perhaps you’ve visited or seen it as you fly over?

It is pretty easy to pick out from the air, sticking into Lake Ontario like it does. We get lots of birds landing here on migration to rest, which many people like to come and see. You’d be welcome to have a break here too.

Continue reading A naturalist’s letter to Santa Claus

Forever protected: why Mark S. Burnham belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every park belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Social Media Specialist Alexander Renaud tells us Mark S. Burnham’s story.

For almost two centuries — as the area around Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park turned from wilderness to farm fields, and eventually, to a bustling city — the trees within its boundaries have remained relatively untouched.

This lack of development is a rare phenomenon in southern Ontario. The ecosystem within has been able to thrive and provide habitat for a variety of species, becoming one of the best-preserved old-growth forests in the county.

Today, the old-growth forest is also a refuge for the local community, providing space to reconnect with nature and self.

For these reasons, Mark S. Burnham belongs. Continue reading Forever protected: why Mark S. Burnham belongs

Butterball’s story

Today’s post comes to us from David Bree, our Discovery Program Lead at Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

Butterball was a bit of a miracle child.

The way the year went, it was amazing that his egg was ever laid, let alone hatched. And he never should have flown.

But, somehow, he did.

To truly understand Butterball’s story, and the miracle it was, we must go back eight years. And oh yeah, you should know: Butterball is a Common Tern.

Continue reading Butterball’s story

Can you teach an old naturalist new tricks?

Today’s blog comes from Tim Tully, Discovery Coordinator at Awenda Provincial Park.

That is the question.

After decades of doing things a certain way, can I rally the forces of change and adopt a new way of recording species data? Should I submit species data to iNaturalist or not?

I decided to empirically investigate in an unbiased scientific way. Specifically, what is all the fuss about iNaturalist anyway?

Here’s what I discovered….

Continue reading Can you teach an old naturalist new tricks?

“Fall”ing into a new role at Sandbanks

In our “Behind the Scenes” series, Discovery Program staff across the province share a backstage glimpse of their favourite programs and projects. Today’s post comes from Carlin Thompson, Assistant Discovery Leader at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

When summer transitions into fall at Sandbanks Provincial Park, many campgrounds are closed for the season. Park Store and Discovery Centre hours are reduced, and snow fencing is placed along our popular beaches in preparation for whipping winter winds.

This year, as camping visitation waned and summer staff headed back to school, I was preparing to tackle a new challenge for the Discovery Program.

After decades of educating and entertaining campers with summer programs, Sandbanks’ Discovery Program is thrilled to refocus our efforts this fall to become a more active community partner with our local schools.

Continue reading “Fall”ing into a new role at Sandbanks

9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

Many of our in-park Halloween events feature campsite decorating contests.

But certain decorations can be harmful to the environment.

Here’s how you can create a super spooky campsite AND protect Ontario’s ecological integrity at the same time.

Continue reading 9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

Studying Coaster Brook Trout at Neys Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Mitch Kostecki, Assistant Superintendent at White Lake Provincial Park.

If you have ever visited Neys Provincial Park, you know that it’s a gem found along the northern shore of Lake Superior.

Neys is known for its beautiful scenery along Superior’s rugged coastline, home to Lawren Harris’ famous painting “Pic Island,” and even has a history of being one of several POW camps located throughout northwestern Ontario during World War II.

What Neys isn’t quite as well known for? The excellent fishing opportunities found along that same rugged coastline.

Continue reading Studying Coaster Brook Trout at Neys Provincial Park

Keeping dogs on-leash protects our parks’ ecological integrity

Today’s blog comes from Emma Dennis, an assistant Discovery Program leader at Killarney Provincial Park.

I am a lover of the outdoors and an avid hiker, so it’s only natural that I own two dogs that share that same passions. As Killarney residents, we are lucky enough to have Killarney Provincial Park as our backyard.

Whether we are hitting the Granite Ridge Trail on a Sunday morning for a quick hike to start our day, or spending the afternoon adventuring to the top of “The Crack,” we live our best lives when we are hiking the trails.

Continue reading Keeping dogs on-leash protects our parks’ ecological integrity

Seeing spots at Pinery Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Tanya Berkers, Resource Management Group Leader at Pinery Provincial Park.

You may be seeing spots the next time you visit Pinery’s Visitor Centre, and hopefully the birds will see them too!

The park has just installed thousands of vinyl dots on the windows to make them visible to our feathered friends.

Continue reading Seeing spots at Pinery Provincial Park