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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Tree bending at Bon Echo

Recently, Bon Echo Provincial Park took advantage of the bending and dampening properties of trees in order to save a number of them from removal during a construction project. Park Superintendent Clark Richards shares the story.

The challenge? Transporting a prefabricated cabin on a transport truck and trailer to the park.

The cabin had to be navigated through the narrow, single lane campground roads, eventually to be placed on an existing campsite.

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Sandbanks superhero wins Ecological Integrity Award

We’re proud to announce the winner of this year’s Ontario Parks Ecological Integrity Award: Yvette Bree, our Natural Heritage Education Coordinator at Sandbanks Provincial Park!

Yvette has given decades of dedicated, passionate service, protecting the ecological integrity of one of our busiest parks.
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Are you an ethical wildlife photographer?

The holidays have come and gone, and many of us unwrapped the latest iphone or a shiny new digital camera, perhaps an SLR with some fancy lenses.

We now have itchy shutter fingers. We’re ready to point our camera at something spectacular and capture a beautiful memory forever. But where to go?

Not to brag, but Ontario Parks are beautiful, iconic places. Covering nearly 10% of the province and protecting some of Ontario’s most rare and scenic habitats, our parks are home to a variety of wildlife, from fascinating insects to enormous moose.

Basically, they’re a photographer’s dreamscape.

We’re animal lovers too. We know how exhilarating wildlife encounters can be. We understand how badly you want that perfect photo.

But before you hit the road, ask yourself: is taking the perfect photograph worth risking an animal’s life or an ecosystem’s health?

If your answer is “no,” check out our list of 7 common photography infractions to ensure you’re keeping our parks safe and healthy.

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5 small ways we protect what’s precious

Here at Ontario Parks, preserving the province’s ecological integrity is always on our minds.

You’ve heard about our bigger projects, like:

But did you know ecological integrity is part of our everyday jobs?

Check out these five “mini” ecological integrity tasks:

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Beach therapy: some TLC for our most popular shorelines

Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Jenni Kaija, who shares a story of ecological restoration unfolding at Long Point Provincial Park.

As I made my way down to the sandy shoreline of Cottonwood campground in Long Point Provincial Park, I was overjoyed to spot a huge flock of gull and tern species resting just off shore.

Fall is one of my favourite times to spend time in our provincial parks. Everything was quite peaceful, and the birds seemed to be enjoying the quiet as much as I was.

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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.

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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.

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Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity is a big word for the variety of life on Earth.

Biodiversity is you – and every other living thing on the planet. We see biodiversity every day, but it’s more than bugs and animals and trees. It’s about how everything is connected. If we lose one piece of biodiversity, the rest is affected.

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Don’t deck the Scots pine for Christmas

If you’ve visited Presqu’ile Provincial Park lately, you’ve probably spotted staff and volunteers cutting down happy pine trees (during the Christmas season!) and feeding them (*GASP*) into the woodchipper.

You might even have pulled over to ask, in a little Cindy-Lou Who voice: Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?

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