6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Provincial parks are not islands.

Well, some of them are. What we mean is: there is no invisible wall around parks limiting their relationships with the outside world.

Even if you never visit a park, you benefit from the pollinator diversity they protect, the CO2 they sequester in wood, roots, and peat, and the clean water filtered by protected wetlands.

Plants, animals, fungi, microbes, water, and air move in and out of protected spaces, with intimate connections on both local and global levels.

In the same way, things that happen outside of park boundaries affect the ecosystems within them. What you do at home, work, or play can impact our parks.

Whether you live next door to a park or 100 km away, here are six ways your everyday actions can help keep parks and nature reserves healthy and biodiverse:

Continue reading 6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Confessions of a struggling birder

Today’s blog comes from Carlin Thompson, a discovery leader at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

My name is Carlin, and I’m a struggling birder.

As an Ontario Parks Discovery leader, I am surrounded by colleagues with a passion for the natural world — which I share.

Many share a specialty in identifying birds — which I do not.

These are my confessions.

Continue reading Confessions of a struggling birder

Join us for Science Literacy Week!

Today’s post comes from Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park

What do a Polar Bear, a Prickly Pear Cactus, a Five-lined Skink, and a Bobolink all have in common?

Aside from their snazzy names, they’re plants and animals that require unique environments to survive. Some of these special spaces have been changing and disappearing throughout history.

That’s where Ontario Parks comes in. We protect important landscapes, and conduct research on how we can ensure the species living in parks can thrive.

This year, we’re excited to share the science of parks during Science Literacy Week.

Continue reading Join us for Science Literacy Week!

A virtual fungus foray

Today’s post comes from Mark Read, our Discovery leader at Murphys Point Provincial Park. 

This blog is not going to be an identification guide; nor is it going to be packed full of mind-blowing facts.

Instead, it is more of a celebration of the fungal diversity found in Ontario.

I hope that along the way you’ll be encouraged to take a closer look at these fascinating organisms that play such a critical role in maintaining the ecological integrity of our parks!

Continue reading A virtual fungus foray

Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

Today’s post comes from Sarah Wiebe, the senior park naturalist at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park

Before this year, I would have never considered myself a “Bird Nerd.”

My journey began in my southern Ontario home, but it wasn’t until I arrived at my summer destination (Kettle Lakes!) that I truly hit my nerdy stride.

Continue reading Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

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?

Hitting the MOTHerlode at Rondeau

Today’s post comes Kevin Gevaert, senior Discovery staff at Rondeau Provincial Park

Not too many people are fond of the idea of staying in the forest when it gets dark.

It might sound sound discouraging or even scary to most, but experiencing Rondeau Provincial Park’s forest at night is something you won’t soon forget!

The billions of stars in the night sky, the sound of owls hooting, coyotes howling in the distance, and the odd mosquitos buzzing are all part of the magic that makes nighttime here at Rondeau so special.

Things really start to appear when we shine a bit of light on the subject!

Continue reading Hitting the MOTHerlode at Rondeau

Life lessons working with Bobolinks

Today’s post comes from Victoria Reimer, Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s Green Jobs summer student and friend to birds everywhere.

If you asked me what a Green Jobs student was before I started, I wouldn’t have known myself.

Now, after being in the role, I can tell you it’s a wonderful opportunity to become intimately connected to your park. Every day, my job challenges me, but it also gives me so many opportunities to learn.

Continue reading Life lessons working with Bobolinks

A mouse, a beast, and a ghost: who’s using Pinery’s ecopassage?

In today’s post comes from Alistair MacKenzie, Discovery Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park, shares one of his parks exciting new conservation technologies: ecopassages.

I have a lot to thank my parents for, not the least of which is for introducing me to nature as a young child.

When my family immigrated to Canada, we began exploring Ontario and seeking out opportunities to witness natural phenomena and wild species. Soon, this behaviour led us to Algonquin Provincial Park, and we started making frequent pilgrimages there in all seasons.

Continue reading A mouse, a beast, and a ghost: who’s using Pinery’s ecopassage?