Introducing the Nature Playbook

This week, the Canadian Parks Council unveiled an exciting new project: the Nature Playbook!

Just as the plays in a coach’s playbook spark movement and bring the team together, the Nature Playbook is designed to inspire action — bringing Canadians into the nature game!

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Ontario Parks’ interpretive programming: 70 years and still going strong

We’ve been offering interpretive programs to visitors for nearly a three quarters of a century. In 2015 alone, more than 393,000 visitors from across the province tuned into our programming.

Our calendar is brimming with hundreds of different programs this summer — spanning stargazing to nature hikes to historical reenactments.

Which one will you choose?

Continue reading Ontario Parks’ interpretive programming: 70 years and still going strong

The call of the Park

Planning to visit a provincial park this summer? Looking for something different the whole family can do together? Why not take a walk on the ‘wild’ side? Discover how to track animals. Catch insects. Learn birdcalls – or communicate with wolves in the wild at night. Create nature-inspired art in the medium of your choice. Or find out how different species mate by attending a ‘Glee’-style musical!

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The many moods of Lake Superior are beckoning: Kakabeka Falls anyone?

If you are looking for an enchanting way to ride out the rest of the summer or early fall, why not tour the coast of Lake Superior and finish your journey at Thunder Bay and Kakabeka Falls Provincial Park?  The coastline boasts several different parks that follow Lake Superior north and west.  When you reach the lakehead (Thunder Bay, Ontario’s western end of the lake), travel inland to Kakabeka Falls, home to the second largest waterfall in Ontario.

Continue reading The many moods of Lake Superior are beckoning: Kakabeka Falls anyone?

The Year of the Salamander and Natural Heritage Education

 In an age when kids are so plugged in to technology, Mother Nature can be the de-stressor a child needs to lead a healthy life. 

 Natural Heritage Education (NHE) programs at Ontario Parks teach kids to appreciate and respect nature. The hands-on, entertaining activities offered every summer are free with a valid day or overnight Ontario Parks permit. Best of all, they’re led by qualified staff who understands the area’s ecology.  Use the Park Locator on the Ontario Parks web site to locate parks with NHE programming.  

Spotted Salamander in Algonquin Provincial Park.

David Legros is the NHE leader at Algonquin Provincial Park. Beginning as a Laurentian University MSc graduate, David has been involved with the Bat Lake Inventory of Spotted Salamanders (BLISS) in Algonquin Provincial Park. This project is slated to become the largest salamander monitoring project in North America. It operates on a shoestring budget and is coordinated by Patrick Moldowan, an MSc Biology Candidate at Laurentian University. *  Glenn Tattersall, a Professor at Brock University, officially began the BLISS project in 2008 and has been instrumental in supporting students throughout the salamander study.

 Salamanders are great predictors of a forest’s health. Many are threatened worldwide so conservationists have named 2014 the Year of the Salamander. Spring is when salamanders migrate in Algonquin Provincial Park. This wonderful story from the point-of-view of a male salamander takes place during spring migration and breeding. It was written by Patrick Moldowan and inspired by NHE leader, David LeGros (who is not an amourous salamander). 

  Continue reading The Year of the Salamander and Natural Heritage Education

A Natural Fit

Connecting with nature has lots of benefits.

It keeps us healthy by lowering our blood pressure and strengthening our immune system. It reduces our stress levels and keeps us physically fit.

It’s good for our emotional wellbeing too. Children who play in natural environments are more resilient and develop skills for dealing with stress later in life.

Parks provide unparalleled natural classrooms and recreation opportunities for people of all ages.

And now there’s a new initiative – developed jointly by federal, provincial and territorial governments – that focuses on the importance nature plays in our lives. Ministers responsible for parks across the country recently met in Ontario to finalize the Connecting Canadians with Nature report, which was co-ordinated through the Canadian Parks Council.

The report builds on what Ontario Parks is already doing.

Last year Ontario Parks offered more than 1,000 nature programs for 37,000 children. In addition, provincial parks offered nature-based education programs for more than 800 school groups and 20,000 children.

And Mom and Dad aren’t left out. Ontario Parks provide adult education programs as well.

Ontario Parks offers Learn to Camp and Learn to Fish programs, which introduce city dwellers to these great outdoor activities and encourages them to become life-long park users.

 

Many parks offer recreational opportunities and facilities to meet the needs of mature park visitors and people with disabilities, such as yurts, cabins, accessible comfort stations, campsites and trails.

Also, Ontario and seven not-for-profit partners have launched the Ontario Children’s Outdoor Charter to help children across the province develop a life-long connection with nature.

So, visit a park and connect with nature!

 

Kids’ play at Ontario Parks

Need a way to get your kid more active this summer? Try one of Ontario Parks’ amazing Natural Heritage Education (NHE) programs. Kids can run around, explore, and interact with other kids in safe park settings. The Natural Heritage Education programs are led by knowledgeable NHE leaders and the fee for most programs is included in the price of a day or overnight park permit. Continue reading Kids’ play at Ontario Parks