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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Wildlife parenting strategies

This blog comes from Laura Penner, a Natural Heritage Education Leader at Rondeau Provincial Park. 

Happy Family Day! On this day we reflect upon and celebrate the unique bonds we make with the special people in our lives.

As a naturalist and a mother of three, I find great joy in catching rare glimpses of wildlife taking care of their young. This looks so different from species to species. It could be a female oriole meticulously weaving grasses into an intricate basket-shaped nest, or a Map Turtle digging test nests all over a campsite until she finds the perfect soil composition.

Each species has its own unique way to raise its young that best deals with the challenges in its environment. Let’s take a look at a few interesting ways wildlife care for their young.

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The astronomical origins of the calendar

Most of us live by our calendars to keep our schedules straight.

But did you know the calendar has astronomical origins?

While the constellations were, largely, created to help people remember significant star patterns, they have plenty of other uses. One of these is for the formation of the calendar.

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The scavenger hunt for survival

Today’s post comes from Anna Scuhr, a naturalist with Lake Superior Provincial Park. 

The arrival of snow and ice transforms the rugged landscape of Lake Superior Provincial Park into a stunningly beautiful, albeit unforgiving place to live.

As temperatures drop, the park can accumulate up to six feet of snow in the interior. This makes just about every aspect of an animal’s life more challenging.

Northern winters are a true test of an animal’s fitness. Let’s look at how they adapt to survive long, harsh winters.

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Interpreting Ontario: introducing Ontario Parks’ interpreters

Today’s post comes from Cathy Entwhistle, the Natural Heritage Education Leader and Volunteer Coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

Reading the title, you might think this blog is about the many languages featured in Ontario.

While Ontario Parks is visited by dozens of different language speakers each year and we do our best to communicate with everyone, the staff we call “interpreters” might only speak one language (or at least, one human language).

In Ontario Parks, an interpreter’s job is actually to interpret Ontario’s nature and history for our many park visitors.

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