Year of the salamander

The next time you take your kids or grandkids for a trek through your favourite Ontario provincial park, stay on the lookout for salamanders.  Some of these wondrous little amphibians are on the endangered species list so if you see one skulking through your park, snap a selfie and send it to Ontario Nature, or download a free app at ontarionature.org/atlas. Your scientific discovery could help scientists understand more about why these fascinating creatures are disappearing.

According to a study done by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, amphibians such as salamanders, frogs and toads are experiencing one of the biggest declines globally. In fact, 41 percent of amphibians worldwide are endangered or threatened, including here in Ontario.

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The joy of citizen science: see it, save it, send it

Imagine having the power to help endangered species become not so endangered. Actually, you do! Right here in Ontario! All you have to do is grab your binoculars, smart phone or digital camera and become a Citizen Scientist.

Citizen Science is taking off around the world as a way for everyday people to become directly involved in helping to record nature and preserve endangered species. No scientific degree required, just a healthy dose of curiosity and concern for the environment and a way to share your information.

 

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When is a turtle like an umbrella?

The next time you visit your favourite Ontario provincial park, be on the lookout for one of our most threatened “umbrella” species, the iconic Blanding’s turtle.

This hard-working, helmet-shaped, eco-soldier does more than walk through wetlands searching for food. Its very existence, ergo conservation, helps a variety of other species and ecosystems survive and thrive. This “pay-it-forward” sort of interdependence is what makes the Blanding’s turtle so important in Ontario.

Blanding's Turlte

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Why every Ontario birder should visit Frontenac

Who knew that Frontenac Provincial Park is one of the hottest spots for viewing some of the most beautiful and endangered species of birds in all of Ontario?  Some 12 bird species at risk, including the rarely seen cerulean warbler, Louisiana waterthrush, and golden-winged warbler, call Frontenac Provincial Park and the surrounding area their home. 

If you visit this southeastern Ontario park, situated in the middle of the Frontenac Arch (the billion-year-old foundation of eastern North America and a unique ridge of ancient granite that joins the Adirondack Mountains to the iconic Canadian Shield in southeastern Ontario), you’ll be treated to “a vital habitat corridor for migration and a critical nursery for many of Ontario’s disappearing flora and fauna,” says Dan Derbyshire, head of Frontenac Bird Studies (FBS) at the Migration Research Foundation. 

White-throated Sparrow (photo credit:Seabrooke Leckie)

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Meet the Researcher…at the 2nd Annual Research Day in Algonquin Provincial Park

The waterways and forests of Algonquin Provincial Park are home to a vast array of fish and wildlife. The park has become an ideal “research laboratory” due to its vast expanse of wilderness.

Algonquin’s Wildlife Research Station is again hosting a “Meet the Researcher Day” on Thursday, July 29th with help from The Friends of Algonquin Park, Ontario Parks, and the Harkness Fisheries Research Lab.

Park visitors will have the chance to learn about ongoing research projects such as: archeology, ornithology (Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Ovenbirds, Gray jays, White-throated sparrows, insect pollination, mammals (Black bears, moose, wolves), small mammals (Flying squirrels, chipmunks mice), herptiles (salamanders, Snapping and Painted turtles) and fish (Brook trout and Smallmouth bass).

The event will run from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the East Beach Picnic Pavilion (located South from km 35.4 within Algonquin Park) and is suitable for all ages.

The Friends of Algonquin Park will be hosting a charity barbeque from 12pm – 2pm (or while quantities last) with proceeds supporting research in the park. There will also be a free entry into a draw for many great prizes donated by the Wildlife Research Station, The Friends of Algonquin Park, Algonquin Outfitters and Ontario Parks.

For more information please contact Rory Eckenswiller, Manager of the Wildlife Research Station, at wrs@vianet.ca