Do the skies need our protection?

Stars as seen in midnight’s gaze
Stars shining upon shoreline’s haze
Guiding us, teaching us with stories manifold
About ourselves, stars speak, from birth till old.
Their permanence ties us to days gone by
But to hide their secrets, they still do try
To gaze upon them brings dreams of futures bright
But to see them vanish, is to lose much delight.

~Bruce Waters

At Ontario Parks, we’re committed to the protection and preservation of our province’s biodiversity. The night skies in their natural splendour are an important part of that protection.

Continue reading Do the skies need our protection?

Shell-ebrate Ontario’s turtles with our new merchandise line

Last spring, we asked you to help us protect Ontario’s eight turtles species, all of which are species at risk.

With just one year of the Turtle Protection Project under our belts, staff are already seeing amazing results.

This year, we’re excited to debut a new way to support turtle conservation in Ontario Parks: our Turtle Protection Project merchandise line.

Let’s take a look at how you can help Ontario’s turtles AND look good while doing it.

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How to raise environmentally conscious kids

Earth Week is an annual reminder of how important it is to celebrate our beautiful planet and do our part to protect it for future generations.

It’s also a timely reminder of how essential it is to instill a love – and respect – of the outdoors in our children. It’s something we can’t start too early.

Recent research shows that if you give kids (aged five to ten) an immersive experience in nature, it will lead to a lifelong love for the environment and a sense of stewardship for the earth. You’ll also likely produce more creative thinkers!

Algonquin Provincial Park Biologist Alison Lake offers these tips on how to raise environmentally conscious kids in an increasingly urban and regulated world:

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How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

Preserving ecological integrity is a priority for all of us here at Ontario Parks. But just what does ecological integrity look like? Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros explains…

When I start many of my evening programs at Algonquin, I often ask the audience if they like nature.

Usually I get a lot of hands up in the air, but there are always a few that don’t put their hands up. I tell those people, “You might be in the wrong place, because Algonquin is crawling with nature.” I know these folks may have not been paying attention to what I was saying or chose not to participate in my survey, but it always gets a laugh from the crowd.

However, this did get me thinking about why we go to parks over staying home or visiting a big city…

Continue reading How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

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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Bats at Ontario Parks

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Supervisor Alistair MacKenzie and Bat Stewardship Technician Heather Sanders.

Bats are the only mammal capable of true sustained flight, and with over 1,300 species and counting, they make up the second largest order of mammals.

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A trip down the Pakeshkag River at Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Sonje Bols, a former naturalist at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

Part of a park naturalist’s job is to familiarize themselves with the natural and cultural wonders of their park through exploration.

Whether it’s hanging out at bogs to catch and identify dragonflies, checking rocks for snakes, or canoeing along Indigenous canoe routes, naturalists set out to observe and explore every inch of their parks so they can bring that knowledge and experience to park visitors and managers.

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Spotted on iNaturalist: our staff’s favourite observations

Did you know April is Community Science Month?

It’s no secret that we’re big proponents of community science, especially using a beginner-friendly app like iNaturalist!

Every observation contributes to park research and helps maintain ecological integrity in our natural spaces.

Not to mention the cool and unusual species we’ve spotted along the way!

Check out some of our staff’s favourite iNaturalist observations:

Continue reading Spotted on iNaturalist: our staff’s favourite observations

“What the heck is that?!”: when to #AskanOPNaturalist

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, a park naturalist with the Ontario Parks Discovery Program.

“I’ve never seen one of those” is among my favorite sentences.

There’s a scary thing that happens the longer you look into nature. The more you find, the more you find out that you don’t know that much. It can be an intimidating feeling, but also, an exciting feeling.

Your mind is about to be blown.

Repeatedly.

Continue reading “What the heck is that?!”: when to #AskanOPNaturalist