Preserving international dark skies at Quetico

Today’s post comes from Chris Stromberg, Acting Backcountry Operations Specialist at Quetico Provincial Park and Coordinator for the Heart of the Continent Partnership.

This past July, four teams of Ontario Parks and US Forest Service wilderness rangers / park wardens went into the woods to observe the nights of the new moon.

Along with their usual assignments of ensuring compliance, clearing portages, restoring campsites, and acting as park/forest ambassadors, they were out collecting sky quality metre (SQM) readings during the darkest hours of the evening.

Continue reading Preserving international dark skies at Quetico

Monarch Butterflies

Today’s post was written by summer student Danielle Bullen from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s that time of year again, and across Ontario, we’re starting to see those beautiful orange and black wings.

Monarch Butterflies come all the way from Mexico over a few generations, depending on the amount of milkweed available during their travels, spending summer here in Ontario.

Continue reading Monarch Butterflies

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 is an important part of that protection.

Continue reading Do the skies need our protection?

The story behind Emily Provincial Park’s pollinator garden

Today’s post comes from Alexander Renaud, a Discovery Program Lead at Emily Provincial Park.

In the summer of 2018, our Discovery staff at Emily Provincial Park wanted to do something BIG to help the park.

Previous years have seen the instillation of turtle nest protection boxes, the collection of species data through a BioBlitz, and the design and creation of a new trail system.

Last summer, we decided upon creating a pollinator garden!

Continue reading The story behind Emily Provincial Park’s pollinator garden

My 50 trees challenge

Today’s post comes from Sheila Wiebe, a Marketing and Development Specialist at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

I recently celebrated the halfway point in my life. The milestone of 50 years on this Earth, half a century.

As I usually do around my birthday I reflected on the past year: the accomplishments, the challenges, and everything in between.

I felt like I needed to do something to commemorate the occasion. Continue reading My 50 trees challenge

How to leave the park greener than you found it

Today’s post comes from Sheila Wiebe, a marketing and development specialist at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

I promise to be greener.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m already pretty green. However, after leading an Earth Day park clean up, I decided I need to take it one step further and double up my efforts to further reduce my impact on the environment.

Continue reading How to leave the park greener than you found it

On fire

Some of the technology to fight forest fires was first developed almost a century ago. The province has used this technology for many decades to prevent and extinguish wildfires in Ontario Parks and other protected areas.

Over time, we discovered something interesting. Aggressively extinguishing fires didn’t stop forest fires. It only postponed them.

We needed a strategy that protects people and property, but keeps forests strong and healthy too.

Continue reading On fire

5 cool facts about skinks

If you’ve ever seen a Five-lined Skink, you know just how neat they are!

The Five-lined Skink, which looks a bit like a salamander, is the only lizard species native to Ontario. And while researchers continue to study skinks, we still don’t know very much about what they do on a day-to-day basis, particularly from September to May when they’re hibernating.

Here are five cool things we DO know about Five-lined Skinks, courtesy of Alistair MacKenzie, Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

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The life of a resource steward

Today’s post comes from Rebecca Rogge, a travelling resource steward for the Northeast Zone.

I first started working for the Northeast Zone Resource Steward Program back in 2011. It seems like a lifetime ago.

At the time, it was a relatively new job in Ontario Parks. The program had only been around for a few years, and few of us existed.

Several parks were created in 1999, the majority of which were “non-operating” provincial parks. They generally do not have facilities or dedicated staff. Many protect recreational waterways and nature reserves protect rare flora, fauna and geological landscapes.

This is where we, the resource stewards, spend most of our time. In these wonderfully beautiful and diverse places.

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EDDMapS: report your invasive species sightings

Today’s post comes from our friends at the Invasive Species Centre.

Outdoor adventurers: we need your help. Invasive species are infiltrating our parks and protected areas, but if we don’t know where they are, it’s tough to stop their spread.

Become an Invasive Species Fighter by reporting any suspected sightings of invasive species!

Continue reading EDDMapS: report your invasive species sightings