David Bree (Senior Natural Heritage Leader, Presqu’ile Provincial Park)
Why do Parks Matter? Unfortunately that is becoming an increasingly pertinent question in an age where screen time outweighs nature time on a regular basis.
Working in a park, I can answer that question in a number of ways. The most obvious perhaps is that parks provide protection for a great many habitats, which in turn provide space and resources for the animals and plants of the province to function in a normal fashion. This is in essence the definition of biodiversity, a whole bunch of things living and interconnecting in a complex web. This is a bit of a catch word these days, but maintaining a high biodiversity in our world has been shown to make for a more robust and healthy environment. And a healthy environment is integral to our survival – it supplies our air, our water and our food, just to name the most obvious and crucial elements of life. While to me this is a compelling and obvious argument, it has become sterile to many ears that have been bombarded by warnings of environmental doom and gloom all their lives. After a while people just don’t hear.
The sights and sounds of spring are upon us and that means planning your next trip to your favourite provincial park. In order to preserve the delicate ecosystems that make our parks so incredibly beautiful and bountiful, we all have a part to play.
The consequences of disturbing these ecosystems could be catastrophic, today and for future generations.
As people around the world prepare to celebrate Earth Day on April 22, Ontarians have everything they need right in their own backyard. With more than 330 provincial parks covering 8.2 million hectares of parkland, Ontario is a veritable playground for all things fun and environmental.
Here are five ways you can enjoy the spirit of Earth Day in April and throughout the year:
By: Corina Brdar, Southeast Zone Ecologist, Ontario Parks
There is some cutting edge research on preemie health and survival taking place in Ontario Parks. The “preemie” babies in question are Blanding’s turtles –a species at risk in Ontario. Each year the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (KTTC) in Peterborough takes in injured (or sadly, dead) female Blanding’s turtles and rescues their eggs. Injured turtles treated at this unique animal hospital are “induced” to release their eggs using oxytocin, just like an expectant mom would be. The eggs are hatched at the centre and raised until they are 2 years old.