Today’s post was written by seasonal student Heather Van Den Diepstraten from Rondeau Provincial Park.
It’s not just students and birds on the move this fall.
As the cold weather approaches, reptiles are trekking across Rondeau Provincial Park in search of hibernacula (places in which wildlife overwinter). Researchers for Wildlife Preservation Canada are busy tracking the movements of snakes, turtles, and skinks within the park as they find suitable habitat for their hibernation.
Continue reading Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles
Today’s post comes from Mitch Kellar, a Discovery Leader at Bon Echo Provincial Park.
Being a staff member at Bon Echo has given me a lot of incredible experiences: seeing the Mazinaw Rock at sunset, camping on Joeperry Lake, and a very memorable Kishkebus canoe trip, to name a few.
Above all, my experiences with Peregrine Falcons — small birds of prey and the fastest animals on the planet — will always be one of my favourites.
Continue reading The fastest animal in Bon Echo, Canada, and the world!
Today’s post comes from Sheila Wiebe, a marketing and development specialist at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.
Provincial parks are all about protection.
We protect significant natural ecosystems and habitats while offering many outstanding and sustainable recreational opportunities for the people of Ontario.
This isn’t always an easy task. Invasive species have challenged our ecosystem management, knowledge, and skills. Keeping an area safe for park visitors while allowing natural processes to happen can be challenging.
This is especially true for managing our forests. We are often asked by our visitors: why do you leave fallen, dead trees in the forest?
Continue reading Why do we leave dead trees in the forest?
Parks alone are not enough to save species at risk.
As we’ve continued our species-at-risk blog series this summer, we’ve been able to share stories of the amazing species that call parks home and the work being done to protect them.
Now we want to introduce you to the newest team of superheroes taking up the charge across Ontario – grade 4 students!
Continue reading Fourth graders become species-at-risk superheroes!
In today’s post, former Chief Park Naturalist Angela Gunn reflects on the at-risk Pitcher’s Thistle.
Almost 20 years have passed since we mindfully took notice of the Pitcher’s Thistle (Cirsium pitcheri) and added it to our provincial species-at-risk list.
Standing up to a metre tall, the Pitcher’s Thistle casts its slender silvery profile against dune and shoreline backdrops.
It humbly asks for its own space to grow in nutrient poor, unstable sands.
What does this plant offer me?
What will the world lose if this species does not linger into the future?
Who would love such a scraggly beast of a plant?
Continue reading Finding a place in the sun for the Pitcher’s Thistle
Today’s blog was written by Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.
When you visit a provincial park, you will likely interact with staff from several departments.
From the gate staff who greet you to the maintenance crew that keep facilities clean, the park operates smoothly because everyone has a role to play in keeping the machine operational.
But there is one team who works so quietly that many of us don’t realize we are witnessing their efforts every day.
That team is the Ontario Parks F.B.I. unit, otherwise known as fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates.
Continue reading F.B.I.: the not-so-Secret Service of Ontario Parks
The signs of spring always grab our attention.
We’re excited by the arrival of the familiar birds, butterflies, and fish that we see each summer. Perhaps it’s simply because we yearn for the end of winter. Or maybe it’s the feeling that a good friend has returned from a long vacation down south.
What we neglect to notice sometimes though, is the beauty of their departure.
Continue reading Spot the fall migrators
Today’s post comes from Laura McClintock, a senior park naturalist at Sibbald Point Provincial Park.
Tucked away in a neighborhood an hour north of Toronto lies a sliver of one of the rarest ecosystems in Ontario.
Holland Landing Prairie Provincial Park is part of the last 3% of tallgrass prairies left in our province.
The prairie at Holland Landing has changed a lot over time and we’re excited to share with you the changes the provincial park will be going through in the future.
But first, what’s so special about a prairie anyways?
Continue reading Restoring a rare ecosystem at Holland Landing Prairie Provincial Park
From yeast fungi (responsible for leavening bread) to mold (we’ve all forgotten about food for just a little too long), the world of fungi is a large and fascinating one.
But the role fungi play in our natural environment is perhaps one of the most important roles of all.
Have you ever wondered how old tree stumps break down and are slowly reclaimed by the forest floor? Or how plants are able to obtain water and nutrients essential for their survival?
The answer is fungi.
Fungi are the powerhouses of forest ecosystems. They are the best wood decomposers found in the natural environment and form relationships with nearly 90% of the world’s land plants
At Frontenac Provincial Park, over 700 species of fungi have been identified in our forests.
Let’s find out some interesting facts about a handful of them:
Continue reading Fascinating fall fungi at Frontenac
Today’s post comes from Ashley Hanas, a bat technician with the Friends of Pinery Park.
Bats are the only true flying mammal.
There are currently over 1,400 species and bats encompass 20% of the mammalian species on earth (meaning 1 in 5 mammals are bats!).
Bats are essential to the health of our environment, providing indispensable ecosystem and economic services in the form of prolific insect pest control, pollination of plants, and dispersal of seeds.
Their droppings, or guano, are rich in phosphorus and nitrogen, making it a highly effective fertilizer.
Despite the numerous benefits bats provide us, their reputations are marred by negative misconceptions.
Continue reading Bats: The mammal, the myth, the legend