Who makes the Ontario Parks all-star wildlife hockey team?

Today’s article was written by Connor Oke, Ontario Parks’ marketing intern.

Canadians know that among the many things that make our country awesome, two things stand out: our vast expanses of beautiful, untouched wilderness…

…and our passion for hockey.

So why not both at the same time?

As hockey season grinds on, we did some scouting of our own. Here are the critters and creatures we’ve selected for the Ontario Parks All-Star Hockey Team!

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The science of snow

Today’s post comes from Brianne Brothers, a zone ecologist from our southwestern parks.

Ah, snow. A substance that truly embodies what it means to be Canadian.

While many of us struggle with the idea of enjoying something that inflicts hard physical labour and white-knuckled driving, it truly is clean, fresh, and beautiful.

In that light, please grab a cup of coffee and a cozy window seat, and let’s explore the science of snow.

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Winter track surveys

In today’s post, Ecologist Corina Brdar shares the “best part of [her] job.”

I’m an ecologist for Ontario Parks. When people ask me what exactly it is that I do, I have a hard time answering – my job is so diverse and interesting.

So I like to give the example of my favourite job duty: doing winter track surveys for deer.

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How to be a winter wildlife detective

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Leader David Bree at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

With the onset of winter, we often think of nature going into a slumber, but while she slows down, there is still lots going on outside. Winter provides a better opportunity to learn what the animals of our fields and forests are up to than do the warmer seasons.

I am, of course, talking about tracking, tracking in the snow.

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Wabakimi: the land of the grey ghosts

Today’s post comes from Shannon Walshe, biologist at Wabakimi Provincial Park.

Peering out from among the trees, I am certain these curious animals watched us as we paddled by.

We know they exist, but they’re so seldom seen that they’re referred to as “the grey ghosts.”

Wabakimi Provincial Park is home to the elusive creature known as the Woodland Caribou, at the southernmost edge of their range.

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The scavenger hunt for survival

Today’s post comes from Anna Scuhr, a naturalist with Lake Superior Provincial Park. 

The arrival of snow and ice transforms the rugged landscape of Lake Superior Provincial Park into a stunningly beautiful, albeit unforgiving place to live.

As temperatures drop, the park can accumulate up to six feet of snow in the interior. The snow makes just about every aspect of an animal’s life more challenging.

Northern winters are a true test of an animal’s fitness. Let’s look at how they adapt to survive long, harsh winters.

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Rudolph the red-nosed…Caribou?

“Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
Had a very shiny nose
And if you ever saw it
You would even say it glows…”

Since we were kids, we’ve all heard the famous Christmas carol about Rudolph and his “very shiny nose.”

But did you know that Rudolph (and Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen) and the other reindeer which pull Santa’s heavy sleigh on Christmas Eve are actually Caribou?

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How 6 species at Ontario Parks survive the winter

Today’s post was written by Connor Oke, a marketing intern at Ontario Parks, using information provided by Mark Read, a senior Discovery ranger at Murphys Point Provincial Park.

If Canada is known for one thing, it’s for our long, cold winters.

Wild animals rely on evolution and natural adaptations to survive until spring. The strategies they’ve developed are varied and, simply, incredible.

Here are six species, sporting six different ways Ontario Parks’ wildlife makes it through the winter:

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