In our “Behind the Scenes” series, Discovery Program staff across the province share a backstage glimpse of their favourite programs and projects. Today’s post comes from Carlin Thompson, Assistant Discovery Leader at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
When summer transitions into fall at Sandbanks Provincial Park, many campgrounds are closed for the season. Park Store and Discovery Centre hours are reduced, and snow fencing is placed along our popular beaches in preparation for whipping winter winds.
This year, as camping visitation waned and summer staff headed back to school, I was preparing to tackle a new challenge for the Discovery Program.
After decades of educating and entertaining campers with summer programs, Sandbanks’ Discovery Program is thrilled to refocus our efforts this fall to become a more active community partner with our local schools.
Continue reading “Fall”ing into a new role at Sandbanks
In today’s post, Alistair MacKenzie, Naturalist Heritage Education Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park, recounts a dramatic encounter with an Eastern Screech Owl.
We desperately needed to confirm breeding evidence for Eastern Screech Owls in our survey squares for the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas back in 2005.
It was our last chance given that the atlas was wrapping up the collection period and I was frustrated since I confidently knew that screech owls did indeed breed in the park, but sadly we just hadn’t managed to be in the right place at the right time to confirm it.
Continue reading Owl-induced whiplash
You might think that snakes are creatures of the night, slithering around in the dark, looking for prey and striking when they find it.
But you’d be wrong. Most of our snakes are active during the day, though the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, Milksnake and Ring-necked Snake do come out at night.
Continue reading 8 cool facts about snakes
Frogs and toads have an ancient history, with fossils dating back to the time of the dinosaurs.
Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros has been fascinated by these amphibians since he was a toddler and he shares some fun facts about them.
Continue reading Are you friends with frogs?
Imagine walking through the forest during a nice sunny day. You hear birds chirping, see the fall colours rustle in the breeze, and watch squirrels gathering food. We stop; we take pictures; we enjoy.
Now take that same trail at dusk.
You just had a flash of danger.
Continue reading Creatures of the night
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
What is it about White Pine? No other tree species in Ontario seems to inspire as much reverence and passion.
The history of White Pine is deeply intertwined with the history of people in Ontario. It has been an important species for Indigenous people for millennia, played a huge role in establishing Ontario’s cities, and has faced some tough challenges, including one that led to one of our province’s most amazing ecological restoration stories.
But we are getting ahead of ourselves — let’s start at the beginning!
Continue reading The amazing journey of Ontario’s provincial tree
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 blog comes from Nicole Benn and Annalise Twomey, senior park interpreters at Pinery Provincial Park.
Cicadas are singing, Monarchs are migrating, and students and teachers are preparing!
Back to school season is upon us, but returning to class does not mean exploring Ontario Parks is over. We can still build memories in our parks by learning with students of all ages at Pinery Provincial Park.
Continue reading Back to school at Pinery
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