Living with Zhiishiigweg (Massasauga Rattlesnake): an Anishinaabek perspective

Today’s post comes from Indigenous Project Relations Intern Adam Solomon and Discovery Program Leader Kenton Otterbein at Killbear Provincial Park. Adam is a member of Henvey Inlet First Nation.

Seeing a Massasauga Rattlesnake (“Zhiishiigweg in Anishinaabemowin) can provoke a variety of emotions ranging from fear to fascination.

Unfortunately, fear caused by misinformation exaggerating the danger of rattlesnake bites has caused many to kill rattlesnakes over the past 200 years of European settlement in this province.

The Anishinaabek have a different worldview of the Massasauga Rattlesnake.

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Birding in the boreal

Lev Frid, birder par excellence, recently explored some of our northern parks, and wrote us the following post. If you love songbirds, this is a must-read!

For many Ontario birdwatchers, it’s all about the spring. Great Lakes havens such as Rondeau, MacGregor Point and Presqu’ile Provincial Parks host birding festivals and draw lots of visitors itching to see newly-arrived spring migrants.

What you might not know is that there are many opportunities to view these same birds on their breeding grounds in the boreal forest in some of our northern parks.

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10 signs of spring at Ontario Parks

Spring has sprung at Ontario Parks!

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and the days of snow and sleet are (hopefully!) behind us. As the snow melts, enjoy the sensory delights of spring in our provincial parks as we see and hear signs of warm weather to come.

You know it’s spring in Ontario Parks when…

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3 ways to level up your birding

Today’s post comes from marketing specialist and birding enthusiast, Tanya Berkers. 

When Ontario Parks signed on as a supporter of the third Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, I eagerly volunteered on one of the organizing committees.

I love birding, and the Atlas is an important volunteer-dependent project that supports conservation and environmental policy across the entire province.

I wanted to contribute to the Atlas both behind the scenes and as an active data collector.

There is just one problem: I am not a strong birder, and have lots of gaps in my knowledge!

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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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5 fantastic forests to visit this spring

It’s International Day of Forests!

Ontario Parks protects a collection of breathtakingly beautiful forests from across the province. Each will be brimming with signs of life as the snow melts and temperatures warm.

Let’s take a look at five unique forests you can visit this spring.

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5 Ontario wildflowers to spot this spring

It’s the first day of spring!

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and splashes of beautiful colour are beginning to pop up in parks.

Spring wildflowers bloom for only a short amount of time, and we’ve got out sights set on spotting as many as we can!

Here are five beautiful ephemerals you may find on your spring adventures:

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A new house for Barn Swallows at Rondeau

In today’s post, Caitlin Sparks, a Senior Park Interpreter, shares a wonderful species-at-risk success story from Rondeau Provincial Park.

The Barn Swallow is a commonly seen bird around southern Ontario.

Actually, the most common and widespread of swallow species in the world!

So why, might you ask, are their numbers declining so much that they’re deemed a “threatened” species in Ontario? And what are we doing to help protect them?

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The beaver: architect of biodiversity

Today, we join Discovery and Marketing Specialist Dave Sproule for a chat about the ecological and cultural significance of the beaver, which became Canada’s official symbol in 1975.

We all know beavers are industrious. They build dams, canals and sturdy homes called lodges, which are warm in winter. They repair all those dams and collect enough food to survive long northern winters.

We know beavers are well-suited to the Canadian environment. Beavers are amphibious — they’re more at home in the water than on land — with webbed hind feet, nostrils that can close, a third see-through eyelid that protects the eye when they’re underwater, and a big flat tail that acts as a rudder while swimming.

However, the biggest reason to celebrate the beaver is that it built Canada, shaping both its historical and ecological landscape.

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