How to connect with nature in your everyday life

Many of us now live in fast-paced urban landscapes or busy suburban neighborhoods, spending most of our time in front of our computers, tvs, and phones.

While it’s easy to be disconnected from nature, studies show that staying connected to nature is critical for both our health and happiness. From fighting  depression to stress, and even fatigue, there are so many benefits to getting outside.

Remember that nature isn’t always a destination; it can also be found in your own backyard!

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The annual birding battle for the golden binoculars

In today’s post, Learning & Education Specialist Rachelle Law recounts Team Ontario’s push to find as many birds as possible. 

Every year, a team of expert birders from Ontario Parks prepare — binoculars in hand — to compete in a heated competition.

The goal: spot and record as many bird species as they can over one weekend, and win the coveted “golden” binoculars.

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Listen to nature: what do you hear?

Today’s blog post comes from Ecologist Corina Brdar. When Corina’s not working at Ontario Parks, she is actively involved in the growing nature journaling and mindfulness community.

Our last nature mindfulness moment led you through a simple 10-minute  exercise in paying attention by looking, listening, and feeling. This month, we invite you to dive a little deeper by listening to the sounds of spring.

You can try this basic mindfulness exercise next time you’re alone outdoors in a place where you feel comfortable.

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Eyes on the skies — May

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

While spring “technically” begins in March, most of us living in cold climates tend to celebrate May as the true start to the season.

Here are our astronomical highlights for May, 2021:

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May’s digital download

With the arrival of spring comes the familiar call of our provincial bird.

The sights and sounds of these iconic birds capture the hearts of all Ontarians.

Learn more about the Common Loon.

Throughout 2021, we’re sharing a free downloadable graphic for you to use as wallpaper for your favourite devices. We’ve specially sized these images for your computers, tablets, smartphones and Facebook covers.

Continue reading May’s digital download

5 kid-friendly signs of spring

Today’s post comes from MacGregor Point Provincial Park, courtesy of Discovery Program Leader Matt Cunliffe.

Longer days give back extra hours of outdoor play and provide the perfect opportunity to explore our trails with the kids.

So don some comfy clothes and head to your local park (bonus: spring involves far less work for getting the young ones ready for a hike!).

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The galaxies: a partially solved mystery – part 1

After a typical Canadian winter, we look forward to the spring season and the changes that go with it: fresh flora fragrance, natural forest lushness and the flowing water tranquility.

Spring also ushers in a new landscape of interesting objects visible in the night skies: the galaxies.

Continue reading The galaxies: a partially solved mystery – part 1

Ontario’s trilliums

Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Pilar Manorome.

Spring is probably my favourite season as it brings new life to our parks in the form of migrating birds and emerging spring ephemerals, giving our forests their long-awaited pops of vibrant colours and contrast.

Most people know of the White Trillium — also referred to as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium — as Ontario’s provincial flower. This is the flower featured on many of our provincial documents, from health cards to driver’s licenses.

Here are the top five fun facts about this iconic Ontario species:

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Eyes on the skies — April

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

For those of us in Ontario, April is that transition month between winter and spring weather. The snows start to melt away, the lakes start to open up and, by month’s end, the first buds may appear on the trees.

Here are our astronomical highlights for April, 2021:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — April

April’s digital download

We’re all familiar with the White Trillium — also referred to as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium — as Ontario’s provincial flower.

But have you seen a Red Trillium?

You can find these jewel-toned beauties in the understory of rich deciduous or mixed forests.

Throughout 2021, we’re sharing a free downloadable graphic for you to use as wallpaper for your favourite devices. We’ve specially sized these images for your computers, tablets, smartphones and Facebook covers.

Continue reading April’s digital download