Canadian Geographic’s Ontario Parks Giant Floor Map: bringing parks to the classroom

Calling all teachers…

Ontario is one huge place. Most of us spend the majority of our time in one small section of the province.

But there is a vast expanse waiting to be explored.

We’ve partnered with Canadian Geographic for something big. GIANT, you could say.

We’re excited to unfold the Ontario Parks Giant Floor Map, and explore it with students across the province.

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Turtles: the ultimate survivors

In today’s post, Discovery Leader Olivia Bennett discusses turtles’ impact on Grundy Lake Provincial Park — and vice versa!

When I first started working at Grundy Lake, I was talking turtles with our park superintendent when someone asked, “Why do you care so much about turtles here?”

The answer is simple: while the park boasts a healthy turtle population and quality habitat, other areas are not so lucky.

This is only the beginning of why we should all care about turtles.

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From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

This post kicks off a four-part photographic journey into the history of our universe! Read on to explore the key events that led to the formation of our provincial parks and the natural world we live in.

Have you ever stared up into a starry sky and wondered “how did it all begin?”

Today we will discuss the origins of the universe, the evolution of galaxies and globular clusters, and conclude with a history of the first stars and supernovae.

Stay tuned for Part II where we detail how stars are born and live out their lives, Part III with the formation of the planets and our solar system, and finally in Part IV, we will discuss the future of the Sun and larger stars.

So let’s get started with our origin story!

Continue reading From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

Fascinating fall fungi at Frontenac

`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:

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Four parks for three sisters

Park experiences, just as sisters, vary greatly. Each has their own personality and experiences. 

Today’s very special post comes from three sisters: Green student Elle Dresser from Fushimi Lake Provincial Park, Park Warden Libbey Dresser at Fairbank Provincial Park, and Park Warden Ivy Dresser at Wheatley Provincial Park.

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A virtual fungus foray

Today’s post comes from Mark Read, our Discovery leader at Murphys Point Provincial Park. 

This blog is not going to be an identification guide; nor is it going to be packed full of mind-blowing facts.

Instead, it is more of a celebration of the fungal diversity found in Ontario.

I hope that along the way you’ll be encouraged to take a closer look at these fascinating organisms that play such a critical role in maintaining the ecological integrity of our parks!

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5 reasons to visit Esker Lakes Provincial Park

Esker Lakes Provincial Park surrounds a chain of sparkling lakes set in an ancient glacial landscape, carpeted in boreal forest.

A quiet, family-oriented park, Esker Lakes sits just east of the historic mining town of Kirkland Lake in northeastern Ontario.

Here are five reasons Esker Lakes will delight family campers and nature-lovers alike:

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Are you offering Discovery programs this summer?

Yes, we are!

The Ontario Parks Discovery team is hard at work coming up with creative ways to connect visitors with the special stories and values protected in our parks.

If you visit any of the parks offering Discovery programming, you may connect with Discovery staff along a trail, as they rove through the campground, at a drop-in program, in a Visitor Centre, or at a scheduled program.

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Why are snakes so misunderstood?

We often hear our visitors say how much they fear or hate snakes.

Ophidiophobia, the name for an intense fear of snakes, is certainly a legitimate condition, and we do not judge anyone who struggles with it.

Many of our own staff are working through this fear. No one chooses to have a phobia. The outdoors should be a place for relaxation and rejuvenation, not the constant fear of a chance encounter with a native species.

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Hitting the MOTHerlode at Rondeau

Today’s post comes Kevin Gevaert, senior Discovery staff at Rondeau Provincial Park

Not too many people are fond of the idea of staying in the forest when it gets dark.

It might sound sound discouraging or even scary to most, but experiencing Rondeau Provincial Park’s forest at night is something you won’t soon forget!

The billions of stars in the night sky, the sound of owls hooting, coyotes howling in the distance, and the odd mosquitos buzzing are all part of the magic that makes nighttime here at Rondeau so special.

Things really start to appear when we shine a bit of light on the subject!

Continue reading Hitting the MOTHerlode at Rondeau