Uncovering the “birdiest” trail at Pinery

Today’s post comes from Habitat Stewardship Technician Justin Johnson from Pinery Provincial Park. Justin has a M.Sc. in biology with a focus on bird acoustics. 

Birders are an interesting breed of people. Sometimes everything they do seems to subvert the norms of society.

Sleeping in? Rather not. Too much coffee? No such thing. $4500 binoculars? Yeah, I’ve seen it.

Birders’ bread and butter is local natural spaces and their trails. They can be very particular about which trails they walk. Seasoned birders often only use trails they perceive as “birdy,” neglecting those off their sacred path.

But how do we really know which trails are the “birdiest?”

Continue reading Uncovering the “birdiest” trail at Pinery

9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

Many campers like to jump into the Halloween spirit by decorating their campsites.

But certain decorations can be harmful to the environment.

Here’s how you can create a super spooky campsite AND protect Ontario’s ecological integrity at the same time.

Continue reading 9 tips for eco friendly Halloween decor

On fire

Some of the technology to fight forest fires was first developed almost a century ago. The province has used this technology for many decades to prevent and extinguish wildfires in Ontario Parks and other protected areas.

Over time, we discovered something interesting. Aggressively extinguishing fires didn’t stop forest fires. It only postponed them.

We needed a strategy that protects people and property, but keeps forests strong and healthy too.

Continue reading On fire

Darlington’s daring wetland restoration

In today’s post, Zone Ecologist Corina Brdar shares the exciting restoration story that’s been unfolding at Darlington Provincial Park.

There’s nothing like seeing an idea turn into reality, is there?

Especially when the idea is an enormous one, and it takes tons of cooperation from all kinds of players.

Continue reading Darlington’s daring wetland restoration

Lake land playgrounds

Today’s post comes from Emily Wright, a Discovery Leader at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. The park’s campground is surrounded by three crystal-clear lakes, and that rich biodiversity inspired Emily to take us on an aquatic tour of Ontario’s lakes and some of the complex life cycles contained within, from hard-working microbe clean-up crews to feisty Small-mouth Bass.

Cannonballing into a refreshing lake, casting a line hoping for the “big one,” dipping your paddle into serene waters, or simply enjoying the shifting lights dancing across the water’s surface on a sunny day…

Lakes offer us a plethora of enjoyment, both invigorating as you take a brisk swim, or peaceful and relaxing as you watch a sunset turn the waters from blue-green to wine red.

Continue reading Lake land playgrounds

Join us for Science Literacy Week!

Today’s post comes from Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park

What do a Polar Bear, a Prickly Pear Cactus, a Five-lined Skink, and a Bobolink all have in common?

Aside from their snazzy names, they’re plants and animals that require unique environments to survive. Some of these special spaces have been changing and disappearing throughout history.

That’s where Ontario Parks comes in. We protect important landscapes, and conduct research on how we can ensure the species living in parks can thrive.

This year, we’re excited to share the science of parks during Science Literacy Week.

Continue reading Join us for Science Literacy Week!

Beyond the beach: one naturalist’s 35-year-career at Sandbanks

Today’s post comes from Yvette Bree. Yvette has been the park naturalist at Sandbanks Provincial Park for 35 years and retires at the end of August this year.

1986. A year forever etched in my memory.

The year I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (B.E.S.) with a Resource Management option.

The year I was married to my high school boyfriend (still going strong).

And the year I got my first job with Ontario Parks.

Continue reading Beyond the beach: one naturalist’s 35-year-career at Sandbanks

How to build a bat box

Today’s post comes from Rachelle Law, a Discovery leader at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Are you looking for a fun do-it-yourself project to do this summer?

Would you love a solution to the amount of pesky mosquitoes in your backyard?

Are you passionate about creating habitats for wildlife?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this blog is for you!

Continue reading How to build a bat box

Driftwood: shaping shorelines and completing communities

For a while, park staff have been wondering: why do some of our guests who come to visit natural environments feel compelled to leave their mark on that beach, waterfall, or lookout after they’ve left?

At MacGregor Point Provincial Park, we’ve noticed some changes being made to our shorelines by well-meaning sun-seekers who visit our beach for a short time, but leave behind structures made of driftwood.

Staff in our park and others have disassembled several driftwood forts upon discovering them on our beaches, which can be a dangerous task.

Let’s talk about why we’d prefer our visitors to leave driftwood where it lies, and some fun things you can do at the beach instead of building forts.

Continue reading Driftwood: shaping shorelines and completing communities

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.

Continue reading Why are snakes so misunderstood?