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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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Can you teach an old naturalist new tricks?

Today’s blog comes from Tim Tully, Discovery Coordinator at Awenda Provincial Park.

That is the question.

After decades of doing things a certain way, can I rally the forces of change and adopt a new way of recording species data? Should I submit species data to iNaturalist or not?

I decided to empirically investigate in an unbiased scientific way. Specifically, what is all the fuss about iNaturalist anyway?

Here’s what I discovered….

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Considerate Camper: keep our trees healthy

Welcome to our “Considerate Camper” series. These are posts with tips and reminders on how to keep our provincial parks clean and healthy. Already know how it’s done? Please share these posts along for less-experienced campers 🙂

We’re taking a leaf out of the Lorax’s book and speaking for the trees today!

When maintaining our campgrounds, we often notice marks in our trees. Many are from axes and nails, and plenty of trees have names, shapes and initials carved across their bark.

Did you know these holes and gouges risk the tree’s health and may result in its destruction?

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Why social trails are damaging to provincial parks

Park-lovers are natural explorers, and we love our visitors’ passion for adventure.

Sometimes, we see our visitors create their own shortcuts by cutting through sensitive habitat. This is otherwise known as creating a social trail.

Social trails can have a wide range of damaging effects on protected areas, and we’d like to ask our visitors to always stay on designated trails.

Continue reading Why social trails are damaging to provincial parks