Confessions of a struggling birder

Today’s blog comes from Carlin Thompson, a discovery leader at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

My name is Carlin, and I’m a struggling birder.

As an Ontario Parks Discovery leader, I am surrounded by colleagues with a passion for the natural world — which I share.

Many share a specialty in identifying birds — which I do not.

These are my confessions.

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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.

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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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Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

Today’s post comes from Sarah Wiebe, the senior park naturalist at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park

Before this year, I would have never considered myself a “Bird Nerd.”

My journey began in my southern Ontario home, but it wasn’t until I arrived at my summer destination (Kettle Lakes!) that I truly hit my nerdy stride.

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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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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!

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Life lessons working with Bobolinks

Today’s post comes from Victoria Reimer, Bronte Creek Provincial Park’s Green Jobs summer student and friend to birds everywhere.

If you asked me what a Green Jobs student was before I started, I wouldn’t have known myself.

Now, after being in the role, I can tell you it’s a wonderful opportunity to become intimately connected to your park. Every day, my job challenges me, but it also gives me so many opportunities to learn.

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A mouse, a beast, and a ghost: who’s using Pinery’s ecopassage?

In today’s post comes from Alistair MacKenzie, Discovery Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park, shares one of his parks exciting new conservation technologies: ecopassages.

I have a lot to thank my parents for, not the least of which is for introducing me to nature as a young child.

When my family immigrated to Canada, we began exploring Ontario and seeking out opportunities to witness natural phenomena and wild species. Soon, this behaviour led us to Algonquin Provincial Park, and we started making frequent pilgrimages there in all seasons.

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A trip down the Pakeshkag River at Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Sonje Bols, a former naturalist at Grundy Lake Provincial Park.

Part of a park naturalist’s job is to familiarize themselves with the natural and cultural wonders of their park through exploration.

Whether it’s tramping through bogs to catch and identify dragonflies, flipping rocks to look for snakes, or canoeing along ancient Indigenous canoe routes, naturalists set out to observe and explore every inch of their parks so they can bring that knowledge and experience to park visitors and managers.

Continue reading A trip down the Pakeshkag River at Grundy Lake Provincial Park