Join us for Science Literacy Week 2022

Today’s blog comes from Jessica Stillman, School Outreach Coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words: counting, measuring, weighing, and calculating?

For us, it’s connection!

Continue reading Join us for Science Literacy Week 2022

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.

Continue reading Migrating north: how I became a “Bird Nerd”

Experience autumn at Sibbald Point Provincial Park

Today’s post comes from Laura McClintock, a senior park naturalist at Sibbald Point Provincial Park

I’m a naturalist.

I work in one of the busiest parks in the province, yet I’m always seeking out a quiet meadow or shoreline to observe nature.

While known for our popular beach and access to Lake Simcoe, Sibbald Point is a small but mighty hub of biodiversity.

Every season has its perks, but for nature lovers and solitude seekers alike, fall camping at Sibbald Point is where it’s at.

Here are some of the perks in store for Sibbald Point this fall:

Continue reading Experience autumn at Sibbald Point Provincial Park

Five marvelous moth facts

Today’s blog was written by Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator at Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

Moths are marvelous!

While we may mock their desire to go towards the light, they lead interesting and diverse lives.

With over 2,800 species of moths recorded in Ontario on iNaturalist, we wanted to shed some light on five moth facts that we think you need to know this National Moth Week: Continue reading Five marvelous moth facts

Ecological integrity in southeastern parks

In today’s post, Protected Areas Intern Katelyn Vardy highlights a few of the projects that staff have completed to improve and maintain the ecological integrity in southeastern parks.

When you’re standing in a favourite nature spot or within a park, it’s easy to embrace the beauty and calmness that surrounds you.

While campers and day trippers enjoy all that parks have to offer, behind the scenes are teams of staff working incredibly hard. Their work helps to protect these areas so that they can be enjoyed for years to come.

Here’s a look at some of the projects that we have completed to support the ecological integrity of southeastern parks.

Continue reading Ecological integrity in southeastern parks

Ontario’s smallest snakes

Today’s post comes from Shane Smits, senior park interpreter at Rondeau Provincial Park.

Are you terrified of snakes?

Do you believe they’re all large and frightening?

Well, everyone has a right to their own fears, but what if snakes aren’t all what the movies make them out to be?

It’s a common misconception that snakes are big and scary creatures. In reality, there are many species that are actually quite small and rather harmless.

Let’s discuss a few of Ontario’s smallest snake species, so we can hopefully change some opinions on snakes:

Continue reading Ontario’s smallest snakes

6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Provincial parks are not islands.

Well, some of them are. What we mean is: there is no invisible wall around parks limiting their relationships with the outside world.

Even if you never visit a park, you benefit from the pollinator diversity they protect, the CO2 they sequester in wood, roots, and peat, and the clean water filtered by protected wetlands.

Plants, animals, fungi, microbes, water, and air move in and out of protected spaces, with intimate connections on both local and global levels.

In the same way, things that happen outside of park boundaries affect the ecosystems within them. What you do at home, work, or play can impact our parks.

Whether you live next door to a park or 100 km away, here are six ways your everyday actions can help keep parks and nature reserves healthy and biodiverse:

Continue reading 6 ways to be the best park neighbour

How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

Preserving ecological integrity is a priority for all of us here at Ontario Parks. But just what does ecological integrity look like? Algonquin Provincial Park Naturalist David LeGros explains…

When I start many of my evening programs at Algonquin, I often ask the audience if they like nature.

Usually I get a lot of hands up in the air, but there are always a few that don’t put their hands up. I tell those people, “You might be in the wrong place, because Algonquin is crawling with nature.” I know these folks may have not been paying attention to what I was saying or chose not to participate in my survey, but it always gets a laugh from the crowd.

However, this did get me thinking about why we go to parks over staying home or visiting a big city…

Continue reading How will I know ecological integrity when I see it?

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 hanging out at bogs to catch and identify dragonflies, checking rocks for snakes, or canoeing along 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

Spotted on iNaturalist: our staff’s favourite observations

Did you know April is Community Science Month?

It’s no secret that we’re big proponents of community science, especially using a beginner-friendly app like iNaturalist!

Every observation contributes to park research and helps maintain ecological integrity in our natural spaces.

Not to mention the cool and unusual species we’ve spotted along the way!

Check out some of our staff’s favourite iNaturalist observations:

Continue reading Spotted on iNaturalist: our staff’s favourite observations