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:

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The story behind Emily Provincial Park’s pollinator garden

Today’s post comes from Alexander Renaud, a Discovery Program Lead at Emily Provincial Park.

In the summer of 2018, our Discovery staff at Emily Provincial Park wanted to do something BIG to help the park.

Previous years have seen the instillation of turtle nest protection boxes, the collection of species data through a BioBlitz, and the design and creation of a new trail system.

We decided upon creating a pollinator garden!

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Don’t bring plants from home!

Our parks protect some of the most biodiverse places in Ontario, and this biodiversity includes an enormous number of native plant species.

From giant Tulip Trees in the south to small ancient White Cedars on the Niagara Escarpment, north to carnivorous wildflowers (and the infamous Poison Ivy almost everywhere) — plants are the basis of our forest food chains.

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Guess how many types of bee call Ontario home?

When we think of bees, we often picture honey bees. We imagine a swarm buzzing around a honeycomb hive.

But honey bees are just one of 400 different types of bees in Ontario (and we’re discovering new bee species all the time!).

And honey bees aren’t even a native species.

In fact, honey bees are relatively new to Ontario. They were an agricultural import, brought to North America for honey production and crop pollination. Before honey bees crossed the ocean, Ontario’s major pollinators were native bees, whose behaviour is often very different from the stereotypical honey bees.

Here are five other types of bees buzzing around our parks:

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Going batty at Ontario Parks

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education Supervisor Alistair MacKenzie and Bat Stewardship Technician Heather Sanders.

Bats are the only mammal capable of true sustained flight, and with over 1,300 species and counting, they make up the second largest order of mammals.

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Bumble Bee conservation volunteer opportunity at Pinery and Awenda

Today’s post comes from Hayley Tompkins and Sarah Johnson, biologists with Wildlife Preservation Canada’s Native Pollinator Initiative.  

Calling all nature lovers! If you’re available June 24-25, 2017, we have a great program to help conserve pollinators that you can be a part of!

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