Today’s post comes from Samantha Stephens, a science and conservation photojournalist who spent this past summer in residence at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station.
The excitement of discovery is a feeling everyone has experienced. Finding a new favourite hiking spot or adding a “lifer” to your birding list are some familiar examples for nature lovers.
For a naturalist, the most thrilling of discoveries comes from observing well-known species interact in a way that hasn’t been documented before.
That’s what happened to Patrick Moldowan, a PhD student from the University of Toronto who leads a long-term study of spotted salamanders in Algonquin Provincial Park.
Patrick spends his summers living at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station, documenting various aspects of salamander populations.
And that’s what led him to be a part of discovering that carnivorous plants are eating baby salamanders.
Continue reading Carnivorous Pitcher Plants found at Algonquin
Today’s blog post comes from Catherine Reining, a graduate in the Master of Environment Studies program at Wilfrid Laurier University.
We know spending time in nature offers a ton of health benefits like reduced stress, better sleep, and lower blood pressure.
But what is the role of parks and protected areas in human health?
Continue reading The restorative health benefits of protected areas
Today’s post comes from Sarah McMichael, Ontario Parks’ Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator.
We all know that fresh air is good for us, right?
Time in nature has been proven to lead to better sleep, improved productivity, lower stress, increased self-esteem, better mood, lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart attack. The research is clear: spending time in nature improves our physical, mental, and social well-being.
Imagine how much your health and happiness could improve if you spent quality time outdoors every day for a whole month. This is what the 30×30 Challenge is all about. Sounds like a great way to get healthy!
Continue reading The 30×30 Challenge is good for you
Many Ontario Parks have their “signature” wildlife: commonly-encountered and charismatic animals that most park visitors hope to catch a glimpse of during their stay.
Woodland Caribou Provincial Park is named for the iconic Woodland Caribou. Murphys Point Provincial Park is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the elusive Gray Ratsnake. Rondeau Provincial Park is the place to see the rare Prothonotary Warbler.
But did you know Grundy Lake Provincial Park is the place to see a Blanding’s Turtle?
Continue reading Spring is turtle season at Grundy Lake
Ever wondered about or wanted to pursue scientific research in a provincial park? Today’s post from Northwest Zone Ecologist Intern Lindsey Boyd and Northwest Senior Assistant Zone Ecologist Evan McCaul should answer your questions.
Spread throughout Ontario, our 340 provincial parks protect 8.27 million hectares of land and 1.3 million hectares of lakes and rivers. There are also 295 conservation reserves that form a protected areas network along with parks. From mosses to moose, protected areas provide endless research topics and opportunities.
Scientifically speaking, protected areas are an excellent place to conduct research. They can be used as a reference site to measure natural conditions within a broader landscape study, or provide an excellent place to study climate effects on species and systems in a place with fewer human pressures like roads or high levels of noise, light, and air pollution.
Continue reading The importance of research in Ontario Parks
Today’s post comes from Park Naturalist Roger LaFontaine, a classically trained biologist and amateur Sasquatch researcher. He has spent nearly two decades researching and documenting the occurrence of Sasquatch in Ontario.
I have always had an interest in the creatures that others were not fond of: invertebrates under a log, salamanders in the soil, nocturnal creepy crawlies, and even a shy mammal that stays just beyond the light of my campfire.
My interest in obscure creatures began many years ago when I found a strange track along the bank of a river…
Continue reading Beyond the light of the campfire
In today’s post, Biologist Intern Michelle Lawrence gives us an insider look at Killarney’s “nightlife,” and shares how staff are working to protect the park’s bat populations.
Killarney Provincial Park has been called “a crown jewel of the provincial parks system” by some, and it’s not hard to see why.
With white quartzite mountains and sparkling blue lakes, Killarney is truly a sight to behold. In Killarney’s wilderness, White Pine grow, live, and die; Moose munch on water lilies; and the forests and wetlands teem with warblers and other songbirds.
But when the sun goes down, not everyone in the park goes to sleep…
Continue reading When the sun goes down at Killarney
Nothing’s more inspiring than a person with a true passion for nature.
Tobi Kiesewalter is one of those people. He puts his passion to work as the Natural Heritage Education leader at Murphys Point Provincial Park.
Tobi’s been a valued member of the Ontario Parks family for a whopping 22 years. Now, we’re proud to announce he is the recipient of the National Association for Interpretation’s Great Lakes Region Master Interpretive Manager Award.
Continue reading Tobi Kiesewalter: interpretive naturalist extraordinaire
Today’s post comes from wildlife biologist Patrick Moldowan.
Within Algonquin Provincial Park, wildlife researchers work within an outdoor laboratory of a massive scale!
You might find them tucked away amid the dense forest, waist-deep in a wetland, or investigating a wolf den.
Welcome to the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station (WRS)!
Continue reading Join us for Algonquin’s “Meet the Researcher Day”
During the summer of 2015, several research projects were conducted at Murphys Point Provincial Park, but one in particular attracted the attention of staff and public alike.
With long-handled nets in hand, park staff — led by expert volunteer Bev Edwards — could be seen thigh-deep in the vernal ponds, streams and lakes located within the park.
What were they doing?
Surveying for odonates (that’s dragonflies and damselflies to most of us).
Continue reading Hunting dragons, discovering damsels