We’re looking for park wardens!

Ontario Parks currently manages more than 340 parks. In doing so, we protect over 8.2 million ha of land, lakes and rivers, while providing habitat for over 140 different species at risk.

At the same time, we provide recreational opportunities by operating more than 20,000 car campsites, 170 roofed accommodations, and 8,000 backcountry campsites.

How do we do this?

The success of our organization is a direct result of our amazing staff’s hard work. Park wardens are an integral part of our operations, and play a significant role in helping us achieve our goals.

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5 lessons from Ontario’s wildlife to reduce stress

Today’s blog was written by Ontario Parks Social Media Assistant Sonia Dharni.

April is here and it’s National Stress Awareness Month.

With constant notifications and never-ending tasks, it’s easy to forget the simple joys and timeless wisdom that nature offers.

Digital alerts fill our ears, while the cheerful song of the birds and the soothing sound of a breeze through the trees become an afterthought.

We could learn a lesson or two from nature – especially from wildlife. By observing and understanding how animals navigate challenges, we can discover strategies for managing stress in our own lives.

Here are five lessons from Ontario’s wildlife that can help reduce stress:

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Holes in the shield: the Algonquin Rock Worm

Roger LaFontaine originally came to Algonquin Provincial Park looking for creepy creatures like leeches, snails, crayfish and rotifers in the early 2000s.

During that first season in the park, he became fascinated by the huge and strange marks seen all over Algonquin’s Highway 60 corridor left by a prehistoric worm. Since then, he’s devoted at least a day per year to documenting and studying some of Algonquin’s forgotten creatures.

Many visitors to Algonquin are in awe of the rocky shorelines and exposed rock outcrops throughout the park.

What only keen-eyed visitors may pick up on are the telltale marks left behind by a fantastic creature that sadly isn’t around anymore.

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Listen to nature: what do you hear?

Today’s blog post comes from Corina Brdar, an ecologist who is also actively involved in the nature journaling and mindfulness community.

Our last nature mindfulness moment led you through a simple 10-minute  exercise in paying attention by looking, listening, and feeling. This month, we invite you to dive a little deeper by listening to the sounds of spring.

You can try this basic mindfulness exercise next time you’re alone outdoors in a place where you feel comfortable.

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Waldeinsamkeit: solitude in the forest

Picture this: you’re alone, deep into a forested trail. Your only companions are the birds fluttering from branch to branch around you. As you walk, you follow a corridor made of pillars of ancient trees, and smell the earthy aroma of moss and damp leaves.

How do you feel? It’s hard to describe, but the words which immediately come to mind are calm, peaceful, and contemplative. You feel a deep-rooted connection to the world around you, and you are reminded of the importance of our natural environment.

There’s a word for that feeling: waldeinsamkeit.

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Where the best summer of my life has led me

Today’s blog comes from Laurel Finney. Laurel is the Discovery program project coordinator within the Ontario Parks Operations & Development section, providing direction and support for Discovery Program staff across the province. Previously Laurel worked at White Lake, Esker Lakes, Six Mile Lake, and Wasaga Beach provincial parks.

When I was 17, I applied to and was accepted into the Ontario Junior Ranger program.

Its tagline was “best summer of my life” – and that still rings true for me.

My parents drove me to Washago and from there, I traveled on my own, by train, to Gogama, where I had the best summer of my life and made some of my truest friends.

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Butterflies: a not-so-well-known sign of spring

Today’s post comes to us from the Discovery staff at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.

Spring is coming!

Some telltale signs of spring include the return of birds that left for the winter, spring wildflowers opening their colourful blooms, and new tree leaves unfurling from buds.

But before that, there’s often an earlier sign of spring: butterflies.

That’s right, butterflies! A sign of spring in Charleston Lake is the sight of some early winged beauties flitting about.

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10 signs of spring at Ontario Parks

Spring has sprung at Ontario Parks!

The sun is out, the birds are chirping, and the days of snow and sleet are (hopefully!) behind us. As the snow melts, enjoy the sensory delights of spring in our provincial parks as we see and hear signs of warm weather to come.

You know it’s spring in Ontario Parks when…

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