From Discovery team to butterfly biologist

Today’s blog was written by Michelle Polley, a Master’s student conducting research at Pinery Provincial Park where she formerly worked as a Discovery ranger.

I had never been lucky enough to camp at a provincial park. So when I started my first summer on the Discovery team at Pinery Provincial Park, I didn’t know what a naturalist’s job entailed.

I also didn’t know how that summer contract would affect the trajectory of my life.

Looking back, my experience brought me skills and experiences that led me down a path to develop my career and interests.

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Wildlife parenting strategies

This blog comes from Laura Penner, a Discovery Program Group Leader at Rondeau Provincial Park

As a naturalist and a mother of three, I find great joy in catching rare glimpses of wildlife taking care of their young.

This looks so different from species to species. It could be a female oriole meticulously weaving grasses into an intricate basket-shaped nest, or a Map Turtle digging test nests all over a campsite until she finds the perfect soil composition.

Each species has its own unique way to raise its young that best deals with the challenges in its environment. Let’s take a look at a few interesting ways wildlife care for their young.

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How to book a virtual school program

Our virtual school programs bring different aspects of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage into your classroom through stories of the people and landscapes our provincial parks aim to protect.

Each program engages your students through storytelling, activities, discussion, and personal experiences.

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A clash of talons and tail-feathers: the Superb Owl

As the world gears up for one of the most anticipated events in sports, we’re here to celebrate the athleticism of a different kind of MVP – the owl!

This Most Valuable Percher has captured the hearts of enthusiastic birdwatchers.

Owl fans crowd the natural nighttime “stadium” of owls just to catch a glimpse of these star athletes.

A devoted fandom of birders and nature enthusiasts, these fans unite to support the conservation of all owls (despite some disagreement over which owl is most superb or most cute).

How do these athletes inspire such passionate support?

It’s all in the arm! Uh…we mean wing!

Continue reading A clash of talons and tail-feathers: the Superb Owl

Winter is the best time for sunset-lovers

Winter skies aren’t known for their colour.

While a crisp layer of snow will brighten any landscape, we associate the colder months with dreary grey clouds.

It’s not just in our heads; winter does come with fewer clear days.

During the colder months, the upper atmosphere is often warmer than the air at ground level. These air masses are very stable since air only rises when it is warmer than the air above it. Without the mixing caused by rising air, clouds spread smoothly across the sky, obscuring our view of the sun and stars.

But when wind breaks the clouds apart, we are often treated to some truly spectacular skies.

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Frozen falls and other wacky winter water

REMINDER: venturing out onto unsafe ice puts your life (and the lives of first responders) at risk. Take in the beauty of winter shorelines from solid ground.

When most of us picture winter ice, we conjure up mental images of skating rinks and icicles. But did you know there’s a lot of variety in wintry water formations?

From frozen falls to ice volcanoes, winter water is quite a sight to behold:

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Virtual programs: nature gone digital!

Today’s blog comes from Jessica Stillman, Discovery program project coordinator. (She’s pretty much famous among Ontario’s elementary students tuning in for virtual field trips!)

Virtual field trips are AWESOME!

No forms, school buses, or headcounts! Once you log in, our knowledgeable and engaging Discovery staff do the rest.

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a flying squirrel?

Today’s post comes from Discovery Interpreter Mitchell Duval at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

When the sun goes down and most people are going to sleep, some of the most wonderous animals are waking up – including flying squirrels!

You may have heard of these fantastical creatures of the night, but how much do you really know about them?

Read on and find out why they might just be Ontario’s most unusual and interesting rodent.

Continue reading It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… a flying squirrel?