Bats: The mammal, the myth, the legend

Today’s post comes from Ashley Hanas, a bat technician with the Friends of Pinery Park.

Bats are the only true flying mammal.

There are currently over 1,400 species and bats encompass 20% of the mammalian species on earth (meaning 1 in 5 mammals are bats!).

Bats are essential to the health of our environment, providing indispensable ecosystem and economic services in the form of prolific insect pest control, pollination of plants, and dispersal of seeds.

Their droppings, or guano, are rich in phosphorus and nitrogen, making it a highly effective fertilizer.

Despite the numerous benefits bats provide us, their reputations are marred by negative misconceptions.

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Ontario’s trilliums

Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Pilar Manorome.

Spring is probably my favourite season as it brings new life to our parks in the form of migrating birds and emerging spring ephemerals, giving our forests their long-awaited pops of vibrant colours and contrast.

Most people know of the White Trillium — also referred to as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium — as Ontario’s provincial flower. This is the flower featured on many of our provincial documents, from health cards to driver’s licenses.

Here are the top five fun facts about this iconic Ontario species:

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Reading ancient rocks at Neys Provincial Park

Today’s blog comes from Charlotte Westcott, Discovery Leader at Neys Provincial Park.

When you look at a rock, what do you see?

You might notice swirling colours, patterns, scratches, gouges, jagged gaps, and smoothed edges. Every single rock is different.

When I look at rocks, I see a story. 

Like people, plants, and animals, rocks have a history—almost a life of their own.

When you start to unravel what rocks are and where they came from, you’re usually taken on a wild ride!

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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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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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How to be a Bear Wise visitor

Black Bears live across Ontario in forested areas where they can find enough food, shelter, and denning sites. Our provincial parks are their home, and over 90% of our parks are in bear country.

A safe bear sighting during one of your adventures with Ontario Parks can be a lasting memory. Educating yourself about bears before your visit is important and the mark of a responsible park visitor.

We want to share space with bears, keeping our human visitors and all our wildlife residents safe.

If you’re planning a visit, here are some important safety tips about Black Bears:

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5 fantastic forests to visit this spring

It’s International Day of Forests!

Ontario Parks protects a collection of breathtakingly beautiful forests from across the province. Each will be brimming with signs of life as the snow melts and temperatures warm.

Let’s take a look at five unique forests you can visit this spring.

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5 Ontario wildflowers to spot this spring

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and splashes of beautiful colour are beginning to pop up in parks.

Spring wildflowers bloom for only a short amount of time, and we’ve got our sights set on spotting as many as we can!

Here are five beautiful ephemerals you may find on your spring adventures:

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