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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Should we beware the Fisher… or the Fisher fiction?

In today’s post, Awenda Provincial Park‘s Chief Park Naturalist Tim Tully tackles (not literally) a terrifying beast.

Pick a negative adjective and it has likely been leveled at the Fisher. There are few predators in North America which suffer from a worse reputation than this mid-sized member of the weasel family.

Fishers come with the reputation of being mean, nasty, and combative – devil-beasts with social skills that would make the Grinch look like Mr. Rogers.

Many can’t seem to resist the temptation to pass along and exaggerate a gruesome telling of a predator encounter – a tradition that likely dates back to a Stone Age campfire.

Everyone has a “did ya hear about” story about this maligned mammal. But exactly how much of the Fisher’s story has gotten away from its ecological reality?

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Accessible locations to view fall colours

As the cold weather hits, opportunities to view a stunning array of fall colours are popping up around the province.

Ontario Parks is committed to making our parks as accessible as possible for visitors. If you’re planning a trip, we’ve rounded up a list of parks with accessibility features that are perfect for viewing the beauty of fall.

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Visiting parks on two wheels

At Ontario Parks, we’re constantly on the lookout for ways to promote both the health and wellbeing of our visitors and the parks we protect.

The importance of spending time in nature is well documented in scientific research, and we embody our efforts to promote spending more time in nature through our Healthy Parks Healthy People movement.

Provincial parks are great places to get your nature fix – but have you ever thought about incorporating time in nature into the way you get to your favourite park?

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(Don’t fear) The Eastern Hog-nosed Snake

Today’s post comes from Nicholas Ypelaar, former assistant Discovery coordinator at Awenda Provincial Park

“EW! SNAKES!” and/or accompanying fearful shrieks are phrases I’m all too familiar with.

In defense of all those who have zero affinity to the limbless scaled reptiles of the world, I can understand it. My grandmother grew up in Goa, India, where venomous snakes such as cobras and kraits are commonplace.

As humans, we tend to build fears based on what we perceive as dangerous to help us survive. However, we aren’t the only species trying to survive.

I’d like to dispel the myth that Ontario snakes are dangerous through the lens of a particular “bad actor,” the threatened Eastern Hog-nosed Snake.

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The curious Conopholis plant

Today’s post comes from Maddie Bray, a naturalist at Awenda Provincial Park.

As park naturalists, we get asked all sorts of questions about various organisms that live within the park. Campers will describe the call of a bird they didn’t quite see or the colouring of an insect that was just too quick to photograph.

One of these questions in particular always seems to come up in the summertime – what are those pale yellow things sticking up out of the ground?

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Visibility in the outdoors: why I love camping as a Black person

Today’s post comes from Claire Zlobin from LifeWithABaby.com

In honour of Black History Month, I wanted to talk about one of the things I always hear that Black people don’t do: camping.

I’ve been hearing that “Black people don’t camp” for years, which is, of course, false.

However I do think this deters some people from attempting to go camping, because they feel like they’ll be othered, or the only ones there.

I’m here to show you that Black people do camp, and that camping is an excellent low-cost vacation.

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Can you teach an old naturalist new tricks?

Today’s blog comes from Tim Tully, Discovery Coordinator at Awenda Provincial Park.

That is the question.

After decades of doing things a certain way, can I rally the forces of change and adopt a new way of recording species data? Should I submit species data to iNaturalist or not?

I decided to empirically investigate in an unbiased scientific way. Specifically, what is all the fuss about iNaturalist anyway?

Here’s what I discovered….

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Holiday boredom busters in southwestern Ontario

Is “I’m bored” a constant refrain during the winter school break?

Boredom can be good for kids’ creativity,  but it can be demanding on a parent’s last nerve.

Out of ideas? We have you covered.

Southwestern Ontario boasts nine parks which are open over the school break, offering a variety of indoor and outdoor programs, events and activities!

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