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.

Continue reading From Discovery team to butterfly biologist

Communication is key: from student to park superintendent

Today’s blog was written by Dave Ward, park superintendent for Ontario Parks’ Temagami Cluster.

The year is 2007. I had just completed my first year of college and had no idea what direction I wanted to go with my career.

I happened to know someone who worked for Ontario Parks as an interpreter in the Discovery program. It sounded like a fantastic job so I applied online for a student park ranger position.

After a thorough interview process, I was successful in getting a Discovery position at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park.

Little did I know at the time that my short summer experience with Ontario Parks would slowly turn into a career.

Continue reading Communication is key: from student to park superintendent

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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A journey from the heart of Pinery to school outreach coordinator

Today’s blog was written by Almeera Ahmed, School Outreach Coordinator with the Discovery program.

Born and raised in the urban landscape of Brampton, Ontario, my childhood was far from the serene wilderness that would later define my career path.

Growing up, my encounters with wildlife were confined to the captivating narratives of wildlife documentaries.

However, this exposure was enough to ignite a flame of curiosity and passion for the natural world, propelling me towards a career in the environmental field.

Continue reading A journey from the heart of Pinery to school outreach coordinator

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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The summer job that lasted seven years

Today’s blog was written by Adrian Petry, Public Historian and Visitor Services Coordinator for St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre. Adrian can occasionally be found volunteering at historical events at Bronte Creek Provincial Park, where he was a former senior Discovery staff member.

When I think back to my younger entering-the-workforce self, I recognize skills and abilities that would eventually get me to working in public history and interpretation in a traditional museum setting.

But how we got from 18-year-old Adrian to *clears throat* today’s Adrian is thanks in part to the careful polishing of those skills and abilities through seven seasons with Ontario Parks.

If you’re reading this and considering a summer (or seven summers) in our wonderful parks system, don’t just think to the next few months.

Think about where you’ll be in the next *clears throat again* years.

Continue reading The summer job that lasted seven years

How to become a park ranger at Ontario Parks

Applications for the 2024 season are open! Read on to learn about how you can spend your summer with Ontario Parks.

Calling all Ontario students!

Do you enjoy the outdoors and have an appreciation for Ontario’s natural and cultural resources?

Are you self-motivated, with a positive attitude and a desire to learn?

Do you enjoy working and interacting with the public?

Then this is the job for you!

Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for a position as a student park ranger with Ontario Parks this summer.

Continue reading How to become a park ranger at Ontario Parks

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?

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?

Continue reading Should we beware the Fisher… or the Fisher fiction?