Christmas Bird Count — keep the community science tradition going!

Today’s post comes from Cortney LeGros, the Healthy Parks Healthy People coordinator at Ontario Parks.

The holiday season is steeped in tradition.

No matter how you celebrate, there’s one scientific tradition that’s been around for over 120 years to help mark the holidays.

For me, the holidays would not be complete without participating in at least one Christmas Bird Count.

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Where can a paddle take you?

In today’s post, Rondeau Provincial Park‘s Chief Park Naturalist Jess Matthews takes us back in time…

There may be a time when you used your paddle to get through white caps. At other times, it leisurely pulled you over still wetlands.

They are a lifeline. Solid, reliable; something that won’t break down on whatever journey you may be on.

But what if we told you that a paddle can also take you through time to the very beginning of the provincial park system? A time when the only two superintendents in Ontario Parks were 600 km away from each other, and correspondence was mainly though letters.

Just two paddles are the tangible pieces of history that connects Algonquin Provincial Park and Rondeau Provincial Park through a story of beginnings, friendships, and marriage.

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Squirrels for sale: the incredible history of squirrels at Rondeau

Today’s post is by Jess Matthews, the chief park naturalist at Rondeau Provincial Park.

One hundred years ago, there was a lot we didn’t know about managing parks.

The idea of maintaining ecological integrity is relatively new. Ontario’s first parks were primarily established for recreation and tourism.

During the first half of the 20th century, wildlife was often seen as a tourist attraction or a nuisance. There was little understanding of how animal diseases spread, or how local populations were adapted to the places they lived.

Because park managers didn’t know about any of this, some animals found themselves packed up and shipped off far from their homes.

This is the story of squirrels from Rondeau Provincial Park that, due to their fashionable coats, traveled as far as the White House lawn.

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Perfect parks for your late fall camping trip

Looking to extend your camping season?

Many of our parks are open for overnight stays in October and November. Whether you snuggle up in your tent or get cozy in your RV, make sure you pack extra socks!

Bundle up and book a trip to one of these late fall camping spots:

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Fall hiking gems in Ontario’s southwest

When it comes to fall, Ontario’s southwest can be overlooked.

While crowds of people flock to Algonquin Provincial Park or the Niagara Escarpment, there are many places elsewhere in the province that showcase the beauty of Ontario’s changing colours.

What better way to see the colours than by tackling a trail? Here are just a few of our best-kept secrets in southwestern Ontario:

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Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles

Today’s post was written by seasonal student Heather Van Den Diepstraten from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s not just students and birds on the move this fall.

As the cold weather approaches, reptiles are trekking across Rondeau Provincial Park in search of hibernacula (places in which wildlife overwinter). Researchers for Wildlife Preservation Canada are busy tracking the movements of snakes, turtles, and skinks within the park as they find suitable habitat for their hibernation.

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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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The flight of the Prothonotary Warbler

Today’s post comes from Jess Matthews, chief park naturalist at Rondeau Provincial Park. Special thanks to Kevin Gevaert for providing Prothonotary Warblers photos!

Close your eyes.

Try to imagine a spring with no birdsong.

A spring without flashes of colour flitting through the bushes.

A silent forest void of oranges, yellows, blues, and reds…

…it may be hard to imagine, especially if you spend springtime in Rondeau Provincial Park, where migrating warblers appear to be dripping from the branches in all colours of the rainbow.

While such a dire situation may be difficult for us to imagine, the reality for one spring singer is one of disappearance, silence, and extinction.

The Prothonotary Warbler is currently listed as endangered in Canada, which means it is facing imminent extirpation (no longer exists in Canada) or extinction.

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5 reasons to visit Rondeau Provincial Park

Wondering where to go for your summer vacation?

Look no further, because Rondeau Provincial Park might just be the perfect getaway for you and your family!

Located on Lake Erie, Rondeau is a host of incredible biodiversity. There’s plenty to see and do during your trip, and lots to explore, from sandy dunes to beautiful Carolinian forests.

Here are five reasons we think you should plan a trip to Rondeau:

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Greetings, Boozhoo, Aaniin, Sekoh, Wachay, Ullakut!

National Indigenous Peoples Day invites us to learn more about Indigenous history, perspectives and culture, and helps us build stronger relationships rooted in mutual respect and understanding.

We’re taking the opportunity to spotlight some of the wonderful initiatives and events shared with us by Indigenous leaders and communities across Ontario:

Continue reading Greetings, Boozhoo, Aaniin, Sekoh, Wachay, Ullakut!