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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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

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

Five friends, five departments, one park

Today’s post comes from Zuzanna, Alysa, Lyle, Jackson, and Emily: five friends who applied to Ontario Parks across the province and by a twist of fate, all got jobs at the same provincial park, 1,500 km (or 16 hours) from home!

Are you interested in joining us for the 2024 summer season? Applications are now open!

In early January of last year, we applied to work at parks across the province. Being friends with connections in southern Ontario, we were yearning for seasonal jobs characterized by adventure and wilderness.

After numerous interviews and phone calls, one by one we received job offers from the same park: Quetico Provincial Park.

Once he reviewed our resumes and interviews, our senior operations technician discovered the friendships and previous connections that we had to one another.

Upon consideration of our unique backgrounds, he placed us in distinct departments to align with our individual strengths.

We became five friends in five departments, all at the same provincial park.

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Weekend warriors: northern edition

This blog comes from park besties: Alysa Cortes and Zuzanna Radecki! They’re back for another recap of their weekend adventures living and working at a different provincial park.

This season, we moved 17 hours from home and 14 hours from our previous park, Killbear Provincial Park, to work at the world-renowned paddling paradise: Quetico Provincial Park!

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Taking my mom camping for the first time in 20 years

In today’s post, Assistant Program Coordinator Megan Birrell takes us through her latest camping caper.

This fall, I took my mom to Arrowhead Provincial Park for our first fall camping experience. Not only was this our first time camping after Labour Day, but it was also my mom’s first time tent camping in over 20 years, so this was a big change.

I grew up camping around the province in massive trailers that, while comfortable, are not the easiest to tow around. So in the past few years I’ve switched back to tent camping, and this time my mom was joining me.

Our main worries ahead of our trip were:

  • what if it’s too cold?
  • what is there to do?
  • do we have the right gear?

With a little planning we soothed those worries, although some other issues popped up in the process.

Continue reading Taking my mom camping for the first time in 20 years

Is that lichen killing those trees?

Today’s post comes from Cara Freitag, a past Park Naturalist at Neys Provincial Park.

There are many misconceptions about nature: climb a tree to escape bears,  moose are friendly, coolers are strong enough to prevent bears getting your food.

Before I became a naturalist, I thought that all insects were bugs, not just the Hemiptera order. My cousins in Germany thought that every Canadian had a pet Polar Bear!

None of these things are true.

Big mammals tend to get most of the attention, but there are misconceptions about smaller organisms too.

We have many visitors at the Neys Visitor Centre wondering: “Is that lichen killing those trees?” (Don’t worry, the answer is no.)

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Community science with the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere

Today’s blog was written by Discovery Program Project Coordinator Jessica Stillman.

This summer, Grundy Lake Provincial Park, Killbear Provincial Park, and The Massasauga Provincial Park collaborated with the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere (GBB) to host bioblitzes within the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.

What is a bioblitz? In short, it is a community science event for recording different species within a certain location and time.

For these events, park visitors, Friends members, and staff from both Ontario Parks and GBB came together to inventory living things by uploading them to iNaturalist.

Continue reading Community science with the Georgian Bay Mnidoo Gamii Biosphere