Lake Erie: Recovery, or requiem?

Shore of the Middle Point Woods property, Pelee Island, Ontario (Photo by Sam Brinker, OMNR)

Shore of the Middle Point Woods property, Pelee Island, Ontario (Photo by Sam Brinker, OMNR)

Someone recently asked me how I would invest a million dollars to help conserve Lake Erie. My first thoughts were that I would use that money to protect wetlands and other habitats on the coast, or maybe to help farmers create wider buffer strips...

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Return of the raven: What the rewilding of southern Canada teaches us

Common raven (Photo by pcb21, Wikimedia Commons)

Common raven (Photo by pcb21, Wikimedia Commons)

Thanks to a bird, I recently needed to change the ring tone on my mobile phone. My ring had long been the classic call of the common raven — a deep gurgling croak that reminded me of being in wilder places. Places such as the northern shores...

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In praise of goldenrod (and exposing the real culprit of your hay fever)

Goldenrod (Photo by Liz West, Wikimedia Commons)

Goldenrod (Photo by Liz West, Wikimedia Commons)

I worry a lot about how we don’t understand nature anymore. Now I’m not talking about the value of nature or the importance of conservation. That worries me too, but what I’m talking about is the basic understanding of the plants...

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Thinking about water

Bow Lake, AB (Photo by Sarah Boon)

Bow Lake, AB (Photo by Sarah Boon)

Here in Canada, it’s a luxury to not think about water. Most of us watch it come out of the tap and go down the drain without considering its source or destination. But many people in the world don’t have taps or drains. In fact over...

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It actually is all about you: Altruism, identity and other secrets about nature conservation in Canada

Connop Property in Alberta (photo by NCC)

Connop Property in Alberta (photo by NCC)

There are many reasons why nature conservation is important. We live in a vast and diverse country with habitats and rare species that need our help if they are going to survive. Nature and nature conservation are an important part of our Canadian...

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The end of the rainbow: Invasive species and the real costs of ecological monkey-wrenching

The once common and now rare rainbow clam (Villosa iris) (Photo by Karen Little, courtesy of Illinois State Museum)

The once common and now rare rainbow clam (Villosa iris) (Photo by Karen Little, courtesy of Illinois State Museum)

Somewhere in the rivers of southern Ontario is a species few people have heard of, and even fewer have ever seen. It’s simply named the rainbow. The rainbow is a freshwater clam that gets its name from the rich iridescent colours on its...

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Finding nature at home

Toronto skyline (Photo by Taxiarchos228, Wikimedia Commons)

Toronto skyline (Photo by Taxiarchos228, Wikimedia Commons)

Nature and cities can seem like opposing ends of an ecological spectrum. Many see nature in its purist form only in wilderness — where our human influence is minimal, or at least hidden. Cities are the grey places on the map that testify to...

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Sharing great science from the Great Lakes

Sunset over Wilson Island, Lake Superior, Ontario (Photo by Michelle Derosier, Thunderstone Pictures)

Sunset over Wilson Island, Lake Superior, Ontario (Photo by Michelle Derosier, Thunderstone Pictures)

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and The Nature Conservancy (U.S.) recently published a paper in the journal Environmental Practice that analyzes the results of the recently completed biodiversity conservation strategies in context of the...

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From wasteland to wonderland: Why we need wetlands, before it’s too late

Sunset at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Ethan Meleg)

Sunset at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Ethan Meleg)

I sometimes think I need to find a support group for people that are haunted by ecological guilt. To be honest, I mostly feel pretty good about my past as an environmental consultant before joining the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). People...

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Who is training tomorrow’s conservation biologists? The gap between academic and applied conservation

NCC conservation intern monitoring plant communities (Photo by NCC)

NCC conservation intern monitoring plant communities (Photo by NCC)

As a small group of large black birds soared overhead on a warm summer day, I saw a look of confusion on my new field assistant’s face. I asked her if she was OK, and she commented: “That’s the third time I’ve seen those...

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