Darwin, phoebe and International Biodiversity Day

Eastern phoebe (Photo by John Benson, Wikimedia Commons)

I saw an eastern phoebe yesterday. Phoebes are small and drab birds, they don’t have a pretty song, they don't do anything particularly endearing, other than bob their tails when perched on branches. I know, I know...big deal. Phoebes...

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Wild bees in the grasslands

A summer storm gathers over NCC’s Fort Ellice prairie (Photo by Marika Olynyk)

In 2015, I had the good fortune to spend a second summer conducting pollination research on beautiful grasslands in western Manitoba. As described in my previous post, I have been investigating landscape effects on pollination service in...

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Talking science with the younger generation

Wildflowers on Pine Ridge, Alberta (Photo by Bob Lee)

Wildflowers on Pine Ridge, Alberta (Photo by Bob Lee)

For the past five or six years I’ve spent my summers working outdoors with kids and animals, teaching the kids about the environment, which is essentially a fancier way of saying I worked at a summer camp for far longer than is socially...

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Observations on the first issue of NCC Magazine

NCC Magazine Spring 2016 issue (Photo by NCC)

Recently a staff member at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) regional office for Saskatchewan asked me if I would be interested in receiving a complimentary copy of a new magazine as a thank you for contributing a few guest blogs to Land...

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Lessons learned from Mother Goose: How I learned to appreciate Canada geese through three seasons of careful observation

Canada goose (Photo by Denise Harris)

Sometimes we don’t know what we have until we lose it, and that is exactly how I feel about Canada geese this spring. This year, I have discovered the territorial a flock of Canada geese who conveniently bred in my urban backyard for the...

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Alberta's ranching evolution (Part Three)

Waldron, Southern Foothills, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Waldron, Southern Foothills, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

For just over 130 years, the western rangelands of southern Alberta have been the cradle of the stock-raising industry. As long as the prairie grasses have been allowed to perpetuate themselves, the cow and the calf have been able to harvest a...

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Learning to listen to the land

The band in action with our throat-singing friends Lynda Brown and Heidi Langille (Photo by Dan Roy)

What does “tracing one warm line” mean to you? You may recognize the phrase from the classic Canadian folk song, Stan Rogers’ “Northwest Passage.” It describes a journey into a mythological northern homeland that we...

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There's nothing

Barr Island south shore (Photo by Gary Bouchard)

Barr Island south shore (Photo by Gary Bouchard)

Last night was probably my final night for this blessedly long season on the Big Lake. I was there in a monitoring capacity; my contract with the Nature Conservancy of Canada brings me out each field season (since 2012), to assess visitor...

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Like a rock, elm that is

Short, gnarly side branches all the way up the tree (Photo by Bill  Moses)

My interest in botany came late in life. To compensate, I have restricted my primary interest to approximately 175 species of native woody plants of Grey and Bruce Counties. I try to give each one of them equal status and attention. Building on...

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Alberta's ranching evolution (Part Two)

A cattle herd just west of Fort MacLeod (Photo by Doug Madill)

A cattle herd just west of Fort MacLeod (Photo by Doug Madill)

(Continued from Part One.) Since it was the landscape of the rangelands that had originally attracted me to Alberta and western Canada, I have become increasingly fascinated with not only the buildings and artifacts associated with the ranching...

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