Flattening a prairie province's misconceptions

Missouri Coteau, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Missouri Coteau, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Growing up, I learned a lot about my home province, Saskatchewan, from my fellow Canadians. I was told that the land — limited to fields of wheat and canola — is tabletop flat and devoid of trees. I heard that our towns, villages and...

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Parks for peace

Clouds over Waterton, Alberta (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Clouds over Waterton, Alberta (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

As a new graduate, my mind is constantly connecting what I do with what I studied. I started my academic career in international relations, focusing on water management and how the two co-exist. The (simplified) theory is that cooperating around...

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Navigating a course for Canada's Marine Protected Areas on World Oceans Day

Rocks and ocean as seen on the Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve (Photo by NCC)

Rocks and ocean as seen on the Dr. Bill Freedman Nature Reserve (Photo by NCC)

Oceans and coasts are a key part of Canada’s environment, economy and identity, and yet most of us are unaware of how they are protected, and why conserving them is critical. Precious resources rich in life Salt water touches every...

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How the Great White North can change the world: Canada's role in global biodiversity conservation

Powder Islands, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by Alan Auld)

Powder Islands, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by Alan Auld)

I still remember a time when thinking about conservation made me feel disappointed in Canada. During my undergraduate years at the University of Waterloo in the early 1990s, I learned about the pioneering work of Norman Myers and read subsequent...

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I did not fall into a burning ring of fire

A black line is established before prescribed burn begins. (Photo by NCC)

I was several hours into my first major, fully equipped prescribed fire when I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I was tired, it was getting dark and, to be honest, I wasn’t really sure where I was; but the real reason I was trying not...

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Mark your calendars: June 5 is World Environment Day!

Volunteers at James Island (Photo by NCC)

Are you ready to celebrate? I hope so, because this year Canada is hosting World Environment Day on June 5, 2017, with UN Environment, and it is going to be fun!World Environment Day is an opportunity for all of us to encourage worldwide awareness...

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Overlooked plants and new discoveries: Moss and liverwort surveys in Manitoba

New liverworts to Manitoba on decaying log (Photo by Richard Caners)

As part of updating the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Natural Area Conservation Plan for the Whitemouth River Watershed in southeastern Manitoba, I spent a day assisting Royal Alberta Museum botany curator and good friend Dr....

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A prothonotary warbler partnership takes flight

Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Deep in the swamp forest of Backus Woods in Ontario on a hot summer’s day, it’s easy to feel as though one has been transported to somewhere in the Mississippi basin. The thick canopy of mature Carolinian trees provides shade to...

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Searching for worms in Ontario’s restored tall grass prairie

Ontario’s largest exotic earthworm, <i>Lumbricus terrestris</i>. (Photo by Heather Cray)

Looking across a beautiful stretch of native tall grass prairie in its full glory, the first thing that might strike you is, well, the grass; big bluestem, switchgrass, Indian grass, all of them might reach up to or above eye level. Then there are...

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This man's first sign of spring

Blue-winged olive (Photo by Paul Weamer)

For many, spring can often be hard to pinpoint. A botanist may list countless flowering plants, a birdwatcher may look to the skies in search of spring in the form of returning melodies, while Homo consumeris will notice the piles of winter...

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