Grandparents in the natural world

Old-growth forest (Photo by NCC)

Old-growth forest (Photo by NCC)

I often find similarity in the structure of human society and the ecosystems in nature. Reflecting on how our community is comprised of people from all walks and stages of life, I can’t help but think the same about forests. As Grandparents...

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What's to like about lichen?

Reindeer lichen. (Photo by Mac Pitcher)

Reindeer lichen. (Photo by Mac Pitcher)

The clean air, cool foggy climate and contiguous old-growth forests of the Island of Newfoundland are an ideal formula for some very rare lichens. These species include boreal felt lichen, vole ears lichen and blue felt lichen. These lichens rely...

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Butterfly metamorphosis

Mating monarch butterflies, Butterfly Garden at Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Tampa, Florida (Photo by Joyce Graham Fogwill)

Mating monarch butterflies, Butterfly Garden at Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) Tampa, Florida (Photo by Joyce Graham Fogwill)

A few summers ago I watched and photographed the metamorphosis of a butterfly (we weren't sure if the species is a green comma or question mark) at Cape Broyle, Newfoundland. During my visit, I became friends with my seven-year-old neighbour, M.,...

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Pollination deception: Manitoba’s lady’s slipper orchids

Small white lady's-slipper (Photo by Melissa Grantham)

Small white lady's-slipper (Photo by Melissa Grantham)

In Manitoba we have several species of lady’s slipper orchids, but the two I am most interested in, and have researched, are the yellow lady’s slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum) and the provincially endangered small white lady’s...

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Flowers of the Happy Valley Forest

One of the most beautiful of Happy Valley blooms is the fringed gentian flower. (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

One of the most beautiful of Happy Valley blooms is the fringed gentian flower. (Photo by Dr. Henry Barnett)

The trees, flowers, ferns, birds and other animals of the Happy Valley Forest have been observed and catalogued over the past 60 years - altogether 200 species of plants have been identified growing on the floor of this forest located on the...

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Volunteers dig in to help improve riparian habitat

NCC conservation staff and volunteers assess the planting work at Waldron Ranch. (Photo by Kyle Meller)

NCC conservation staff and volunteers assess the planting work at Waldron Ranch. (Photo by Kyle Meller)

I was in eighth grade when I first learned about riparian zones and the important role these terrestrial ecosystems play in the conservation of freshwater systems. Little did I know, years later, I would be helping to lead groups of volunteers in...

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Blazing ahead of climate change: The potential for assisted migration of Alberta’s native plants

The northern blazing star is being used to test assisted migration as a climate change conservation tool. (Photo by ABMI)

The northern blazing star is being used to test assisted migration as a climate change conservation tool. (Photo by ABMI)

It’s the Goldilocks principle. All species, including plants, animals and fungi, are uniquely adapted to a specific combination of climate and environmental conditions that they need to grow, reproduce and thrive; things need to be...

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Caring for babies at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve

Maxine Leichter lends a hand during a Conservation Volunteers event at CGOP (Photo by NCC)

Maxine Leichter lends a hand during a Conservation Volunteers event at CGOP (Photo by NCC)

What does an environmentalist grandmother do who lives thousands of miles from her grandchildren? She takes care of baby plants instead at the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC's) Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve (CGOP) near Quamichan Lake and...

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Powder Islands adventure

Susan Bryan checks the plants on a section of rock pavement (Photo by Mike Bryan)

Susan Bryan checks the plants on a section of rock pavement (Photo by Mike Bryan)

"I haven’t seen that before. It's a lifer!" You may be thinking birds, but for me the "lifer" was a delicate plant with white blossoms growing in a crack on a bare cliff face. Hoary draba is a member of the mustard family and usually found...

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Eel-grass: A moment in time

Eel-grass, Port Joli, Nova Scotia (Photo by NCC)

Eel-grass, Port Joli, Nova Scotia (Photo by NCC)

As we bushwhack through dense alder thickets, we hear the drone of a small plane flying back and forth over the Pugwash Estuary. It is a perfect summer day in August with a clear blue sky, perfect for capturing aerial imagery of Pugwash. The...

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