What the knowledge of how trees communicate means for forest conservation

A shady Douglas-fir forest (Photo by Jenny McCune)

A shady Douglas-fir forest (Photo by Jenny McCune)

Japanese people are generally familiar with shinrin-yoku or forest bathing — the practice of being immersed in a forest. In Germany, the concept is referred to as Waldsehligkeit, a feeling of profound well-being that comes from being...

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The hummingbird's igloo

Sweetiebird, an Anna's hummingbird, in her igloo. (Photo by Eric Pittman)

I always thought of hummingbirds as warm-weather birds. So I was surprised to see an Anna's hummingbird building a nest in early February. I was even more surprised because it was its sixth nest in a year, built in our yard. I live in Victoria,...

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Heard it from a Scout: A beginner's guide to winter camping

Scouts pitch insulated tents to keep warm in winter. (Photo by Scouts Canada)

During the winter months, most Canadians dream of flying south to escape the snow, ice and below-zero temperatures. Scouts, on the other hand, like to get outside by heading to campgrounds to enjoy all that nature has to offer. A scout’s...

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What nature means to an 89-year-old

Author Zoe and her granny standing beside Lake Ambleside in England. (Photo courtesy Zoe Arnold)

At six months shy of 90 years of age, my granny Vera is a strong-willed (some might say stubborn) English woman. Each time she boards the double-decker bus, she insists on climbing the narrow, winding stairs up to the top deck. As the bus begins...

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Leave only footprints: Minimizing your impact in nature

Grace and Pepper exploring the winter wonderland (Photo by NCC)

I love that my daughter is growing up with wildlife as a part of her daily life and with all the room to roam and freedom a kid could want. (Photo by Elke Meyfarth/NCC staff)

Nature has been my greatest teacher. As a child growing up in the semi-desert of the Okanagan in British Columbia, I learned not to touch prickly pear, which plants smelled the most like sage and to move away from the warning rattle of a...

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Uncovering the magic of winter wildlife

Meeting Lake 03, SK (Photo by NCC)

While attending college in Winnipeg, my classmate and I used to walk north from the campus at the corner of Shaftesbury and Grant streets to explore the different sections of Assiniboine Park. As the school year was between September and April,...

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Natural Continuities: Connecting to nature through photography

Looking out over a pond at the MacMillan Nature Preseve. (Photo by Sara Schiavello)

This month, our class from Mr. Senisi’s Grade 12 photography class at St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic High School in Woodbridge, Ontario, hosted a photography exhibit called Natural Continuities: A Photography Exhibit in Honour of Lyn...

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The silence of the hillsides

Fort Ellice, Riding Mountain (Photo by NCC)

Fort Ellice, Riding Mountain (Photo by NCC)

For the past six months, I’ve worked as an assistant conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) in Riding Mountain Natural Area in western Manitoba. I found that a summer in the area challenged me to reconsider how I...

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Lessons in winter wildlife photography

Male cardinal (Photo by Lorne)

Male cardinal (Photo by Lorne)

Distant memories of my first film camera come to mind when I think about photography. Its silver colour and round dials looked impressive, everything was manual, all decisions were mine and feedback was non-existent, until the film was processed....

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Do you get enough Vitamin N?

Father and kid by the lake (Photo by Laubenstein Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons)

You find yourself breathing more deeply, taking in the sharp scent of pine and the sweet mustiness of leaves returning to dust on the forest floor beneath your feet. For a moment, the quiet is broken only by birdsong — the notes that...

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