The swift fox: A conservation success story

Swift fox (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Swift fox (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Although I work as the Nature Conservancy of Canada's (NCC's) conservation coordinator responsible for the area in Alberta where swift foxes now live, I have never seen a wild one myself. These are elusive creatures. I did see several being...

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A personal prairie legacy: The Tim K. Hodgson Prairie Stewardship Challenge Fund

Tim Hodgson at Horseshoe Dam (Photo courtesy of Tim Hodgson)

Tim Hodgson at Horseshoe Dam (Photo courtesy of Tim Hodgson)

Caring for land is personal. Over 10 years ago, I realized native wildlife habitat conservation was the most meaningful thing to which I could contribute my energy, expertise and time. It was 2003, and I was re-evaluating what I was achieving in...

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The force of fire on the Rice Lake Plains

Prescribed burn on Hazel Bird property, Rice Lake Plains, ON (Photo by NCC)

Prescribed burn on Hazel Bird property, Rice Lake Plains, ON (Photo by NCC)

Wildfires cause a lot of destruction each summer. There are dramatic videos and pictures in the news every year. So why did the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative (RLPJI) partner organizations purposely light several fires this spring? In some...

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For the love of prairies: celebrating Native Prairie Appreciation Week

Missouri Coteau, Saskatchewan (Photo by Branimir Gjetvaj)

Missouri Coteau, Saskatchewan (Photo by NCC)

Uncultivated, wild prairie wool has a certain beauty and grace about it, and somehow also a sense of timelessness. Prairie landscapes are dynamic and always changing in subtle ways, yet remain unchanged in many other ways. There is an estimated...

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Heterogeneity in grassland conservation? These university students say yes!

Buffalo Valley, SK (Photo by NCC)

Buffalo Valley, SK (Photo by NCC)

Should heterogeneity be a new buzzword in grassland conservation? OK, maybe it’s not the easiest word to say or remember but according to ongoing research, the answer is a resounding, "Yes." During the winter of 2014, students in a...

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Economy vs. ecology: Where do we find the balance in Canada’s grasslands?

Top Grass Beef Ranch, AB (Photo by Mara Erickson)

Top Grass Beef Ranch, AB (Photo by Mara Erickson)

Comprising only 14 per cent of Alberta’s land base, the Grassland Natural Region is home to a staggering 75 per cent of the province’s species at risk. From burrowing owls to swift foxes to the western spiderwort, populations of...

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Making peace with the Scotch pine (I mean, Scots pine)

Young volunteers tackling Scotch pine on an NCC reserve, ON (Photo by NCC)

Young volunteers tackling Scotch pine on an NCC reserve, ON (Photo by NCC)

When it comes to Christmas trees, I am a balsam fir man through-and-through. I like the form, the smell and the smooth, soft needles. I also admit that I am not crazy about Scotch pine, a main alternative here in Ontario. You could say we have...

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Sowing the seeds of conservation: The importance of fall seed collection in native biodiversity protection

Fall seed collection on the Rice Lake Plains, ON (Photo by NCC)

Fall seed collection on the Rice Lake Plains, ON (Photo by NCC)

As fall arrives on the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) Rice Lake Plains properties, the colours change — not just the trees, but the grasses as well. Transforming from summer green to yellows and reds, this change heralds...

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Thanks for the memories: Reflecting on a career in conservation almost four decades in the making

Riding horses at Old Man on His Back Ranch (Phto by Bob Santo)

Riding horses at Old Man on His Back Ranch (Phto by Bob Santo)

There are some moments in life that are remembered by their sights, sounds and smells. For me, one of the most memorable moments in my 10-year career at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) is defined by the sound of dozens of hoofs drumming the...

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It takes an (effectively communicating) village: The importance of information exchange between researchers and conservation practitioners

Tall grass prairie, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Tall Grass Prairie, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

As a general rule, tall grass prairie researchers and conservation practitioners are a fairly lively bunch. They’re very passionate and not shy to share their perspectives on how, why and what conservation actions should occur. They...

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