Lovebirds: The day I broke a turkey's heart

Wild male turkey (Photo by Wayne Dumbleton, CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0)

One of my favourite field work stories comes from my very first field season. I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea what I was doing back then. I couldn’t identify most plants, was slightly scared (ok, terrified) of dragonflies...

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My 2017 Ontario birding “Big Year”

Violet-green swallow at Thunder Bay Marina, Ontario's third ever record of this species. (Photo by Jeremy Bensette)

Last year was a pretty “big” one for me, birding-wise! I committed to completing a "Big Year," a quest to see as many bird species as possible in one year in my beautiful home province of Ontario, and held onto that goal until dark on...

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Your winter getaway is a lot closer than you may think

Ancient cottonwoods (Photo by Steve Ogle)

Who says you can only enjoy nature when the snow has melted? There’s nothing like breathing in the crisp, fresh air on a winter nature hike as you take in the sights and sounds of wildlife around you while braving the cold. I love hearing...

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This Groundhog Day, it's all relatives

Groundhog (Photo by Cephas/Wikimedia Commons)

Tomorrow marks Groundhog Day, a North American tradition dating back to 1888. The groundhog, also called the woodchuck, is the largest member of the squirrel family and one of four marmot species that live in Canada. Rather than just focusing on...

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Emerald in the rough

Hine's emerald dragonfly at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Chris Evans)

Hine's emerald dragonfly at Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by Chris Evans)

Deep in the heart of the Minesing Wetlands, southern Ontario’s third-largest wetland system, located just 15 minutes west of Barrie, Ontario, lives a mysterious creature. It is thought to inhabit only 50 distinct locations in the entire...

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How a hidden forest valley is a big opportunity for conservation

Photo assignment for NCC is a journey into a pristine habitat that will make a difference in southwestern Ontario. (Photo by Gregg McLachlan)

Towering hemlocks reaching for the sky. A deep and rugged valley covered with ferns. A coldwater stream flowing over and under moss-covered fallen pine trunks. Just the thought of these scenes makes my mind wander yet again to northern...

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A soft spot for the infamous predator: Wolves

Gray wolf (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

The timber wolf, also known as the gray wolf, is common in northwestern Ontario, where I have worked and lived for nearly 40 years. Common, but not always safe.I have a soft spot for predators such as wolves. In part because they are beautiful...

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A Canadian winter warrior

Snowy owl (Photo by Gregg McLachlan)

Snowy owl (Photo by Gregg McLachlan)

A few years ago, I became absolutely obsessed with finding a snowy owl. I would spend long car rides travelling to visit relatives, with my nose literally pressed against the glass (with my husband driving, I promise!), scanning every fence post...

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One human's trash is an endangered snake's treasure

Gray ratsnake (Photo by Jessica Ferguson)

I spent my summer radio-tracking a female gray ratsnake and assessing habitat characteristics in Norfolk County, for Natural Resource Solutions Inc. (NRSI), an ecological consulting company based in Waterloo, Ontario, and Ontario Nature, a...

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Good things happen when you take your class outside

Jenna Siu leading the group at Nature Days, Happy Valley Forest (Photo by HSBC Bank Canada)

In many urban areas, children and families lack access to nature and the freedom to explore local plants and animals. Anxiety levels, attention-deficit disorder (ADHD) and antisocial behaviour in children is on the rise, and, it's said, that the...

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