Volunteering abroad for nature

Clearing reed bed vegetation (Photo courtesy of Megan Quinn/NCC staff)

Clearing reed bed vegetation (Photo courtesy of Megan Quinn/NCC staff)

I don’t vacation very well. The problem with loving my job as a conservation biologist is that I have a hard time taking a holiday (and even when I do, I usually keep an eye on my work email inbox). So when I had the volunteer opportunity to...

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A Canadian river story

La Chasse-galerie, 1906, by Henri Julien (Photo by Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec)

La Chasse-galerie, 1906, by Henri Julien (Photo by Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec)

Our rivers carry many responsibilities. For years, they have been pathways for communication, exploration and discovery. Like any great journey, these rivers have stories. From coast to coast, myths and legends have been passed down for almost as...

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Have no fear: Rational thinking is here

Milk snake (Photo by Jenna Siu/NCC staff)

Milk snake (Photo by Jenna Siu/NCC staff)

I was recently hanging out with my four-year-old niece and talking about different animals. She asked me, “What’s your favourite animal?” I replied, “Butterflies and snakes.” At the word snakes, I could see her squirm...

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Paddling through the “Everglades of the North”

Kayaking through the canopy in the Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by NCC)

Kayaking through the canopy in the Minesing Wetlands, ON (Photo by NCC)

It’s a foggy spring morning, quiet and still, not a whisper of wind in the air, and you’re paddling through a forest of silver maple, hackberry and bur oak trees. The canopy above is perfectly reflected in the glass-like water, which...

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Backpack Essentials: Deep in the wilderness, it’s nice to have a best friend

Backpack Essentials (Image by NCC)

Backpack Essentials (Image by NCC)

This blog post is part of the Backpack Essentials series, a series that explores the items NCC staff carry with them when going outside. It is inspired by the quarterly Nature Conservancy of Canada Magazine and our Nature Destinations program. To...

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International Day of Biological Diversity: A thank you note to Algonquin Park

Joe Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park (Photo by Brett Hodnett/Wikimedia Commons)

Joe Lake, Algonquin Provincial Park (Photo by Brett Hodnett/Wikimedia Commons)

Three. That’s how many Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) supporters recently (within the span of a week) shared with me that their current passion for nature and support for our work at NCC was sparked by spending time in Algonquin Park...

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Success under pressure: Helping landowners succeed with stewardship in southwestern Ontario

Acadian flycatcher (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Acadian flycatcher (Photo by Bill Hubick)

The Carolinian ecoregion of Canada makes up one per cent of the country’s total land mass and is limited to southwestern Ontario. Many of the region’s 70 tree species — such as tuliptree, pawpaw and sycamore — are found...

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Buzzing down the house: An update

Bumble bee (Photo by Amanda Liczner)

Bumble bee (Photo by Amanda Liczner)

This is an update to a post I wrote last year. The data has now been analyzed, and the results are ready for sharing. We commonly hear that bees are in decline and that we need to save them because they are important pollinators of crops and...

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Best places to bird in Ontario: Pelee Island and NCC’s natural areas

The burrowing owl is the bird that really started it all for us on Pelee Island. On a whim back in April 2008, we decided to bird on the island, and, incredibly, found a burrowing owl. (Photo by Mike Burrell)

The burrowing owl is the bird that really started it all for us on Pelee Island. On a whim back in April 2008, we decided to bird on the island, and, incredibly, found a burrowing owl. (Photo by Mike Burrell)

We had an interesting first visit to Pelee Island back in September 2001, where we “dipped” (missed) a trio of wood storks that had been on the island the entire summer, only to have had them leave the evening before we managed to make...

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Beech leaf disease: A new problem for Ontario trees

Early-stage leaf striping (Photo by John Pogacnik, Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

Early-stage leaf striping (Photo by John Pogacnik, Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

Beech bark disease began ravaging beech trees in Ontario in the late 1990s, after spreading west from Atlantic Canada. But recently, a new beech disease has emerged in the province. Beech leaf disease was first detected in North America in 2012 in...

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