A Canadian river story

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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In praise of perch power

Yellow perch swimming (Photo by USDA)

When I was 10 years old, I spent my first morning on Lake Erie reeling in yellow perch. By early afternoon, we caught our legal limit, and I found out first-hand why these little striped bandits are a great way to introduce kids to fishing and...

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How to be a botanist

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)

You may know from my previous posts that I consider myself an amateur botanist and spend time associating with several naturalist and conservation organizations, including the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). I try to share my experience and...

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Cracking down on garlic mustard: A delicious and therapeutic experience

Garlic mustard are no match against our staff (Photo by NCC)

On May 12, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff had the opportunity to step away from their desks to crack down on invasive garlic mustard at the Happy Valley Forest. Commanders of the day, Todd Farrell and Mark Stabb, asked us to form pairs...

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Something's Fishy: Risky business

Eastern sand darter, Grand River, ON (Photo by Alan Dextrase/Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2016

Close your eyes and think back to the best gift you’ve ever received. Was it that shiny red bike you got for your 10th birthday, a sentimental gift from a loved one or a token you still cherish to this day? When I think back to the most...

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Turtles: Canada's culture in a shell

Blanding's turtle, Frontenac Arch Natural Area, ON (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

Blanding's turtle, Frontenac Arch Natural Area, Ontario (Photo by Ryan M. Bolton)

It was a gloomy day in southern Ontario. Although the canoe I paddled in was quiet, the landscape was anything but, filled with croaks and chirping. Ten feet away emerged a small creature from the glass-like water to stretch its tiny head from...

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So you'd like to see a warbler...

Black-and-white warbler (Photo by Claire Elliott/NCC staff)

I like birding at just about any point of the year, but spring birding brings a certain excitement after a long winter season. Throughout Canada, warblers and other songbirds are starting to flock to landscapes that were recently quiet. Many are...

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A hidden gem in the city of Vaughan

Mark showing the group the geographical features of the area (Photo by NCC)

Mark showing the group the geographical features of the area (Photo by NCC)

We’re seeing more reports in the media of nature’s benefits to our health and well-being and the need for communities to reconnect with nature. Private land conservation is at the core of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s...

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There's nothing

Barr Island south shore (Photo by Gary Bouchard)

Barr Island south shore (Photo by Gary Bouchard)

Last night was probably my final night for this blessedly long season on the Big Lake. I was there in a monitoring capacity; my contract with the Nature Conservancy of Canada brings me out each field season (since 2012), to assess visitor...

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Like a rock, elm that is

Short, gnarly side branches all the way up the tree (Photo by Bill  Moses)

My interest in botany came late in life. To compensate, I have restricted my primary interest to approximately 175 species of native woody plants of Grey and Bruce Counties. I try to give each one of them equal status and attention. Building on...

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