Why I spent Mother’s Day 200 miles away from my daughter

Kayla Burak with her daughter (Photo courtesy of Kayla Burak)

It was Mother’s Day weekend and I was hundreds of kilometres from my daughter, my back was sore, my hands hurt, but I was happy. I spent the day helping a group of Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff and Conservation Volunteers plant...

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So you think you can...mate? Bird edition (Part two)

Greater sage-grouse (Photo by Gordon Sherman © Audubon Canyon Ranch)

The plight of many grassland species, and species at risk in general, has been treated in depth or at least mentioned often over the past few years, including in Land Lines (e.g. “Why Canada’s prairies are the world’s most...

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Heard it from a Scout: Wonderful wetlands

Forested wetlands in summer (Photo by Mary Gartshore)

Forested wetlands in summer (Photo by Mary Gartshore)

Wetlands are a pivotal part of Canada’s environment. They play a vital role in maintaining the natural balance of ecosystems. Wetlands are areas of land that become submerged or saturated with water either year-round or throughout part of...

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Stopping habitat loss is the key to saving Canada’s endangered species

Evening grosbeak (Photo by Anna Tchoulik)

Evening grosbeak, once a most common invader from the boreal forest each winter. In recent years less frequently appearing. (Photo by Anna Tchoulik)

Canada has been losing and saving species for a long time. Since European settlement, over 100 species have been lost here. These include plants and animals that are extinct and extirpated and species that are considered historic (no one has seen...

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So you think you can...mate? Bird edition (Part one)

Wideview, SK (Photo by Bill Armstong)

Spring is in the air…finally! The calendar on my wall has been lying to me for a month. It's spring, you say? Tell that to my toes ― I'm sorry, but sub-zero (Fahrenheit!) temperatures, snow on the ground and second-degree frostbite feel a...

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Conserving Canada's grasslands

Pronghorn antelope, Old Man on His Back (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

Pronghorn antelope, Old Man on His Back (Photo by Karol Dabbs)

There are many reasons why grasslands are endangered in Canada and around the world. Globally, grasslands are faced with continuing habitat loss, fragmentation and desertification. These impact both biodiversity and people who rely on healthy...

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An emblem worthy of a mother’s love

Pink lady's-slipper, ON (Photo by NCC)

Every Mother’s Day, I buy my mom her favourite chocolates and a bouquet of fresh flowers. This may seem like an easy-out gift for this day, but I’ve yet to come across a mother who doesn’t love flowers. Mine loves yellow...

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What the meadowlark sang to my grandmother

Western meadowlark (Photo by Allison Haskell)

I am not a professional biologist or a fanatical birder like many of my colleagues. I feel like I am surrounded — I mean, it’s Saskatchewan, so it’s tough to feel surrounded by much of anyone or anything — by highly trained...

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Look for these first signs of spring across Canada

Red-winged blackbird (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Red-winged blackbird (Photo by Bill Hubick)

With the springing forward of our clocks and increased daylight, many Canadians are getting antsy for the arrival of spring, perhaps especially for our friends in the Atlantic provinces (darn you, Nor’easter!). What can be more delightful...

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Canada's splendid sparrow crew

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Sparrows often don’t get enough credit. Many don’t have flashy plumage like jays, orioles or cardinals, or melodic songs like thrushes or meadowlarks; however, sparrow species are often fairly distinct (once you get to know them) and...

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