Conservation needs a common language to describe Canada’s ecosystems

Tatlayoko Ranch, British Columbia, (Photo by Bernadette Mertens)

Tatlayoko Ranch, British Columbia, (Photo by Bernadette Mertens)

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” ~ Ancient Chinese proverb For organisms, we use the concept of a “species” to assign proper names. Having standard names for species is critical in both...

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Regeneration ablaze on the Rice Lake Plains

A black oak engulfed in smoke from the prescribed burn at Hazel Bird Nature Reserve. Black oaks are tolerant of low-intensity fires, allowing them to thrive in tall grass prairie ecosystems. (Photo by NCC)

“Why is that on fire?” ― a burning question I have received from many curious folks on my Instagram account after posting videos of a prescribed burn that took place at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) Hazel Bird Nature Reserve...

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Protecting what matters most: Identifying and conserving freshwater key biodiversity areas

Richelieu River, îles de Jeanotte et aux Cerfs, QC (Photo by Claude Duchaîne)

Nature conservation is fuelled by urgency. With over 750 Canadian wildlife species at risk, and many habitats being lost and degraded, it’s clear we need to do more conservation in Canada, and we need to do it faster. There are spaces and...

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Poweshiek winter wonderland

Poweshiek skipperling (Photo by Jaimee Dupont)

Poweshiek skipperling (Photo by Jaimee Dupont)

Forget about crocuses and birds — the first sure sign of spring on the prairies is when the insects start to fly around. Have you ever wondered what happens to the insects in the winter? A few, like the monarch, fly south with the birds, but...

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On a quest for the alluring swift fox

Swift fox cub and its mum (Photo by Catriona Matheson, Cochrane Ecological Institute)

Cub and mum. (Photo by Catriona Matheson, Cochrane Ecological Institute)

My unsuccessful search for the elusive swift fox has spanned nearly a decade.It was 2008, the winter semester of my first year at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alberta, when I first learned about the history of swift foxes in Canada. The smallest...

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Places worth protecting: The Canadian prairies

Prairie Day event, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

Prairie Day event, Manitoba (Photo by NCC)

So you’ve decided to conserve biodiversity. This decision may lead to many false starts, disappointments and re-negotiated deadlines, but ultimately and eventually, it will lead to land conservation! Now, how does the Nature Conservancy of...

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I always feel like something's watching me

The curious cows at the Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve. (Photo by Diana Robson)

I usually do field work by myself, but sometimes I get the feeling that I’m being watched. My main observers this year are the cows. The Yellow Quill Prairie Preserve, protected by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is sustainably...

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Searching for worms in Ontario’s restored tall grass prairie

Ontario’s largest exotic earthworm, <i>Lumbricus terrestris</i>. (Photo by Heather Cray)

Looking across a beautiful stretch of native tall grass prairie in its full glory, the first thing that might strike you is, well, the grass; big bluestem, switchgrass, Indian grass, all of them might reach up to or above eye level. Then there are...

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Out of sight, out of mind

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

Now and then, I look out my living room window and begin to search. I am not searching for anything in particular, it is simply by habit. I can spend 20, or even 30, minutes just gazing here and there at just about anything. Little brown birds...

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Uncovering the magic of winter wildlife

Meeting Lake 03, SK (Photo by NCC)

While attending college in Winnipeg, my classmate and I used to walk north from the campus at the corner of Shaftesbury and Grant streets to explore the different sections of Assiniboine Park. As the school year was between September and April,...

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