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Deep in a thousand-hectare woods: Protecting the magic of Happy Valley Forest

Aerial view of Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Aerial view of Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

One day it rained red in Happy Valley Forest, and I was there to see it. This was not the red rain of cast-off maple leaves in the fall. This rain painted the tree branches in the spring. And I have witnesses. This is how it went down. It was...

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A memorable dance at dawn

Sharp-tailed grouse on The Yarrow (Photo by Brian Keating)

Sharp-tailed grouse on The Yarrow (Photo by Brian Keating)

The sharp-tailed grouse dance at The Yarrow is one of many spellbinding natural displays observable at this special place. I’ve been lucky enough to visit The Yarrow, or the Fischer Ranch as it was previously known, more than a dozen times...

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Eyes on endangered piping plovers

Piping plover (Photo by Andrew Herygers/NCC staff)

Piping plover (Photo by Andrew Herygers/NCC staff)

On a humid July morning, I had the pleasure of joining Birds Canada's piping plover coordinator in Escuminac, New Brunswick, to track piping plovers and visit a known nesting area that the Nature Conservancy of Canada has protected. Piping...

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Check out these amazing finds from the 2022 Big Backyard BioBlitz

Monarch butterfly on Joe-pyeweed (Photo by NCC)

Monarch butterfly on Joe-pyeweed (Photo by NCC)

Over the July 28–August 1 weekend, thousands of volunteers joined the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) annual Big Backyard BioBlitz. Together, we were able to contribute a total of over 50,000 observations of more than...

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Keep calm and count on: Big Valley MAPS station

American restart adult (ASY) male (Photo by NCC)

American restart adult (ASY) male (Photo by NCC)

After many years working in the field of ecology and conservation, it can become easy to take for granted the unique and spectacular things you get to do and the beautiful landscapes you get to see on a regular basis. Being aware of this, I always...

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Talking data: How community science informs conservation

Volunteer capturing data with a smartphone at a NCC BioBlitz event (Photo by Brent Calver)

Volunteer capturing data with a smartphone at a NCC BioBlitz event (Photo by Brent Calver)

What comes to mind when you hear the word data? For many, data conjures ideas of numbers and computers, with scientists performing complex statistical analyses. While that generalization is reasonably accurate, it is important to understand that...

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Threats to birds, and how you can help birds in your own backyard

Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Prothonotary warbler (Photo by Bill Hubick)

In spring, we welcome the return of migratory birds to Canada to breed. A few billion birds from over 400 species breed in Canada each year. Before we know it, young birds will be leaving their nests, awkwardly learning to navigate the world...

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Dangers of artificial light at night to birds

The view of downtown Toronto approaching nighttime (Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels)

The view of downtown Toronto approaching nighttime (Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels)

Since the discovery of fire, humankind has tried to push back the darkness of night, extending the total usable hours in a day. Light has been a beacon, warning ships of treacherous coastlines and guiding them to safe harbours. Symbolizing life...

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Big, bold and boreal: Once complete, this will be Canada’s largest private conservation project

Boreal Wildlands, ON (Photo by NCC)

Boreal Wildlands, ON (Photo by NCC)

Spring is unfurling across the country, and those who know me know I love my birds. Birdwatching is great in any season, but I start to get a specific set of goosebumps when I hear the first sounds of migratory birds returning from the south in...

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The dos and don’ts of birdwatching

Northern cardinal (Photo by NCC)

Northern cardinal (Photo by NCC)

The creation of my high school’s birdwatching club sparked a passion in me that has lasted years following graduation. The excitement of seeing a new species for the first time was contagious and something I continue to seek, to this day. I...

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