The wildflower blog: Harbingers of spring for Ontario

Pepper and salt (Photo by Pat Deacon, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Pepper and salt (Photo by Pat Deacon, CC BY-NC 4.0)

I am a retired forestry scientist who has wildflower gardens. My mother introduced me to wildflowers at an early age. She grew up in Pennsylvania, and her favourite wildflowers were the delightfully fragrant trailing arbutus and mountain laurel...

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Find the Birds – How a mobile game can aid conservation

Vermillion flycatchers in the game (Graphic courtesy of Adam Dhalla)

Vermillion flycatchers in the game (Graphic courtesy of Adam Dhalla)

It is not a stretch to say that our planet is in dire need of more conservationists, and environmentally minded people in general. Birds and birdwatching are gateways to introducing conservation and science to a new generation. Growing up in...

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Why I welcome a conservation plan for the Great Sand Hills

A tree sunken into the sand and snow at the Great Sand Hills, SK (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

A tree sunken into the sand and snow at the Great Sand Hills, SK (Photo by Bill Armstrong)

Fifteen years ago, I signed up for a photography workshop at Saskatchewan’s Great Sand Hills, a place I’d heard about from other photographers but had never visited. I remember the first morning of the workshop, watching the rising sun...

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The effects of single-use plastic on the environment

Discarded pastic bottle by the beach (Photo by Catherine Sheila,Pexels)

Discarded pastic bottle by the beach (Photo by Catherine Sheila,Pexels)

Did you know that an estimated 3.3 million tonnes per year of plastic waste is produced in Canada, but only nine per cent is returned for recycling? You might be surprised, but billions of items of plastic waste are entering our lands, oceans and...

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The magic of seaweed

Kelp forest (Photo by Robert Schwemmer/NOAA via Wikimedia Commons)

Kelp forest (Photo by Robert Schwemmer/NOAA via Wikimedia Commons)

Along the Pacific Northwest, there are over 640 different species of seaweed. They come in many different shapes and sizes. However, they’re commonly grouped into three colours: brown, green and red. While these different species of seaweeds...

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Lessons in winter wildlife photography

Male cardinal (Photo by Lorne)

Male cardinal (Photo by Lorne)

Distant memories of my first film camera come to mind when I think about photography. Its silver colour and round dials looked impressive, everything was manual, all decisions were mine and feedback was non-existent, until the film was processed....

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Bluebirds of frustration and happiness

A male western bluebird perches on a fence in southern British Columbia. Note the coloured leg bands, which allow observers to identify the bird. (Photo by Catherine Dale)

A male western bluebird perches on a fence in southern British Columbia. Note the coloured leg bands, which allow observers to identify the bird. (Photo by Catherine Dale)

I have a complicated relationship with western bluebirds. I know that sounds strange, because who doesn’t like bluebirds? Their vivid plumage and soft calls are acclaimed as harbingers of spring and symbols of happiness. As Henry David...

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Heard it from a Scout: Leaving only footprints in nature

View from the top of Eagle Bluffs, BC. (Photo by Emilie Diver)

View from the top of Eagle Bluffs, BC. (Photo by Emilie Diver)

The view was incredible and the challenge of the hike up to the Eagle Bluffs in North Vancouver made it even more worthwhile. Ruby, my yellow lab, was happily sitting and begging for food from me and my Scout troop. Her behaviour was in stark...

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Love is in the air, and in the waters too

Mating arctic grayling (Photo by Charles Summers Jr.)

Mating arctic grayling (Photo by Charles Summers Jr.)

Did you know the amorous aura of Canada’s most romantic cities can be detected in nearby bodies of water? From coast to coast, and the rivers and lakes in between, there is no shortage of passion…among fishes. Coastal...

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Bird diversity is linked to human happiness

Cardinal on the fence (Photo by Nathan Anderson from Unsplash)

Cardinal on the fence (Photo by Nathan Anderson from Unsplash)

How to protect avian biodiversity and our well-being Are the early morning songs of black-capped chickadees a welcome sound? Does watching a flurry of happy finches and jays feasting on berries bring you joy? If you answered yes, then it may...

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