My fuzzy muse

Virgin tiger moth (Photo by Nolie Schneider – CC 4.0 via iNaturalist)

Virgin tiger moth (Photo by Nolie Schneider – CC 4.0 via iNaturalist)

I used to think moths were ugly. Compared to their colourful, beloved cousins — butterflies — moths are hardly ever prized to win the blue ribbon at the beauty pageant. Often monotone, muted and furry — the latter of which makes...

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Keep your coffee mug covered: How spongy moths put a lid on my camping trip

A caterpillar crawling on my pants (Photo by Jensen Edwards/NCC staff)

A caterpillar crawling on my pants (Photo by Jensen Edwards/NCC staff)

As a west-coaster, I’ve come to relish the soothing splats of raindrops on my tent — so long as, of course, I am dry and warm inside. That sound, that damp smell that steams up from rainforest ferns, they awaken in me memories of...

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What's up with the very hungry caterpillars?

Each spongy moth caterpillar can eat one square metre of leaves in one season (Photo by Paul Prior, CC BY 4.0)

Each spongy moth caterpillar can eat one square metre of leaves in one season (Photo by Paul Prior, CC BY 4.0)

If you have young children in your life, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by the late and celebrated children’s author Eric Carle, is probably a familiar read and has been a fan favourite since 1969. This spring and summer though, there is...

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The truth about ticks

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Ticks seem to be everywhere these days. They’re on the news, on your social media feed and maybe even on your skin. People, especially those in southern Canada, are dealing with blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks) with increasing...

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Ick, it's a tick! Tips for tick safety

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

At the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), field work is an integral part of many staffers' routine, be it leading volunteer events or conducting various conservation activities. When it comes to spending time outdoors, it is important to be...

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5 ways insects make our world a better place

Dragonfly at Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)

Dragonfly at Carden Alvar, ON (Photo by NCC)

There are an estimated 10 quintillion individual insects on Earth. That’s 19 zeroes after the one! Insects make up 75 per cent of all animals. Despite their ubiquity, they have a PR problem. People often find them gross, scary or even...

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We’re in a biodiversity crisis. What we plant and how we alter landscapes matters

Front yard naturalization in spring. (Photo by Lorraine Johnson)

Front yard naturalization in spring. (Photo by Lorraine Johnson)

Spring hadn’t officially sprung, but the season was warm, and so the annual ritual began. People began to clean up the dried stalks and dead leaves protecting the earth. While tidying up, people were also throwing out countless insects...

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Gardening with native plants this spring

Wild bergamot (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

Wild bergamot (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC staff)

I love to garden. I excitedly begin planning for the next year as soon as the autumn chill settles over the Prairies. I’m always impatient for spring to arrive, and it doesn't help when the seed catalogues start arriving in November. I find...

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How collaboration kept an invasive beetle at bay

Asian longhorned beetle with wing exposed under elytron (wing casing) (Photo by Pudding4brains, Wikimedia Commons)

Asian longhorned beetle with wing exposed under elytron (wing casing) (Photo by Pudding4brains, Wikimedia Commons)

What is black with white spots and shiny all over? It’s the invasive Asian longhorned beetle (ALB)! This beetle is well known for its striking appearance, piercing eyes and antennae that extend beyond the rear of its body. It has no natural...

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Rhubarb and monarchs: an unlikely duo

Monarch butterfly on aster (Photo by June Swift)

Monarch butterfly on aster (Photo by June Swift)

June is my favourite month. That time of year when you’re on the cusp of hot summer weather, daydreaming of how you’ll spend the dog days of summer in some sort of lake or having a picnic in the shade. For gardeners like myself,...

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