If you build it, they will come: Black bear dens on Vancouver Island

An example of the purpose-built den pods (Photo courtesy of Helen Davis)

An example of the purpose-built den pods (Photo courtesy of Helen Davis)

For 26 years, I have been captivated by black bears and where they spend their winters. It all started with my masters of science research project in the Nimpkish Valley on Vancouver Island. I’ve been to lots and lots of dens ― usually in...

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Tracking animals by what they leave behind

Fresh coyote scat chock full of deer hair (Photo by Mark Stabb/NCC staff)

Fresh coyote scat chock full of deer hair (Photo by Mark Stabb/NCC staff)

Wildlife tracking is one of the many fun nature activities you can take part in. One of my favourite pastimes is pointing out something to a friend or family member that they may have never noticed before, especially something left behind by...

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So many species, so many ways to study them

Spotted salamander (Photo by Rosemary Mosco)

Spotted salamander (Photo by Rosemary Mosco)

I have the best job in the world. I encourage people to get excited about nature. I’m a science communicator — someone who bridges the gap between scientists, the media and the public, helping us understand each other better. One way...

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Wildlife are found where they eat

Red squirrel cache (Photo by J. Schmidt/U.S. National Parks Service)

Red squirrel cache (Photo by J. Schmidt/U.S. National Parks Service)

Middens are one of my favourite things to point out during a nature hike. Although more noticeable in the winter, they are a great way to see evidence of the presence of wildlife in an area, in every season. You might be thinking, “What the...

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Parenting tricks from the wild

Baby elephants playing (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Baby elephants playing (Photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Parents everywhere would agree that raising children is no easy feat. New challenges come with every stage of development, from the newborn stage of learning how to eat and sleep, to the more advanced skill of communication. It wasn’t until...

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Ten of nature's weirdest courtship rituals

Greater prairie chicken (Photo by Ron Knight/Wikimedia Commons)

Greater prairie chicken (Photo by Ron Knight/Wikimedia Commons)

Much like humans, other animals have evolved ways of wooing or courting potential mates, whether it’s singing a love song, doing a sensual dance or giving a thoughtful gift. With love in the air this Valentine’s Day, here are 10...

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Top 10 blog posts of 2017

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Bunchberry Meadows Conservation Area, AB (Photo by Kyle Marquardt)

Every year, Land Lines is filled with submissions from across the country, with tales touching on a variety of topics — from the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s) stewardship work, to heartwarming accounts of conservation...

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Identifying bats by their distinctive voices

Big brown bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Big brown bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Having studied bats for more than a decade, I have been fortunate to be able talk to students in their classrooms while doing bat presentations, or to landowners while I trapped bats on their properties. Everyone has a bat story. Everyone loves...

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A soft spot for the infamous predator: Wolves

Gray wolf (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

Gray wolf (Photo by Mike Dembeck)

The timber wolf, also known as the gray wolf, is common in northwestern Ontario, where I have worked and lived for nearly 40 years. Common, but not always safe. I have a soft spot for predators such as wolves. In part because they are beautiful...

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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)

Swift fox cub and its 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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