A novice’s guide to a Christmas Bird Count

Bird count volunteers (Photo by NCC)

Bird count volunteers (Photo by NCC)

Scientific study and academia can feel a long way away from the everyday lives of most Canadians, but for anyone with a pair of binoculars and a passion for wildlife, there is an opportunity to join in on the largest and longest running citizen...

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Heard it from a Scout: Discovering the winter night sky

Discover the winter night sky (Photo by Steve Owst CC0)

Discover the winter night sky (Photo by Steve Owst CC0)

One of my most relevant memories during my Scouting years happened at a winter camp in E. C. Manning Provincial Park in BC on a frigid February night. Our patrol was made up of a group of eight Scouts, between 11 and 13 years old, camping in a...

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Sudbury lakes are becoming less acidic

Common loons moult their feathers, starting at the base of their bills, before autumn migration in September. (Photo by Robert Alvo)

Common loons moult their feathers, starting at the base of their bills, before autumn migration in September. (Photo by Robert Alvo)

In my July 5, 2018, blog, I summarized my findings of over 25 years of examining the effects of lake acidification on common loon breeding success in the Sudbury region of Ontario. Although Sudbury's lakes have improved after decades of sulphur...

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Santa's large helpers

Caribou on Darkwoods, British Columbia (Photo by Christian Schadendorf)

Caribou on Darkwoods, British Columbia (Photo by Christian Schadendorf)

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! "On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!" Santa’s reindeer are kind of a big deal. They have important jobs, as they’re pretty much celebrities in the North Pole. Read on to find...

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Reigniting a love of insects

Monarch (Photo by NCC)

Monarch (Photo by NCC)

The love of insects can be a tough sell to many adults. Much like a fascination with dinosaurs, it seems that an interest in insects peaks during childhood and then declines for most people. Butterflies, however, are one of the few insects that...

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Close encounters of a furry kind

Plains bison (Photo by NCC)

Plains bison (Photo by NCC)

Confession time: I am not a cowboy. There, I said it! My Carhartts have a lot more house paint on them than cow manure. My farming background is in grains (I am a proud agro and I used to be able to unload on the fly, sort of like these guys), and...

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Hibernation with a hiss

A drawing of a snake (Photo by Darwin Online)

A drawing of a snake (Photo by Darwin Online)

Snakes are such misunderstood creatures. Many people fear them, but that might be because they don’t know how awesome snakes are! Snakes are limbless reptiles with scaly skin. They are very diverse, with different sizes, colours and...

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Multi-talented organisms: How seaweeds can affect our daily lives

Dr. Sophie Steinhagen collecting seaweeds (Photo courtesy of Dr. Sophie Steinhagen)

Dr. Sophie Steinhagen collecting seaweeds (Photo courtesy of Dr. Sophie Steinhagen)

Seaweeds, a type of macro-algae (a group that includes benthic [attached to the bottom] marine algae that are typically visible to the naked eye), provide hope for a more sustainable future, through healthier food, renewable energy and fewer...

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If you’re Batman then I must be Robin, right?

Joe Poissant's (a.k.a. Batman's) office in the country (Photo by NCC)

Joe Poissant's (a.k.a. Batman's) office in the country (Photo by NCC)

I feel like there might be some real merit in an ecologist superhero movie. Hear me out before you rate me on Rotten Tomatoes. This summer I spent a couple of nights trying my best to help the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s (NCC’s)...

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You don't have to be a scientist

Evan Young kayaking (Photo by NCC)

Evan Young kayaking (Photo by NCC)

As an amateur naturalist, I’ve found it’s easy to learn new things; however, it’s getting much harder to retain everything I learn. Growing up on a farm in rural Nova Scotia, I’ve always had a passion for the outdoors,...

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