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Do you get enough Vitamin N?

Father and child by the lake (Photo by Laubenstein Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons)

Father and child by the lake (Photo by Laubenstein Karen, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons)

You find yourself breathing more deeply, taking in the sharp scent of pine and the sweet mustiness of leaves returning to dust on the forest floor beneath your feet. For a moment, the quiet is broken only by birdsong — the notes that...

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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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Let's talk about bulls this Lunar New Year

Muskox (Photo by camerondeckert, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Muskox (Photo by camerondeckert, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Lunar New Year is celebrated every year and is marked by an animal zodiac on a repeating 12-year cycle. This year marks the year of the ox. According to Chinese mythology, the ox was the second animal to cross the finish line in a great race held...

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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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This Groundhog Day, it's all relatives

Groundhog (Photo by Cephas/Wikimedia Commons)

Groundhog (Photo by Cephas/Wikimedia Commons)

Tomorrow marks Groundhog Day, a North American tradition dating back to 1888. The groundhog, also called the woodchuck, is the largest member of the squirrel family and one of four marmot species that live in Canada. Rather than just focusing on...

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A McKenzie Towne Almanac

Inverness Pond, McKenzie Towne (Christine Beevis Trickett/NCC staff)

Inverness Pond, McKenzie Towne (Christine Beevis Trickett/NCC staff)

The slowing down over the past 10–11 months with the COVID-19 pandemic and its related restrictions has meant more time to be in one place and appreciate the nature around me. While where I live — McKenzie Towne, in southern Calgary...

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How tracking animals leaves a different imprint on winter

Tracks of a coyote walking - note the straight track pattern. (Photo by NCC)

Tracks of a coyote walking - note the straight track pattern. (Photo by NCC)

It isn’t a secret that most city dwellers have complicated relationships with winter (myself included). When the weather takes a turn for the worse, it seems to have a domino effect on urban centres, increasing traffic and slowing everything...

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How species survive winter: Hibernation

A big brown bat

A big brown bat "hanging out." Often when found outside, big brown bats sit in this position on the side of a building, tree or (ideally not) on the ground. (Photo by Sarah Ludlow/NCC)

Previously, I discussed how small songbirds, and black-capped chickadees in particular, survive winter on the Canadian Prairies. Now I will discuss another strategy that animals use to survive the long, cold winter months: hibernation. Hibernation...

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The wonder of winter wetlands

Brighton Wetland from a nearby field in early fall. Note that the cattails in the distance are already turning brown and falling down. (Photo by NCC)

Brighton Wetland from a nearby field in early fall. Note that the cattails in the distance are already turning brown and falling down. (Photo by NCC)

Two summers ago I spent a lot of time trekking through beautiful wetlands, both while working at NCC and for leisure. I loved every moment of my time there, whether I was wading out into knee-deep water to hand pull invasive European frog-bit,...

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Stopping habitat loss is the key to saving Canada’s endangered species

Evening grosbeak (Photo by Anna Tchoulik)

Evening grosbeak (Photo by Anna Tchoulik)

Canada has been losing and saving species for a long time. Since European settlement, over 100 species have been lost here. These include plants and animals that are extinct and extirpated and species that are considered historic (no one has seen...

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