Hooray for hummingbirds

An Anna's hummingbird on one of her nests. (Photo by Eric Pittman)

An Anna's hummingbird on one of her nests. (Photo by Eric Pittman)

You hear a buzz and see a streak of green, red or purple, and then you realize that a hummingbird just flew by! Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures that have captured our attention for as long as humans have co-existed with them. They are...

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Drawing attention: Putting a love for nature on paper

My nature journal entry on the plant life at Yamnuska Mountain, AB (Photo by Emma Dunlop/NCC)

My nature journal entry on the plant life at Yamnuska Mountain, AB (Photo by Emma Dunlop/NCC)

Nature journaling; two words that I recently have noticed cropping up together, in everything from youth education curriculums to mindfulness and meditation workshops. My first encounter with nature journaling was during my reluctant participation...

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Canada's splendid sparrow crew

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Dark-eyed junco (Photo by Bill Hubick)

Sparrows often don’t get enough credit. Many don’t have flashy plumage like jays, orioles or cardinals, or melodic songs like thrushes or meadowlarks; however, sparrow species are often fairly distinct (once you get to know them) and...

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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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What is a legacy?

Threshing machine, a modern version of one that was used on the family farm back in the day (Photo by Ben Franske)

Threshing machine, a modern version of one that was used on the family farm back in the day (Photo by Ben Franske)

It wasn’t until I became a grandparent that I started pondering the question, “What is my legacy?” Separating the wheat from the chaff took a great deal of time and thought. It was while reviewing my past experiences that led me...

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Lessons learned from volunteers

Group of volunteers after a clean up at the Jim Prentice property 2019 (Photo by David Thomas)

Group of volunteers after a clean up at the Jim Prentice property 2019 (Photo by David Thomas)

In a typical year, around the time of International Volunteer Day (this year, December 5), I would be wrapping up our final volunteer events for the year and switching gears to planning for the next year. But as we all know, this year has been...

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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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Twelve spooky facts about Canadian bats

Townsend's big-eared bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

Townsend's big-eared bat (Photo by Brock Fenton)

There are 18 known bat species in Canada. Although they are subjected to a spooky stigma around Halloween, they’re nothing to be afraid of. Here are 12 things you didn’t know about these not-so-scary mammals: 1. The snooze...

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The upside of the downside

Families riding along the Bow Valley Parkway (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

Families riding along the Bow Valley Parkway (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

I have a confession: I really dislike like the word “staycation.” There’s something about this particular portmanteau that makes me shudder a wee bit every time I hear someone say it. And with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on...

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