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An otterly delightful encounter

River otters (Photo by Dreamstime)

River otters (Photo by Dreamstime)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been asked the question “what is your favourite animal?” As time passes, this question becomes increasingly more difficult for me to answer. How can I pick just one? My favourite species...

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A Canadian winter warrior

Snowy owl (Photo by Gregg McLachlan)

Snowy owl (Photo by Gregg McLachlan)

A few winters back, during the continued irruption of snowy owls into southern Ontario, I was lucky enough to come across a “snowy hot spot” just 25 minutes from my home in Guelph, Ontario. My husband and I have passed many Sundays...

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Super cool species to know this Halloween

Vampire finch (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Vampire finch (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

The leaves have changed, the air has cooled and the pumpkins have been carved. You know what that means — it’s Halloween! This spooky custom has always been my favourite. Growing up, I always took the opportunity to dress up as the...

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Learning new things in familiar places

Forest canopy in Backus Woods, ON (Photo by Neil Ever Osborne)

Forest canopy in Backus Woods, ON (Photo by Neil Ever Osborne)

To most people, warmer weather means soaking up the sun at the beach, making a northern weekend getaway to a picturesque cottage, or spending time with friends and family around the campfire or barbeque. While this applies to those of us in the...

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A case of mistaken identity: Goldenrod and ragweed

Monarch butterfly on Canada goldenrod (Photo by Peter Jessen, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Monarch butterfly on Canada goldenrod (Photo by Peter Jessen, CC BY-NC 4.0)

I count myself fortunate when the change of seasons doesn’t bring about a runny nose, itchy eyes, headache and coughing, among other symptoms brought about by pollen (a fine powder produced by plants for sexual reproduction). Some pollen is...

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Outside my window: Nature hidden in suburbia

Oblique streaktail on my wild nodding onion plant (Photo by Wendy Ho/NCC staff)

Oblique streaktail on my wild nodding onion plant (Photo by Wendy Ho/NCC staff)

Over the summer, I’ve tried to be attentive and notice the nature in my eight-square-metre backyard. It’s where I can make unhurried observations without the looming thought of hogging the trail from fellow hikers. And you know what?...

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Cockroaches and colours: Exercises in attention on Pelee Island

Woodburnings of some my favourite species on Pelee Island: the eastern banded tigersnail, broad-banded forestsnail, and striped whitelip. These snails are all nationally endangered and threatened by a range of factors including climate change, habitat loss and competition from introduced snails and slugs. (Photo by Hashveenah Manoharan/NCC intern)

Woodburnings of some my favourite species on Pelee Island: the eastern banded tigersnail, broad-banded forestsnail, and striped whitelip. These snails are all nationally endangered and threatened by a range of factors including climate change, habitat loss and competition from introduced snails and slugs. (Photo by Hashveenah Manoharan/NCC intern)

On one of my first days working for the Nature Conservancy of Canada as conservation intern on Pelee Island, a cockroach had nestled itself into my copy of Mary Oliver’s collection of poems, Devotions. As a lifelong urbanite, my instinct was...

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A thank you letter to the young professionals of conservation

The 2021 eastern Ontario team at Elbow Lake, ON (Photo by NCC)

The 2021 eastern Ontario team at Elbow Lake, ON (Photo by NCC)

Spring is one of the best times to be a conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). I get to dust off my field boots, turn off my laptop and get back outside. There is a beautiful rhythm to resuming field work, and my to-do...

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Reflections from 500 days of birds: A story of citizen science

Me and my birding sidekick (Photo by Jodi Elchyshyn)

Me and my birding sidekick (Photo by Jodi Elchyshyn)

Following the announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic in early March 2020, many of us faced new challenges during these unprecedented times. As a recent graduate and working biologist, I was lucky to be able to work remotely from my apartment in...

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The fossils of Camden East Alvar

A particularly exposed section of the Camden East Alvar, an NCC property just west of Kingston, Ontario. (Photo by NCC)

A particularly exposed section of the Camden East Alvar, an NCC property just west of Kingston, Ontario. (Photo by NCC)

Doing field work in the middle of the summer can be hot, but doing it on an alvar feels even hotter. An ecosystem formed with little to no soil on top of limestone bedrock, alvars typically have large areas of low-lying vegetation and exposed...

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