Grandfather nature

My grandfather and I on a sailboat at the 2013 Hunter Family Reunion at Inver Huron Beach, ON (Photo courtesy of Adam Hunter/NCC staff)

My grandfather and I on a sailboat at the 2013 Hunter Family Reunion at Inver Huron Beach, ON (Photo courtesy of Adam Hunter/NCC staff)

I partly owe my love of nature to my grandfather. He likely developed his own fascination with nature from growing up on a farm in the historic Meadowvale Village in Mississauga, Ontario. When I was three years old, my grandfather moved into a...

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The language we all speak

Me as a child in China (Photo courtesy of Hai Lin Wang)

Me as a child in China (Photo courtesy of Hai Lin Wang)

One of the most common questions people ask me is why I chose to study conservation. For a long time, I couldn’t answer that question. Unlike most of my classmates and fellow interns at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), I did not grow...

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Something’s Fishy: Dace of shade

Redside dace (Photo by K. Schmidt)

Redside dace (Photo by K. Schmidt)

Fine, I’ll say it: as a redhead, I have an affinity for red-coloured species. It’s an unspoken alliance we gingers have — walking, swimming or climbing through a world where we might stand out from the crowd based on our...

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The Carden Challenge: A treat for nature lovers

The start of the Carden Challenge (Photo by Cameron Curran Photography)

The start of the Carden Challenge (Photo by Cameron Curran Photography)

In the blink of an eye, you could miss one of Ontario’s natural heritage treasures, found along Kawartha Lakes Road 6, called the Carden Alvar. Deep in the heart of the Carden Alvar, a bustle can be heard in late May along the back roads....

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Invasive Species Olympics

Phragmites javelin (Photo by NCC)

Phragmites javelin (Photo by NCC)

The Olympic Games: the spectacle of international competition, where every four years, thousands of athletes from over 200 countries compete in the pinnacle of their sport. Inspired by the ancient Olympic Games, first held in Olympia, Greece, in...

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Meadows for Monarchs

Meadows for Monarchs event participants (Photo by NCC)

Meadows for Monarchs event participants (Photo by NCC)

If you thought you saw more monarchs flitting about last summer and fall, you were right. Monarch Watch reported that 2018 was a good year for the iconic orange and black butterfly, thanks to a combination of aggressive conservation efforts in...

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Ain’t no mountain high enough

Hikers in Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by NCC)

Hikers in Happy Valley Forest, ON (Photo by NCC)

So, you’re the master of hiking up hills in the Greater Toronto Area, are you? You take the stairs over the escalator at the shopping mall. You’ve conquered the stair climber at your local gym. Perhaps you’ve even climbed the CN...

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Alternative ways to celebrate: Popping the traditional balloon

Balloons can end up on nature reserves. (Photo by NCC)

Balloons can end up on nature reserves. (Photo by NCC)

Let me take you on a journey. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has some stunning conservation properties on Manitoulin and Cockburn Island, which I’m lucky enough to be responsible for. Field work on the Tasker Wilderness Shore...

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A thank you letter to NCC

Leigh Gustafson (Photo by Brendan Kelly Photography)

Leigh Gustafson (Photo by Brendan Kelly Photography)

For as long as I can remember, I have loved animals. I used to spend my spare time sprawled in the grass with a pencil in hand, drawing pictures of my favourite animals from my Dad’s Mammals of North America atlas. I incessantly dreamed of...

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Hiking the big one

Big Trout Bay, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by Costal Productions)

Big Trout Bay, Lake Superior, ON (Photo by Costal Productions)

My dental training and career as a research scientist have allowed me to live, work, hike, bike and paddle in fascinating ecosystems around the world, including Asia, New Guinea, Europe, Africa and the Americas. After retirement, I was fortunate...

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