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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The resiliency and significance of cedar

Eastern red cedar (Photo by Onel Guce, CC BY-NC 4.0)

Eastern red cedar (Photo by Onel Guce, CC BY-NC 4.0)

It seems like everywhere I go, I see cedar trees. This isn’t surprising, since Canada’s four species of cedar can be common where they occur. Growing up to 15 metres tall and representing some of the oldest trees in Canada, cedar...

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Rhubarb and monarchs: an unlikely duo

Monarch butterfly on aster (Photo by June Swift)

Monarch butterfly on aster (Photo by June Swift)

June is my favourite month. That time of year when you’re on the cusp of hot summer weather, daydreaming of how you’ll spend the dog days of summer in some sort of lake or having a picnic in the shade. For gardeners like myself,...

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Heard it from a Scout: 5 ways to reuse your Halloween pumpkin

Jack-o-lanterns (Photo from Creative Commons)

Jack-o-lanterns (Photo from Creative Commons)

During the Halloween season, a staggering number of pumpkins become jack-o-lanterns on October 31. But by the next morning, we're left wondering how to reuse them. From recipes to candles, here are five creative ways to find a second use for your...

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5 ways to celebrate a physically distanced Thanksgiving

A fall-themed pumpkin display (Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina, Pexels)

A fall-themed pumpkin display (Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina, Pexels)

The global pandemic has undoubtedly changed the ways we go about our everyday activities, especially how to interact with family and friends. These unusual times call for creative tweaks to how we celebrate the special days, like Thanksgiving....

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The magic of nature

Denise Harris with her granddaughter (Photo by NCC)

Denise Harris with her granddaughter (Photo by NCC)

When I first started going to my neighbourhood park, I often saw disturbing human behaviour; some from children as young as three. In the "School of Life," where my field-testing on educating others about our waterfowl neighbours initially failed,...

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Ode to a nature commute – part 1, fall

Early fall along the Bow River (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

Early fall along the Bow River (Photo by Gayle Roodman/NCC staff)

Living in a city of a million people means noise, traffic, concrete and a need to go, go, go, right? What if I told you it also means immersing yourself in urban nature? The mighty Bow River flows through Calgary, and city planners had their...

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Lasagna garden

My dog, Kahlua, in her new backyard (Photo by Carys Richards/NCC staff)

My dog, Kahlua, in her new backyard (Photo by Carys Richards/NCC staff)

This summer I purchased a house, and alongside the responsibility of being a first-time home owner came the excitement of having my own yard to create a garden in. When I took possession of the house, the backyard looked a lot like this: flat and...

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A summer of reconnecting with nature

Toronto's Don Valley (Photo by Adam Hunter/NCC staff)

Toronto's Don Valley (Photo by Adam Hunter/NCC staff)

This past summer, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff across the country were fortunate enough to receive two days to spend connecting with nature. Called Nature Days, these were meant to be used anytime between summer solstice (June 21) and...

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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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