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Meeting my first monarch butterfly up close

Monarch butterfly feeding on common milkweed flowers (Photo by Wendy Ho/NCC staff)

Monarch butterfly feeding on common milkweed flowers (Photo by Wendy Ho/NCC staff)

A gentle breeze blew on a mid-summer evening, the sky still lit from the setting sun. I set up my step stool along the edge of my driveway for some light weeding among my collection of plants in the front yard. It’s a chore that I...

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5 ways to get involved in conservation this Canadian Environment Week

Building bat boxes at Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area, SK (Photo by NCC)

Building bat boxes at Old Man on His Back Prairie and Heritage Conservation Area, SK (Photo by NCC)

Since 1971, Canadians have been celebrating the nation’s natural heritage and the strides made in environmental protection during Canadian Environment Week. The week-long observance also includes World Environment Day (June 5) and World...

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Take them to feel the forest: Winter sensory activities for kids

Snowshoeing in Parc de la Gatineau, QC (Photo by DJ)

Snowshoeing in Parc de la Gatineau, QC (Photo by DJ)

I‘ve walked in the woods all my life, but it wasn't until I took young children with me that I noticed how fascinated they were with the variety of textures found in their surroundings. Kids can spend hours feeling, building, touching and...

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Yay! The ducks are back!

Mallards — male on the left, female on the right. (Photo by Pia Vahabi/NCC staff)

Mallards — male on the left, female on the right. (Photo by Pia Vahabi/NCC staff)

Here in Toronto, winter and waterfowl don’t necessarily sound like two things that should go together. But the truth is, while some birds (and people) escape Ontario’s cold winter to warmer climes, others migrate from the Arctic to...

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A close encounter like no otter

Two river otters peeping their heads above the water (Photo by Nila Sivatheesan/NCC staff)

Two river otters peeping their heads above the water (Photo by Nila Sivatheesan/NCC staff)

Walking through fields of wildflowers and towering trees is an incredible feeling. It reminds me that there’s so much more to this life than just me and my bubble. It’s a humbling feeling. But what’s even more incredible is...

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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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How the pandemic turned me into an urban gardener

Seedlings in pots layed out on the veggie bed (Photo by Christine Beevis Trickett/NCC staff)

Seedlings in pots layed out on the veggie bed (Photo by Christine Beevis Trickett/NCC staff)

It’s amazing how slowing down and staying put in a place helps you connect with the life around you. I used to have quite a busy travel schedule, moving back and forth across the country several times a year to visit family or for work...

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Why nature in Canada’s cities could change conservation forever

Colpitt Lake in the Shaw Wilderness Park (Photo by Adam Cornick, Acorn Art & Photography)

Colpitt Lake in the Shaw Wilderness Park (Photo by Adam Cornick, Acorn Art & Photography)

When the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) was founded almost 60 years ago, there was growing recognition that unmanaged urban expansion was threatening nature. In fact, our first project was to try to save a section of Rattray Marsh along the...

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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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Wild about chickens

Lacy Mae and Matilda (Photo by LM Neilson/NCC staff)

Lacy Mae and Matilda (Photo by LM Neilson/NCC staff)

Today it starts at 5:36 a.m. The rusty cackle slides in through my open window with the early morning light. I pause for a brief second to make sure I really heard the sound before opening my eyes and swinging my legs over the edge of the bed. The...

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