Spring 2008

Spring 2008

It takes a forest by Victoria Foote Harnessing a mighty river; one-of-a-kind paw prints; bean count: a trip to the drive-through; door-to-door with Dennis Martin Car sharing is good for you and the environment by Jim MacInnis Our new senior director; spotlight on the Guelph Field Naturalists; learning from our nature reserves Is local opposition […]

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Smart cars

Smart cars

Car sharing is an excellent way to help your wallet and the environment – and it’s coming soon to a neighbourhood near you by Jim MacInnis I needed a desk. The novelty of using the floor as a workstation and sharing my keyboard with two cats had worn off. In the past I would have […]

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Ill winds

Ill winds

Is local opposition to wind turbines based on concern for wildlife or property values? by Douglas Hunter One of the most vexatious aspects of the effort to reduce our collective carbon footprint is the way we generate electricity. Although wind power may well be the most cost-effective, zero-emissions generator, it has also proven to be […]

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Welcoming Anne Bell

Welcoming Anne Bell

Anne Bell is Ontario Nature’s new senior director of conservation and education. Anne has acted as an environmental researcher, educator and consultant for many government and nongovernmental organizations, including Evergreen, Ontario Parks, Natural Resources Canada, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, the Sierra Club and Environmental Defence. In 2002 and 2003, […]

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The secret world of lichen

The secret world of lichen

A lichenologist’s extraordinary photographs reveal the sublime colours and unexpected configurations of one of earth’s oddest life forms by Kevan Berg Sprawl Lichens typically require bare, undisturbed surfaces and highly specific levels of temperature and light, each of which depends in part on the shape of the host tree. The sparse canopy of the jack […]

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In an alien land

In an alien land

A Volunteer for Nature group explores the otherworldly landscape of Manitoulin Island’s Quarry Bay alvar on one of Ontario Nature’s biggest nature reserves by Graeme Stemp-Morlock On a cool August night, I stare into a thick midnight fog off the western tip of Manitoulin Island in northern Lake Huron. I cast my eye over waters […]

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Endangered ecosystem: Wetlands

Endangered ecosystem: Wetlands

by Andrea Smith Not far from Ottawa’s city limits I’m suddenly immersed in a landscape more typical of the subarctic or arctic regions of northern Canada. I’ve come to Mer Bleue Bog, a stunning example of boreal peatland named for its resemblance in foggy weather to a large blue sea. The 3,700-hectare sphagnum bog is […]

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Endangered ecosystem: Carolinian zone

Endangered ecosystem: Carolinian zone

by Lorraine Johnson Botanists have wrangled over its proper name for more than a century. Scientists still debate its boundaries. But in the 23 years since Ontario Nature first published a special issue of this magazine (then called Seasons) devoted to Carolinian Canada, the unique nature of this region has been celebrated by naturalists and […]

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Endangered ecosystem: Alvars

Endangered ecosystem: Alvars

by Andrea Smith I’m driving through one of Ontario’s biodiversity hot spots on a sunny November day, but my timing is all wrong. According to my guides, Kyra Howes and Lou Probst (both of the Couchiching Conservancy), the best time to see the Carden Alvar is from mid-May to mid-June, when a rich palette of […]

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A garden of rarities

A garden of rarities

The Ojibway Prairie Complex is the largest protected tallgrass habitat left in the province. Now the cornucopia of rare flora and fauna that depends on the prairie is threatened by a multi-million-dollar bridge project by Lorraine Johnson Alan McKinnon guides me along a muddy trail leading to the Detroit River, reminiscing about a childhood spent […]

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My Turn: One house at a time with super canvasser

Dennis Martin

My Turn: One house at a time with super canvasser <br /><br />Dennis Martin

As told to Jim MacInnis I’ve canvassed for Ontario Nature for almost seven years, talking to about 30 people a night, five nights a week, 50 weeks a year – that’s about 50,000 people. I’ve knocked on the door of television personalities, an ex–prime minister and an Ontario hockey legend (to whom, without foreseeing the […]

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Bean count: a trip to the drive-through

Bean count: a trip to the drive-through

Approximately 60 percent of adults in Ontario drink coffee daily, making it their number one beverage of choice. Massive amounts of energy are wasted when central heating escapes as a result of the frequent opening of the drive-through window.

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Climate watch

Climate watch

by Douglas Hunter Mild winters, high evaporation and low precipitation are being blamed for continuing declines in Great Lakes water levels. On December 6, 2007, Environment Canada’s Level News warned that in the summer of 2008, the levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron could sink past the record lows of the mid-1960s.

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In word only

In word only

by Jen Baker Urban sprawl continues to spread across much of southern Ontario, while to the north, logging and other development interests intrude into the boreal forest and beyond. Yet the provincial government has produced numerous policies intended to protect Ontario’s natural landscape. The government’s conflicting priorities – conservation in words, unsustainable growth in practice […]

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Polar bear countdown

Polar bear countdown

by Sharon Oosthoek How many polar bears live in the north? Counting animals in the wild has never been a straightforward or easy task, but because climate change has altered polar bear habitat so markedly, scientists are finding that deriving an accurate count is proving especially difficult.

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Poison ivy takeover

Poison ivy takeover

by Sharon Oosthoek While climate change may bring about local extinction of some species, others may thrive under new environmental conditions. Poison ivy, as luck would have it, will in all likelihood flourish as a result of increases in carbon dioxide (CO2) levels associated with global warming.

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River power for the power-hungry

River power for the power-hungry

by Conor Mihell The Ontario Power Authority (OPA), the province’s electricity planning agency, has set its sights on the Albany River, a wild waterway flowing for 980 kilometres through the boreal region of northwestern Ontario and into James Bay. The OPA is proposing the construction of two generating stations that would be capable of feeding […]

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A fishy business

A fishy business

The Don Watershed Regeneration Council read with interest the Winter 2007/2008 issue of ON Nature and its cover story “Raising the dead,” by Sharon Oosthoek, on the return of the Atlantic salmon to Lake Ontario. While the story was indeed engaging and informative, it failed to mention a major initiative, launched in April 2006, to […]

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For the birds

For the birds

by Victoria Foote According to a report Global Forest Watch Canada released last year, an estimated 200,000 hectares of Ontario’s public forests are logged every year – an area more than three times the size of the City of Toronto. Trees store a tremendous amount of carbon, and scientists estimate that some 15 million tonnes […]

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