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The renegade

The renegade

Unabashed tree lover Diana Beresford-Kroeger declares that forests hold the key to combating climate change and curing a multitude of ailments including cancer. By Conor Mihell

Shelly Candel, Nature Guardians Sponsor

Shelly Candel, Nature Guardians Sponsor

Ontario Nature deeply appreciates Shelly Candel’s generous support of Ontario Nature’s Nature Guardians program. We asked Shelly to tell us why this program is important to her. The Nature Guardians are my hope for the future. I love the outdoors – feeling the fresh air, the sun and the wind. I love hearing songbirds and […]

Birds on the farm

Birds on the farm

Conservationists and cattlemen join forces to save a rare species. By Ron Reid Grassland birds across North America are in big trouble, none more than the bobolink, whose rollicking songs once graced hayfields and pasture lands across southern Ontario. Since 1968, Ontario’s bobolink populations have plummeted by two-thirds (see “Songs of the bobolink,” Summer 2010), […]

On guard for the moraine

On guard for the moraine

By Caroline Schultz Formed 11, 000 years ago by retreating glaciers, and stretching 160 kilometres end to end, the Oak Ridges Moraine is one of southern Ontario’s most distinctive physical features. Before European settlement, the moraine’s rolling hills were blanketed by forests and punctuated by kettle lakes and streams. Expanses of tallgrass prairie and savannah […]

ON Nature Summer 2011

ON Nature Summer 2011

DEPARTMENTS 7 | This Issue Conservation politics and a treasured landscape. By Caroline Schultz 8 | Earth Watch A win for wildlife: The Bruce Trail Conservancy secures more of the Niagara Escarpment; the great outdoors: having a field day with conservation staff; we object: the Province allows hunting at-risk snapping turtles; pleased to meet you: […]

Conservation takes teamwork

Conservation takes teamwork

By Amber Cowie In the countdown to the provincial election, the Green Prosperity Initiative, a coalition of 21 environmental organizations including Ontario Nature, released seven green priorities that the coalition believes are the most important provincial environmental concerns in 2011 (see “Seeing green,” Spring 2011, page 8).

The 3,000-mile salad

The 3,000-mile salad

Southern Ontario contains some of Canada’s most fertile farmland. Why, then, is so much of our food imported? By Linda Pim It used to be that when I ate a salad in winter, it was a long-distance affair. I munched on the “3,000-mile salad” consisting of organic loose-leaf California lettuce that, according to American writer […]

Inside Ontario Nature

Inside Ontario Nature

Leading edge conference The seventh-ever leading edge conference will be held in Burlington, October 4 to 6, 2006. Presented by the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the conference is focused on issues of sustainability, environmental monitoring and biosphere research. “people (attending) can walk away and explore the possibilities of how these interrelated themes can be put into […]

Field Trip: Tree spotting

Field Trip: Tree spotting

A guide to Ontario’s rarest trees By Lorraine Johnson The loneliest tree in all of Ontario must surely have been the redbud found on Pelee Island in 1892 by botanist John Macoun. Growing on the sandy soils of Fish Point, at the south end of Pelee Island, this single specimen was buffeted by wind and […]

What good is nature?

What good is nature?

More than 100 children told us the answer in Ontario Nature’s first writing contest for kids ESSAY CONTEST INTRODUCTION By Caroline Schultz When I was a child, our summers on Ireland’s Atlantic coast were endless days of exploring and rock-pooling. We netted crabs, shrimps and fish and stored them in bucket-sized habitats of seaweed, stones […]

A different kind of crop

A different kind of crop

A new agricultural incentive may be key to saving wildlife habitat: paying farmers not to grow by D’Arcy Jenish Two rows of towering maples line the drive of the Barrie family farm in the municipality of Clarington, 75 kilometres east of Toronto, and at one end is a sign that tells visitors they have arrived […]

The new farm

The new farm

Ontario’s agricultural landscape has gone industrial as big box, high-tech greenhouses, impervious to seasons, weeds and weather, replace field crops. How food grows on… by Ray Ford photography by Evan Dion Outside the fumes from Inco’s superstack blend into an overcast sky, and the restive summer atmosphere is limbering up for a thunderstorm. But here […]

Kathy Nihei profile

Kathy Nihei profile

By Moira Farr Not everyone would maintain composure when interrupted by a Canada goose during an interview, but Kathy Nihei, director and founder of the Wild Bird Care Centre in Nepean, merely furrows her brow, turns to the honker waddling down the corridor and says, “You’re loud.” Whatever ailment brought the bird to the centre […]

Seeing green

Seeing green

By Amber Cowie Cynics may describe the months leading up to an election as the “silly season” but it is also the ideal time to push political parties to clarify their position on the environment.

A great deal

A great deal

By John Hassell Congratulations to our partner organization, the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC), for raising $1 million to secure an additional 114 hectares of Malcolm Bluff Shores, a spectacular 423-hectare (1,045- acre) area on the Niagara Escarpment, north of Owen Sound. Together, Ontario Nature and BTC have raised the funds needed to permanently protect 346 […]

Having a field day

Having a field day

By John Urquhart Ontario Nature’s conservation staff is back in the field! We are continuing our research on reptiles and amphibians as we work toward the completion of the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas. One of the unique aspects of the atlas is the opportunity it provides for citizen scientists. Anyone can contribute valuable data […]

Mining company sues band

Mining company sues band

By Christine Beevis It seems incredible that, under the Ontario mining act, today’s prospectors are just as entitled to “free entry” on any crown or private land as they were a century ago. By simply placing a stake on each corner of an area being claimed and registering the staked claim, prospectors gain exclusive rights […]

Meet our board: Brendon Larson, Presiden...

Meet our board: Brendon Larson, President

John Hassell You became the president of Ontario Nature’s board at our last annual general meeting. What vision do you have for your term? Brendon Larson We did some soul searching at a board meeting about a year and a half ago and ended up reaffirming our general direction after determining that there is no […]

Natural invaders

Natural invaders

Non-native plants can be an eco-catastrophe, degrading sensitive habitats and diminishing biodiversity. Where and how to draw the battle lines in the fight against alien species is now a topic of heated debate. By Lorraine Johnson

Is purple the new grey?

Is purple the new grey?

By John Hassell Location, location… colour. While the proper siting of wind turbines is understood to be critically important to reducing their impact on wildlife, it now appears that the colour of a turbine might also be a significant factor. Armed with the knowledge that bats, like birds, suffer high mortality rates around wind farms, […]

Rusty blackbird

Rusty blackbird

The triple threat of severe habitat loss, climate change and pollution has caused a precipitous drop in these sublimely coloured birds across North America. By Tim Tiner The muskeg-nesting rusty blackbird may be the most sharply declining land bird in North America. On its wintering grounds in the swamps and bottomland woods of the southern […]

First Nations concludes first eco-audit

First Nations concludes first eco-audit

By Douglas Hunter In 2010, the Wikwemikong First Nation (Band 175) of eastern Manitoulin Island concluded a multi-year audit of plant and animal species at risk, with financial assistance from Environment Canada’s Habitat Stewardship Program and the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources’ Species at Risk Stewardship Fund. As a key component of Wikwemikong’s land-use planning, […]

Nature Canada helps protect a national t...

Nature Canada helps protect a national treasure

When Nature Canada’s executive director, Ian Davidson, learned about Ontario Nature’s joint venture with the Bruce Trail Conservancy to acquire more than 405 hectares on the Bruce Peninsula to create and permanently protect the Malcolm Bluff Shores Nature Reserve, he had a wonderful idea. Some years ago, Nature Canada received a very generous bequest from […]

Chopping up the moraine

Chopping up the moraine

By Amber Cowie Despite the existence of a 10-year-old conservation plan developed to protect the sensitive natural areas, farmlands and watersheds of the Oak Ridges Moraine, construction of two heliports and a 792-metre runway has begun in the Township of Scugog, located in the heart of the moraine.

Coal is a killer

Coal is a killer

Dear Province: Time to shut down Ontario’s dirtiest energy source. By Gideon Forman Illustration by Gracia Lam As you read this column, Ontario is using 18,460 megawatts of electricity. Some of that power is being provided by coal-fired generators, but high-profile health organizations – including the Ontario Lung Association, the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario […]

Frogs to the rescue

Frogs to the rescue

By Ray Ford It’s designed to benefit human health, but a new high-tech medical sensor could also be a boon to wildlife, including the horseshoe crab and an endangered shorebird, the red knot. Developed at Princeton University, the electronic sensor scans medical devices and drugs for bacterial contamination. Until now, horseshoe crab blood has played […]

ON Nature Spring 2011

ON Nature Spring 2011

DEPARTMENTS 6 | This Issue Winning the War on Invasives: Make sure to keep alien plants out of your garden. By Caroline Schultz 8 | Earth Watch Green priorities on the political agenda; painting turbines purple; the much-anticipated first signs of spring; chopping up the moraine; frogs to the rescue; meet the President of Ontario […]

A natural donation

A natural donation

By Mark Carabetta Orchids – no fewer than 16 different kinds – and carnivorous plants – such as horned bladderworts and sundews – flourish at Ontario Nature’s unique Petrel Point Nature Reserve, as do numerous other provincially rare plants. Located near Lake Huron on the western side of the Bruce Peninsula near the community of […]

Signs of spring

Signs of spring

By Tim Tiner Few things are as welcome or longed for as the first signs of spring. They often come unexpectedly, in the surprise visit of a newly returned bird at a feeder, a buzzing bee on a warm day or the chorus of frogs rising from the background of ambient noise. Before long, spring […]

Teens gone wild

Teens gone wild

By Sarah Hedges The 2011 line-up for Ontario Nature’s new Nature Guardians program is packed. Wildly enthusiastic teen participants are organizing five concurrent eco-events that will take place on April 30, the last day of Earth Month. Also in the works are a workshop on nature photography, efforts to protect migratory birds in the city […]

Winning the war on invasives

Winning the war on invasives

By Caroline Schultz With spring just around the corner, the gardeners among us are already browsing through seed and plant catalogues, daydreaming about our planting plans for when the ground thaws. There are always spaces to fill, things to move around and new ideas to try out. When it comes to plant choices, I, like […]

Moving Day

Moving Day

By Victoria Foote On October 5, two weeks before our move from Don Mills to downtown Toronto, the staff at Ontario Nature smelled something odd. Although one staff person swore it reminded her of chicken soup, to most of us it smelt much more like burning rubber. We went through room after room, sniffing and […]

Message Board

Message Board

Fine dining You are to be congratulated on your outstanding Autumn 2006 issue, which focuses on the important relationship between food production and ecology. As a retired social science teacher and as an organic farmer with 37 years of experience, I know how critical it is for people of all ages to develop informed opinions […]

The numbers guy

The numbers guy

By Bruce Gillespie Allan Elgar can pinpoint the moment he became an environmental activist. One spring evening six years ago, planners for the Town of Oakville held a public meeting concerning a proposed development of 3,076 hectares of farmland and woodlots located in the town’s north end. Elgar, a long-time business and finance manager at […]