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Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes

small island, cottage, water levels

As a Director and Aquatic Ecologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (now retired), I had the pleasure of working with many people engaged in sustaining and restoring Great Lakes ecology. Managing water levels through bi-national boards is a complex ‘industry’. Historically, Great Lakes water levels have been impinged to support bi-national interests in hydroelectricity and […]

Summer 2021 Reflections

small island, cottage, water levels

I enjoyed reading the Summer 2021 issue of ON Nature. Two articles in particular caught my eye, primarily because solutions to the problems they presented could perhaps be explored in further issues. I would encourage you to let your readers know about the work done by Watersheds Canada (watersheds.ca). “The Rise and Fall of the […]

Going Wild

Rooftop gardens, naturalization, restoration, pollinator garden, urban habitat restoration, urban nature, habitat restoration

As a long-time member and subscriber, I read with interest ‘Going Wild‘ by David Israelson in the Summer 2021 issue of ON Nature (page 30). I commenced employment at the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA) in 1979 eventually, through reclassifications, becoming Operations Manager until 1996. I oversaw all the conservation areas including Lynde Shores. […]

Trumpeting a Victory

Trumpeting a Victory, ON Nature magazine, Summer 2021 spread

Re: “Trumpeting a Victory“. It was interesting to read the article on the reintroduction of the swans to Ontario. The Toronto Zoo has also been involved with reintroduction efforts and have had a nesting area in the Weston Pond area for most of the years I volunteered there. They also had banded swans in a […]

Butcher of the Alvar

Loggerhead shrike

Re: “Butcher of the Alvar“. I like how it reveals the vulnerability of all species by highlighting the personality and decline of one of Canada’s most ferocious songbirds, the eastern loggerhead shrike. If a carnivorous avian warrior who sings while impaling its prey on thorns can become endangered, then we should be concerned about the […]

Volunteer Salamander Surveys

Red-backed salamander

Re: “Volunteer Salamander Surveys” (Summer 2017). Teaching at a Forest and nature school, we often search for salamanders. On our last day of classes before being forced to close by government mandate, we found a red-backed salamander! That same week my husband and I found a vernal pool filled with several egg sacs at McCrae […]

Minesing Wetlands

Minesing Wetlands, Joe-Pye weed, pink flowers, escarpment, wetland, thickets

Having lived near the Nottawasaga River for the last decade and witnessing all the changes taking place with development in the area, I feel it’s extremely important to protect these incredibly sensitive natural habitats. We only get one chance at this. Once those habitats are gone, they are gone for good. – Lisa Jasiurkowski

Lawns Vs. Habitat

Toronto suburbs and lawns

There is an area of urban land that we need to change or at least modify. If all of this land in Canada was joined together we would have an area equal to the size of British Columbia. Presently this land is completely wasted due to a useless cultural practice that benefits an industry and […]

A Breath of Fresh Air

ON Nature feature article Access to Nature

I loved Julia Zarankin’s cover story, A Breath of Fresh Air. Well-written, thoughtful, and with two important themes that deserve separate articles. One theme is nature every day in the city, wherever you are. Most Canadians live and work in urban areas and we cannot just focus on wild and remote nature. Few people have the privilege of […]

Restoring Nature’s Health

machinery and human impact VS nature

I just read Victor Doyle’s opinion piece on “Restoring Nature’s Health Post-COVID” (page 38, ON Nature, Fall 2020) and found it important and revealing. I am former land use planner myself. Although a short piece, it’s clear that he has revealed what many of us either knew, or suspected – that the current COVID-19 crisis presents a “public distraction” […]

Drowning in Plastic

Lake Ontario plastic pollution

Reader responses to: “Approximately only 8% of plastics are recycled in Ontario. The remaining plastic waste inevitably ends up in landfills or in the natural environment. Who should be responsible for tackling plastic pollution, consumers, the government, or corporations?” Corporations – that made plastic products and reaped the profits – should be held responsible for […]

Biodiversity Offsets

Shorebird, wading bird and waterfowl diversity, Cranberry Marsh, September 2020

Reader responses to: “Novel business plan: Companies can earn their social licence to operate by creating new habitat.”   It’s a great idea, but not a fast-enough solution. It takes several years for a habitat to recover and become sustainable. Then there’s the time required for all the flora and fauna to return to normal. […]

Slide Towards Sameness

Garlic mustard

“Some experts argue that our attitudes towards non-native species echo xenophobia. Should non-native species be considered less ecologically valuable than native species?”   Absolutely don’t agree! – Shirley Baumgartner If they are ousting native species, then they should go. – Nancy Miles I don’t know enough as an expert or even someone more learned about […]

Death By The Numbers

Feral domestic cat in Toronto

Re: Death by the numbers, ON Nature Winter 2013 One of my social websites carried a petition against South Stormont Township, attacking a “Cat By-law”  and claiming to have already more than 12,000 signatures. They seem to especially want people to keep feeding feral cats. I am an old guy, a nature lover; supporter of several environmental […]

Owl Magazine and Poetry

Georgian Bay © 2020 Kristina J. Loevenmark

When I read on your website timeline that you were responsible for changing Young Naturalist to Owl Magazine – I just had to get in touch! As a child in the 1070’s I was a subscriber to Owl for years and loved it (Who didn’t love the Mighty Mites?)!! In a time with no Internet and only two TV […]

A Healing Harvest

Re: “A Healing Harvest” [Summer 2020] I was particularly interested in “A Healing Harvest” by Cecily Ross in the Summer, 2020 edition of ON Nature magazine. The term “regenerative agriculture” rang a bell with me. I’ve been listening to Fiber Shed’s “Regenerating Our Textile Systems Course” from California and learning a little bit about regenerative agriculture. The Fiber Shed […]

Double Green Trillium

Double green trillium, Peterborough

Re: “Woodland Wonders” [Spring 2020] I’ve enjoyed the magazine for many years now and particularly liked the feature on trilliums in the Spring 2020 issue. It brought back memories of many trips to Trillium Woods Provincial Park near Sweaburg. I decided to share a photo of what appears to be a double green trillium. It was […]

Woodland Wonders

Double trillium flower

Re: “Woodland Wonders” [Spring 2020] I really enjoyed the latest issue. A lovely article for sure. Brian Carson seems like a gentle giant and very interesting fellow. On one hand I appreciate the work he is doing – trying to “save” rare species of Trillium. On the other, I’m concerned about his separating and hand […]

Can Ranavirus Be Stopped?

snapping turtle

Re: “Can Ranavirus be Stopped?” [Spring 2020] Thanks for a lovely issue. The article on Ranavirus found in Cheldyra serpentina is interesting, but even if you are working on developing a baseline with current data, like with the Coronavirus, there is very little testing so it is nearly impossible to know the scope of its effect on the C. […]

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor featured image

Please send letters by email to onnature@ontarionature.org or by mail c/o Editor, and include your full name, address and phone number. You can also submit your thoughts on social media by tagging us.  Letters should be 75 words or less and they may be edited for length and clarity.

Monarch Butterfly Effect

Monarch Butterfly illustration

Re: “The Monarch Butterfly Effect” [Winter 2019] About 33 percent of Monarch Watch recoveries in Mexico are from reared monarchs. Lab rearing conditions (12 hours replicating day and night, 27 C constant temperatures) failed to provide environmental cues that lead to reproductive diapause or migration. Induction of a non-reproductive state and migration is complicated and […]

Blue Frogs

Blue frog

Re: “Do Green Frogs Get The Blues?” Hello: I have enjoyed yet another edition of Ontario Nature magazine.  The article on page 13 “Do Green Frogs Get The Blues?” was especially appealing as the property we listed in your magazine’s spring edition did indeed have a blue frog on it. Refer to my website: pbase.com/snorkelady/image/170206425. Thank you […]

Neonic Lawsuit Ruling

Neonic Lawsuit Ruling

Re: The Disappointing Decision on the Neonic Lawsuit To the Editor of ON Nature, Further to Anne Bell’s Neonic lawsuit article, the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation has monitored the use of pesticides applied by seven golf courses in the Collingwood area for over 10 years. The area golf courses are using Class 9 Pesticides […]

Norway Maples

Norway Maples

Re: The Leafy Viking I read your article regarding Norway maple trees with interest. I am very interested in preserving our native caterpillar populations and support planting native tree species. To that end I have planted two paper birch trees, a swamp willow, a striped maple and a tamarack on my residential property. I also […]



Dear Ontario Nature, it is more important now than ever before that we stop being afraid, we must stop living from a state of fear of hemp. Hemp is the most useful versatile plant in the world, you name it, hemp can do it, there is almost nothing this plant cannot do, thats why it […]

Forestry Policy

Forestry Policy

Re: Closing the Loop on Forest Protection? I am a retired forester and a long-time member of Ontario Nature. Concerning your recent article in the 2019 Spring issue of the ON Nature magazine, my take is this: You say that licenced companies under the Forest Stewardship Council certification process – by the way, American companies […]

New Year, New Look

New Year, New Look

Re: Have you read the new issue of ON Nature? I have indeed read the latest issue of ON Nature. I like the format of longer and shorter articles. The images are attractive. I was especially interested in the Plant Predators article as I am waiting impatiently for cottage season. We are on a lake […]

St. Joseph’s Donation

St. Joseph’s Donation

The Volunteer Services Department at St. Joseph’s Health Centre Toronto would like to thank Ontario Nature Magazine for your generous contribution of interesting reading material. We truly appreciate your support. In times of discomfort, your magazines really pulled through for patients who are in our hospital for long stays. We also distributed your magazines to […]

Single Use Plastic

Single Use Plastic

Re: When Nature Calls I noticed in the picture on page 18 & 19 “When Nature Calls” in the Fall 2018 issue that it looks like the hiker is carrying a single-use plastic water bottle in her backpack. This may be getting picky, but it does not send the right message. I imagine it was […]

A Tale of Two Davids

A Tale of Two Davids

Dear Editor, I am a long-standing member of Ontario Nature, and have been an active member and twice-President of Nature Barrie, one of the member organizations. I am very supportive and appreciative of the work our federation does. I also teach Conservation Biology to undergraduate students and I know from that experience that engaging people […]

Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows

Re: Nesting Instincts Dear ON Nature, We read with great interest the article on replacement nesting habitats for barn swallows. We were laughing out loud and shaking our heads at the arrogant hubris of those who would keep building structures that don’t work. Maybe they should have put up a sign (“Swallows Nest Here please”). […]

A Different Biodiversity

A Different Biodiversity

Re: A Different Kind of Biodiversity Dear Mike, I agree with your observations about the diversity of the membership of naturalist organizations. I have also seen the same membership bias and ageing effect in hiking clubs and hiking trail organizations. If you are involved in Ontario Nature in any of the southwestern Ontario clubs you […]

Environmental Education

Environmental Education

Re: A Different Kind of Biodiversity The solution to getting ‘young, ethnically & culturally different people’ involved in the environmental movement is to educate them very young. Ontario Nature needs to take a look at the Ontario curriculum & then provide elementary teachers with resources that fit this curriculum. As a retired educator who is […]

North French River

North French River, ON Nature feature

The article, River of Life, in the Spring 2018 issue, did a great disservice to the readers, setting a new low in biased journalism. Long on emotion and bereft of facts, the article gave the reader no information on which to judge possible development in the North French River watershed. It starts with the bias […]

Fixing the Nest

Fixing the Nest

Re: Nesting Instincts I read with great interest the article “Nesting Instincts” in your recent Spring 2018 ON Nature magazine about the barn swallows.  The new structures built to replace existing barns/bridges/etc. have been erected with ready to occupy nesting cups.  As the article states, instinct would lead swallows to build where and how they […]

Monarch Butterfly Update

Monarch butterfly on common milkweed

RE: Tracking Monarch Habitat I signed up for milkweed watch as encouraged on page 6 of your Spring 2018 issue. 2017 seemed to be a very good year for Monarch butterflies here. And as I have done for many years, I scattered the seeds as best I could on the property. – Phelps Goodman Monarch […]

Phragmites Control

Phragmites Control

What to do about phragmites is difficult and controversial, so we hoped to sparked a dialogue. We have received some thoughtful responses to Brad Badelt’s feature article “Killer weed.” Here are several letters from readers who care deeply about the environment, but hold different perspectives on phragmites. Where do you stand? John, In 1993 I […]

Coyotes Conjecture

Coyotes Conjecture

Re: Coyotes’s bad rap A little while ago, I read the article about coyotes in our midst.  I  have ambiguous feelings towards the measures recommended to discourage coyotes:  fruit tree and fruit removal, bird feeder removal, etc. We know coyotes will always be there, as we know they adapt. So, if they can survive near us, why […]

Energy East Cancellation

We should not be happy that Energy East was cancelled. We will use the same amount of oil either way, except now we will support some foreign dictators with terrible environmental controls in their country, have the risk of tanker accidents and possibly killing whales, rail road accidents, etc. New pipeline technology has made the […]