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Get with the program

Get with the program

Ontario Nature’s Volunteer for Nature (VfN) program was especially successful this summer. Among other activities, VfN participants assisted in two herptile surveys, the first at the Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve near Norland, where Joe Cebek, a biologist with Trent University, taught the group how to identify various species and about the life cycles and […]

Local matters

Local matters

Conservation efforts at home really do help save the world by Caroline Schultz With every passing year, the environmental maxim “Think globally, act locally” takes on added meaning. This phrase has empowered us to take action on many environmental issues, such as banning toxic chemicals like PCBs and DDT, knowing that community efforts can yield […]

Winter 2007

Winter 2007

Battling climate change together by Victoria Foote Lonely elm trees; recovery program at risk; outdoor education back from the brink; Brendan Toews: super birder Giants of the north by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler Year of the volunteer; spotlight on Friends of Algoma East; Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Ecotourism could be the answer to the economic […]

What the woods taught me

What the woods taught me

You want the best for your woodlot, but how do you know what’s best? Should you thin, cut or abandon? Writer Cecily Ross discovers the hard way how to properly care for her trees by Cecily Ross I love the woods. I love standing among the tall, patient trees feeling their grandeur. I put my […]

Travel light

Travel light

Ecotourism should be part of the solution to the economic woes plaguing northern communities by Julee Boan My guide, Maurice, is trying to get my attention. He had asked me to wait while he slowly approached a beach ridge. Minutes later, I, too, am peeking over a willow shrub at an enormous polar bear napping […]

Year of the volunteer

Year of the volunteer

Ontario Nature’s increasingly popular Volunteer for Nature (VfN) program attracted a record number of participants eager to join our conservation efforts this year. From spring to fall, nearly 200 outdoor enthusiasts participated in a dozen conservation projects. VfN participants, local field naturalists and Ontario Nature stewardship staff planted trees, conducted wildlife surveys, built a boardwalk […]

Field Trip: Coniferous trees

Field Trip: Coniferous trees

by Dan Schneider and Peter Pautler Confined, for the most part, to habitats shaped by cold, < dry, windy climates, coniferous trees dominate the enormous northern boreal forest, a region that blankets 11 percent of the earth’s surface. North of Ontario’s Great Lakes, this vast coniferous forest occupies 75 million hectares, nearly half of the […]

A road runs through it

A road runs through it

But shouldn’t. Our parks are supposed to be wilderness sanctuaries, yet the trees are logged, the waterways polluted and the trucks keep rolling through. Ontario Nature lobbied hard for tougher protection. So, will the new Provincial Parks Act really put ecological integrity first? by Conor Mihell At a campsite beneath an 80-metre-high cliff at the […]

Raising the dead

Raising the dead

Atlantic salmon once dominated the depths of Lake Ontario, so plentiful, a person could bend down and scoop the huge fish out of the water. But the last of the salmon was caught more than a century ago. Enter genetic researcher Oliver Haddrath, who is determined to restore this top predatory species to the lake […]

My Turn: Brendan Toews

My Turn: Brendan Toews

Teenager, goalie, budding ornithologist As told to Jim MacInnis I’ve been interested in birds since I was about five. I’m 14 now, and I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t reading field guides. My parents used to strap me into a carrier and take me along with them on hiking expeditions through Whitehorse, northern […]

Harvesting the rain

Harvesting the rain

by Sharon Oosthoek Climate change, coupled with burgeoning urban populations, has prompted several Ontario municipalities to consider installing harvesting systems for rainwater, which will then be used in toilets, dishwashers and watering gardens in both government buildings and residences.

One night stands

One night stands

by Sharon Oosthoek Researchers at the University of Guelph are discovering that playing matchmaker to lonely elm trees – as with lonely humans – requires no small degree of perseverance. Nevertheless, they are determined to track down and eventually mate mature white elms, or American elms as they are also known, with a circumference greater […]

No tree, no bird

No tree, no bird

by Jen Baker Ontario Nature, CPAWS Wildlands League and Ecojustice have filed a request for policy review with the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), Ontario’s environmental watchdog, asking that the province’s forest management system – which the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) oversees – be reviewed. The request for a review stems from Ontario Nature’s […]

Can we just keep cutting?

Can we just keep cutting?

by Jen Baker CPAWS Wildlands League recently published a report addressing a question that many in the conservation community have often asked: Is the amount of logging in Ontario’s allocated forest sustainable? Permissible harvest levels are determined using a computer modelling system. But what if the model is based on faulty assumptions? Logging too much, […]

Saving King Mountain

Saving King Mountain

by Conor Mihell Standing tall just north of Sault Ste. Marie, a unique forest ecosystem of sugar maple and yellow birch blankets the slopes of one of Ontario’s highest peaks, the aptly named King Mountain. Despite the presence of several rare plant species in the 1,050 hectares of hillside, the land was unprotected and could […]

Teach our children well

Teach our children well

by Caroline Schultz Outdoor education is a particular area of concern to Ontario Nature. Severe cutbacks in the 1990s closed outdoor education centres and reduced outdoor education in Ontario schools to the point where today’s students have minimal hands-on outdoor learning opportunities.

Climate Watch

Climate Watch

by Douglas Hunter Canadian Bioenergy Corporation has put forward a proposal to build western Canada’s first large-scale biodiesel refinery near Edmonton, Alberta. It would produce an estimated 114 million litres a year from canola oil. The Government of Ontario announced a plan to introduce “green” licence plates in the spring of 2008 for fuel-efficient vehicles, […]

The collective

The collective

by Victoria Foote I read a provocative article last September in the weekly Grist, an online offshoot of the environmental magazine of the same name. The author, Mike Tidwell, opens with the declaration that energy-efficient light bulbs and hybrid cars are in fact hurting efforts at the government level to fight global warming. It is […]