Nature of the North: A Traveler’s Guide to Nature in Northern Ontario
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Category: Nature Guides
Ontario Nature’s guides bring readers closer to nature by informing and inspiring. Learn about the province’s wild species and wild spaces.
Species at Risk Guide
Learn about more than 50 species at risk that are found in northern Ontario. We are now in the midst of the largest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago. Habitat loss and degradation, climate change, invasive species, pollution and over-exploitation of natural resources are some of the factors driving the decline. This handy guide categorizes species into mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, plants and insects.
Backyard Habitats Guide
Introduction Planning While backyard habitats cannot take the place of large wilderness areas, they can foster the diversity of wildlife populations in urban areas. Consider the number and kinds of plants or animals living in or on a typical suburban lot. Basically you’ll find lots of individuals — many blades of grass, several individuals of […]
As the only flying mammals in the world, bats can make an impressive claim to fame. Eight species of these nocturnal creatures live in Ontario – five of which are hibernate in caves and mines and are being decimated by white-nose syndrome. Agile and predatory, bats are capable of extremely sophisticated bio-sonar. While not widely beloved, bats play a vital part of the ecosystem. Not to mention that by consuming myriad moths and other flying insects, bats help to protect us and agricultural fields from many pests.
Butterfly and Moth Guide
Learn to identify more than 24 common species of Ontario’s beautiful butterflies and moths. Experts and beginners alike will find this popular guide informative and entertaining. Discover important host plants and habitats for your favourite species such monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies, tiger moths and luna moths.
Did you know that Ontario has nine species of crayfish? Elusive and all too often overlooked, these fascinating creatures can tell us a lot about what is happening in our aquatic ecosystems. These beautiful guides assist the study of crayfish in the field, highlighting the unique characteristics of each species.
Dragonfly and Damselfly Guide
Dragonflies and damselflies are two related and fascinating groups that make up the insect order Odonata. Dragonflies and damselflies are characterized by two pairs of wings, large compound eyes and narrow bodies. Covering 48 species, this popular online guide connects and inspires.
Edible Wild Plant Guide
This guide is intended for the boreal forest of northern Ontario where foraging presents an alternative to harvesting lumber and the forest’s ability to absorb the impact of harvesting is greater. Forests and freshwater food systems – comprised of plants, animals, birds, fish, and fungi – are important sources of nutrition for many people in northern Ontario. They are also key indicators of healthy functioning forest ecosystems and food webs.
Frog and Toad Guide
Ontario is home to 12 species of frogs including two types of toads! Did you know that the wood frog can be found on the tundra in the north as well as in southern woodlands?
Check out our comprehensive field guide about Ontario’s frogs and turtles including descriptions, habitat, biology, threats and trends, range maps, and status and protection.
The five-lined skink is Ontario’s only native species of lizard. Did you know that only young skinks have blue tails, older male and female skinks have more uniform bronze tails?
Check out our comprehensive field guide about the five-lined skink including descriptions, habitat, biology, threats and trends, range maps, and status and protection.
These four-page resources are geared to kids aged 10 to 12. Read about black bears, woodland caribou, invasive species, Ontario parks, the boreal forest, foxes, wetlands, racoons and so much more. Through these profiles you will connect with Ontario’s wild species and wild spaces, and learn about critical conservation issues.
Northern Forest Foraging Guide
Northern Ontario’s forests, meadows and waters provide an incredible range of nutritious and delicious edible wild plants. Ontario Nature has prepared this foraging guide as an introduction to this local resource, and to encourage people to experience the wonders the natural world provides.
Ontario is home to 12 species of salamanders. Did you know that spotted salamanders breed in early spring, often while there is still ice on ponds?
Check out our comprehensive field guide about Ontario’s salamanders including descriptions, habitat, biology, threats and trends, range maps, and status and protection.
Ontario is home to 17 species of snakes. The more you learn about these reptiles, the more you’ll be fascinated by their diversity. Did you know that smooth greensnakes are insectivores, they primarily eat insects, and that eastern gartersnakes can be found as far north as James Bay?
Check out our comprehensive field guide about Ontario’s snakes including descriptions, habitat, biology, threats and trends, range maps, and status and protection.
Spiders live among us in almost every conceivable habitat. Their ecological role, one that benefits us, is as the ultimate predators of insects. They pursue this role with instinctive dedication. More than 800 species of spiders in Ontario, very few of which are dangerous to people, yet almost a third of Canadians are afraid of spiders. Learning about these creatures helps mitigate that fear.
Spiders play a key role in the food web and are an important food source for other animals including songbirds, fish and salamanders. In Ontario, the best time for observing spiders is from late spring to early fall.
Turtles, often referred to as modern day dinosaurs, with their distinctive domed, bony shell, are easy to recognize. Ontario has eight species of turtles and our online field guide covers them all.
Check out our comprehensive field guide about Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians including descriptions, habitat, biology, threats and trends, range maps, and status and protection. Reptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at risk.