Sap drips from the tree Photo by Hamilton Conservation Authority via Flickr If you’re lucky enough to live in maple syrup country, it’s the time of year to get ready to visit your favourite sugar bush or cabane à sucre. How does maple syrup connect with nature? Because it comes from trees, of course! Discover the weather conditions needed to make the sap run (mild days and cool nights). Spend an afternoon finding out just how tree sap becomes lovely golden syrup. And once you’re done tromping around in the bush, don’t forget to indulge in a fresh, sweet treat! Most sugar bush properties run family programming on weekends from mid-February through mid-March, with additional activities planned during the March… read more →
Canadians care deeply about their natural spaces and wildlife, according to a recent Ipsos Reid poll. The poll found that 75% of Canadians surveyed “feel that preserving natural areas and the variety of native plant and animal life in Canada is important to them.” Nearly one quarter said it was important to protect at-risk wildlife and habitat, and 20% said it was important to ensure Canadian bodies of water stay clean. The poll also revealed another interesting fact. At the very core of Canadian’s strong support for protecting and conserving nature is the effect nature has on our sense of well-being. It turns out we’re happier when we’re in nature. Ipsos Reid found that 87% of Canadians feel happier when… read more →
On my trip to the Museum of Nature, I got to see frogs from around the world. Photo by J. Desilets. If the winter weather is too cold or snowy for you to get outside and explore nature, it’s the perfect time to head to your local natural history museum! Natural history museums showcase Canada’s rich and diverse natural history from coast to coast to coast. They preserve the past so that we can gain insights into the possible future. And they allow us to discover aspects of Canadian nature that we might not otherwise have a chance to see. A giant sea turtle skeleton swims through the air at the museum. Photo by J. Desilets. I’ve been lucky enough… read more →
Skating on the Rideau Canal. Photo by Xiaozhuli via Flickr According to a recent Statistics Canada study, “just 15 per cent of adults are meeting the latest proposed guidelines in Canada for averaging 2 1/2 hours per week of moderate to vigorous activity. For children, just seven per cent are achieving the benchmark of at least one hour of activity per day.” Spending time outside is an easy way to increase your physical health. Even as the cold and snow of winter have a firm grip on most of the country, there are many fun activities to do in nature. Skiing, snowboarding, skating and sledding immediately come to mind as favourite winter sports, and we can’t forget about hockey! But… read more →
If you’re still looking for something to make 2011 a year to remember, why not join your local naturalists’ club? These groups organize wildlife hikes, bird identification, and nature seminars among many other activities. Whether you already have a passion for nature or are just starting your connection with our natural world, a naturalists’ club is a great way to learn more about the world around us. And don’t forget to tell us about your adventures in nature in the comments. There’s no time like the present to make the commitment to connect with nature!
Johnston Canyon Nature Walk Photo by Sangudo via Flickr Gifts have been unwrapped. Holiday meals have been eaten. The spirit of the season has been shared with friends and family. What better way to relax after the festivities and reconnect with nature than with a winter wildlife walk? You don’t have to go far at this time of year to notice the beauty of the natural world. It can be as simple as walking through familiar areas and noticing how different they are in the winter. Wander along a favourite route and see if you can identify the trees without their leaves. Look for animal tracks in the snow, matching the prints with the creature that made them. And, of… read more →
The Christmas Bird Count is a wonderful holiday tradition that allows nature lovers to spend an entire day outdoors, in the company of other naturalists and bird enthusiasts, gathering important information on the birds in their neighbourhood. The 111th edition of this citizen science intiative is taking place now, through January 5, 2011. Christmas Bird Counts take place in a set circle 24 kilometres in diameter during a single day. Depending on your location, you may even be able to count the birds at your backyard feeder and report them to the group leader. Each count then feeds into a larger tally and scientists use the collection of data to better understand how birds and the environment are faring –… read more →
Chickadee by Lynn Pady Birdwatching is a wonderful way to connect with nature, and winter offers us many opportunities to watch our feathered friends. Get your yard or balcony ready for birds this winter, and enjoy the show! Provide cover. Birds need shelter from harsh weather conditions, and vegetation in your yard will help to furnish it. Don’t prune back dead vegetation like vines and stalks – these provide both valuable winter cover and nesting material for birds in the spring. Add habitat in your backyard in the form of a brush pile, which may attract foraging birds and mammals, and even over-wintering reptiles, amphibians and insects. Balconies have a special opportunity to attract nesting birds as they provide great… read more →
Long-time Nature Canada supporter Sandra Soos has been spurred by her observations of the natural world around her to start her own petition to protect frogs and their habitat in Ontario. Frogs provide benefits to us through their role in the food chain – both eating bugs and becoming prey for fish, birds and mammals. They are also an important indicator species, providing information about changes in the environment that may ultimately impact humans. If you agree with Sandra that the Ontario government should take action to protect frogs and their habitat, sign her petition today. And way to go Sandra for standing up and doing something on behalf nature!
A new mobile app for sharing nature photos is turning random plant and animal sightings into a fast-growing citizen science project.Networked Organisms and Habitats and their nature-focused application, Project Noah, is used to explore and document local wildlife, in backyards, city parks and other places, and it has already attracted both the casual naturalist and the professional ecologist. I know how it sounds. Electronic media consumption is supposed to spread nature deficit disorder among our young, not increase our appreciation for nature and wild things, right? Butwith technologylike this, it’s often how it’s applied that really matters. And Project Noah could have the capacity to bridge the gap between professional researchers and amateur wildlife enthusiasts. So exactly how does Project… read more →