In honour of World Wetlands Day on February 2, let’s pay tribute to vernal pools. Due to their small size and transient nature, vernal pools are a type of wetland that is easily overlooked. While brimming with water in spring, they may be nothing more than a dry, isolated, depression on the forest floor by summer.
Category: Citizen science (Page 1 of 2)
There are more than 100 Christmas Bird Counts in Ontario planned, of which more than 65 are affiliated with our Nature Network groups. This year, because of its diverse overwintering species and diverse habitat, I chose to volunteer and participate in the St. Catharines Area Christmas Bird Count, coordinated by members of the Peninsula Field Naturalists.
Late last month, Ontario Nature’s conservation staff hosted a bioblitz at George G. Newton Nature Reserve, near Goderich. The day kicked off with two sessions, one focused on reptiles and amphibians and the other focused on plants. Jory Mullen of the Huron Stewardship Council led the amphibians and reptiles group. They found six green frogs, one leopard frog and four wood frogs in the stream running through the reserve. They also found nine red-backed salamanders in the forest.
Are you an aspiring citizen scientist? All over the world, members of the public contribute to scientific research by reporting species sightings, surveying water quality and more. You can join these citizen scientists with the help of Ontario Nature’s new Directory of Ontario Citizen Science (DOCS).
DOCS is an online, searchable tool that can link you with citizen science projects in your area. It can also help groups coordinating citizen science activities to publicize their projects and attract volunteers. DOCS is aimed at projects with biological, environmental, or conservation goals, and there are lots of them available.
Citizen science has been around for more than 100 years.
After a warm winter and chilly start to spring, I joined my Ontario Nature co-workers at Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve for a good old-fashioned salamander sleuthing event, our first of the season. The Altberg reserve is a tranquil property that has great trails and several vernal pools that are home to a variety of species, including fairy shrimp. Throughout the day we heard lots of woodpeckers and saw evidence of moose on the reserve.
Support the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas by submitting sightings in underreported areas
The onset of spring is an exciting time of year for outdoor enthusiasts as the veil of winter is lifted from our wetlands, forests and meadows.
If you enjoy the wonders of nature, there are many reasons to get outside this spring. From the emergence of the iconic, ephemeral trillium that carpets the floor of deciduous forests to the return of songbirds from their wintering grounds.
But one spring phenomenon often goes unnoticed; the awakening of reptiles and amphibians. You can find these hidden, secretive creatures occupying a wide range of habitats. Turn over a log and you may find a common eastern red-backed salamander, or if you’re lucky, a spotted salamander, one of Ontario’s largest salamanders.