Natural World

The Joy of Tracks

by Paul Kirtley

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An interest in animal tracks and sign is something of an affliction. If you become hooked, country walks can become very slow affairs. You certainly have to have understanding walking partners. Once you start looking, there are signs of animal activity everywhere… In fact, after you tune in to the evidence of wildlife activity in […] Read more...

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Post image for How to Use the Northern Lights for Navigation

The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are a phenomena of high latitudes. Science informs us that the aurora are caused by solar wind interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. Long before modern science formed theories about the northern lights, indigenous peoples of the north observed their usefulness. I have heard anecdotes about aurora […] Read more...

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Post image for Stopped Clocks and Navigation: What An Equinox Tells Us About Direction

Most of us have known the old adage that the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west for so long that we can’t remember where we first heard it. Somewhat like a stopped clock being correct twice a day, however, this old adage is only correct twice a year. Only on the […] Read more...

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Post image for Animal Tracks and Sign: Vole or Mouse?

While the snow we’ve had over the past few weeks is a great medium on which animal tracks are readily recorded, it’s also a very easy medium on which to track. For much of the year we don’t have the luxury of snow to make our lives as trackers easy. Even so there are many […] Read more...

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Jew's Ear fungus on Elder

I was out in the woods with a couple of clients on a private 2-day course. They were interested in improving their plant and tree identification as well as refreshing friction fire-lighting skills – both bow-drill and hand-drill. I had planned to spend most of the daylight hours of the first day exploring the woods, […] Read more...

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Painting Canada: Tom Tomson and the Group of Seven

Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven are pretty much household names in Canada: Certainly, when visiting Ontario over the past few years, this group of artists – the centre of gravity of which was in Toronto – seems to often crop up in conversation. Much of their art is associated with the type of […] Read more...

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A Pair of Perennial Edibles

by Paul Kirtley

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The word perennial derives from the Latin per (meaning throughout) and annus (meaning year), and applied to plants indicates species that persist from one year to the next. This doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that the above-ground parts of the plants persist throughout the winter. For example, a Daffodil is a perennial that survives from one […] Read more...

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Post image for Lenticular Clouds: An Unusual Sight for The Pennines

One of the things I love about going for a walk and observing nature as I go, is that I’m never sure what I’m going to see. I’m often delighted to a see a bird of prey hunting, an unusual insect or a rare plant. Today, however, my interest was piqued by an altogether different […] Read more...

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