Wild City

Wild Panama City


“Look — a flying banana!” My husband had not lost his mind. He was pointing at a toucan, and yes – with its huge bill a flash of yellow-green – it did indeed look like a flying banana. As you may have guessed, we weren’t home in Toronto. We were in Panama City, capital of… Read More »

City Kids and City Trees — Natural Allies


When I was a kid, I climbed up into the great branches of the enormous Silver Maple in our yard. I spent hours in that temple of green. But my downtown backyard has no such tree, so how can I share this experience with my kids? Luckily, our city is full of trees. The view from the CN Tower is a… Read More »

spring into earth day action: commit to planet mindfulness

Earth Day — Spring Into Action!


The signs are unmistakable: robins singing and green shoots poking out of the garden. Spring is finally here. And Earth Day is just around the corner, which is what got me started on this adventure. Last April I was teaching my five-year old how to plant seeds and writing my first Wild City post. Starting Wild City was our family’s Earth… Read More »

‘Nicotine’ (neonicotinoid) is bad for bees too


You don’t want your kids to smoke, right? Turns out, nicotine-like substances are harmful to bees as well, especially when it comes to producing more queen bees – the ‘super moms’ of the colonies. The fate of bees and other insects is important because about a third of the food we eat, one bite in every… Read More »

Ice Crystal Formation on Window. How animals survive winter: when outside looks like this, how do you survive?

Buried or Frozen: How Animals Survive Winter


“Boys, I need your help.” It was a cold winter evening and I was walking the boys home from daycare. “What do you need Mami?” “I need a topic for Wild City,” I replied. As much as winter can be wonderful in the city, I was fresh out of ideas. “Why don’t you write about… Read More »

Salt Experiment - how salt affects ice

How Salt Affects Ice — and Our City


This collection of easy science activities making the rounds pointed me to this super fun science demonstration using ice and salt. It’s the perfect thing to do with the boys now that Toronto is in the deep freeze (again). After all, we have seen a lot of ice and a lot of salt lately. “What do… Read More »

Winter Wonderland

Find Your Winter Wonderland


Winter is a wonderful season. It seems strange to write this after the city was hit hard by an ice storm but I really mean it. This year in part thanks to this column I have discovered the joys of experiencing the seasons. In winter this means taking the time to silently watch snow falling… Read More »

toronto winter owls

Toronto’s Winter Owls!


I had the distinct feeling that I was not alone. The wind chilled my face and ice crunched under my feet. I scanned the trees looking for anything that seemed just a little out of place, but I could see nothing on the leafless branches. I’d been out in the cold for over two hours.… Read More »

Young Scientists

Catch the Next Wave: Frontiers in Neuroscience – For Kids!


Do your kids ever ask you questions that you just can’t answer? Or perhaps questions that you’d like to answer just a little more scientifically? It happens to me all the time. For example, this one: “Why do I have to go to bed?” Sometimes I want to answer, “Because I say so – and because… Read More »

squirrels' world

Fall Reveals The Squirrels’ World


“Mami! Kwirrel!” Lucas is at the window pointing at a squirrel making its way headfirst down the tree outside. He loves squirrels and has his whole life. He just turned three and every time I look at him I wonder at how fast he has grown. My baby is a boy. He barely has that… Read More »

Salmon in Scarborough: Ecologist Debbie Buehler and her two sons return to HIghland Creek to get a glimpse of the salmo

Salmon in Scarborough: Back to Highland Creek


The creek looked just as I remembered. When I was a child my father, brother and I carried our bikes across this gravelly curve in the Highland Creek. We were explorers on a quest downstream to find the lake. We’d follow the creek past the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, through Morningside Park and onwards… Read More »

photo by Courtney Hintermeye

Just Breathe At The Riverdale Ponds


How often do you think about your breathing? How about your child’s breathing? This fall my youngest son Lucas, who is not yet three, caught a virus that triggered an asthma attack. This had never happened before – suddenly I was thinking a lot about breathing. We took him to the emergency room. When we… Read More »


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