ALL THE NAMES FOR EVERYTHING was a walk on Mount Nemo with diverse outdoor education leaders bringing various scientific and cultural perspectives on naming flora and fauna along the trail.

The popular nature educator Richard Aaron spoke of scientific botanical and common English naming, while Melanie Gray of wolf clan from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory discussed spiritual and medicinal connections to plants in addition to some of their names in Mohawk, and Jon Jonson, a community-based Indigenous scholar discussed place names and the history and ongoing presence of Indigenous peoples in the Toronto region.

Together we considered the origins and meanings of botanical names, numerous common names, and names in different languages of many of the places, plants and animals encountered along our walk.

We discussed names that give evocative descriptions, that tell of our many relationships to plants and other creatures, to languages and names that were absent and lost to Indigenous peoples, and to racist names – that speak to our often difficult relationships with each other.




Interpretive Biologist Chris Earley speaking at the University of Guelph Arbouretum

What a perfect day to be a naturalist!

Today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather on our hike with Chris Earley at the University of Guelph Arbouretum.

Armed with our nets and peanutbutter jars, our team forged the forest looking for insects to identify.


We discovered many species of insects including spiders, moths, beetles, and two different dragonfly varieties: White Face Meadow Hawk and the Autumn Meadow Hawk. Earley explained the difference between dragon flies and damsel flies, which are often mistaken for each other. We identified a spotted spread wing damsel fly with cobalt blue eyes.


Andrea analyzing a male Autumn Meadow Hawk

Earley emphasized the importance of working with art and science in unison, to better understand and appreciate the natural world around us.

Other interesting things we learned today with Earley:

  • How to hold a frog
  • How a wood frog hibernates in the winter
  • How dragonflies mate
  • How to use a “Beat Sheet” to capture insects from trees
  • How to carefully handle insects with a net
  • The natural order of the arboretum

Here you can watch our hilarious attempt to make bird calls with our hands!

Terrestrial / Celestial – Diane Borsato

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Terrestrial/ Celestial

Event/ photographs

Toronto and Vancouver region, 2009-2010

“I coordinated an exchange of terrestrial knowledge for celestial knowledge between amateur mycologists and astronomers. First the mushroomers hosted the astronomers on an afternoon foray to collect and identify fungus species. In the evening, the astronomers hosted the mushroomers to look through telescopes at the sun, stars, planets, and satellites. The exchange took place first at a personal scale in Toronto in 2009, and then as a major event in Maple Ridge BC, with the participation of the Vancouver Mycological Society and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Vancouver Centre) in May 2010.

Mycology is visceral, it relies on all our immediate and proximal senses, and it is concerned with the fecund and ephemeral. It exists in a time scale of seasons, and of hours, as things can decay and dissolve before you even empty your basket. The practice of astronomy requires amazing feats of conceptualization and imagination. It’s concerned with the elemental and the other worldly, and things exist at distances, in numbers, and in time scales that exceed comprehension. Both practices are much assisted by a range of technical devices from microscopes to telescopes, and by enthusiastic teachers who can animate everything from tiny spores to a speck of distant light.”