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Maggie's Place
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( Est. 1996)


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Conservation Work Outdoor Adventures Teaching Gordon... Who Am I? Environmental Organizations I Support


Pages I Authored, Designed & Maintain...

Conservation Work

Wildlife Rehabilitation: Supporting Local Sanctuaries and Hospitals
My daughter, students and I engage in a wide variety of different activities to support local organizations that rescue, rehabilitate and release injured and orphaned wildlife.  See what we are up to, meet the animals we are sponsoring and learn how you can help too!
Gardening for Wildlife
Since 2016, we have been working hard to make our property more "wildlife friendly."  It is now a "Certified Wildlife Friendly Habitat,""Certified Bee Friendly Garden,"  a "Certified Butterfly Garden," and a "Certified Monarch Waystation." This web page showcases the features that enabled us to achieve these certifications, plus subsequent improvements to our yard.
Gordon Black Memorial Camp-Sponsorship Fund
Between 2003 and 2017, the fund we established in my late-husband's memory enabled 200 underprivileged children to attend day camp at the Wye Marsh Wildife Centre, on full sponsorship.  Visit this web page to learn more about our camp fund initiative.
Trumpeter Swans in the Family! 
This web page chronicles the lives of several wild Trumpeter Swans we have monitored and fed since 2003, (in the capacity of off-site Wye Marsh volunteers) and an injured swan that spent several years at the Wye Marsh Wildife Centre.
  Meet the amazing members of our "swan family!"
Emily's Art is For the Birds...
In 2007, my daughter began to create artwork in support of conservation groups.  Visit this page, to see the art cards she produced for Operation Migration and the Wye Marsh, and more...
"Dinner's on Me"...For the Next Year! 
For her sixth, seventh and eighth birthdays, my daughter asked our friends and relatives to help her sponsor animals at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre, instead of giving her gifts.  Sponsoring animals at the centre became a tradition for us.  Meet "Kingston," "Oliver" and company! 
(NOTE:  Sadly, Muskoka Wildlife Centre closed its doors in May 2013)


Outdoor Adventures

Recent Outdoor Adventures  
Photos depicting some of our 2005-present camping and other outdoor adventures.   
(Note:  You can link to our 2009-present pictures without having a Facebook account.)
Marg's Park Page Margaret's Algonquin Park Page
Photos, writings and stories, plus camping, canoe-tripping and backpacking trip logs, tips and WWW links. 
(Note: At the present time this web page is not being updated, so some external links may be non-functional.)
Killarney Park page Margaret's Killarney Park Page
A guide to "The Crown Jewel of the Ontario Provincial Parks System" -- includes important phone numbers and WWW links, photos, writings and canoe trip logs. 
(Note: At the present time this web page is not being updated, so some external links may be non-functional.)



edublog Mrs. Black's Class BLOG  (2011-2018)
Tour my Junior class and see what we've been up to lately!
Character Ed. 101 Curriculum-based Community Service   (2012-2018)
Our class is fulfills some of the curriculum requirements via outreach projects, in support of local charities. Visit our class BLOG and click on the "community service" links at the top of the page to read about some of our projects.
"Mittens in the Snow" Outdoor Education Workshop  (2016)
I was invited to be a workshop leader at our school board's January 2016 outdoor education conference. My topic was "How to Run a Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife." This page provides links to my workshop hand outs and other sources of information.
Live Binders Grade 5/6 Page Mrs. Black's Grade 5/6 Class Live Binders Page  (2011-2013)
Live Binders is an organizational tool for the web.  Our class Live Binders page provides links to some great Grade 5/6 curriculum-related web pages and games. Our class BLOG posts are also integrated into our Live Binders page, so my students and their parents can get all the news and info. at Live Binders, instead of having to visit the BLOG page, as well.
Yukon Quest Unit The Yukon Quest Project  (2010-2011)
Join my first Grade 5/6 class, as they learn about the Canadian north and the history and sport of dog sledding.  The highlight of this cross-curricular unit involved tracking Haliburton, Ontario musher Hank DeBruin in the Yukon Quest 1,000 mile sled dog race!
Web Page Design Enrichment Course  (2008-2009)
A set of five introductory lessons, leading to the construction of a class web page.  I developed this course for gifted and high-achieving students in Grades 4-8.  You can download the seven-page Teacher's Guide and other program elements for free, by clicking here.
The Green Team @ Rama Central P.S.  (2007-2009)
THE OFFICIAL HOME PAGE OF RAMA'S CENTRAL'S AWARD-WINNING ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM!  See how Grade 1-8 students are making a difference by learning about environmental issues, taking action, and educating their peers about how they can help the planet, too!   I am staff advisor to The Green Team.
The Migration Project    (2007-2008)
Join students in Grades 1-8, at Rama Central P.S., as they track and compare the natural migration of Monarch Butterflies, the Ultralight-guided migration of Whooping Cranes, and the natural wanderings of Polar Bears live via the internet!   I am staff advisor to this club.

Journey North Enrichment Pilot Project  (2007)
Looking for a fun and challenging enrichment project for individual students or small groups?  This web page summarizes a migration-monitoring pilot project I developed for a Special Education Additional Qualifications Course I took through York University.

Whooping Crane Central    (2006-2007)
Come and see what all the "flap" is about!  This web page depicts my Grade 2/3 class' cross-curricular study of Operation Migration's Fall 2006 Ultralight-guided Whooping Crane migration, from Wisconsin to Florida.  
The Great Spring Reading Challenge!   (2008 edition)
The Sizzling Summer Reading Challenge!
  (2008 edition)
These are home reading programs that I developed in 2005.  Both have been used by Primary students at my school every year since then.  The Spring challenge is administered by classroom teachers and the Summer challenge by parents.  You can download all the program components, for free, by clicking here.
Welcome to "Camp Rama"   (2005-2006)
(a.k.a. Mrs. Black's Class @ Rama Central P.S.)
where the fun and learning never stop!  This web page showcases my Grade 1/2 class' activities, including various elements of our balanced literacy and math programs.



In Memory of Gordon Black
A tribute to my husband Gordon, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident in September 2002
Winterscapes Winterscapes
Forty nature poems I wrote as a gift for my husband Gordon, to commemorate Valentine's Day 1999 and our first six months as friends


Who Am I?

I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada.  I have a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Geography (specializing in Environmental Studies and Tourism), a Bachelor of Education Degree that qualifies me to teach Kindergarten through Grade 6, and two Master's Degrees in Theology.  I have been employed in various aspects of the education field for over twenty years:  Christian Education Director and Youth Group Leader at a church,  Administrative and Editorial Assistant at an educational publishing firm, eight years as an Educational Assistant at an elementary school, and ten years as an elementary school teacher.  I am currently a Grade 5 classroom teacher, and serve as our school's new teacher mentor, as well as co-staff advisor to the school's Green Team.  In my non-work hours, I raise my daughter, care for our dog and cats, commune with "our family" of Trumpeter Swans, enjoy the great outdoors, and support the work of several local wildlife centres and sanctuaries.  I practice the "3 R's of conservation," compost, use energy-efficient appliances and lighting, keep cool with fans instead of air conditioning, hand-wash my dishes, power and heat my house with 100% green electricity and carpool to work.  I am self-taught in the hobbies of photography, web page design, blogging and desktop publishing.   

As a child, I attended summer camp in Muskoka.  My first canoe trip was in Algonquin Park, with a youth group, at age 16.  The magic of the interior had a profound and lasting effect on me... it felt like home, in a way that no other place ever had.  After the first year of studies toward my Bachelor's Degree, I was hired to do field work in the Yukon Territory with several of my professors and fellow students.  What a dream job... I was actually paid to go camping... twenty weeks in a tent, over three summers!  During and following graduate studies, I participated in several campground-camping trips.  In 1994, I had the privilege of returning to "my first love," the Algonquin Park interior, by canoe, with two friends.  Since then, I have organized and participated in one or more "interior" canoe trips almost every summer.  My camping friends have dubbed me Martha Stewart McGyver, in recognition of my creativity in the camp kitchen (backwoods pastries are my specialty) and in solving crises (I can repair almost any piece of equipment or sprained body part with a couple tent pegs and a roll of duct tape).

In 1999, I gained a new canoe-tripping companion...  my fiancé, Gordon.  Gord and I rang in The Year 2000 by eloping on New Year's Eve.  We exchanged our vows standing upon a carpet of fresh-fallen snow, between two stately old trees, by the shore of a tranquil lake, under a crisp and clear winter sky. 
In November 2000, we were delighted to welcome a baby girl into our family.  We took her on her first canoe trip (playpen and all!) when she was just ten months old.  Tragically, my love affair with my wilderness soul mate and the father of my little girl was cut short when Gord was killed in a motor vehicle accident in September 2002, just two and a half years after we married. In August 2012, we fulfilled Gord's last wishes by interring his ashes, alongside the ashes of his cat Buddy (who predeceased him) and his dogs Scratch and Casey (who outlived him by seven and eight years), on his favourite island in the Algonquin Park interior.

Over the past decade+, my daughter, our dogs and I have continued the outdoor tradition on our own and with friends. We have visited twenty-eight Ontario Provincial Parks and two National Parks.  Our biggest "solo" adventures to date (just my daughter, the dogs and I), have been:  

  • a 17-day campground-camping road trip to Lake Superior Provincial Park (2005)... featuring a day trip on the Agawa Canyon Tour Train out of Sault Ste. Marie; 
  • a 22-day campground-camping road trip to The Mississagi (north of Elliott Lake), Superior, Manitoulin and Tobermory (2006)... in Tobermory, we spent a three nights "tipi camping" at a First Nations campground and rode the Zodiac to the shipwrecks and Flowerpot Island; 
  • a one-month camping road trip to the Thunder Bay area (2007)... highlights included Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Pukaskwa National Park, Kakabeka Falls, the Terry Fox Memorial and the longest suspension bridge in Canada;
  • a two-week camping road trip to Temagami, Timmins and Cochrane, Ontario (2008), plus a ride on the Polar Bear Express Tour Train, from Cochrane to Moosonee, and a visit to the award-winning Polar Bear Habitat and Educational Facility in Cochrane;
  • our first solo paddle-in camping trip... five  days on Canisbay Lake, in Algonquin Park, via kayaks (2012)

Em and Bailey in the tentHere's how we have spent our summers, since 2009:

  • In the summer of 2009, we made  first-time visits to Bon Echo, Presqu'iie and Sandbanks. We also took a two week trip around the perimeter of Algonquin Park that included first visits to Bonnechere and Samuel de Champlain Provincial Parks, Brent and Kiosk in northern Algonquin Park, the Bonnechere caves and white-water rafting on the Ottawa River. We also paid a return trip to Killaney Provincial Park.
  • During the summer of 2010, we made a first-time visit to Halfway Lake Provincial Park, north of Sudbury, and return trips to Awenda Provincial Park and Bruce Peninsula National Park.
  • In 2011, we made first-time visits to Six Mile Lake Provincial Park, Albion Hills Conservation Area Campground, and Fairbank Provincial Park, near Sudbury.  We also revisited Chutes, Agawa Bay and Pancake Bay, on a 2 1/2 week trip to Lake Superior.
  • In 2012, we paid return visits to the campgrounds at Albion Hills, Killarney, Grundy and Killbear.  We also completed two paddle-in camping trips in the Algonquin Park interior.
  • In 2013, we enjoyed two paddle-in camping trips in Algonquin Park (one on Grand Lake, on the east side, and one on Rain Lake, on  the west side) and a two week camping trip to Agawa Bay and Pancake Bay, on the north shore of Lake Superior.
  • In 2014, we embarked on a paddle-in trip in Killarney, a two week campground-camping road trip to Martin River, inTemagami, and Halfway Lake, north of Sudbury, and a made our first visit to Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park (a paddle-in trip including one of Em's friends).
  • In 2015, we enjoyed campground stays at Six Mile Lake, Arrowhead, Agawa Bay, Pancake Bay and Earl Rowe, plus a paddle-in trip in Killarney Provincial Park
  • In 2016, we made return visits to Six Mile Lake, Agawa Bay, Pancake Bay and Arrowhead Provincial Parks, did a paddle-in trip in Algonquin Park, and visited Mikisew Provincial Park for te first time.
  • In 2017, we made return visits to Six Mile Lake, Arrowhead and Restoule Provincial Parks.
  • In 2018, we paid return visits to Awenda, Lake Superior and Pancake Bay Provincial Parks, and stayed at Windy Lake Provinical Park for the first time.
  • In 2019, we made return visits to Algonquin, Killarney and Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, and a first-time visit to MacGregor Point Provincial Park
  • In related news, in 2019 my eighteen year old daughter was hired by Ontario Parks! She had a summer job at Bass Lake Provincial Park.

In  2006 and 2010,  my daughter and I went to Haliburton, for a day of dogsledding with Winterdance Dogsled Tours.  I got to drive an enthusiastic team of Siberian Huskies, while my daughter rode along in the sled.  We had a blast... and so did the dogs!!  In 2016, we enjoyed a fabulous Eco-adventure Tour at the Scenic Caves, near Collingwood: canopy walk, ziplines and cave tour.

Closer to home,  we involve ourselves in kayaking, bicycling, hiking, swimming and snowshoeing at local parks.  We frequent several local wildlife centres and sanctuaries and do volunteer work for Wye Marsh, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary and Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge. 

I hope you enjoy our web pages.  Feel free to drop us a line sometime, to share your nature experiences or to tell us what you think of our site.  

Maggie Black



Some Local Environmental Organizations I Support (in alphabetical order)...

  Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
This registered charity, located in Rosseau, Ontario rescues, rehabilitates and releases injured and orphaned Ontario mammals. The sanctuary also provides permanent homes to native mammals that can no longer live in the wild. As of January 2016,Aspen Valley is the only wildlife centre in Ontario rehabilitating moose, and the only centre from Saskatchewan through New Brunswick capable of providing long term rehabilitation to beavers. I support the work of Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary by serving on their Board of Directors (2013-present), sponsoring animals undergoing rehabilitation, and assisting with animal transportation, fund-raising and educational outreach.
Bullfrog Power:  100% Green Electricity
Bullfrog Power
is a leading provider of 100% green electricity in Canada.  Founded in 2005, Bullfrog Power provides homes and businesses in Canada with an easy way to go green and help create a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations.  Bullfrog sources power exclusively from wind and low-impact water generators that meet or exceed the federal government's EcoLogo standard for renewable electricity.  Bullfrog Power also donates 10% of its profits to non-profit organizations that promote sustainability. On Earth Day 2008, we replaced our 42-year-old, dirty, inefficient oil furnace with a new Broan Nortron ECM Series "green" forced-air electric furnace.  In May 2008, we signed on with Bullfrog Power, and Bullfrog included the photo on the right, of my daughter Emily, in their e- buzz newsletter (click on the link and scroll down to the "Conservation Week" item, at the bottom of the page.) We are proud to have a home that is powered and heated exclusively with green electricity!
The Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital
The Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital (due to open in 2016) will serve the Georgian Bay/Lake Huron watershed, where all eight species of Ontario turtles can be found. Every year thousands of turtles are killed and injured crossing our roadways. Injured turtles will be brought to the hospital for treatment and recovery, through a network of veterinarians and volunteers. After recovery, turtles will be returned to their original locations. With seven out of eight species of Ontario turtles now "at risk," a second Ontario turtle hospital is a terrific way to help rare and endangered species. In 2013 and 2015, my students supported the new turtle hospital by writing persuasive letters to local hardware stores, urging them to donate materials toward the renovation of a building designated to house the hospital. 
  The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre
The Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre, in Peterborough, is the first and only wildlife rehabilitation centre in Ontario specializing solely in the care of native turtles. The centre rehabilitates and releases about 1,000 turtles per year, including several hundred that are hatched at the centre, annually, from the eggs of injured or deceased female turtles. The centre also engages in a very rigorous turtle research program and offers tours and educational outreach, on site and via Skype.  We support the work of the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre through monthly donations. My class has also run fund raisers for the centre, and engaged in persuasive letter writing in consultation with KTTC.
  The National Wildlife Centre
The National Wildlife Centre,
established as a registered Canadian charity in 2014,  provides medical advice and on-site veterinary care to wildlife undergoing rehabilitation at Ontario sanctuaries, including Aspen Valley, Woodlands and Shades of Hope.  The centre also helps to protect ecosystems and populations of wild animals via public education, creating collaborative opportunities for scientists and rehabilitators, and providing training to students, veterinarians, rehabilitators and the public. We support their work with monthly donations.
Ontario Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program
Originally native to Ontario, the Trumpeter Swan became extirpated from eastern Canada over 200 years ago, primarily due to hunting pressure and habitat loss.  Biologist Harry Lumsden began a provincial reintroduction program in the early 1980's to re-establish the Trumpeter Swan in its former habitat and range.  There are currently about 1,000 Trumpeter Swans residing in Ontario.  Since 2002, I have support ed the reintroduction program through donations two two local marshes where Trumpeter Swans reside and by serving as a volunteer "Swan Habitat Monitor," as a  Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre volunteer.   My daughter and I have also "adopted" and named eight Trumpeter Swans through the Wye Marsh.  One of our Trumpeter adoptees was featured in the April 2008 Wye Marsh Newsletter (see page 3).
  Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge
Founded on January 1st, 2013, this registered charity is one of Ontario's newest wildlife rehabilitation centres. The refuge is located on a small farm in Georgina, Ontario, surrounded by the York Regional Forest. Shades of Hope rehabilitates and releases wild birds and small mammals.  We support their work by sponsoring animals undergoing rehabilitation and by assisting with animal transportation and release.
Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary
This registered charity is a wildlife rehabilitation centre and sanctuary located in Minden, Ontario.  Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary rehabilitates and releases back in to the wild a variety of Ontario mammals and birds.  The sanctuary also provides a permanent home to non-releasable native wildlife.  We support their work by sponsoring animals undergoing rehabilitation and by assisting with animal transportation and release.
The Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre
This registered charitable organization, located in the Wye Valley just outside the town of Midland, Ontario, operates year-round programs to promote appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the natural environment and wildlife.  The Wye Marsh is also a main contributor to the Ontario Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program, monitoring and caring for one-third of the provincial Trumpeter Swan population.  My daughter and I make monthly donations and raise funds to enable underprivileged children to attend The Wye's summer day camp for free, in memory of my late-husband.  Wye Marsh recognized my daughter's and my volunteer efforts by presenting us with the 2007 Harry Lumsden Conservation Award.  
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