Exploring my little piece of the planet

Welcome to ‘The Nature of the Hills’

“The Hills” are the Swan Hills at the geographic centre of Alberta, an area of high elevation and foothills ecology with mixed wood and boreal forests.

A catalogue of my nature images, all taken within a unique geographic area known as the Swan Hills, with an attempt to identify and describe each species as far as I am able.

I am by no means an expert. If you are looking for positive identification, please verify with other sources and if you find that I am mistaken, I would really like to know and I will be happy to correct my identification with your help.

When I can, I like to look into the potential and historical uses of nature as well as the global legends surrounding them, and there may be the odd personal or shared anecdote included when it relates to the specific species.

To learn about the nature around me, I use all the resources at my disposal including many books and online resources, which I will link to as far as I am able. You will also find links to websites I have found helpful in the sidebar.

To see what species I have so far included in this site, go to the index (also at the top right hand side of any page), or choose a category in the sidebar.

The Swan Hills region is circled in the above image from Alberta Environment. Click to enlarge. For a personal description and to see my landscape and other images of the area, go to my Swan Hills collection here. There’s a good map at this link for Arnica Cordifolia that, although illustrating the single record of this plant listed in this particular database (CPNWH), is a good graphic to illustrate to how the foothills type geography of Swan Hills compares with the broader landscape.


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings; nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine into flowers; the winds will blow their freshness into you and the storms their energy, and cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ” John Muir

20 responses

  1. What a delightful surpise to discover a few afternoons ago that you have another blog as well! This promises to be a very exciting project for me to follow, and learn alongside. Looking forward to your explorations, Cindy – happy wanderings!

    March 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

    • Thank you, Julian. I’m chomping at the bit already, but it will be the end of May before any flowers bloom. I have a couple of possibilities from winter, but I promise not to post the coyote scat until I get a picture of a coyote.

      March 12, 2011 at 7:53 am

  2. There are times when I wonder why I even bother owning a camera ! Your photos are so very lovely.

    Best wishes,

    Eastern Passage, NS

    March 23, 2011 at 10:42 am

    • Thank you very much Sybil. I had a quick peek at your blog and I must say that you are far too humble. I am looking forward to looking more closely when I have a little time. Right now, I’m off to work.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:58 am

      • Thanks so much.

        March 26, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  3. Looking forward to your explorations this spring, Cindy!

    March 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    • I am just looking forward to spring! Thanks for taking a look, Cait.

      March 28, 2011 at 11:10 am

  4. I love your new layout Cindy, the only problem is I don’t know where to start. This is good, I have options and I like the look. I’ll be back often. You have much to share, show and teach. Thank you.

    May 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    • Thank you very much, Martina. I am looking forward to adding more to it soon since yesterday I photographed my first wildflower! Just have to confirm which violet it is – kidney-leaved or western-canada. 🙂

      May 27, 2011 at 6:00 am

  5. pixilated2

    Cindy! I didn’t know about this endeavor of yours and I really like it. I will enjoy catching up with what you’ve already posted and look forward to future posts as well!
    ~ Lynda

    August 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    • Thank you, Lynda. I only wish I had more time to indulge in it. From the bush-walks and the challenge of getting a decent photograph, through the research and presentation – this project is a true labour of love.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:59 am

  6. dicaflouccils

    some truly nice and utilitarian information on this web site , too I believe the design holds wonderful features.

    October 19, 2011 at 12:49 am

  7. Discovered you through Julian Hoffman’s tweet. Great stuff!

    October 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    • Thank you so much, Cheryl. Julian is an inspiration to me, I’m honoured to have had him recommend my blog. I see from your avatar that you are writing a book about elephants – a fascinating creature; a fascinating wild society. I hope I’ll hear when it comes out.

      October 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      • When the book comes out I’ll probably mention it in the blog. 🙂 Still looking for an agent, though. Your blogs are amazing.

        October 18, 2012 at 8:28 am

  8. Hello! Wish I’d come exploring here sooner!

    November 30, 2012 at 10:46 am

    • It’s so nice to see you here! I wish I hung around here more too, but although researching and writing these posts is near the top of my ‘enjoyable activities’ list, unfortunately it’s near the bottom of my priorities list. Thanks for stopping by.

      December 1, 2012 at 7:48 am


    This is a great blog and a great project! Developing a relationship with your local nature is essential. Good luck!

    January 29, 2014 at 4:40 am

    • Thank you very much. I just wish I had more time for it!

      January 29, 2014 at 8:07 am

  10. Kerry Pitt

    I have a picture of White Bane berry I encountered near Fort Saskatchewan if you would like it.

    August 15, 2017 at 7:52 am

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