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Resources and Publications

Northern saw-whet owl © Megan Lorenz

Through our publications and resources, we promote nature conservation and build awareness. Most of the publications are the result of years of research and help support the fight to protect Ontario’s wild spaces and species.

Read the current and back issues of our award-winning magazine, ON Nature.


Integrating Community Voices into Natural Heritage Systems Planning: Insights from Simcoe County and adjacent communities in the Nottawasaga watershed

Navigating the Swamp: Lessons on Wetland Offsetting for Ontario (Executive Summary)

Navigating the Swamp: Lessons on Wetland Offsetting for Ontario 

Indigenous Perspectives on Conservation Offsetting: Five Case Studies from Ontario, Canada

Protected Areas & Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification in Ontario 

Potential for Safe Harbour Agreements in Ontario: Summary of Spring 2011 Workshops

Biodiversity Offsetting in Ontario: Issues, accomplishments and future directions. Summary of Ontario Nature’s 2014 – 2016 Project 

Key Issues In Biodiversity Offset Law and Policy: A Comparison of Six Jurisdictions

Beyond the Fields: The Value of Forest and Freshwater Foods in Northern Ontario

Threats to Forest and Fresh Water Foods

Insights into Biodiversity Offsetting in Ontario: Summary of Ontario Nature’s 2013-2014 Project

Best Practices Guide to Natural Heritage Systems Planning

Bioregional Planning for Aggregate Extraction in the Townships of Uxbridge and Scugog 2014

Mining in Ontario: A deeper look

The road to extinction: A call to end the snapping turtle hunt

Protecting Greenbelt Wetlands: How Effective is Policy? (full report)

Protecting Greenbelt Wetlands: How Effective is Policy? (summary)

Biodiversity in Ontario’s Greenbelt

Birds on the Farm: A Stewardship Guide

Ontario Nature’s Green Way Forward: A Review of Natural Heritage Policies for Southern Ontario (Executive Summary)

Ontario Nature’s Green Way Forward: A Review of Natural Heritage Policies for Southern Ontario (Full Report)

A Review of Ontario Municipal Board Natural Heritage Decisions (1996-2003)

Conservation Guidelines for the Identification of Significant Woodlands in Southern Ontario (Draft – August 2004)

Ontario’s Living Legacy Report Card for Parks and Protected Areas

Recommendations for Developing Ecotourism in the Northern Boreal: Nibinamik Bird Survey, 2005

Recommendations for Developing Ecotourism in the Northern Boreal: North Caribou Lake Bird Survey, 2005

Recommendations for Developing Ecotourism in the Northern Boreal: North Spirit Lake Breeding Bird Survey, 2005 

Remoteness Sells: A Report on Resource-based Tourism in Northwestern Ontario 

Towards Conserving the Birds of Ontario


A Citizens’ Toolkit for Nature Conservation

A Greenprint for Action 

You have just learned that a favourite wetland or woodland will soon be destroyed by development unless you do something. Fast action is needed to save the area. What do you do? Here are the important steps that you should take.

About Making a Delegation to a Municipal Council or Standing Committee of Council 
Whether you live in a big city with a large municipal council or a small municipality with only a few councillors, you, too, can make your voice heard by your local officials. Council delegations allow citizens to get local issues into the public arena and are a basic component of the municipal democratic process.

Influencing Decision-Makers for Nature Protection 
Influencing the corporate or government decision-making process is not easy. As a person attempting to influence the process, you need to be aware that there are potentially hundreds of variables; however, some are more important than others. Here are some basic guidelines to get the types of decision you want.

Effective Letter-Writing 
So you’re upset with the government’s record on protecting woodlands. Or maybe they’ve just caved in again to yet another sprawling development proposal. You want to do something to help change their ways, but the enormity of the task makes success look hopeless. What can you do? One of the most effective weapons, readily available and proven by the test of time, is a letter.

Writing a News Release
An effective news release is one of the most common ways of getting media coverage. At major news outlets, the same story will likely have to compete with hundreds of other news releases every day, so yours has to stand out.

Protected Areas Toolkit

Why Do We Need Protected Areas?

Protected Areas Factsheet – English

Protected Areas Factsheet – Cree 

Protected Areas Policy and Planning in Ontario 

Room to Grow 

Quick Facts About Lands for Life Process

Northern Boreal Initiative – Community-based Land Use Planning 

Forest Certification 

FSC Principles and Criteria for Forest Stewardship

Aboriginal Values in Protected Areas in Canada

First Nations Participation Checklist

Shared Values in the Heart of the Boreal

How Are Protected Areas Selected? 

Description of Conservation Considerations

Forest Management Guide for Cultural Heritage Values

Cultural Heritage Values Data

A Landscape-based Protected Areas Gap Analysis and GIS Tool for Conservation Planning

Establishing a Protected Area Network in Canada’s Boreal Forest

Chief Kerry’s Moose 

Gordon Cosens Forest – Conservation and Constraints Mapping

Map – Conservation Values

Map – Diversity of NRVIS Points

Map – International Biological Program – Gordon Cosens Forest

Map – Natural Resources Values – Information System Features 

Map – Old Growth Forest Within Unfragmented Forest – Gordon Cosens Forest 

Map – Sturgeon Occurrences – Gordon Cosens Forest

Map – Unfragmented Forest Blocks in Gordon Cosens Forest

GIS Data Available 

Identification Guides

A Guide to Some of Ontario’s Spiders
Get to know some of Ontario’s spiders. Spiders live among us in almost every conceivable habitat. Their ecological role, one that benefits us, is as the ultimate predators of insects. They pursue this role with instinctive dedication; some have even moved into warm micro-climates of people’s homes, unwittingly protecting us from pesky insects. In turn, they are a food source for many animals, forming an important link in the food chain. An effort has been made, in this guide, to choose species and families to represent commonly observed spiders, distinctive and dramatic species, and examples of some unusual families that make our arachnofauna so diverse and interesting.

Species At Risk in Northern Ontario Guide
There are more than 200 species at risk in Ontario, meaning that these species are in danger of becoming extinct or of disappearing from the province, and more than 50 species at risk in northern Ontario. This number is growing every year. Familiarize yourself with at-risk species in northern Ontario, descriptions, ranges, threats and existing protections with this guide. The Species At Risk in Northern Ontario Guide is also available here in an online version.

Northern Forest Foraging Guide
Ontario’s forests, meadows, and waters provide an incredible range of nutritious and delicious edible wild plants. Ontario Nature has prepared this foraging guide as an introduction to this local resource, and to encourage people to get outside and experience the wonders the natural world provides. The Northern Forest Foraging Guide is also available here in an online version.

Harvesting and Processing Edible Wild Plants Best Practices Guide
Check out our new guide on sustainable harvesting, and proper handling and packaging methods for edible wild plants.

Edible Wild Plants in Northwestern Ontario: A Primer

Dragonfly and Damselfly Guide
Learn to identify some of Ontario’s dragonflies and damselflies, this popular guide includes more than 40 species.

Butterfly and Moth Guide
Learn to identify some of Ontario’s butterflies and moths, this popular online guide includes more than 24 species.

Crayfish of Ontario ID guides 
Did you know that Ontario has nine species of crayfish? Elusive and all too often overlooked, these fascinating creatures can tell us a lot about what is happening in our aquatic ecosystems. A new identification guide to Ontario’s crayfish produced collaboratively by the Bishop’s Mills Natural History Centre, the Toronto Zoo and other expert crayfish-ers from across the province, is now available for free from Ontario Nature. These beautiful laminated guides are designed to assist the study of crayfish in the field, highlighting the unique characteristics of each species. Copies of the guide can be obtained from Ontario Nature’s head office and a downloadable PDF: is available at

Black Bears
Seeing a wild black bear is a memorable event. But the best sighting “for you and the bear” is a fleeting glimpse because problems begin when bears and people meet. You can protect your belongings and Ontario’s black bears if you know some basic biology and take precautions in bear country.

Backyard Habitats
Regardless of where you live, you can turn your garden into a small wildlife refuge. Learn how you can help preserve valuable wildlife habitat and maintain plant and animal populations that are decreasing due to urbanization.

Natural Invaders
Did you know that many common flowers and nursery varieties threaten to replace our native vegetation? These natural invaders may be growing in your own backyard!

Species at Risk in Ontario
Find out more about the hundreds of species at risk in Ontario, which include endangered, threatened and special concern species.

Other Resources

A Stronger Landscape, A Stronger Legacy
We must improve natural heritage systems protection across the Greater Golden Horseshoe to maintain and enhance the environmental health, ecological integrity and economic prosperity of the region. Natural heritage system planning is a strategic approach to addressing biodiversity loss, land use change and the uncertainties of climate change so that we always have clean air, clean water and a rich diversity of plant and animal life to sustain present and future generations. A natural heritage system typically includes wetlands, forests, rivers, valley lands, farmland and other areas that provide habitat for wildlife.

How to build a bee box

Managing Hay and Pasture to Benefit Grassland Birds
Many of Ontario’s birds are becoming scarcer, but the species that depend on grasslands for their habitat are at special risk. The Couchiching Conservancy produced this preliminary guide for Carden landowners.

The Big Wild

Junior Naturalist Manual 
Download the Junior Naturalist Manual for information about administering a Junior Naturalist program in your area. Information about administration, programming and sample activities are included.

Conservation Easements
Conservation easements have helped many people to protect a great deal of open space. With a conservation easement, you protect your land without giving up ownership. You can continue to live on it and use it, or sell it, or pass it on to your heirs.

C.P.R. for Wetlands: Conserve, Protect and Restore

Ontario’s Greenway Vision (April 2006) 
A Greenway for Ontario is Ontario Nature’s vision for the future of land conservation in Ontario.

Greenway broadsheet
It’s time to make the connection…

The time is right to develop an Ontario Greenway, a robust network of natural core areas and linkages that:

  • Protects and restores core natural features and functions;
  • Protects water resources;
  • Protects and restores habitat for wildlife and species-at-risk;
  • Connect communities; and,
  • Provides amenities and recreational opportunities for present and future generations.

Habitat Creation With Native Plants 

Nature Reserves

Wetland Restoration and Rehabilitation

Urban Sprawl
Places , where people rode bikes, farmed fields, or hiked along quiet streams, re now paved over with malls, industries and housing. Discover how you can help Ontario grow smarter!

A Smart Future for Ontario
How to Create Greenways and Curb Urban Sprawl in Your Community

Water at Risk brochure
Water is essential to our bodies and vital to the natural world around us. Pollution, rapid development and poor land-use have put our water sources at risk.

News Feed

Answer the call of the wild when you are most needed. As an Advocate for Nature, we’ll provide you with opportunities to raise your voice for Ontario’s wild species and wild spaces.

Ontario Nature Blog

A Weekend in the County with Ontario Nature

Winter is slowly melting, making way for the arrival of spring and new wonders to...

Where do reptiles go when there is snow?

With spring’s arrival, reptiles are beginning to emerge in Ontario. But have you ever wondered...

Confessions of a ‘morainiac’: Protecting water resources across the Greater Golden Horseshoe

I confess to being a morainiac, so I am thrilled that moraines are one of...

Protecting Ontario’s native pollinators where you live

Ontario’s native pollinators are critical to ensuring effective plant reproduction and maintaining healthy, thriving ecosystems....

A Weekend in the County

Our Annual Gathering provides an opportunity to celebrate shared conservation successes, reflect on the past year and discuss the vision for the year ahead.

Read the Spring Issue

ON Nature magazine is an award-winning quarterly that brings readers closer to nature by exploring wild spaces, profiling wild species and providing insight on pressing environmental issues.

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