Earlier this year, three of Ontario Nature’s reserves received upgrades or grew in size thanks to donations and efforts of local supporters.
At Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve, a generous bequest from Mark Cressman, a former president of Saugeen Nature that serves as the reserve’s steward, has enabled the group to update the signs and maps along the property’s trails. Kinghurst Forest has an extensive trail network that winds through old-growth maple and beech woodland where some trees are over 200 years old. In addition, more than 30 species of ferns occur in the reserve, and a diverse collection of reptiles and amphibians inhabit its wetlands.
Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary has also undergone improvements. The Kawartha Field Naturalists, which has stewarded the reserve since 1996, has worked with Ontario Nature volunteers on upgrades to the trails in this expansive property. The trail network traverses the north end of the reserve where visitors can travel through deciduous and mixed forest and see vernal pool habitats as well as showy plants such as painted trillium. The group created a kiosk offering trail maps, rerouted small sections of the trail away from seasonally wet areas and replaced a bridge over a wetland.
At Petrel Point Nature Reserve, two land donations from local property owners have allowed Ontario Nature to expand this rare wetland sanctuary renowned for its orchids and carnivorous plants. John and Joyce MacRae made their second land donation to Ontario Nature, 1.5 hectares of cedar forest and calcareous rock barren to the reserve, while John and Viola Hayne, whose land neighbours the reserve, donated just over a tenth of a hectare of forested wetland. Generous contributions from Bruce Power, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Ontario Nature members made the completion of these acquisitions possible.
These and other nature reserves are special places that protect rare ecosystems and imperilled wildlife. The continuing efforts of dedicated communities and individuals allow Ontario Nature and its partners to ensure they remain unspoiled wildlife oases.
Stephanie Muckle is Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserves Coordinator.