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Ontario Nature Protects Ecological Gem


MacSorley parcel, Sydenham River Nature Reserve © Smera Sukumar

December 13, 2021, Glencoe, Ontario – Ontario Nature is pleased to announce the expansion of its Sydenham River Nature Reserve. The newly acquired 100-acre property is part of the Carolinian Zone, a region that has more flora and fauna species than any other Canadian ecosystem but has lost 98 percent of its natural cover.

The property is teeming with life. Several species listed under Canada’s Species at Risk Act, such as the endangered cerulean warbler, red-headed woodpecker, and northern map turtle (special concern) have been identified on the property, which also includes mature Carolinian forest, treed swamp and an important tributary of the East Sydenham River.

This region is a real biodiversity hotspot. Expanding our Sydenham River Nature Reserve will allow us to protect high conservation priority areas forever,” said Caroline Schultz, Ontario Nature’s Executive Director.

Expanding the Sydenham River Nature Reserve will permanently protect a network of sites whose conservation is vital to global biodiversity.

This project was made possible by the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program (part of Canada’s Nature Fund) and the Habitat Stewardship Program, the Ontario Land Trust Alliance and Government of Ontario through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership Program, Sydenham Field Naturalists, Lambton Wildlife Inc., Nature London, Essex County Nature, Ingersoll District Nature Club, Nature Guelph, the South West Woodlot Association, Aecon, St. Thomas Field Naturalists and many Ontario Nature members.

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are two sides of the same coin, and we must tackle both crises together. By working with partners like Ontario Nature, we are protecting Ontario’s natural environment and building a healthier and more resilient future for our children and grandchildren. Programs like the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the Habitat Stewardship Program are helping us progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s land and a quarter of its oceans by 2025.” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Our government is growing Ontario’s conservation spaces to protect important natural areas and provide people with more opportunities to benefit our physical and mental health. By collaborating with conservation leaders like the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, Ontario can achieve our shared goals to protect our land, air and water for future generations.” – David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

This acquisition created an impressive 300-acre reserve that will protect numerous rare and at-risk species at this ecologically significant property.” – Larry Cornelis, President, Sydenham Field Naturalists.

Large tracts of forest are incredibly rare in southern Ontario. This reserve protects the largest remaining forest along the Sydenham River, and will remain a home for turtles, birds, rare Carolinian plants and countless other species.” – Tanya Berkers, President, Lambton Wildlife Inc.

Maintaining wildlife corridors and fragile habitats means that nature’s diversity is sheltered and safeguarded. We are proud to be a part of this project and looking forward to seeing this property enhanced and preserved for future generations.” – Dave and Gabrielle Ferguson (Dave is the mayor of Brooke-Alvinston)


  • To date, 38 species at risk and 28 other rare species have been observed on or near the Sydenham River Nature Reserve.
  • The 100-acre property contains mostly mature forest and wetlands, along with a portion of farm field.
  • With this purchase the Sydenham River Nature Reserve grew by more than 50 percent.
  • The property is home to endangered cerulean warblers and red-headed woodpeckers, and special concern bald eagles and northern map turtles.

The Government of Canada’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program (NHCP) is a unique public-private partnership to support new protected and conserved areas by securing private lands and private interests in lands. The program is managed by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC). Federal funds invested in the program are matched with contributions raised by NCC and its partners, Ducks Unlimited Canada and the country’s land trust community.

The property has been secured with the support of the Government of Ontario through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, which helps conserve ecologically important natural areas and protect wetlands, grasslands and forests that help mitigate the effects of climate change. Through the Greenlands Conservation Partnership, a total of $50 million will be invested over four years, including $20 million from the Ontario government, and another $30 million from other sources, such as individual donations and foundation support through the NCC and the Ontario Land Trust Alliance, and other levels of government.



John Hassell, Director of Communications and Engagement, Ontario Nature
johnh@ontarionature.org | 416-786-2171

Ontario Nature protects wild species and wild spaces through conservation, education and public engagement. A charitable organization, Ontario Nature represents more than 30,000 members and supporters, and 155 member groups across Ontario.