Skip to main content

Nature Reserve Stewardship

We strive to be a model of responsible land management.

Malcolm Bluff Shores Nature Reserve © Joe Crowley

Taking Care of the Land

Acquiring land is only the first step in caring for nature. As one of Ontario’s leading land trusts, we strive to be a model of responsible land management. With the help of local nature reserve stewards, Ontario Nature stewards our nature reserve system following individualized management plans.

We will gladly field your questions relating to conservation project management and help put you in touch with resources and conservation community experts.

Periwinkle pull, Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve © Smera Sukumar

Local Nature Reserve Stewards

Volunteers are the backbone of Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserve system. We rely on local stewards to monitor and appreciate them. Stewards ‘adopt’ a nature reserve and act in partnership with Ontario Nature to help protect and manage the property.

Without the help of local stewards, Ontario Nature would not be able to monitor the nature reserves or perform ecological protection and restoration projects to the standard we currently do.

Ingersoll District Naturalists Club, Lawson Nature Reserve © Sheila Fleming


Interested in becoming a nature reserve steward? Leave your mark on nature close to home, network and learn from environmental and naturalist experts, and spend your time volunteering in nature! See our Volunteer Stewardship page for more information.

Volunteers at Willoughby © Deirdre Dimitroff

“Engaging the community, especially children, is one of the best aspects of stewardship. Hosting frog watches, owl prowls and learning community science through Ontario Nature’s informative staff has been so much fun. We’ve all learned a great deal about salamanders, by monitoring salamander boards. Christmas bird counts bring out our experienced and inexperienced members. There are always opportunities to learn from others.” – Ingersoll District Nature Club

Management Planning

Our management plans guide conservation actions on all of our nature reserves. The management planning process allows us to systematically identify challenges specific to each nature reserve and make informed decisions to meet those management challenges. Recommendations often address the challenges of mitigating visitor impact, performing ecological restoration, and safeguarding sensitive ecosystems and habitat for species at risk.

Management planning also gives Ontario Nature a chance to reach out to nature reserve stewards, neighbours and other stakeholders. All plans are written with considerable stakeholder consultation. If you live near a nature reserve and would like to be involved in the management planning process for that property, please contact us at reserves@ontarionature.org.

Monarch butterfly © Lisa Richardson