Giving Tuesday gives us an annual chance to step back from the consumerism of the holidays and contribute to the causes that are important to us. This year, Ontario Nature is making nature reserves our cause as we celebrate the benefits they bring to plants, animals, individuals and communities alike. Read on to learn about a few of our 26 nature reserves across the province, and why they are so important! We hope you will join us by making nature reserves your cause this Giving Tuesday.
H.N. Crossley Nature Reserve
Located in the heart of cottage country just south of the town of Rosseau, H.N. Crossley is a 19-hectare property featuring forest and fen habitats. The property is open to the public and is a great destination for naturalists of all abilities. Visitors can observe a Provincially Significant Wetland from a viewing platform at the end of a 130-metre wheelchair accessible trail.
H.N. Crossley is one of several properties with wheelchair accessible trails; others include Petrel Point Nature Reserve and Cawthra Mulock Nature Reserve. Crushed-gravel trails and wayfinding signs help to guide visitors, as well as protect the plants and animals that live in the area.
Lost Bay Nature Reserve
Lost Bay Nature Reserve is located outside the town of Gananoque. Its 261 hectares are home to 24 at-risk and 16 provincially rare species. Thanks to our donors’ support, we recently expanded this property by 23 hectares! This parcel safeguards an important piece of the Algonquin to Adirondack wildlife corridor and together with the Gananoque Lake Nature reserve, protects 407 ha of the Frontenac Arch.
Nature reserves are crucial for safeguarding habitat for endangered species and protecting biological diversity across the province. With 26 nature reserves totaling 3,176 hectares, Ontario Nature’s properties protect some of the province’s best remaining examples of imperiled and vulnerable habitats, such as alvars, heritage woodlands and Great Lakes shorelines.
Sydenham River Nature Reserve
Sydenham River Nature Reserve is located in Glencoe, midway between Chatham and London. It’s not open to the public, but permanently protects one of Ontario’s most biodiverse waterways. Thirty-eight species at risk can be found in the 117-hectare area and 34 mussel species live here, making the property the freshwater mussel capital of Canada. Half of Ontario’s bird species also breed in or pass through the area during migration.
We recently completed year five of our Sydenham River Nature Reserve habitat restoration, converting former agricultural fields into Carolinian forest. This year staff and volunteers planted over 1,500 trees and wildflower plugs!
Stone Road Alvar Nature Reserve
Stone Road Alvar Nature Reserve is a 43-hectare property located on Pelee Island, a biodiversity hotspot. The property is home to 77 provincially or regionally rare plant species. Alvars are rare ecosystems that provide habitat for multiple species at risk, but they are threatened by the invasion of non-native species and suppression of natural fire regimes.
At Stone Road Alvar, we are currently working with partners to learn more about how prescribed burns impact species at risk and about best practices to help species recover. This includes creating habitat for and monitoring the population of endangered blue racers across Pelee Island. Nature reserves provide important opportunities to conduct scientific research, allowing us to set benchmarks for research that benefit everyone.
As a charitable organization, Ontario Nature depends on the generosity of our supporters to conduct this important work. This Giving Tuesday, please consider donating to our nature reserves campaign. With your help we can continue to grow, restore and enhance our nature reserves across the province. Our fundraising goal is $40,000, and we are excited to share that donations up to $18,000 will be matched by our friends at Quest Nature Tours! And whether or not you can contribute this year, we encourage you to take some time over the busy holiday season to visit one of our nature reserves and appreciate nature.
Hayley is Ontario Nature's membership coordinator. Hayley joined Ontario Nature in September 2022. She developed a love of nature and the outdoors while growing up in northern Ontario. Hayley studied Canadian Studies at Trent University and Arts Administration at Humber College. In her spare time, she is an avid knitter and enjoys looking for birds while walking her dog and spending time at her family’s cabin in Temagami in the summer.