Sydenham River Nature Reserve; Credit: Smera Sukumar

Ontario Nature’s 25 nature reserves have a lot to offer explorers in southern and eastern Ontario. I’ve crafted the following dichotomous key (a field guide tool that helps identify unknown organisms) to help you decide which of our nature reserves to visit this summer.

To use the key, read the first question and both options below it. Select the answer that best suits your preference and go to the next question identified by your selected answer.

Dichotomous Key

1. Would you like to visit a reserve that is less than an hour drive from Toronto?

Yes……………………………………………………………………………………………………2

No…………………………………………………………………………………………………….3

2. Which of the following settings would you like to hike through?

Along a creek through mature mixed forest…………………………. Willoughby

A variety of habitats including forest and meadow…….……Cawthra Mulock

3. Would you like to have canoe access to the reserve?

Yes……………………………………………………………………………………………………4

No…………………………………………………………………………………………………….5

4. Which region of Ontario do you want to visit?

Lambton County………………………………………………………….Sydenham River

Bruce Peninsula……………………………………………………Malcolm Bluff Shores

5. Would you like to see rare or unique wildflowers?

Yes……………………………………………………………………………………………….…..6

No…………………………………………………………………………………………………….9

6. What habitat do you prefer?

Wetlands…………………………………………………………………………….…………….7

Alvar or rock barrens…………………………………………………………………….……8

7. Which region of Ontario do you want to visit?

Muskoka……………………………………………………………………..….H.N. Crossley

Bruce Peninsula……………………………………………………………..….Petrel Point

8. Which region of Ontario do you want to visit?

Pelee Island…………………………………………………………….. Stone Road Alvar

Bruce Peninsula………………………………………………………………..Bruce Alvar

9. Do you want to explore different forest habitats?

Yes……………………………………………………………………………………………..…..10

No………………………………………………………………………………………………..…13

10. Do you prefer hills and ravines?

Yes………………………………………………………………………………………………….11

No…………………………………………………………………………………………………..12

11. Which region of Ontario do you want to visit?

Lake Huron, near Goderich…………………………………..….George G. Newton

Southwestern Ontario, near London…………………………………….…..Lawson

12. Which forest habitat do you prefer?

A diversity of wetlands including treed swamps……..Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary

Old growth sugar maple-beech forest………………………….Kinghurst Forest

13. What kind of trail are you looking for?

Flat, short trail………………………………………………………………….….Lost Bay

Hilly, long trail………………………………………………………………….Reilly Bird

Share your results with us in the comments section below!


 

Stephanie Muckle is Ontario Nature’s Nature Reserves Technician.