Stories to Tell

Conservation Areas are full of adventure and are just waiting to be explored! There are so many great stories to tell about visits to these natural gems, and we have shared some of our experiences and the experiences of others with you on this page. We encourage you to browse through the stories below and then Step Into Nature with family and friends to create your own ‘story to tell’!

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Wildlife Improvement One Step at a Time

It's back to school time for all of us in high school now, and on one weekend where I was lucky enough to not have homework, I decided I would get up and go on a hike. My family and I were already up in the Perth area, owning a cottage in the area on Rideau Lake, and with the Perth Wildlife Reserve just minutes away, my dad and I decided to go and check out the trail.
The day was overcast when we arrived at the Perth Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is located on a piece of old farm land, just outside of the town of Perth. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were greeted by many informative signs, explaining the purpose of this conservation area and the many wildlife rehabilitation projects that have been taking place on the reserve since 1971. Such programs include wetland enhancement for marsh birds, forest growth control through thinning and pruning, and banding programs for Canada geese and ducks just to name a few. The parking lot area also plays host to an observation tower, a picnic area, and a few old farm buildings.
After reading about the reserve and picking up a map of the area, my dad and I headed off for the main attraction, the Betty Wilson Nature Trail. Visitors can hike on this 2.5 km trail which takes them on a tour around the vast property, encountering various interpretive signs along the way. Starting our journey down the trail, we saw some monarch butterflies glide through a meadow, and came upon an old stone fence, which seemed to have withstood the test of time to stay in good condition. We hiked further along the trail into the wooded areas and came to an observation tower with a breathtaking view of the Tay Marsh. From here you could see far out on the wetland, including sunning spots that were built for the endangered Stinkpot and Blandings turtles. Unfortunately, there weren't any out to see, so we continued on our way. The trail took us off the farm land a bit and through some clearings, but soon brought us back to view a seemingly endless rail fence built by the land owners many years ago. A few more interpretive signs and areas led us back to the parking lot. The trail took us an hour to hike in total.
The Perth Wildlife Reserve houses a wide variety of other animals aside from the ones I mentioned above. You could possibly see rabbits, ducks, deer, wild turkeys, and many others depending on what time of year you visit the reserve. The Betty Wilson Nature trail is open all year round for the snowshoe or cross-country ski enthusiast, or just for the casual walk in a winter wonderland. With this vast collection of wildlife, you can be sure that every visit to the reserve will be a new and exciting one.
While learning about what the Perth Wildlife Reserve is doing to preserve nature up in their neck of the woods, I also learned what I can do to help protect wildlife myself around where I live. Little informative pieces are posted on all the interpretive signs along the trail, so it was nice to have reassurance that we as single people really can make a difference, contrary to popular belief. Another way to partake in the conservation effort is by filling out form to let the reserve and the conservation authority know if you have seen any species at risk on your hike through the trail. These forms can be picked up at the observation tower at the start of the trail, and the species at risk can also be found on the interpretive signs along the trail so you know what to look for.
With its mission very direct from the moment you arrive, the Perth Wildlife Reserve presents a wonderful area to enjoy the company of nature, while encouraging us to improve and conserve the wildlife we have right in our own backyard.
Calum Slingerland is a Grade 12 student from the West Carleton Secondary School. The school is the site of the Bill Mason Outdoor Education Centre. This unique centre, located just outside of Dunrobin, Ontario near Ottawa features 31 hectares of forests, meadows, and Class 1 wetlands, as well as indoor and outdoor classrooms. The Bill Mason Centre’s extensive boardwalks and trails are wheelchair-accessible and provide links between the different ecosystems of this extraordinarily diverse site and its sheltered outdoor classroom teaching areas.

Lillies thrive along the edge of the Tay Marsh

An old rail fence runs along side the Betty Wilson Nature Trail

A view of cloudy skies over the Tay Marsh from the lookout tower

An old stone fence stands strong along the Betty Wilson Nature Trail