Learn about Species at Risk as you follow along the Species at Risk Trail, and see our larger than life wooden carvings. The Species at Risk Trail is located along the trail to Crawford Lake Trail as you head toward the lake.

Ontario is home to a diverse collection of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, insects and plants. Nearly 200 of Ontario’s species are at risk. In particular, southern Ontario species including those of the Carolinian region and along the Niagara Escarpment live in the most heavily urbanized areas in Canada.

Here are just a few of the Species at Risk carvings you will see along the trail.

Status: downlisted

About me: I am a small songbird of eastern North America’s deciduous and mixed forests. I am named for the black hood on the males of my species. In Canada I can be found in the Carolinian forests of southwestern Ontario. I need large areas of mature hardwood and mixed forest, and nest in dense shrubby clearings found in forest interiors. I love to eat ants, grasshoppers, caterpillars and beetles. Yum! In the fall I migrate to wintering grounds in Central America.

How you can help: protect mature forests; do not allow domestic cats to kill wild birds; report sightings; do not disturb nests

Status: endangered

About me: On rainy nights in early spring, adult salamanders wake up and travel to quiet woodland ponds to breed. The adults lay eggs in pond vegetation. Around 20 days later, I emerge and spend my first few months living in the pond. Eventually I will lose my gills and grow to be brownish grey with blue flecks and about 15cm long. Once I am old enough, I move into the forest to find shelter among fallen logs and survive on insects and worms. I am very secretive and if I am threatened I will try to distract you with my tail… which can grow back if removed!

How you can help: stay off roads and away from forest areas on rainy nights in the spring; protect vernal ponds and forest areas; leave fallen logs on the forest floor.

Status: special concern

About me: You will recognize me by my orange and black wings but I begin life as a caterpillar who loves to eat milkweed. As an adult butterfly I carry a toxin from the milkweed which makes me poisonous to birds. When I become a butterfly I rely on the nectar of flowers for food. Although I normally only live 4-5 weeks, if I am born in the fall I can live 7-8 months so that I can travel thousands of kilometres to central Mexico to spend the winter. My descendants then make the journey back to southern Ontario.

How you can help: reduce pesticide use; plant butterfly friendly gardens; monitor sightings.

Status: special concern

About me: if you are near a body of slow moving water or a wetland, you may be able to spot me slowly swimming along, covered in algae. I can weigh up to 16kg and cannot fit into my shell so “snapping” is my only defence. I eat aquatic plants, fish, frogs, birds, mammals and even other turtles. I can live to be over 70 years old. Effects of climate change can influence the temperatures of our nests and result in a larger amount of male or female turtles which impacts the survival of my species.

How you can help: watch for turtles crossing roads; do not buy wild caught turtles as pets; do not disturb nests; restore wetlands.

The species listed on our trail have been designated at risk by COSSARO (Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario). The Hide and Seek trail has been created for your enjoyment with the support of the Hawkins, Nimmo and Mulvale families and Stihl Canada. Thank you to the artisits involved in this project: Robbin Wenzoski, Nancy Wood, Jeff Taylor and Neil Cox.