We've been around for 31 years! New members are always welcome!
Sydenham River Nature Reserve  
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Sydenham Field Naturalists

are asking for your support in protecting a biological treasure. Join us in partnership with Ontario Nature and Lambton Wildlife Inc in purchasing and preserving this 78 hectare (192 acre) property with 2 kilometres of the Sydenham River flowing through it. This property is in the heart of Carolinian Canada Coalition’s Sydenham River Corridor signature site, at the east end of Oil Springs Line with roughly half in Brooke-Alvinston and half in Southwest Middlesex. The Sydenham River watershed has been identified by NatureServe Canada as a priority area for the conservation of both nationally and globally imperiled species.

In partnership with

Ontario Nature and Lambton Wildlife Inc





A rare Carolinian ecosystem





Nearly two kilometres of the Sydenham River corridor - a biological treasure





A hotspot of 23 species at risk and rarities


Please Donate Now

Your donation will help secure this unique property forever as a significant

Carolinian woodland and as a reserve for endangered wildlife.

Donations may be made by cheque to Sydenham Field Naturalists.

Name ____________________________________________________________

Address ________________________________________________ Postal Code ____________

Email address (if you would like to receive notices of our club’s events)_____________________________________

Please send your cheque to:

Sydenham River Nature Reserve c/o Sydenham Field Naturalists, P.O. Box 22008, Wallaceburg, ON N8A 5G4  

Note: Any contribution of $10 or greater will receive an income tax receipt.

Registered Charitable Number 89318 1172 RR0001

Turin Pawpaw Woods  
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SFN is active in several projects, some of which are listed below.

Turin Pawpaw Woods

Jim and Georgina Sheldon donated 40 ha (100 acres) upland forest, wooded swamp and retired farmland to the Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) with the vision of seeing the agricultural lands restored to their former wetland and forest habitat. This parcel is part of the Turin Pawpaw Woods, one of Chatham-Kent’s largest forests, running to the north of, and parallel to, Highway 401 in Chatham-Kent.

In late 2005, SFN donated $1 000 to the Turin Pawpaw Woods stewardship endowment fund and in the following years SFN has worked with the NCC and other partners to restore prairie grass on this property.

Members of our club have also been involved with botanical and bird inventories. We have placed wood duck nesting boxes in the woodlands buttonbush swamps and we do marsh monitoring (amphibians) in the retired farmlands newly constructed wetlands. We have helped with exotic plant removal and were involved with planting of red cedar and white pine to establish a conifer shelter belt surrounding the cropland area.

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The Highway 40 Prairie  
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 The Sydenham Field Naturalists initiative in establishing a one acre tallgrass prairie along hwy. 40 sparked the beginning of the Wallaceburg-Sarnia “Prairie Passage” by the Rural Lambton Stewardship Network. This one acre project was started in 1998 with the planting of 10000 grass and forb plugs on a low berm on the west side of Hwy. 40 just north of Whitebread Line. In 1999 another 2000 plugs were planted. In total approximately 20 species were introduced into this ‘created prairie’ and $6500 was invested by the SFN.


The project started under difficult weather conditions and with extremely unfavourable heavy clay subsoil. To add to these problems, numerous aggressive non-native species such as Canada thistle and sweet white clover had to be eliminated. Over the next 10 years, with many, many hours of hot work by a few members, most of the weeds have disappeared although it will probably have to continue for the foreseeable future.

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Wallaceburg Sycamore Woods  
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In 2005, upon learning of the sale of the Puskas Family Farm, the Sydenham Field Naturalists acted quickly to contact the new landowner about the ten acres of woodland on that farm. Working with an agreeable landowner, an Agreement of Sale was reached. Having viewed the woods (now named Wallaceburg Sycamore Woods) and met with the Puskas family in previous years, the SFN recognized both the Natural Heritage values and the value to the community in saving WSW from being clearcut for agricultural development. Admittedly, at ten acres, this is a small woodland, but in Chatham-Kent, where forest cover is below 3%, it is in fact a significant woodland parcel as indicated by both MNR and the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement.


Wallaceburg Sycamore Woods (WSW) is an excellent example of the local historic woodlands growing on the sandy loam of the Wallaceburg area. Tree species include Shumard Oak, Chinquapin Oak, Swamp White Oak, Black Walnut, Shagbark Hickory and of course, American Sycamore to name just a few. Some of these trees are “old growth” specimens being 150 to 200 years old due to the fact that the Puskas family turned down logging offers for over a century and never cut any trees out. The floral understorey has been impacted by cattle grazing decades ago and by the neighbouring residents of VLA subdivision. Even so, there is a fine quality of understorey shrubs such as Spicebush and Nannyberry and herbaceous woodland wildflowers such as Trout Lily and Mayapple. Eastern Screech Owl and Cooper’s Hawk both nest in WSW together with numerous songbird species.

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Wallaceburg Paw Paw Woods  
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The Wallaceburg Paw Paw Woods is one of Chatham-Kent’s newest public access nature trails. Just a few minutes walk from downtown Wallaceburg, this small Carolinian woodlot offers the opportunity to provide local natural heritage education and tours in an easily accessible location.

The property had come into the possession of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent through failed-tax-sale. Having the foresight to recognize the potential asset to the community, councillor Sheldon Parsons proactively approached Sydenham Field Naturalists (SFN) to identify any points of interest. While doing the initial assessment, we found a well established Paw Paw thicket. Paw Paw being a small uncommon tree species in Canada, and in the northern part of its range in the Carolinian zone of Ontario. This alone being enough to advocate conservation, the Sydenham Field Naturalists began to develop ideas surrounding ecological restoration, interpretive potential and connectivity to other local features.

In the Fall of 2009, Eric Fields of North Eastern Seed Company volunteered his expertise to create partnerships and develop a management plan with a core group, as a sub-committee of the Sydenham Field Naturalists for the newly named Wallaceburg Paw Paw Woods.

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