Nature shouldn’t be a distant place or even a long drive. The Ontario Greenbelt protects forests, wetlands and lakes and streams. There are parks and trails in the Greenbelt where we can hike, picnic, swim and more. These places help us get away from the and bustle and provide places close to home where we can explore the wonderful natural heritage of Ontario.

And while we need nature close to home, some species need nature to call their home. Habitat loss is the leading reason for the rapid decline of species diversity in southern Ontario. Of the 180 animal species found in the Greater Toronto Area, 110 are at risk and listed as Species of Concern.

Thanks to the Ontario Greenbelt and the work of the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, ecologically significant green spaces such as Boyd Park, Rouge National Urban Park, Duffins-Rouge Agricultural Preserve and the North Leslie lands in Richmond Hill, have been protected. More so, endangered animals, insects and plants have permanently protected habitats linked by natural corridors.

Healthy ecosystems require us to protect the function on our natural systems to maintain their ecological integrity. Healthy natural systems are connected between forests, meadows, wetlands, and river systems; these connections are critical for wildlife habitat, water quality and biodiversity.

Greenbelt species-at-risk include:

  • Spotted turtle
  • Cucumber magnolia
  • Jefferson Salamander
  • Redside dace
  • American ginseng
  • Monarch butterfly
  • Easter Cougar/Mountain Lion
  • Eastern Elk
  • Eastern Wolf
  • Grey Fox
  • Southern Flying Squirrel
  • Woodland Vole
  • Bald Eagle
  • Acadian Flycatcher
  • Barn Owl
  • Henslow's Sparrow
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Red-headed Woodpecker
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Yellow Rail
  • Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
  • River Redhorse
  • American Chestnut
  • Deerberry
  • Lakeside Daisy
  • Spotted Wintergreen
  • White Wood Aster