Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area
The Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area is Trent University's largest and oldest Nature Area. Located in the southeast corner of Symons Campus, this Nature Area includes many types of ecosystems and a robust trail network. In August 2019 wetlands that cross this Nature Area were identified as Provincially Significant by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. View the full report here (PDF).
A) Satellite Imagery
1. Created in ArcGIS Pro (click to view full size). The red outline in centre of figure delineates the nature area boundary, and is split into two regions, the west (left) section includes trails while the right side does not. This large area includes substantial wetlands (including some now deemed provincially significant by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment), forested areas (including some deciduous and some cedar areas), and fields.
2. Via Google Maps (shows latest satellite image available via Google Maps; will not show boundary).
Location and Use
The Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the southeast corner of Symons Campus, between University Road, Pioneer Road, and Douro 9th Line, this Nature Area includes many types of ecosystems and a robust trail network.
Trails, Access, and Points of Interest
This Nature Area offers an extensive trail system, using colours to identify different trail routes. Trails traverse the western half of the Wildlife Sanctuary only. The main access is off of University Road, where a short driveway leads to a parking lot. When the Nature Area is busy, visitors sometimes also park on the side of University Road (be careful, as the road is busy at times).
The trail system includes a read, yellow, and blue trail system. The blue system is longest, at 3.7 km, while the read is 1.9 km. As of mid-2019 there is a second access point, off the south side of Pioneer Road, across from the new baseball field. Walk south to meet up with the longer blue trail.
Some of this Nature Area is still being used for agriculture (east side). Other areas of the Wildlife Sanctuary were clearly used for agriculture in the past, with evidence of rail and stone fencing, and regenerating fields scattered throughout. Deciduous swamps are fed in part by the Otonabee College Wetland Nature Area to the north, on the other side of Pioneer Road. An intermittent outflow crosses University Road into the Canal Nature Area, and eventually flows into the Trent Canal.
Ecosystems and Species
The Wildlife Sanctuary offers a wide variety of ecosystems, including three main wetlands, regenerating agricultural fields, areas of cedars, and some young deciduous forest.
Environmental and Safety Concerns
One of the larger wetlands in the Wildlife Sanctuary is fed by water flowing from the Otonabee Wetland Nature Area north of Pioneer Road, which is adjacent to agricultural land on which the Cleantech Commons is to be built. Water quality is being monitored in the Otonabee Wetland NA as construction proceeds, as a way to provide notice should construction adversely affect the wetland.
The invasive shrub European Buckthorn is present throughout the area, and may be starting to displace native species as it becomes more dominant. There are also areas with Dog Strangling Vine, which is now more of a worry as it can spread and dominate a landscape quickly. Some efforts are starting to be made to try and control it, but it is challenging due to the plant's aggressiveness.
University Road can come close to flooding in spring from flow volumes outflowing from the Nature Area. As well, traffic and maintenance of University Road may be impacting species close to the road. There are studies being conducted that will lead to plans to improve University Road and several other roads in the area. For more information, visit Peterborough City's web page on the North End and Trent University Area Class Environmental Assessment.
Parking for the Wildlife Sanctuary and Canal Nature Areas is limited, and at busy times one can see cars parked along the side of University Road in and around the entrance to the parking lot. While the road shoulder is somewhat wider in around the parking lot entrance, it does make for possibly hazardous driving conditions along University Road, so please be alert when opeing your car door if parked along the road, and be careful driving through the area.
The presence of dogs via dog walking is becoming more of a problem over time. Many studies over the last few decades (this is not a new problem) that have shown impacts from poop, off-leash dog walking, and even on-leash dog walking. Here are some sources that briefly describe some of the impacts, many of which contain further references for those who want to read further:
- Factsheet: Impacts of Dogs on Wildlife (ProtectNatureTO, 2019)
- The Effect of Dogs on Wildlife (Tom Chester, 2001)
- Bringing your dog to Ontario Parks (Ontario Parks, 2020)
- Dogs in Parks Canada Protected Places (Parks Canada, 2020)
- Four-Legged Friends in our Natural Areas? (The Intertwine, 2017)
The Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area at Trent University is intended to preserve natural habitat for natural native species to live, and dogs have been having a strong negative impact on wild animals and their natural habitats in this Nature Area. With the pressures of development, climate change, and loss of biodiversity, more than ever we need places that work to preserve natural habitats and provide a refuge for wild species to live, especially in areas close to urban centres, where green space is at a premium.
Nature Area History
The Wildlife Sanctuary is Trent University's oldest Nature Area, established in 1974-5. Originally the eastern half of the Wildlife Sanctuary was called Wildlife Sanctuary East, but in 2001 the two parts were merged into one large Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Area.
Over the years there have been many groups, some international, that have contributed to building boardwalks and helping to maintain the trail system.
Alternatives For Injured Wildlife
Although this Nature Area is named "Wildlife Sanctuary", Trent University does not actually offer any wildlife rehabilitation services. The "Wildlife Sanctuary" name refers to the area being a preservation area, protecting the habitats of native wildlife.
If you encounter and want to help injured wildlife in the Peterborough region, you might try some of these service providers:
More Updates To Come!
We are working on posting maps and physical descriptions of all the Nature Areas. Feel free to return and see our progress!