Public Access Grasslands
Get up, get out and see some tallgrass
To fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of a tallgrass prairie or savanna, you must visit one. They are unlike any other natural ecosystem in Ontario. From the mellow blue violets in the spring, to the brilliant yellow sunflowers in the summer, to the rusty red grasses in the fall, each season holds its charms. Sightings of butterflies, dragonflies, songbirds, reptiles and small mammals add to the experience.
In Ontario, tallgrass prairie and savanna are found in southern and northwestern Ontario. In southern Ontario, tallgrass once covered approximately 1000 km2, but now only 21 km2 remains in about 130 remnant sites. The majority of these properties are in private ownership but there are approximately 25 publicly-owned sites in southern Ontario. Eight of these are described in some detail in this section and several others are listed on the back page. Like any outing to a natural area, it is wise to wear long sleeves and pants and bring insect repellent, field guides, binoculars, a camera, and water. July and August are the best months to see a range of prairie flowers in bloom.
Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
The Ojibway Prairie Complex, located in Windsor, is one of Ontario's largest and most important prairie-savanna sites. It consists of five natural areas totaling 334 ha. Four of these areas, Ojibway Park, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Black Oak Heritage Park, and Spring Garden Natural Area, are administered by the City of Windsor's Ojibway Nature Center. The fifth area, the Ontario Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, is owned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. More than 700 flowering plants are found here, some of which are found nowhere else in Ontario. Interesting and rare wildlife include the Massasauga rattlesnake, yellow-breasted chat, Butler's garter snake and over 80 species of butterflies. Information and interpretive programs are available at the Ojibway Nature Centre: 519-966-5852.
Directions: Take Hwy 401 to Windsor and follow the signs to the Ambassador ridge. The highway becomes Huron Church Road. Turn left (west) onto the EC Row expressway (C.R. 18) and then turn left on Matchette Road. Go 1.3 km to the nature center on the right (west) side of the road.
Ojibway Prairie - Culvers Root and Tick Trefoil