Astonished gasps of children mingle with the buzz of thousands of bees swarming around a
tree just to the right of the path. From a distance, the orange and black mass appears to
be a single entity, wave after wave of energy rippling over its surface. Closer inspection
reveals the truth. Individual honeybees crowded around a hole in the trunk. A seemingly
endless river of bees flow from the hive, flying off in search of blossoms, while others
struggle against the tide to deliver their cargo to workers within.
Karen Cedar, Naturalist at Ojibway Nature Centre, explains that the bees had
moved in a couple of years ago. "Insects play an essential role in
pollinating the wildflowers found in the park," she explains. "Without them,
most plants could not survive."
The audience was a group of children enjoying summer nature camps offered by the
Windsor Department of Parks. Day camps for children are only one of the
many programmes offered at the Ojibway Nature Centre. Adults can join field trips led by
Paul Pratt, Ojibway's retired naturalist. Birding tours are a particular speciality of
Pratt's. Seasonal festivals offer the public a special opportunity to take part in
nature-oriented activities and enjoy the outdoors whether it be spring, summer, fall or
The newly reconstructed Nature Centre is open seven days a week. There is no
charge for admission and the building is accessible to those with disabilities.
Inside, one finds informative and interesting displays on the ecology of the Ojibway Prairie Complex. A live exhibit area with Eastern Foxsnake and Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is
always a crowd favourite. A wall of windows provides a breathtaking view of the forest and the natural fireplace makes for a warm, cozy atmosphere. Brochures on the birds,
mammals, herps, butterflies, trees and wildflowers of Ojibway as well as trail guides,
maps and other informative handouts are available. Sale items include a wide selection of wild bird seed, feeders, field guides, posters, wildflower seed and children's items.
- Natural history exhibits
- Wildlife viewing window
- Natural fireplace
- Meeting rooms, kitchen facilities
- Internet Access
- Night lighting
- Retail outlet
- Free parking
- Nature trails
- Picnic tables
- Prairie wildflower garden
- Bird feeder area
- Owl, Duck, Bluebird and Bat boxes
Groups needing a place to meet or families with events to celebrate may utilize the beautiful and well-equipped rental rooms. Knowledgeable and friendly naturalists are available to organize programs for schools and other groups, arrange birthday parties and provide conducted tours.