Deer Haven

Deer Haven is an incredible 19.4-hectare nature reserve with a diverse mix of habitats including mature forests, prairie and early successional woodland. This former farm has been actively restored by Heather and Peter Scott for more than 25 years. Deer Haven contains a tributary of the Thames River including critical habitat for species at risk fish and mussels. The variety of habitats and proximity to the Thames River make this a key site to protect for long term sustainability of biodiversity.

The property has several forest types including oak woodland, White Pine and Scotch Pine plantations, red maple swamp and early successional woods. The lovely oak woodland contains towering red oak, white oak, hickories, ironwood, black cherry and basswood. Pockets of red maple swamp are found along the stream and part of the ravine is covered in young sugar maples. The small white pine plantation provides shelter to birds during adverse winter weather and contributes a unique element to the property. 

Restoration work on the property included installing a tallgrass prairie, wetlands to support amphibians and a large native tree planting program. The 1-hectare tallgrass prairie is a rare and diverse habitat that supports insects and insect dependent birds. Summers bloom with a variety of wildflowers such as Virginia Mountain Mint, Grey-headed Coneflowers, Stiff Goldenrod and native grasses such as Savannah Grass, Big Bluestem, and Little Bluestem provide seeds for birds during fall migration. Large parts of the former farmland have also been planted with a diverse mix of native tree and shrub species such as Tulip Tree, Bitternut Hickory, Eastern Flowering Dogwood and many more to recreate a Carolinian Forest. The restoration projects create habitat and also contribute to clean air and water and sequester carbon to mitigate climate change.

Deer Haven contains a tributary of the Thames River, which it joins in less than 500m after leaving the property. This section of the Thames River and its tributaries are critical habitat for species at risk fish and mussels. The planting of trees and prairie plants has created diverse habitats that support wildlife while also protecting water quality for the stream and the Thames River.

Click here to ensure that Deer Haven is protected forever.

All photos by Cathy Quinlan