In partnership with Wildlife Habitat Canada and Ducks Unlimited, the Kingston Field Naturalists (KFN) acquired 250 acres of pasture and marsh at the east end of Amherst Island in 1986. It was an initiative led by Ron Weir to protect the nesting grounds of the largest colony of Wilson’s Phalarope in Eastern Ontario.
To preserve the habitat for prairie nesters and phalaropes, the KFN entered in an agreement with a drover to have cattle on the property to maintain the short grass. Approximately 50 cows spend the summer within the fenced area (electric and page wire). Also, we have erected two Osprey platforms. For the first 25 years the Osprey have used the northeast platform but recently they have nested on the platform in the southwest field. A thriving colony of Purple Martins occupy the Martin houses are on the property. Tree Swallows can be found nesting along the road.
In 2013, the property was named the Martin Edwards Reserve to honour the world-famous birder and naturalist who had served as our president and on many other environmental organizations.
In 2007, a Bioblitz was conducted on the Reserve. Numerous rare birds and butterflies have been spotted there during the past 30 years.
The Reserve western portion consists of two large pasture fields (approximately 100 acres each). In the eastern portion, a man-made pond is separated from Lake Ontario by a berm. A trail begins at the road and goes along the southern boundary onto the berm and ends at a rocky spit of land which extends into the lake, “The Bar”.
Use of the Reserve is restricted to members and their guests exclusively.