Hayesland Swamp Nature Sanctuary © Brittany Killingbeck

Help Preserve Our Wetlands

We need your help to protect nature for generations to come.

HNC is working to permanently protect over 250 acres of critical wetland in Hamilton. In 2019, we were able to secure 50 acres of wetland which become our Hayesland Swamp Nature Sanctuary. The property falls within the 3000-acre provincially significant Hayesland-Christie Wetland Complex, and HNC is the first organization to permanently protect land in this important natural area. In January 2024, we purchased a 50-acre addition to the sanctuary.

HNC continues to work towards our goal of protecting 250 acres of this ecologically significant wetland in Hamilton. Your donation, no matter the size, can help us protect this irreplaceable natural space. Donate to our Wildlands Acquisition Fund today to preserve nature for the future!

Did you know?

Wetlands are areas that are seasonally or permanently covered by shallow water, or where the water table is close to the surface.

Ontario has four types of wetlands: marshes, swamps, fens, and bogs.

Wetlands provide essential habitat for countless species of plants, animals, and microorganisms.

Wetlands provide beneficial ecosystem services to humans that are essential for life, like clean water, flood and erosion prevention, and carbon storage.

Large, undisturbed areas of connected natural spaces are crucial for all species, especially those that are highly sensitive to human disturbance.

 Why protect wetlands?

In addition to providing critical habitat for numerous species with an abundance of food and shelter, wetlands provide humans with many essential ecosystem services. Some examples of ecosystem services provided by wetlands are:

  • Prevent and mitigate flooding and erosion by storing water and releasing it slowly.
  • Stabilize streambanks with natural vegetation, improving water quality and reducing erosion.
  • Filter and clean water of sediment and pollutants.
  • Store carbon in plants and soil, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
  • Source of natural products like food, medicine, and materials.
  • Provide opportunities for recreational (fishing, canoeing, birdwatching, etc.) and spiritual activities.

The Hayesland-Christie Wetland Complex encompasses the headwaters of both the Grindstone Creek and Spencer Creek watersheds, regulating the water flow and water quality of these two systems. It provides vital ecosystem services to the communities in these regions and creates important habitat for countless common and at-risk species.

A majority of the wetland is covered in vast areas of swamp, a type of wetland dominated by trees, with scattered patches of marsh, wet meadow, and shrubby thickets. Small ridges within the wetland provide limited terrestrial habitat. The extensive forested area provides ideal habitat for species that require large tracts of relatively undisturbed forest. The southeastern portion of the wetland includes a large area of open ponds and marsh habitat created by historical peat extraction activities, which are uncommon natural community types in the region that support uncommon and rare species. Old Natural Areas Inventory (NAI) reports have recorded 250+ species of plants, 45 species of butterflies, 29 species of fish, 15 species of reptiles and amphibians, 85 species of birds, and 11 species of mammals.

Unfortunately, all ecosystems are threatened by anthropogenic (human) activities like habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, pollution, and climate change. Protecting and stewarding land is one of the many ways we can work to preserve nature.


The properties the HNC owns and/or manage are called nature sanctuaries, a reflection of the priority placed on maintaining and enhancing the natural features and ecological values of these sites. Our Hayesland Swamp Nature Sanctuary is no exception – in order to preserve the beautiful nature features and habitat for at-risk species there will be no trail system or public access to the property for recreational use.