Things to Do at Huron Natural Area


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Kids, be sure to see the dragonflies at Huron Natural Area! Dragonflies are very ancient but successful insects, and they all eat other bugs. You can recognize them easily– Their heads have BIG round eyes, a “chest” (thorax), a long abdomen (“back end”) like a tooth-pick. They all have two pairs of transparent wings.

Some dragonflies are quite big and hold their wings out sideways when they rest. Those are the true dragonflies. Other kinds are smaller and hold their wings upright when they perch. Those are called damselflies.

Questions for you (Answer by looking, not by “Googling”!)

  • Can you see both true dragonflies and damselflies here at HNA?
  • How many kinds of dragonfly are here? (Be careful because males and females of one species can be different colours!)
  • Do all kinds of dragonflies hunt for food in the same places?
  • What are they eating?
  • You will often see dragonflies laying their eggs. How do they do that?

Find pictures of Ontario dragonflies here.

14 Fun Facts about dragonflies

Two Green Darners (Anax junius). The male is on the left and the female on the right – Can you see the colour differences? Are these dragonflies or damselflies?


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Follow this trail for about 100m to see a huge white pine tree, on the left.

The Eastern White Pine is the provincial Tree emblem of Ontario. It can be a huge and very beautiful tree. Take time to marvel at this old giant!

You can recognize pine trees by their needle-like leaves in little bundles (but not on “pegs” as in Tamarack). White pine needles are in fives (or threes) and they are soft, not bristly.

Few big White Pines are left! Most were cut down during the 19th century square-timber logging boom. Much early wealth in Ontario came from the pine timber trade. A government inquiry estimated that several hundred years’ supply of pines remained, but a few years later most were gone. Are we liquidating other resources today?

Learn about the early timber trade


How many kids does it take to link arms round this tree? How old do you think it is?

As old as your teacher?

As old as your grandparents?

As old as the Neutral native village site here?

Older kids:

Measure the diameter of the tree. (Circumference =Pi x Diameter. Pi = 3.14) Assume that the tree adds 1cm to its diameter each year. How do you compare with a pine tree?

Younger kids:

Draw a line on the ground with a stick. Make the line 10cm long for each year that you have lived. Now draw a line parallel to the first one for the pine tree, with 10cm for each year that it has lived. Add another line for the oldest person that you know.

Can you find other kind(s) of pine tree here in the Huron Natural Area? (Careful! – There are other conifers (Cone making trees) that look like pine trees but they are not pines!

The big White Pine at Huron Natural Area.

Photo © 2016 Roger Suffling

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