Exceptional natural areas close to home and at little cost (or completely free!) await nature lovers, young and old. Come take fully advantage of the site where wellness, health and nature go hand in hand!
Very few natural areas have been protected as well as the Marguerite D’Youville wildlife sanctuary, which is on Île Saint-Bernard in Châteauguay. Its marshes, wetlands, shorelines, prairies and wooded areas form exceptional ecosystems near urban areas and are home to a wide range of animal and plant species.
A great particularity of the wildlife sanctuary is that it features a permanent marsh covering a third of the area or 85 hectares. Combined with other habitats of the area, this wetland supplies high-quality food and shelter for wildlife and allows exceptional plant life to develop.
An observation sheet gives more experienced visitors the opportunity to take notes on the wildlife spotted during their outing. Enjoy the visit!
Because of the quality of its habitats and abundant food it offers, the Marguerite-D’Youville wildlife sanctuary has become one of the foremost ornithological sites in Québec owing to the number of species observed, some 243 reported over the years. Considered a key migratory stopover, the wildlife installations attract our feathered friends year round, much to the pleasure of bird and photography enthusiasts!
A paradise for aquatic and land mammals, it is not unusual to spot a common muskrat, an American mink, a red fox, a groundhog or even one of the white-tailed deer that consider the wildlife sanctuary as an ideal habitat!
Consisting of amphibians and reptiles, the herpetofauna depends on wetlands and is an excellent barometer of our environment. Since marshes make up a large part of the wildlife sanctuary, the herpetofauna is rich and diverse. Green frogs, tree frogs, salamanders and turtles call the sanctuary home. These creatures are known for their delightful performances, both for the eyes and ears!
The variety of terrestrial and wetland habitats means that the wildlife refuge provides shelter to extremely rich plant life. Hikers will see a sugar maple-hickory stand, a swamp white oak stand, wildland and shrubby habitats. Then, for connoisseurs, it is possible to admire rare plants growing at the northern limit of their distribution range: bulbous bittercress, sand violet, cutleaf toothwort, wild rice and the sublime cockspur hawthorn, among others.
Forest plants, shoreline flowers, food-producing plants and much more offer breathtaking views!
* The access fee is payable at the Island Pavilion during opening hours. Outside this time slot, access to the wildlife refuge trails is free. The trails are accessible from sunrise to sunset.
Owing to its noble and distinctive tree species, and its rich biodiversity in general, the forest of the Fernand-Seguin ecology centre has substantial ecological value. However, it is a sugar maple-hickory stand that first and foremost distinguishes the Fernand-Seguin ecology centre. This forest is typical of southwestern Québec and is particularly valuable in terms of ecology considering that similar areas have given way to urbanization in the Greater Montréal region. Sugar maples dominate the area, followed by shagbark and bitternut hickory. Several other species add to the diversity of these woods, such as butternut, basswood and ironwood.
The fallow fields bordering the woods are a legacy of agricultural times. Wild plant species now thrive in peace next to luxuriant bushes, such as the rare cockspur hawthorn, which grows almost exclusively in Châteauguay, Léry and Kahnawake.
In the spring, the undergrowth of the sugar maple-hickory stand transforms into an utterly magical garden where trillium and trout lilies are briefly in bloom in a spectacular display of beauty!
This wonderful mix of plant species provides shelter and abundant food for wildlife.
Over a hundred species of birds can be observed at the ecology centre. In addition to woodpeckers, wrens, hawks, buzzards and owls, there are forest species that come for shelter, such as ovenbirds and wood thrushes whose bird calls and songs are often heard. Lastly, the popular chickadees and nuthatches are never shy to land on a hiker’s hand to peck at a few seeds or nuts.
Even though wildlife is somewhat harder to spot here than at the wildlife sanctuary, racoons, red foxes, Eastern cottontails and bats are in the area, along with small rodents, amphibians and reptiles: squirrels, chipmunks, voles, mice, toads, green frogs, tree frogs, salamanders and garter snakes.
480 D'Youville boulevard
Châteauguay (Québec) J6J 5T9
Téléphone: 450 698-3133