guided nature walk on a Kawartha Lakes hiking trail

Hire a guide for your next nature walk or hike

The Kawartha Lakes is home to a bevy of beautiful walking and hiking trails to explore. Want to make your trek even more enriching? Go on a guided nature walk.

Meet Drew Monkman…local nature walk guide

Recently I had the pleasure of going on a guided hike led by naturalist Drew Monkman, a Peterborough resident and award-winning nature writer–his nature column has appeared in the Peterborough Examiner since 2004.

In other words, Drew knows his stuff.

Drew leads nature walks at local nature destinations throughout the Kawartha Lakes.

Some of the popular spots he conducts guided hikes at include Baxter Creek Trail in Millbrook, Camp Kawartha, the Trent University Nature Areas and Kawartha Land Trust properties like the Stony Lake trails.

You can also hire Drew to lead guided nature walks on your own property.

The hike that I and a group of people took with Drew was in the wooded neighbourhood where I live.

How a guided nature walk works

Our guided nature walk with Drew Monkman lasted approximately an hour and a half.

Before we headed out on the hiking trail, Drew kicked things off with an overview of what was currently happening in nature in the Kawartha Lakes at that time of year.

Our walk took place in mid-June, so the forest around us was alive with singing birds that had migrated home to nest.

During his opening talk Drew also introduced us to the Merlin Bird ID app for smartphones.

This free app is amazing!

With a push of a button, it was able identify which birds were singing and calling in the treetops around us.

Thanks to Drew and the Merlin Bird ID app, we were able to hear and discover some birds that we didn’t even know were living in our neighbourhood like the red-eyed vireo for example.

We also learned about another app that’s great for identifying plants and animals, called iNaturalist.

Even if you download it to your phone to confirm whether you’re about to walk through a patch of poison ivy the INaturalist app is a good one to have.

Discover new things on your guided hike

After Drew completed his overview, we embarked on the trail.

Every nature walk is different as you never know what you will hear or see. That was one of the advantages of having Drew along as our guide.

Whenever a bird, plant or insect caught his attention, he would stop and point it out to us and provide some background or intriguing insight.

For example, did you know there are male and female pinecones? None of us did either.

Having the Merlin Bird ID app along on our guided nature walk was great too.

If Drew heard a bird that he felt was particularly interesting he would use the app to call out to the bird. This would draw the bird in closer to our group so we could hear it better or catch a glimpse of it.

Of course, if you’re on a walk with a bunch of nature enthusiasts, there are going to be questions. Drew was a Wikipedia of answers and patiently fielded every one of our inquiries.

Our guided nature walk was a rewarding experience

By the end of our hike we all agreed:

-we had seen and heard things we had never noticed before when we hiked our trail on our own

-learned some cool new facts that further left us amazed by nature

-had further expanded our knowledge and appreciation for the nature that was around us.

To book a guided nature walk with Drew Monkman contact him at or 705-743-0868 to discuss his fee and available dates.

Did you know…

Another way you can stretch your legs and expand your knowledge is by taking the self-guided Ultimate Buckhorn Tour.

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