Over the last couple of months, I have spent a lot of time out at night on some of the Nature Reserves scouting out good locations for our Bat Monitor Citizen Science teams. It has given me a whole new perspective on the Nature Reserves that I don’t think would be possible in the light of day. The sounds and sights of the night can make even urban areas feel more wild, and really make you realize that the places we protect are for the wildlife that call them home. They rely on these islands amid a sea of humanity, some for a few hours on a thousand mile journey, while others live there year round, and we are merely visitors passing through.  
While the nights are still warm why not step outside at dusk to watch for some bats and listen for the sounds of the night at your nearest patch of nature? 
Keep reading to find out about a new Nature Reserve that has been protected in the Black River Wildlands region, along with who has made it into the supporter spotlight, and where you can go on your next venture outside!  
~ Toby Rowland
Citizen Science Field Coordinator

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Thanks to you, more wilderness is protected to create corridors in the Black River Wildlands
The Couchiching Conservancy is celebrating another conservation success, with the protection of the Whitney property, a 12 hectare (30 acre) parcel, 10km east of Orillia.

The property was previously owned by Norman and Irene Whitney and creates a direct connection to the McIsaac Wetland, originally protected in 1998 by The Couchiching Conservancy. This wetland complex in Ramara Township is a part of the Mud Lake provincially significant wetland. Wetlands act as critical filtration systems for our communities and help with flooding.

This project was undertaken with the financial support by the Government of Canada through the Natural Heritage Conservation Program, part of Canada’s Nature Fund. It was also supported by the Echo Foundation, Gosling Foundation, Consecon Foundation and many supporters in this community and beyond. A portion of this project was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Whitney to the The Couchiching Conservancy with support from the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land.

Creating connections like this makes all the difference to species who call this region home. Roadways, habitat destruction and fragmentation disrupt the natural processes and their chances of survival. In Ontario alone, there are over 200 species of plants and animals at risk of disappearing according to the provincial Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Protecting and maintaining natural wildlife corridors is a key goal of the Conservancy, in order to create protected corridors for wildlife migration.
“The conservation of the Whitney property, with support from the Canada Nature Fund’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program and the Ecological Gifts Program, will protect nature in Ontario for generations to come. By working with partners like the Couchiching Conservancy and generous landowners like the Whitneys, we are making progress toward conserving a quarter of Canada’s land by 2025.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Picture Above: Mudd Creek by David Hawke

Picture Right: Pholiota Sp. by David Hawke
Supporter spotlight: Janet Machan
Janet at Grant's Woods helping Callie with her ABC's of Nature activity. Photo: Kathy Hunt
Janet Machan has been a long-time supporter of local conservation work, with her work on the Passport to Nature committee and monthly support. Janet has been the key person behind getting the Passport to Nature registration set up each year, and we can’t thank her enough for the help! She has coordinated and planned the adapted Passport to Nature kids activities for this year. Her experience and energy helps so much. Here is a bit about our supporter spotlight, Janet:

What made you passionate about protecting the environment?
I have always been interested in the outdoor environment. As a child, I spent summers at a family cabin outside of North Bay and it was there that I started collecting and observing nature. In high school, I was part of the Outdoor club and biology was a favourite subject. During my early twenties, I started listening to David Suzuki’s teachings, including his warnings about protecting the environment.

Tell us about a favourite Conservancy memory (at a Nature Reserve, event, volunteering, species sighting etc) 

I have several! We enjoyed our evening at the pie auction fundraiser a few years ago! Our daughter was invited by Liz McClelland to perform music and it POURED rain, but it was on with the show in true Conservancy style. We had a lot of laughs that night. My husband and I really enjoyed the evening at the Carden Rec Center when Phil Careless presented. Last year, I finally heard the whippoorwills on my citizen science monitoring night. Moments like that are pretty special.
Upcoming events
Otter drawing by Juliana Hawke
September Kids Challenge- You Otta Know, Colouring Contest
Our playful young otter has a lot of things to learn about nature. Can you help it identify some super interesting facts as you hike along one of our Conservancy trails? Colour your otter, give it a name and bring it on your hike.

Register below to receive the colouring page and learn how you can be entered into a draw to win a prize!
The BluMoose Alvar Ride
The second BluMoose Alvar Ride is taking place on September 12th. Riders will start at Couchiching Beach Park and will cycle either a 85km or 140km route travelling through the beautiful Carden Alvar.

All proceeds are donated to the Conservancy in memory of Danya Leemhuis, who loved the alvar.
Photo: Chris Monette
The Couchiching Conservancy's Nature-thon challenges you and your family to get outdoors and learn about nature, while helping to protect acres of wilderness.

From October 5th-9th, we will send you a new challenge with a different theme. Each challenge takes you outdoors to explore nature and learn about species through art, puzzles, and search and find activities. Participate from anywhere in Ontario!

$25 (one acre) donation per individual
Videos of the month
Hear from our Executive Director, Mark Bisset on how we decide what should land be protected. Click the video above to watch.
Check out these two adorable trail camera videos of fox kits playing outside their den in May. Click the video above to watch.
More things to check out
Have you checked out our website lately? It has a new look! Visit our website here.
Ron Reid Nature Reserve is a beautiful place to check out in late summer. Plan your visit here.
Did you know you can submit your monitoring data and hours online?
Check it out here.
Phone: 705-326-1620
Mail: Box 704, Orillia, ON L3V 0X6
Office: 1485 Division Rd W, Orillia, ON L3V 6H2
Charitable Registration #: 13972 5030 RR0001