Rain, rain, go away... The month of May has been a rainy one, but that hasn't stopped our volunteers and supporters from getting outside.

We have your solution to making the best out of the rainy days, starting with this newsletter filled with Carden Challenge results, notes from the field, events, and more!

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Protecting nature for future generations
Great Horned Owls spotted during the Carden Challenge, taken by Cameron Curran
Another Year, Another Successful Carden Challenge
On May 24th and 25th, nine teams scoured the Carden alvar in search of as many species as possible in 24 hours. Participants battled the rain, hail and thunderstorms, but the birds were singing, the reptiles were out and it was another enjoyable year with lots of great memories.

In total, 180 species were found.

Top Recreational Team
Let's Wing It: 115 species

Top Biodiversity Team
Ravin' Ravens: 181 points

Top Competitive Team
Muskoka Merlins: 117 species
Ravin' Ravens: 117 species

Thank you to everyone who participated in this event and donated. Overall, well over $22,000 has been raised this year from the Challenge! All funds are directed towards conservation efforts of the alvar, a globally rare landscape home to hundreds of species, like these Great Horned Owls (pictured above).
Notes from the Field
Baskettail Dragonfly shedding its exoskeleton, taken by Dorthea
We caught this Baskettail dragonfly entering a new stage of life on a trip to Wolf Run Alvar; leaving behind it’s aquatic larval stage, and with it the exoskeleton, for a life of flight. Dragonflies were some of the first winged insects to evolve over 300 million years ago.

We were visiting Wolf Run Alvar with Tom Wilson, Toby Rowland, Dorthea, and the new Reptile Monitoring Team made up of Kim Ariss and Katrina Hunt. We didn’t see any reptiles, but the birding was pretty good: A species list of 32 including Scarlet Tanager (which seem to be everywhere this year), six Rose-breasted grosbeak (which also seem to be everywhere this year), Sandhill crane, Magnolia, Nashville, and Chestnut-sided warblers, and Eastern towhee.
Welcome to our New Summer Staff
Welcome Toby Rowland (pictured on the right), Alycia White (pictured in the middle), and Adrienne Huston (pictured on the left), our summer students for this season. Toby has a B.Sc. from Trent University in Ecological Restoration and is our Citizen Science Field Technician.

Adrienne and Alycia have joined our team at Couchiching Conservancy for the summer to focus on the threat of invasive species to our properties. Adrienne has a Bachelor of Environmental Studies at Waterloo; returning in fall for a part-time field course. Alycia completed two years at Fleming College as Fish and Wildlife Technician; returning for 3 rd  year Technologist diploma.

Please extend a hearty welcome to these very enthusiastic Field Technicians. You’ll be reading many updates from these staff over the summer. Stay tuned!
Supporter Spotlight: Ellie Larsen
Advisory Council Member & Supporter

Almost 30 years ago Ellen found a weekend property in Carden and subsequently became aware of the amazing geological and biological diversity she had stumbled into. Upon retirement from the University of Toronto, Ellen had been spending almost all her time in the country as an amateur naturalist, and has long supported the work of the Couchiching Conservancy. In addition to the Carden Field Naturalists and Kawartha Field Naturalists she is also a member of the Brodie Club in Toronto.
Although her professional research was in the genetics, development and evolutionary biology of fruit flies, Ellen currently devotes most of her efforts to various aspects of local lichen biology and sex variation in the semi-aquatic Arrowhead plant.
Spread your love for nature with younger generations by volunteering at Nuts for Nature.
We are looking for individuals who would be interested in volunteering at the Conservancy booth, 11:00am Bird Safari, and 1:00pm Treasure Hunt. If you would like to lend a hand, please email Joelle at
Passport to Nature Event: Citizen Science
If you have ever wondered what it is like to volunteer as a citizen scientist, THIS is your chance to find out.

At this event, you will have the opportunity to try out each of four activities, moving from station to station every 20 minutes. At the end of the event, you will have the chance to sign on for the 2020 Field Monitoring Season.
Phone: 705-326-1620
Mail: Box 704, Orillia, ON L3V 0X6
Office: 1485 Division Rd W, Orillia, ON L3V 6H2
Looking for a new area to explore? Check out Prairie Smoke Alvar .

This property consists of grassland, shrubland and pavement alvar communities which support a rich array of typical alvar species such as Bluets, Scarlet Painted-cup, Shrubby Cinquefoil, and Prairie Smoke. Hay fields near the entrance of the property are being managed to support grassland breeding birds such as Bobolinks and Eastern Meadowlarks, and also provide grazing for several dozen White-tailed Deer in early spring.