Can you believe we are almost a month into 2021?  We thought it fitting that the first newsletter of 2021 should highlight one of the shining stars of the past year….YOU!

This past year has shown us once again that supporters, volunteers, and members are the heart and soul of this organization. In 2020, Citizen Scientists monitored a record number of Nature Reserves and easements, and Ambassadors and Passport committee members played a key role in the success of webinars and the move to an online space.

Available Citizen Science jobs filled up quickly this year, but don’t despair, there are many ways to get involved and to do so safely. Keep on scrolling to find out what we have planned for 2021!

The Stewardship Team
Conserved Lands Manager
Citizen Science Field Coordinator
Conservation Researcher & Analyst
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Protecting Nature for Future Generations
The land on which we operate is the territory of Haudenosaunee, Anishnaabeg, Wendat and Metis Peoples. This territory is covered by the Upper Canada Treaties.
The Power of a Signature:
Canada’s 17% for Protected Areas 
In 2016, over 2000 members, supporters, and residents signed The Couchiching Conservancy’s 17% Pledge supporting the vital role that land trusts play in helping Canada meet their new 17% target for protected natural areas across the country. Launching this pledge just seemed like the right thing to do, and we were blown away by how many of you saw the importance of meeting this target. We applaud the leadership role that our federal government was taking in protecting natural areas and biodiversity.  
Your signature meant so much. It motivated us to create an objective in our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan to submit Conservancy protected lands to Canada’s database, and it held us accountable to achieve this. Last fall, fulfilling this objective, we took a further step toward the 17% target of protected areas. We compiled information on the 25 wholly-owned Conservancy Nature Reserves to count 3432 acres* toward this federal target. We worked closely with Provincial government staff gathering and correcting data, and by December sent the final summary of the 25 Couchiching Conservancy Nature Reserves. 
We are now very pleased to announce that your local Nature Reserves were accepted into Canada’s database as official Protected Areas! Thanks to your signature and support, these Nature Reserves are not only counted towards the federal target, but are now recognized as protected areas that are managed to national and international standards. 
We would like to thank Ontario Parks staff for helping us through the process. This recognition gives us a powerful tool to use as we continue to champion the
wild spaces of this region.

This 3432 acres is only the simple fee properties, 23% of the total land you
help protect. 

Photo: Adam's Nature Reserve by T. Rowland
Registration Now Open for 2021 volunteer training courses
Offered exclusively to volunteers, these online and in-person courses ensure success in the field and build naturalist skills

In 2021, there are 15 subject areas ranging from Ambassadors to Bats, Grassland Birds to Species at Risk and much more.

Photo: Salamander embryos in an egg mass
Did you know...
Citizen Scientists made 1,441 Species-at-Risk observations on local Nature Reserves since 2018. These have all been submitted to Ontario's Natural Heritage Information Centre.
Monitoring teams now steward 31 nature reserves and easements; a new record!
Ambassadors engaged close to 350 individuals in 2020 through Passport to Nature webinars, trail head visits, phone calls, and public events.
There are at least 6 different bat species in this region. Our bat monitoring teams use innovative echolocation identification devices to detect bat species flying overhead. (There is more interest in this program than we can currently support…Help us get more teams out there!)

Our volunteer programs truly would not be possible without the dedication of our wonderful volunteers and the support of members, donors, and funders.
We cannot thank you enough! 
Other Ways to Get Involved
Even if the volunteer opportunities you are interested in are full for this year, it doesn't mean we don't need your help! There are other ways you can get involved in protecting nature in the region. Whether it's becoming a member, having a conversation with a friend about why protecting nature is important, or sharing a Conservancy post on your social media, it all matters. Below are a couple of ways you can help:
Become a Member
Membership is a great next step to help protect nature in the region. Not only do you strengthen your relationship with the Conservancy community, but you are taking direct action in protecting and stewarding 50 Nature Reserves. You also receive voting rights at our Annual General Meeting.

$40 a year: Individual Membership

$60 a year: Family Membership

Attend an Event
If you are looking for ways to meet like minded people and learn more about nature in the region, attending a Conservancy event is a great way to get involved.

Our 2021 Passport to Nature Program is in the works and will consist of both in-person and online events that will connect you with others and will get you out exploring local Nature Reserves. Keep an eye out for the Spring launch on our website and in our e-newsletter.

Share with Others
Having a conversation about the importance of land conservation, by sharing our news on social media or telling a friend, has impact. It not only helps spread awareness, but puts nature in people's minds and hearts.

Bring a loved one to a Nature Reserve: There are 16 local Nature Reserves you can explore with loved ones. Sharing these places with others helps connect them with nature and shows why their support matters.

Latest Updates on our Changes in Response to the Pandemic
In alignment with the province's Stay-at-Home Order and guidelines to keep our communities safe and healthy, we have shared some key information and reminders on our website.

We have also seen an increase in trail use at the Nature Reserves. Please remember to practice good trail etiquette when visiting these places.
Save the Date!
Save the date for our Annual General Meeting! The meeting will be virtual and pre-reading materials will be available after February 12, 2021, and sent our through our
February e-newsletter
Did you know members get voting rights at the Annual General Meeting? Check out the post above to learn what it means to be a member and how to become one!
Guess that Species!
Can you guess what species are passing by these trail cams? The answers will be shared in the February e-newsletter.
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