After (what feels like) a long and sluggish winter, I always get a boost of energy from our Annual General Meeting, followed by the excitement and anticipation for spring. April consists of a lot of “what’s this?,” “do you hear that?” and an awful lot of “hey Toby, can you ID this?”

I have always enjoyed this season, but since working at the Conservancy my love for spring has grown tremendously. After participating in my first Carden Challenge, I now get so excited for spring migration. Volunteering as a Citizen Scientist makes me eager for amphibian breeding season, and our Passport to Nature events inspire me to get outside, be more observant, and explore Nature Reserves that I have yet to visit. It's a great time to get outside again. Plan your visit to a Nature Reserve here.

But it’s not just the season that's exciting, it's the work we do together. We have lots to share with you in this newsletter, including a new Nature Reserve, AGM re-cap, job posting, and save the dates for events that will get you out learning and exploring nature this spring.

Photo: Barred Owl sitting in the snow taken while hiking a Nature Reserve.
Joelle Burnie
Engagement Organizer
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Protecting Nature for Future Generations
The land on which we operate is the territory of the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Wendat and Metis Peoples with whom we share the Upper Canada Treaties in the Orillia area. 
77-acres along the Black River thanks to Marley family and your support!
The Conservancy is celebrating its newest Nature Reserve, thanks to a donation by the Marley family!

Located 17km east of Washago, it is between the Adams Nature Reserve (10 km to west, protected in 2016), Taylor Nature Reserve (4.7km to the west, protected in 2020) and Ron Reid Nature Reserve (2.6 km to east, protected in 2017), the property has a direct connection to the Ontario Parks Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park (QEII) at the southern boundary. It is Anishinabewaki, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Haudenosaunee territory.

“It is a great place to watch turtles hatching and laying eggs, follow the life cycles of butterflies, observe the behaviour of foxes, beavers and moose and watch the night sky. We decided to donate about nine-tenths of the land to the Conservancy so that it can be enjoyed by others and protected from development.”- Reet & Jaanus Marley (pictured top right).

The Black River Wildlands has been identified as a priority area for protection by the Conservancy due to the presence of Species at Risk, opportunities for protection and connection to other conserved lands. This work is within the Conservancy’s Corridors Campaign with includes the Carden Alvar which lies to the south-east. Donations to this Campaign helps to power the Conservancy to carry out land owner discussions, moving a donation through the Ecological Gifts process and has supported the creation of this Reserve.

This project was made possible by a 100% donation by the Marley family to the The Couchiching Conservancy under the Government of Canada’s Ecological Gifts Program. This program provides enhanced tax incentives for individuals or corporations who donate ecologically significant land. The family has donated the southern parcel of 77-acres while retaining the parcel north of the river with their family cottage on it.
Annual General Meeting Re-cap
Thank you to everyone who attended our virtual Annual General Meeting and Film Festival!

With over 270 people in attendance from all across the landscape, the community committed to protecting nature continues to grow.

Highlights from 2021 Annual General Meeting:
  • New Board of Directors was accepted
  • How we adapted to the pandemic thanks to your support
  • Two new Nature Reserves were protected in 2020- the Whitney Wetland Reserve & Dr. Ron Taylor Nature Reserve
  • Announced the protection of the Marley Reserve
  • Two conservation easements in the works in the Bass Lake West Corridor
Annual General Meeting Recording
Watch the
Film Festival
Join the Conservancy team!
We are seeking a Field Biologist with strong field identification skills and a desire to mentor others to carry out a wide variety of tasks related to the management and protection of our Nature Reserves. This junior position requires knowledge of central Ontario ecosystems, technical know-how, and a team mindset. 

The deadline to apply is April 16th at 4pm.
Photo: A. Aggarwal
Learn about nature and get inspired:
The 2021-2022 Passport to Nature is launching soon, with our first webinar in late April. Keep an eye out for the next e-newsletter with all the event details! Thank you so much to the Passport to Nature committee for working so hard to bring these free events to life.
Save the date for the 17th Annual Carden Challenge! Identifying species can be hard, but this is a fun event to learn and test your skills. Help raise money to protect the Carden Alvar, a rare landscape home to hundreds of species. Form a team or go at it alone. Anyone is welcome to participate!
Spring notes from the field
Muskrat by D. Hangaard
Volunteers Cynthia Ferris and Pam Reekie
Belted Kingfisher by D. Hangaard
Reports of Chorus Frogs calling in Carden and Painted Turtles moving about in Barrie have us scrambling to start the earliest field season in recent memory.  

On March 30th, Aiesha and Dorthea met Cynthia Ferris and Pam Reekie at Whitney Wetland to orient them to their new frog call monitoring site.  As 5 pm temperatures hovered around 15 degrees, we heard a few Western Chorus Frogs, while a Belted Kingfisher patrolled the wetland, making its familiar rattling sound. A muskrat sat under the bridge catching fish.  

After dark we heard spring peepers, and a Wilson’s Snipe winnowed from the field next to the wetland.  
Please be kind,
don't leave your poop behind.
We have been noticing a lot of pet waste being left behind at Alexander Hope Smith, Grant's Woods and some of the other Nature Reserves. When you and your furry companion(s) visit a Nature Reserve, please remember to pick up and pack out your dog waste. This is not only respectful to nature but other trail users who are visiting.
Staff member, Tanya would never leave behind Charlie's waste!
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