Happy Summer Solstice! The June e-newsletter is packed full of ways to support nature and get involved this season, including an event that takes you on a tour of one of Orillia’s most important creeks.

When I started volunteering as a water quality monitor for The Couchiching Conservancy, I was amazed to learn that a small creek in north Orillia is actually home to Brook Trout. Sundial Creek is fed by groundwater springs north of Fittons Road, just east of Laclie Street. The creek looks like a ditch along Sundial Drive, but it also flows through neighbouring wetlands and ponds en route to Lake Couchiching. The groundwater temperature stays close to 10°C year round, and the creek runs throughout the coldest winters and even summer droughts. Brook Trout are tied to this critical habitat of clear, cool, well-oxygenated water. The fish will travel upstream to shallow headwaters of creeks to spawn because the water is usually colder and they need a gravel bottom with an ‘upwelling’ of groundwater.

Unfortunately, Sundial Creek faces many challenges. The stormwater that flows into the creek carries sand and pollutants from winter road treatments, fertilizers and other human activities. Invasive species are crowding out native plants, and there is encroachment in some areas. If remedial action isn’t taken soon, this important ecosystem will potentially choke on itself.

This Saturday, July 3rd, a Passport to Nature event will introduce participants to Sundial Creek with a bicycle tour. It will be an easy 10km ride with stops along the way. I hope you will be able to join us for this in-person event, but if not, I encourage you to get involved in other ways below!

Photo: Dorthea Hangaard (staff), Bob Sullivan (Board Member), and Jane Bonsteel (Board Member) doing a test run of Saturday's ride. Taken by Kathy Hunt (Board Member)
Jane Bonsteel
Board Member
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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. 
We are excited to announce a Special Challenge, thanks to our Development Committee, Board of Directors and Advisory Council. To demonstrate their commitment to this strategic initiative these Conservancy supporters have pledged or donated ~$200,000 towards our Corridors Campaign to help power our acquisition efforts. They are issuing a challenge to all of our supporters to contribute too!

Protecting new wild places is a key aspect of our work. If you talk to Mark Bisset, our Executive Director, at any time of the year, he can brief you on the different acquisition projects we have on the go.

Within our current Strategic Plan is a major push to protect more critical habitat, while the opportunities are still there. As we have all seen, development of our region and destruction of critical habitat has ramped up. The mission of the Conservancy is to be as pro-active as possible and protect the important natural areas NOW.

By working with interested land owners, and powered by people like you, we are able to accomplish this mission. And the goal is big – an additional 4,000 acres by 2025. Since the launch of the Strategic Plan, 1,824 acres has been protected in five new Reserves.

That’s where the Corridors Campaign comes in. This is an expanded look at the Black River Wildlands Campaign to envelop the Carden Alvar due to the location, presence of Species at Risk and opportunities for acquisitions.

We have a goal to raise $1.4 million dollars and thanks to our Challenge gifts and our many other supporters, we are close to $900,000. With multi-year pledges and a commitment from people just like you, we can keep our eyes focused on securing the beautiful natural places in our area.

With $500,000 still to raise, please take a moment to consider the positive impact you can have on our landscapes – on our communities – on the species, and make a donation or pledge to our Corridors Campaign. If you have already made a commitment – thank you for your support!

Please rise to the Challenge!

Your Development Committee,
Doug Varty
Jason Stewart
Doug Christie
Mark Bisset
Tanya Clark
2021 Carden Challenge Recap

A big thank you to all of the participants and supporters who shared their love for the Alvar during the 2021 Carden Challenge!

Over 85 participants from 21 teams all across Ontario took part in the Challenge and helped raise over $33,000 for Alvar conservation work!

Competitive Category: The Cool Catbirds - 184 points
Recreational Category: The Pink Flamingos- 147 points

Top team fundraisers: The Ravin' Ravens who raised over $8,000
Top fundraiser: Tanya Clark who raised over $2,500

Congratulations to Stella Minges for winning the kids prize and to Patrick Jackson for winning the Adams cabin getaway!

Save the date for the 2022 Carden Challenge on May 27-28th.
Julie Scott from Bruce and Spruce Moose nets a butterfly with one hand and eats shawarma with the other.
Mourning Warbler. This was a lifer bird for Toby Rowland from team Pedalling & Paddling for Nature.
Cameron Curran and Ali Gamble from team Let's Wing It stop for a selfie during the Challenge.
National Indigenous History Month
June was National Indigenous History Month. The Couchiching Conservancy stands in solidarity with the Indigenous Peoples in the region and strives to better our understanding and relationships with these communities.

In 2020 The Conservancy created a new strategic plan. For the first time this plan included a declaration of shared principles- values outside of our conservation work that the community shares. One of the most important of these principles states;
"We recognize that The Couchiching Conservancy operates within the territory of the Indigenous Peoples of Treaty 18, Lake Simcoe – Nottawasaga and The Williams Treaties. Understanding our connection to community, the land and the meaning of our historical agreements through treaty is an ongoing process to which we are committed."

Today, and everyday, we aim to celebrate the incredible work that Indigenous Peoples in the region accomplish. In particular we value the protection and stewardship of wild places.
Reopening of Adams Nature Reserve
The Adams Nature reserve is again open to the public with a full loop trail!

There is a well-marked 1.4 kilometre loop trail which begins behind the cabin.  The trail crosses First Creek and skirts below an impressive granite rock wall, leading to two ponds. The trail returns through the upland, and there is a steep descent at the end which accounts for the rating of a moderately difficult hike.

We also created a new georeferenced trail map that you can download into apps such as Avenza Maps!
What are Volunteers and Staff Doing at the Nature Reserves?

Ryan Lamoureux and Claire Buchanan headed out to Carden on a hot and sweaty day in June and were joined by staff members from Nature Conservancy of Canada. Ryan and Claire had just finished their pesticide training course and both thought it was great to be able to apply the safety knowledge they learned in a real-life situation to protect this rare habitat. They saw a fantastic view of a Loggerhead Shrike, Upland Sandpiper and a pair of Sandhill Cranes.
It is bat monitoring season! Teams are starting to head out to their designated sites throughout June and July to monitor for bats. Jeff and Kristi Cole did their first visit at Grant Wetland and Wilson Point Wetland in early June. Just after sunset, the sky turned bright pink and purple and there were fireflies everywhere! Some of the bat species detected were Hoary Bats, Silvered Hair Bats, and Big Brown Bats. While searching around Wilson Point Wetland, Jeff and Kristi put their frog monitoring skills to the test as they identified the different species calling. They came across a frog they thought was a Mink Frog, but turned out to be a Green Frog in disguise! 
We've Got Your Summer Plans Covered
Thank you so much to the kind and generous businesses and individuals who have fundraised for nature so far this year. We are grateful for your support and we love seeing our community taking action to protect important wild places in the region.
Photo: Mary and Noah set up a lemonade stand in June and donated 100% of their sales to the Conservancy
Left to right:
Refillery District – donated $5 for every jar filled on Earth Day
Kerslake Pottery – donated 40% of proceeds from their weekend Outdoor Art Show
Matchedash Trading Co. – donating 100% of proceeds from sale of pennants
Manticore Books – donated $5 for every registration from their Virtual Book Club events
Phone: 705-326-1620
Mail: Box 704, Orillia, ON L3V 6K7
Office: 1485 Division Rd W, Orillia, ON L3V OX6
Charitable Registration #: 13972 5030 RR0001