Greetings!

In this e-newsletter you will find information on:
  • Next Steps for the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan
  • Upcoming Passport to Nature Events
  • Notes from the Field
  • A 7 Year Old who Stepped Up to Protect Snake Habitat
  • Equipment Needs
  • Where You Can Plan Your Next Adventure


If this email isn't displaying properly, please View as Webpage here.
Protecting nature for future generations
Next Steps for the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan
The Strategic Plan Review Committee has been hard at work since our plan launch last September. Our Committee is composed of Mark Bisset, Margaret Pomeroy, Gordon Ball, Dorthea Hangaard, Dale Leadbeater and Pam Fulford. We are pleased to announce that we have the First Draft almost ready to go to the Couchiching Conservancy Board for their review in August. Just a bit more editing and we are there! 

We have reached out and listened hard to our volunteers, Past Presidents, Members of the Board, Naturalist Clubs, Advisory Council members, Heartwood members, staff, individual stakeholders, other land trusts and partners. We have asked them questions on managing our lands, engaging our members and volunteers, meeting the challenge of the climate crisis, how to keep growing, and how better to communicate with you all. We will share the First Draft with you as soon as the Board has had a chance to review it in its entirety. By sending it out to you all before final approval at our Annual General Meeting next year, we hope you will tell us if we have missed anything. And if we missed you the first time around, you will get another chance to tell us what you think after the Board’s review. 

- Pam Fulford
Chair of Strategic Plan Review Committee

Photo: Long Dash Skippers taken by Susan Blayney.
Upcoming Passport to Nature Events
Photo: 2018 Passport to Nature Event: Paddle the Green River taken by Mel Tuck
There are still lots of Passport to Nature Events to attend this year!

Learn about the Nature Reserves and their unique characteristics from our knowledgeable leaders. Every event is free and gives you a closer look at why protecting land in this region is so important.

Thanks to Soujourn Outdoors and all the program and event sponsors for making the Passport to Nature possible.
Supporter Spotlight: Doug Varty
Co-Chair of the Advisory Council, Member & Supporter
Doug was an audit partner with KPMG and spent his 32+ year professional career with the firm in the GTA. Giving back to the community has always been central to Doug’s personal and professional life and over the years he has been involved in many charities and NPO’s. He is currently a Board member (Ontario) of the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Chairs their Leaders in Conservation program. New to the Couchiching area, Doug and his wife Charon have become supporters of the CC and have been involved in the Citizen Science program. Doug is active in many capacities with his alma mater including sitting on the University of Toronto Mississauga Governing Council. More locally he is on the Board of the Soldiers Memorial Hospital Foundation Board and the Audit and Finance Committee of the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. In his spare time, he does freelance business and financial consulting.
Notes from the Field
Roland Rehhorn, Toby Rowland, and Joan Vincent monitoring for bats overhead.
The trial period for our new Bat Monitoring Program is underway, and we’ve surveyed four properties as of July 18th. 

We don’t often mention  McIsaac Wetland  because it is an inaccessible hardwood swamp, but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant habitat. Last year it started getting more attention when we established a frog monitoring program there, and on July 17th we visited to survey for bats and discovered it’s a hotspot! 

With the monitoring device we rented from Ontario Land Trust Alliance hoisted onto a selfie stick, Roland immediately started hearing clicks on the headphones, while Joan kept notes. The monitoring device translates the bat’s sonar into clicks that can be heard by human hearing, and also records the calls which will be identified to species later in the fall. Bats raced overhead, sometimes dropping to within a dozen feet of us, as fireflies danced in the grass and the full moon rose.   
7 Year Old Steps up to Protect Snake Habitat
To some, snakes are their least favourite animal. Perhaps it's their slithery nature, unique appearance, or the flickering of their tongue. But, to 7 year old Matthew, snakes are by far the coolest animal to ever exist. In June Matthew celebrated his 7th birthday, and instead of accepting gifts from his friends, he encouraged them to donate to the Couchiching Conservancy to help protect snake habitat in the region. To thank Matthew, Conservancy staff put together a small video describing some interesting facts about snakes that can be found in the Couchiching region.

Thank you so much Matthew!
Note: Always consult an ID book for full information on a species.
Equipment Needs
Do you have an old Garmin GPS 76c around the house you are no longer using? We are looking for this particular GPS model because they are very easy to use by volunteers with no GPS experience:

Just turn it on, write down the coordinates, and then turn off. Simple!

We are also looking for camera monopods because they can be attached to our bat monitoring device.

Donations gratefully accepted and will be put to good use.

Please contact Dorthea at dorthea@couchconservancy.ca if you are interested in donating an old Garmin GPS 76c.
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
Looking for a new area to explore? Check out The Church Woods.

The Church Woods is 22 acres, and was originally owned by the O'Brien family since 1832. In 2006, the O'Brien family decided to sell the Woods, and offered it at a reduced price to the Shanty Bay neighbours. A group of neighbours enlisted the Conservancy to assist and led a community fund-raising drive to collect nearly $600,000. Most of the property is densely wooded in old-growth hardwoods, with an understory of typical woodland wildflowers and ferns Several seasonal streams cross the property, and a small wetland area and adjacent ditch provides breeding habitat for amphibians (and mosquitoes!).