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Annual General Meeting January 26th

Conservancy board member David Hawke discusses information on protected lands with visitors at last year's Annual General Meeting.

Now that the festive season is over, most of us are welcoming a break from the hustle and bustle and staying closer to home.

By the end of January, many people may be looking for a chance to socialize and perhaps learn more about our local community.

The Couchiching Conservancy has the perfect opportunity to re-connect with old friends, meet new ones, and find out more about the organization.

On Saturday, January 26th, the Conservancy will be holding its Annual General Meeting from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Hawk Ridge Golf Club in Orillia.

And this year we are celebrating a milestone; it’s our 20th anniversary!

Since 1993, the Couchiching Conservancy has been working to help protect special natural lands in the region.  Our success speaks for itself; to date we help protect more than 11,000 acres.

Our meeting will provide information on our conservation efforts from 2012 as well as our plans for the upcoming year and beyond.  There will be lots of activities as well: a map and info on protected properties, special events, raffle tickets for a bird carving donated by David A. Homer, displays of conservancy programs and products, information on the Carden Nature Festival, and of course, light refreshments.

Everyone is welcome, whether you are a member or not.  If you are not a member, we can help you join at our membership table.

Because this is our annual meeting, we do have to go through a business segment with election of new board members and financial reports but we do our best to keep that portion upbeat and brief.

Each year, the Conservancy has a guest speaker to share information on a topic of interest.

This year, we are honoured to have Dr. Brock Fenton join us from the University of Western Ontario.   Dr. Fenton is a leading authority on one of nature’s most maligned creatures; bats. His talk will introduce bats, and some features of their life history and behaviour.  He will present information about various direct and indirect threats to which bats appear to be vulnerable such as white nose syndrome, wind farms, rabies and other diseases perhaps associated with bats.

From classic fiction such as Dracula to old wives tales, bats have been feared and loathed by humans for centuries. Dr. Brock Fenton, Emeritus Professor of Biology at Western, has made a career in setting the record straight. He has taken his natural curiosity about these animals and made a case for their ecological importance. By using bats as a general theme to illustrate general principles in biology and conservation, he has built a program of public awareness across people of all ages.  Dr. Fenton has published over 200 papers in refereed journals (most of them about bats), as well as numerous nontechnical contributions.  He has written three books about bats intended for a general audience.  He has supervised the work of numerous M. Sc students and Ph.D. students who have completed their degrees.

So come out and join us on Saturday, January 26th at Hawk Ridge Golf Club at 1151 Hurlwood Lane in Orillia.

Gayle Carlyle is the Outreach Coordinator for the Couchiching Conservancy which currently helps protect more than 11,000 acres of natural land across the region.  For more information, visit www.couchichingconserv.ca or call 705-326-1620