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Carden Challenge – In YOUR neighbourhood

The annual Carden Challenge will look a bit different this year to ensure we keep everyone safe and healthy.

The Challenge is a birding and biodiversity marathon to count as many species as possible in 24 hours in support of conservation efforts of the Carden Alvar, a globally rare landscape.

The goal of the Carden Challenge is simple:

Raise funds to support the stewardship of Carden’s alvar and habitats by counting as many species as possible during a 24-hour period. Our goal is to raise $20,000 for alvar conservation!

Quick Links: Teams and Participants – Donate Rules

Event details and how things are different:

  • When: Friday, May 29 at 6:00pm to Saturday, May 30 at 6:00pm. You choose your schedule!
  • What are we counting: We will still use the Carden Checklist, available in an Excel file here. We recommend printing the list off for the event and then moving your list to Excel afterwards. Please count everything you you and hear – beavers, birds, butterflies…everything!;
  • Where: Stay in your own backyard and neighbourhood. Stay within a 8 km radius (5 miles) of your home (known as 5MR Birding to some)
  • Who: Form teams of 4 – 5 people to keep up the team spirit! You can go it alone as well. You do not need to be an expert, but should connect with others to confirm species if you aren’t confident;
  • How: connect remotely with teammates throughout the Challenge to confirm species and help each other out. If you live within each other’s radius, it is up to you on if you bird and blitz together at a safe physical distance;
  • How: you can bike, paddle, walk, drive…whatever you like;
  • Fundraising: Raising funds to protect the alvar is still an important part of this event! Over the years the Conservancy and partners have protected well over 8,000 acres of alvar. These are critical safe havens for species like the endangered Eastern Loggerhead Shrike. To keep things simple, participants can use this fundraising page through Canada Helps.
  • Submit your list: your team leader can compile your lists and send the Excel file to Ron Reid. We would also like to know which team member counted the most species and how many they did.

Questions? Want to register? Send an email to Tanya Clark (



If you would like to sponsor a team and/or participant, everyone is listed below. You can also encourage our young budding birders by sponsoring them!

Bella has taken part in the Carden Challenge for five years! She is a navigation expert, accidental rare-bird spotter, very comfy outside with the birds and fun to be with.

Reid has done three of the past Challenges. Her best skills are mimicking Barred Owl hoots, cycling around big puddles and osprey-inspired dives. She’s fun to be with too!

Stella is a six year old big city birder from Toronto. She loves all things nature and science and wants to be a gardener when she grows up. Stella’s favourite bird is the robin, hence her birding nickname “Rockin’ Robin”. She’s looking forward to turning 7 at the end of June.

Sophie is a nine year old Orillian who likes to paint, draw and make anime characters. She also loves to play with her brother and sister, hang out with her cat Shadow and take Auston, her Nana’s puppy, for long, long walks. Sophie’s birding nickname is “Silly Goose”…you may be able to guess why. 

Sponsor here and send a special message to some of our young participants!

Who is taking part this year?

There are 20 teams and 86 participants to date!


Honourary Member – David A. Homer on Lake Dalrymple


The Ravin’ Ravens, Competitive:

  1. Ron Reid, Washago
  2. Janet Grand, Washago
  3. Ginny Moore, Uphill
  4. Dale Leadbeater, Kirkfield
  5. Leslie Dyment, Cameron

The Bruce and Spruce Moose, Competitive:

  1. Kristyn Ferguson, Guelph
  2. Julie Scott, Guelph
  3. Tricia Robin, Bruce Peninsula
  4. Justin Peter, Toronto
  5. Bill McIntyre, Carden


Green Snakes on the Plain, Competitive (Biodiversity focus)

bike, foot, canoe and car

  1. Susan Blayney, Fenelon Falls
  2. Chris Evans, Midhurst
  3. Ian Cook, Barrie
  4. Mike Ferguson
  5. Alex Mills

Pink Flamingos, Recreational:

By bike, car and foot

  1. Tanya Clark, Orillia
  2. Meagan Coughlin, Orillia
  3. Philip Careless, Carden
  4. Joelle Burnie, Orillia
  5. David Giannunzio, Orillia

Pedaling and Paddling for Nature, Recreational:

By bike, kayak, & foot.  

The three of us live around Lake Couchiching:  Aiesha to the West, Toby to the North, and Dorthea to the East.  We will be covering the Lake Couchiching area from the narrows to Washago including the rail trails (by bike), Chief’s Island, and sections of the Green and Severn River (by kayak) and much more.  

  1. Dorthea Hangaard, L. Couchiching East
  2. Aiesha Aggarwal, L. Couchiching West
  3. Toby Rowland, L. Couchiching North

Couch Potatoes, Recreational:

By bike, foot

  1. Mark Bisset, Orillia
  2. Claire Milligan, Guelph
  3. Josh Milligan, Guelph
  4. Andrea Ward, Barrie
  5. Jeff Ward, Barrie

 Whoo’s Watching You, Recreational:

  1. Stevie Baker, Toronto
  2. Stella Mingus, Toronto
  3. Courtney Baker, Severn
  4. Sophie Barnes, Orillia 


Cou-Cou-CaChings, Recreational:

  1. Kathy Callahan, Carden
  2. Nathalie Rockhill, Carden
  3. Philip Hamilton, Carden
  4. Adam Thomson, Orillia
  5. Jean Humphries


Let’s Wing It:

  1. Kyra Howes, Midland
  2. Sarah Hodgkiss, London
  3. Cameron Curran, Guelph
  4. Ali Gamble, Guelph
  5. Andrew MacDonald, Peterborough


The Bobolinkers:

  1. Tom Wilson, Brechin
  2. Judy Mitchell-Wilson, Brechin
  3. Barb Glass, Woodville
  4. Pam Fulford, Brechin
  5. John Fulford, Brechin


The Mcdonald Clan:

  1. Diane and family, Oakville


The Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers:

  1. David Hawke, Oro Medonte
  2. Juliana Hawke, Oro Medonte
  3. Jamie Ross, Oro Medonte
  4. Anne Ross, Oro Medonte
  5. Gordon Ball, Orillia
  6. Jane Ball, Orillia


The Fantastic Fledgings, Recreational:

  1. Melissa Bulgutch
  2. Reid
  3. Simon Francis
  4. Bella Francis 


The Trill Seekers, Recreational:

  1. John Challis, Washago
  2. Janice House
  3. Cathy Massig
  4. Greg Jaski
  5. Joanne Massig


Orillia Lagerheads, Recreational:

  1. Robert Vella, Orillia
  2. Katie Paveley, Orillia


The Loon Rangers, Recreational:

  1. Mark Stevenson, Toronto
  2. Glen Hodgson, Parry Sound
  3. Jeramie Jenkins, Sebright 
  4. Jon French, Port McNichol


Warblers Inc., Competitive:

  1. Justin Keszei, Long Point
  2. Evan Sinclair, Long Point
  3. Nathan Earle, Algoma District
  4. Andrew Keaveney, Long Point (or Etobicoke)*


The Martin Manor Boomers, Recreational:

By foot, kayak and possibly bike

  1. Craig Barrett
  2. Cheryl Taylor


The Greedy Grackles, Recreational:

  1. The Trudeau family – Kim, Mark, Adeline, Graham and Woodsley


TBD Name, Competitive:

  1. Stewart Blackwell
  2. George Ray
  3. Chase Moser
  4. Patrick Jackson

Can you sponsor a participant or team?

Donate on Canada Helps here, and you can add the participant or team in the Message to the Charity.

Donate Now

We recognize that things are uncertain right now. We also know that people have a deep adoration for the alvar and the species who reside there. Even amidst these times, work continues to protect this area. That means monitoring for species at risk with volunteers, continuing partnerships, maintaining trails and fencing and more. Sharing information on this event with your friends and family is another way to help!