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Carden Nature Festival – So much to discover!

It’s no secret – many of us are wishing that winter was already over. What better way to get excited about the coming spring and summer than to plan some fun outdoor adventures? The Carden Nature Festival is less than three months away and offers a weekend full of learning opportunities, family fun and a chance to explore a unique area within our region.

For the past seven years, hundreds of people – including locals and those that live out of town – have flocked to the Carden area which is east of Orillia and northwest of Lindsay.

Carden is a rich eco-system of wildflowers and native grasses which makes it ideal habitat for many birds and other species; many of which are at risk or endangered. Although this globally rare landscape is near our home, many have never heard of the Carden alvars. You will be amazed at what you see – whether it’s a Prairie Smoke wildflower, Eastern Loggerhead Shrike or a beautiful sunset over the limestone landscape. What a great opportunity this Festival gives people of all ages and knowledge levels to learn more about this special place!

Every year, we receive a lot of positive feedback from participants. “We enjoyed the range of informative workshops, the expertise of the presenters and meeting fellow naturalists from different walks of life. This festival opened our eyes and minds, and stimulated new interests,” one participant told us.

Thanks to a dedicated group of people who make up the Festival Planning Committee, we take your feedback and improve the Festival every year. These volunteers put a great deal of time and effort into organizing the Festival – and one of the reasons they do is so that you have the opportunity to explore this special area.


There are many new events such as, Observing Nesting Birds, Geocaching for Beginners, Alvar by Bicycle and Meet the Bumblebees. Events are based on a variety of topics – Birding, Botany, Wilderness Exploring and Wildlife. In addition to 15 new events, there are also over 25 popular returning events. Birding events are always in demand – the Carden Plain is classified as an Important Bird Area, so there are many species to see. It’s always nice to have a leader guiding the way when you can’t tell the different between bird calls or the ‘little brown birds’. Weekend events give Festival goers unique access to the massive Windmill Ranch and Cameron Ranch that are otherwise closed to the public due to cattle grazing.

Also new this year is the Fun Fest on Saturday. There will be free activities, displays and exhibits happening all day Saturday at the Carden Recreation Centre on Lake Dalrymple; wagon rides, face painting, live music by Alex the Folk Band and the Cole Mendez Trio, and a reptile exhibit are a few of the highlights of the Fun Fest.

Keynote Speaker:

This year we are welcoming David Phillips of Environment Canada as our Saturday evening guest speaker. He will be speaking on weather patterns and the impact they have on our population. Dinner and silent auction will take place before David speaks. Proceeds from the Festival support the work of The Couchiching Conservancy and go toward conservation efforts on the Carden Plain.

There is so much to see and do at the Carden Nature Festival. To learn more, please visit the Carden Nature Festival website: Make sure to register early as spots on events are limited!

Written by Tanya Clark