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The T.C. Agnew Property: Grateful for Nature Reserves

The T.C. Agnew Nature Reserve, taken by Tanya Clark

It is hard to fathom protecting our favourite wild places all on our own. There is so much to know, so much money needed, so much expertise required. With The Couchiching Conservancy, protecting nature for future generations is possible.

By now you have likely heard the buzz about the Black River Wildlands. 730 acres of gorgeous wilderness, over 4 km of Black River, a safe haven for wildlife…there is a lot to be excited about. With a recent focus on that land, I’ve been thinking about what it takes to create a new Nature Reserve. Thinking about the other properties that The Couchiching Conservancy has needed help with in the past from the community and our members.

The most recent property The Conservancy publically campaigned to purchase was the Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve in 2011. This is a place I frequent often and have gotten to know well.

I can picture my last visit; it was a mild and sunny day. I walk along the roadway that follows the Trent Severn Waterway, the sounds of the highway become more and more distant as I approach the 85 acre property. The property sits on the left, with access to the trails by the Nature Reserve sign.

Gravel crunches under my hiking shoes, and I think about the family – Joan Berndt and Susan Campbell; grand-daughters of Thomas C. Agnew. Their family acted as custodians of the land for 100 years and their donation ensures that their family legacy continues on. This property was an important part of their lives, and was a cornerstone of their family. To create this Nature Reserve, it was a partial donation in loving memory and partial purchase with help from the community.

“I think about the people who donated to create this Nature Reserve…If I could thank them, I would.”

A Painted Turtle inches across the path in front of me, and I think about the people who donated to The Couchiching Conservancy to create this Nature Reserve. While walking, of course I don’t know who these people are, but I am benefiting from their kindness and passion for protecting these special places. If I could thank them, I would.

Something catches my eye. Two leaves falling to the earth and twirling and dancing as they go. I think about the on-going stewardship and maintenance activities of volunteers and staff. The people who have given their time, energy and knowledge to assess the land, plan the trails, take GPS coordinates along the way and check on the land periodically. These are the caretakers. The guardians of nature.

The sound of Spring Peepers fills the air and I think about the long-term supporters who ensure the work of the Conservancy endures the ups and downs. These are the people who I have a great deal of admiration for.

A cool breeze blows through the treetops, refreshing my skin and breath. I think about the people who also visit this special place and marvel at its beauty. They are unknown to me, but we have the love of the land in common.

To the hundreds of people who contributed to creating this Nature Reserve and others, to the people who have continued to support conservation and the protection of our lands – thank you. We are grateful.

Click here to find out how to visit the Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve. 

Tanya Clark is the Development Coordinator at The Couchiching Conservancy, a non-profit land trust dedicated to protect some of the beautiful wild places in our region for current and future generations.