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Passport to Nature a Wild Journey

Odd Trillium at Grant's Woods. Photo by Ellen Cohen.

Over the past seven months, The Couchiching Conservancy has been inviting people to visit our properties on guided hikes, bike rides, water events and walks. The seasons have changed, friendships were made and somehow the months have pleasantly flown by with the Passport to Nature series. It has now completed for the year and what an incredibly successful venture it has been!

The Passport was created as a way to increase awareness of the work that we do, connect people to our landscape and raise funds for our work.

I’m happy to report that we have accomplished all of our goals and are already planning events for next year. Events were so well attended that we had to put a cap on most because there was SO MUCH interest.

With the support from a number of businesses, media partners and the Orillia CDC, we raised over $13,000 for our conservation efforts. Because of this support, we were able to offer these events at no cost to the public.

With the support from a number of businesses, media partners and the Orillia CDC, we raised over $13,000 for our conservation efforts. Because of this support, we were able to offer these events at no cost to the public.

Every year we work to protect land already under our care, work to expand our reach and engage in projects in the field. Caring for 12,000 acres throughout the region is a big undertaking and the funds raised make a difference.

People that attended these events walked on trails, battled the outdoor elements a few times, heard bird songs, stood in awe of vast forests of green and got re-connected to nature. Some were surprised by the things that they saw, like when Ellen Cohen of Washago came across a genetically mutated white trillium at Grant’s Woods with event leader Mary Mick. Or when the group that visited Roehl Wetland by water got hands on with a milk snake that was slithering across the rocky landscape. What special things we can come across in this wild world of ours.

Altogether there are over 40 properties that The Couchiching Conservancy is involved with – either through direct ownership, partnerships or conservation easements. The Passport to Nature events took about 300 people out to just seven properties which accounts for 864 acres of protected wilderness.

Throughout these past seven months, my favourite part has been hearing about the events afterwards from people that attended. Whether it’s a quick email of thanks, or a phone call to talk about what species were seen – it has been wonderful to hear how excited people are about getting outdoors. The mission statement of The Couchiching Conservancy is “protecting nature for future generations”, but it’s also about today. We work in the now to foster an appreciation of environmental protection so that these unique and irreplaceable areas are here forever.

With all of these successes, we are now looking ahead to the future. We want to increase the number of events offered, focusing a number in the summer months when birding is at its prime and the weather is ideal.

So what would you like to see for next year? Are there properties that you are itching to get out to but would like to go with a group? What types of activities would you like to do? Please give me a call at the office and let me know your thoughts. The number is 705-326-1620.

We always keep our members and supporters up to date through our e-newsletter on the work that we are doing and upcoming events like the Passport to Nature. Signing up is easy and we never share your personal information.

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